Chapter 3 summary , and part 3, also, of my book report
of Marci Shimoff's work, entitled, Take Ownership of Your Happiness, pp. 49-81
To continue her Building a Home for Happiness (which I assume is like a turtle's) metaphor, she considers the foundation for happiness to be:
1)Focus on the Solution
2)Look for the Lesson and the Gift
3Make peace with yourself
H4NR, in addition to it's strong foundation (we're building a happy house; e.g. your body), there are also 4 walls, a roof, and a garden, each with 3 sub-points each for a total of 21 Happiness Habits. (Any connection to nun's habits?) She's talking about True happiness, and Enduring happiness. An ambitious book, I would say.
The Foundation of H4NR:
1. focus on the solution
victims focus on the problem and complain (contracting e).
Victors focus on the solution (expanding e).
(i still don't get the energy thing; i kind of suspect it's a woman's thing)
-someone told marci that the average person complains 70x a day.
that sucks! lol.
Seriously, though. All these damn vampires sucking the happiness out of you.
she mentions pastor Will Bowen, and his millions of bracelet shifters
-solutions-focus, developed by Mark McKergow,
rate (a situation, a relationship, whatever) on a scale of 1-10, 10 the most satisfied.
THEN, write down all the reasons you didn't score lower (vs. why you didn't score higher)
then, think of all the small steps that can be taken to increase your satisfaction level/score.
then, notice the times you feel more satisfied, and build up.stop complaining, and start collecting things/activities/strategies that make you happy in life, to keep you focused on what's working.
I think of it like a snowball, with momentum, getting bigger and bigger (the snow being your
happiness). I'm not over the hill yet, so it's a Sisyphean snowball. A naturally growing phenomenon.
2. Look for the Lesson and the Gift.
Don't blame. Not yourself, not anyone else. "Blame is a no-win proposition, and we all probably have better things to do like being peaceful, content, and happy," says Chellie, a member of marci's happy hundred (of which only 21 are quoted in the book). If anything, "blame" it on god, who has a higher purpose for you that you might not see. MS (Marci Shimoff) says both a)many of the things she set her heart on would have actually made her miserable, in hindsight, and b)often, the things she thought were bad turned out to be the greatest blessings in her life. So labelling events "good" or "bad" may be unwise in the first place. Instead, the happy hundred view everything as containing a gift or lesson, though they may not be able to see it in the moment. One never knows. SO, to expand your energy despite tough times, "try believing that what's happened is for the best. The universe is out to support you. Happy, happy. joy, joy. Just another day in Paradise. For realz. If you want to be happy, H4NR-style, you've got to accept the proposition that yeah, "it's all good."
Personally, I'm not sure I'll ever be this ridiculously gleeful a believer in divine control of everthing, so that it all works out for the best. I'm rather fond of the dark side of the force. AND, I think it's more realistic. Then again, as the Grateful Dead say, "I'm goin' to hell in a bucket, but at least I'm enjoying the ride." Like riding a rollercoaster into hell...ugh. I'm a firm disbeliever in hell, or any kind of afterlife for that matter, except oblivion, of course, i.e. being scattered to the 4 winds. I like the GD, but I hate the concept of hell. No one is going to suffer throughout eternity for anything, but some people might live some rather/fairly rotten lives. The belief in heaven can really help people cope. I look forward to eating my apple pie in heaven.
But Dr. Ellis, a psychologist, says, "The best years of your life are the ones in which you decide your problems are your own. You realize you control your destiny." Conversely, a study shows that people who blame others for severe accidents "displayed expecially low coping scores."
3. Make Peace with Yourself
I may be schizophrenic, but I'm at peace with myself. In college, I had a sticker of the Dead Milkmen on my bike, from their album Soul Rotation. If, in the words of x by y, I'm a million different people from one day to the next, I can't change...(you might know it), then maybe I have a few me's, that correspond to Goffman's presentation of self in society, and the different roles I play. Silence of the Lambs has a line about Your-self storage as being too hokey for Lecter. Robin Williams can get really nutty with his roleplaying, and speaking of lambs, the Lambchop's play along was some seriously crazy sh--. MS isn't really talking about all this, so I guess I'm a bit off track.
Anyway, what MS is saying is we need to get rid of our shame, guilt, self-blame (that eat at us), and instead accept our avoided feelings.And maybe even share them. Zainab Selbi, an author, activist, and founder/ceo of the humanitarian organization Women for Women International, describes how to make lemonade from lemons. The lemons, actually, are the unspeakable violence and rape of women in Croatia and africa. Selbi says, "If people are afraid to tell their stories, I tell them from my own experience, it will only lead you to a great fortune- of inner peace, and the joy and lightness that comes with it." That's the carrot. The stick is that "people who bury their traumas live shorter, unhealthier, unhappier lives than those who tell their stories."
The "happiness robbers" of complaining, blaming, and feeling shame (i.e. it's all my fault)(is it??), i.e. if you always feel like a victim, if not corrected, will draw the same situations to you again and again, such as the same type of unhealthy relationships. She quotes author Eckhart Tolle, "the past cannot prevail against the power of Now."
Instead of switching a bracelet around until you reach 21 days of perfection, she recommends having a fine (say 2 bucks) put in a bucket, for every time you blame, make an excuse, compain, indulge in self-pity, or beat yourself up. Eventually the groups she was in "stopped playing the victim game."
Finally, it's never too late. You can teach an old dog new tricks. She cites her mother, who exercises, meditates, travels, gets massages, and is a member of various clubs, at the age of 85.
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