Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy for No Reason

So, I walked by this book at the public library and was drawn to it. My recent enrollment in Psychology and my study of Personality, Emotion and Learning has created a sort of passion for those subjects. Mix it with the past year of my life and my personal growth and attempts of growing into the woman I want to be... well, I couldn't pass it up. I checked it out and have been frustrated that it sat there unread because I had finals to study for.

Now, I can't put it down! There is so much good stuff in there!

Here are a few of my favorite treasures found inside this book:

1. "You BRING happiness to your outer experiences rather than trying to extract happiness from them. You don't need to manipulate the world around you to try to make yourself happy. You live FROM happiness, rather than FOR happiness." She explains that most of us strive to sting together happy experiences like beads on a necklace to create a happy life. She says, "Being Happy for No Reason, in our necklace analogy, is like having a happy string. No matter what beads we put on our necklace- good, bad, or indifferent - our inner experience, which is the string that runs through them all, is happy, creating a happy life."

2. "When you are Happy for No Reason you're UNCONDITIONALLY happy. It's not that your life always looks perfect - it's just that however it looks, you'll still be happy."

3. "Some people enjoy their lives no matter what happens, while others can't find happiness no matter how hard they try."

4. An INTERESTING tidbit on Thomas Jefferson's famous line from the Declaration of Independence... "the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness"... In 1776, the common usage of the word "pursue" was not "to chase after". To pursue something meant to PRACTICE that activity, to do it regularly, to make a habit of it. SO: Let's stop pursuing happiness and start practicing it. We do that by practicing new habits.

5. Chasing happiness is a bit like a hamster on a wheel. We often believe we "will be happy when.... (fill in the blank here) " OR we believe that when we acquire something IT will make us happy. "With each one, you experience either fleeting satisfaction or out right disappointment. But how long will it last?"

6. When you are not able to change the events in your life that you don't like, change your response to them.

OH! There is so much more inside this book!! She talks about habits to develop and practice. Changing responses to real life. Taking responsibility for your own happiness. GOOD STUFF!!

Another GREAT quote, different book:

"We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way." - Man's Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl

Now, I have to say that I am 80x happier today than I was a year ago. I have also had the toughest year of my life. It is strange but, I believe that I had figured a bit of this out on my own!

One of the habits Shimoff talks about is gratitude. Gratitude has really helped me appreciate all of the awesome things I have in my life! I have SO MUCH more than I don't have. Yes, there are a few things I really desire to have in my life right now. The things I want most though, I cannot put on a Christmas Wish List.

Another habit is believing that the world is not out to get you, but to help you. Sometimes bad things happen but, looking at them as if they may be avenues for greater blessings helps. Your attitude improves! Your happiness is greater!

Good Luck Bad Luck!

There is a Chinese story of a farmer who used an old horse to till his fields. One day, the horse escaped into the hills and when the farmer's neighbors sympathized with the old man over his bad luck, the farmer replied, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?" A week later, the horse returned with a herd of horses from the hills and this time the neighbors congratulated the farmer on his good luck. His reply was, "Good luck? Bad luck? Who knows?"

Then, when the farmer's son was attempting to tame one of the wild horses, he fell off its back and broke his leg. Everyone thought this very bad luck. Not the farmer, whose only reaction was, "Bad luck? Good luck? Who knows?"

Some weeks later, the army marched into the village and conscripted every able-bodied youth they found there. When they saw the farmer's son with his broken leg, they let him off. Now was that good luck or bad luck?

Who knows?

Everything that seems on the surface to be an evil may be a good in disguise. And everything that seems good on the surface may really be an evil. So we are wise when we leave it to God to decide what is good fortune and what misfortune, and thank him that all things turn out for good with those who love him.

Author Unknown

*Check out Marci Shimoff's website HERE.

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