The Wilde Olive Blog: Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!


Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Happiness Project

Last Saturday, I began reading {listening to} The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. In so MANY ways I am able to identify with her and this book. I also began following her blog: I’m thinking of starting my own happiness project and am working on my commandments now. Happily, there are many things in this book that I already do {sometimes} and many things I tell others to do and do not do myself {hypocrite}.

She writes in the book about how doing work to serve others can bring happiness but you have to do it for yourself and don’t expect gratitude or praise {“gold stars”}. This is my life! It’s my job . . . which is where it gets messy. Of course, I do my job with no expectations. Yes, I get paid to do it, but if that was the reason I’m doing this, I’d be delusional myself. I spend day after day trying to help people to help themselves. Most of the time they choose to do the opposite of what I say. Okay. They have the right to self-determination. However, being the hypocrite I am, I don’t even take my own advice. “Take a deep breath before you speak”, “accept that you can’t change others, they have to change themselves”, “you have to take care of yourself to take care of others”, blah, blah, blah! I feel like this profession {social work} can make you either the happiest person in the world or the most depressed person in world. I choose happiness, but I have to choose it over and over again EVERYDAY. Despite the paperwork, politics, and other limitations working for someone else brings about, what I do makes me happy, even on the tear-filled days. It seems those days are the days I feel the most content in my job. It’s exceptionally hard to explain this feeling of contentment. In no way do I get pleasure from the pain and frustration of others. Instead, I think, it invokes passion and I love to feel passionate. If you think about your own life you will probably agree that most enlightenment comes after tragedy. It brings you together. When someone is deeply sad or cries in my presence it feels like there is a link formed. This connection may be one sided, but it allows me to learn something new about myself through the things I identify about myself in others. Some people would call this countertransference . . . and they’d be right, but that’s okay. It happens to the best of us.

So, I guess that feeling of passion and enlightenment is my “gold star”. When applying to my undergraduate program they asked me in a room full of my professors why I chose social work, I said, “it chose me”. With all of that being said, I CAN find happiness in my work if I REALLY think about what I’m trying to achieve and some arbitrary productivity number is not MY ultimate goal.

I believe that “happy” has a different meaning for everyone. Unfortunately, it seems many people are “happy” being unhappy, but I think this is better described laziness. Boy is it draining to make the effort to be happy. My first resolution of my happiness project will have to be "cut out the laziness". I am lazy about making the effort to be happy. I truly have to work on not taking my frustrations with others out on those I love {especially my husband who is the only person non-work related that I see everyday} and putting in the time and effort to DO the things I want to do. I was resolute to turn off the TV this week. I did have some exceptions, but I am no longer going to WASTE time on things that I don’t care about to begin with. This has been hard!

Has anyone read this book? Tried a happiness project? Or want to try it with me? If you liked Eat, Pray, Love you will like this.

1 comment:

  1. I really want to try this! I need to get out with the lazy and in with the happy.


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