Happiness Project. Chapter 2. Remember Love.

Continuing my book club comments on the Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin

These are my random thoughts and musing that came to mind while reading this awesome book. Comments are aimed at me. It’s not an indictment on anybody else, it’s squarely on my shoulders.

Chapter 2. Remember Love. Marriage

GR has a 12 commandments, one of which is “There is only Love.” This means that it’s not about being right and getting my way. It’s more about loving and being in love. I don’t complain about my wife, ever. Only speak lovely about my wife, especially in public. If applied to my boss, it will be well with me there too.  “What you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile.” This matters most at home. It’s the daily living that matters most. Loving every day is more important than loving once in awhile.

Quit Nagging

This is an awesome section. Nagging doesn’t work on me. I just get mad, especially if I was gonna do it anyway, whether you asked or not. We created a culture at home that simply asks for what we want. No nagging. No denial. No foot-dragging. Tasks don’t need to be done on your schedule. Trust me that I will do what I said I’d do. And I’ll do it for me, now. If it’s that important to you, do it yourself, for yourself.

Don’t expect praise or appreciation.

I do it for me now. I’ll be happy to do it, just because I want to do it now. Sometimes this means changing my mind.

6-second hug. GR’s research found that a 6-second hug is the optimum hug. generates the most oxytocin and serotonin, mood-boosting chemicals. Promotes bonding.

Fight right.

Tackle one topic at a time. Never “you always”. Never “you never”. Don’t blow up immediately. Know how to end an argument. Hugs. Repair the relationship. Find healing words. Actions to fix the hurt feelings. Negative bias says the people have faster, stronger, and stickier reactions to bad events.

“No dumping.”

Women feel close with a face to face conversation. Men feel close when they play or work sitting along sit each other. I’m not sure we fit into this model. I’ll leave it at that.

Happiness project may sound selfish, but there’s true benefit to everyone around in your life when you’re happy.

Happy people generally are more forgiving, helpful, and charitable, have better self-control, and are more tolerant of frustration than unhappy people, while unhappy people are more often withdrawn, defensive, antagonistic, and self-absorbed.

Wow. I love that. I want to be more forgiving, helpful, charitable, self-controlled, tolerant. I don’t want to be withdrawn, defensive, antagonistic, nor self-absorbed. What a wonderful husband, father, co-worker I would be!

Give proofs of Love.

Whatever love I feel in my heart, others will see only my actions.

No one can read my mind, and I can’t read anyone else mind either. I intentionally hug my wife and kids a few times everyday when I come home from work. Reconnection. Hugging “relieves stress, boosts feelings of closeness, and even squelches pain.” I have a friend Edgar, who’s a Hugger. At first it was uncomfortable. We worked together, so it took a while to get used to that, especially in the office. In a small office, we quickly became friends and hugs were natural. He’s since moved away, and I look forward to a big hug everytime we see each other.

“…if you want to know how people would like to be treated, it’s more helpful to look at how they themselves act than what they say.” Find their Love Language. How do they receive love? Acts of service, or gifts, or words of affirmation? Find it and you’ll connect more quickly and more meaningfully.

Act the way you want to feel.

This is kind of like “fake it until you mean it”. The difference is that acting doesn’t connotate insincerity as much “faking”. You can be sincere in trying, even if you don’t feel it. That is washing the dishes because you want to do it, but don’t feel like doing it.

Extreme Nice

Is Extreme Nice really out of the ordinary for you? That says something about the norm.

To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right.

I need to generate more good feelings. I need to minimize the bad feelings. And I need to find out what’s right just for me, not for anybody else. My expectations for me, not anyone else’s expectations of me. Life for me is not a competition against everyone else, measured by money, status, or fame or any other metric. Life for me is discovery in pursuit of happiness.

Picture of Me and Gretchen Rubin at book signing at Vromans in Pasadena. Jan 25, 2010.

Me and Gretchen Rubin. Happiness Project.

Gretchen Rubin. Book Signing. Happiness Project.


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