Gretchen spent a year of her life identifying areas where she could make small (and a few big) changes to increase her own happiness. She argues that through becoming happier herself, she will increase the happiness of those around her. She cites several studies showing that happier people tend to be more loving, patient, generous, philanthropic, and other positive traits. It reminds me of the pre-flight instructions parents receive when flying with children: apply your own oxygen mask before assisting children. If you don't apply your mask first, you won't be any help to your child. Similarly, if we don't take care of our own primary needs first, we won't have much to give others.
When I read books, I tend to mark up my favorite passages and excitedly insist that Philip read them, too. Now that I have an e-reader, I can share books with Philip and electronically "highlight" my favorite parts. If it's a book that I am enjoying, Philip's likely to hear:
"Read this paragraph!"
"Oh my gosh! This is totally me and you!"
"We should do this!"
After reading several passages at my insistence, Philip decided to start reading the book on his e-reader, too. A few days ago, he said, "Let's create our own Happiness Project and start it in October."
Great idea! I can't think of a better day to start. Today, October 1, is the feast of St. Thérèse of Lisieux. When we miscarried our baby last year, we named her after the "Little Flower" because we loved that saint's beautiful way of living a heroic life of virtue through making daily choices to love.
I had my 6-week postpartum follow-up OBGYN appointment this afternoon when I had this realization and just had to post it to Facebook because I had no one to share it with:
I'm waiting in the exact same exam room at my OBGYN's office where we found out we were miscarrying Thérèse for my 6-week follow-up from our perfectly healthy son's birth. Today is St. Thérèse's feast day. Wow. God is good!
I looked down and realized I was wearing my "living locket" necklace that my brother and sister-in-law gave us on the day of Thérèse s memorial service. I didn't want to forget that moment of thanksgiving in the exam room, so I took a picture of my necklace and my exam gown.
Interestingly enough, Gretchen Rubin writes a lot about St. Thérèse in The Happiness Project. Gretchen, a self-proclaimed agnostic, is drawn to St. Thérèse's way of improving the happiness of others through choosing to love.
Philip and I want to create our own Happiness Project so that we can increase our own happiness and the happiness of others through self-sacrifice and self-discipline. In theory, this should free us to better choose love. We are setting individual and couple goals for each month.
OCTOBER HAPPINESS PROJECT RESOLUTIONS:
- Catherine, 6:00 a.m. Monday, Wednesday, Friday Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred level 1
- Philip, running or elliptical 3x per week before leaving for work
- 9:00 p.m. get ready for bed
- Lights out at 10:00 p.m.
- Weeknight family prayer time after bathtime before bed
- 1 decade of the Rosary followed by bedtime prayers at the dinner table
Like Gretchen Rubin's Happiness Project, we are starting our project with resolutions that will give us more energy to continue on to the next month's resolutions. Please pray for us that we will be successful in implementing these resolutions.