I’ve been sadly remiss in attending to my happiness… NOT a good thing! Because we all know, “when mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy!” And, I’ve been bringing down the house with my UNhappiness. Yesterday I decided I’ve been behaving rather like a deer in the headlights about to get smashed by all my undone STUFF hitting me like the front bumper of a speeding pick-up truck gone off-road and closing in for the kill. Ugly image, no?
I AM THE DEER sitting frozen on my couch, endlessly and unproductively tapping away at my laptop, accomplishing far less than I could if my focus wasn’t splintered all over the place and my happiness wasn’t in the dumpster.
As one of those Women Who Do Too Much — boldly declaring her tentative recovery — I continue to say NO to all new and unnecessary things but what about the things already on my plate? Work combined with child-rearing and the needs of an aging aunt in my care are things I cannot say no to because I made commitments that I’m not willing to undo. So now that I acknowledge that these are here to stay, I need to find a way to navigate through the mess, get done what absolutely MUST get done, organize and make a plan for accomplishing the rest and add just a little focus on MY happiness. Without this last piece, I am the deer and none of the others pieces of my happiness puzzle will fall into place!
So I turned once again to my Happiness-Project guru, Gretchen Rubin, for some direction and found it. It was Gretchen who got me started on this happiness path but somewhere along the way I lost my way and ended up here in the crosshairs. Gretchen’s recent post about Psychiatrist Carl Jung‘s 5 basic tenets of happiness was just what I needed:
“In 1960, Jung was interviewed by journalist Gordon Young, who asked, “What do you consider to be more or less basic factors making for happiness in the human mind?” Jung answered:
“1. Good physical and mental health.
2. Good personal and intimate relationships, such as those of marriage, the family, and friendships.
3. The faculty for perceiving beauty in art and nature.
4. Reasonable standards of living and satisfactory work.
5. A philosophic or religious point of view capable of coping successfully with the vicissitudes of life.”
Jung also added, “All factors which are generally assumed to make for happiness can, under certain circumstances, produce the contrary. No matter how ideal your situation may be, it does not necessarily guarantee happiness.”
I couldn’t agree more right down to those same 5 items potentially contributing to UNhappiness if not attended to. Interestingly, Gretchen Rubin’s research showed that Jung didn’t believe one could work on their happiness… That is, he felt the more you chase it, the more elusive it would be. THAT, I don’t agree with. Nor does Gretchen Rubin… otherwise her whole Happiness Project would have been a bust!
So, now what?
I’ve decided to implement my own mini happiness-project experiment, focusing on each of these happiness tenets for one week to see if I can’t UNdo the UNhappiness in my life. While adding a new committment may not sound like the answer to my UNhappiness, what I’ve been doing isn’t working so I need to change things up. And when I read those 5 elements, I recognized immediately that not attending to these key areas of my life is bringing me down. THESE are the things I’m not getting to. I’m a mostly happy person who mostly isn’t happy anymore. And it’s because my focus has gone away from focusing on my happiness and the things that contribute most to my happiness.
But, like all good procrastinators, I’ll start tomorrow LOL. Friday is a great day to start FOR ME me because it’s the START of the weekend. It’s a stick-in-your-head kind of day, unlike Thursday which is neither Over The Hump day nor “the weekend”. Besides, I generally have less commitments on the weekends which makes it feel possible to me. And since this is MY Happiness Project, it’s MY choice. So, officially my mini Happiness-Project experiment will run for the next 5 weeks with each Friday kicking off the introduction and focus on the next of Jung’s 5 tenets of happiness.
It’s like my own personal happiness-project fitness challenge. For all you doubters, I have found that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing which is where I am now. And staying where I am ain’t gonna work! That speeding truck is headed right for me!