Before I jump into the activities described in 'The Happiness Project' by Gretchen Rubin, I wanted to take the time to answer the questions that she hinted at in the excerpt from the 'Note to the Reader' section that I posted in yesterday's blog entry.
I want to see where I 'stand' so to speak, at the beginning of my own happiness project (without knowing the coming activities and information from the book to sway my answers), and see how I will measure these answers to ones from later on in the month, as well as the year.
*Disclaimer: I am a Christian. I'm not perfect - in fact, I am a sinner, and I understand that. My relationship with Jesus IS part of my life, and a lot of my happiness project *could* revolve around my walk with Christ and my personal religious beliefs. I will never (nor have I ever) 'push' my beliefs on any one of you. I don't believe that that is what God is asking of His followers, and I personally just think that forcing religion on others is gross. I also think it's one of the main factors in people choosing NOT to follow certain religions. So while I will never push my religion on anyone, I will also not stop posting about it, as it is a part of who I am. So if you are fine with reading about my beliefs as they pertain to my journey, then I welcome you and I encourage you to follow along. However, if you are uncomfortable, or just not interested in seeing posts that involve religion, then this blog may not be for you - NOT that I wish you to leave - I just wanted to be respectful enough to everyone to warn you all in advance*
First part: 'Identify what brings you joy, satisfaction, and engagement.'
JOY: This is where my religious beliefs come into play. As a Christian, I do not look at 'joy' as an emotion, feeling, or state of mind, etc. Joy, to me, is something that I have, no matter what the circumstances of my life may be. I have been blessed with 'joy' because I have accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior, and thus, have been filled with the Holy Spirit. I know that no matter how many times I fail in my life, that I will be forgiven. I also know that I am saved, and that when my time on this earth ends, my eternal life in Heaven will begin. The presence of the Holy Spirit, accompanied by this knowledge is the 'joy' in a Christian's life.
SATISFACTION: The three main things in my life (at this point), that provide satisfaction are: My marriage, raising my children, and my business. (Although, as I stated in an earlier blog, these are not the only things in my life that I want to be known for, or gain satisfaction from).
I find satisfaction in marriage for the obvious reasons, like being in love with my husband. But I also enjoy the partnership it brings. My husband is my best friend, my advocate, and the person that I will experience the rest of my life with. Marriage is also a LOT of work, no matter how much you love each other. Having to engage myself and devote myself wholeheartedly to marriage brings me great satisfaction.
I find satisfaction in my children everyday! Parenting is one of the hardest things I have ever done, but it is also one of the most rewarding things I will ever do. Not only am I responsible for the health, welfare, growth, development, and every other thing that parents do for their children - as a Christian parent, I am also responsible for raising my children for the glory of God's kingdom.
I find satisfaction in my job in ways that I never even imagined. I have pretty much taught myself the ways of owning and running a business, doing countless hours of researching, reading book after book on everything from starting a business to the legal aspects, to marketing your brand. I also had to teach myself market specific details like FDA guidelines, formulating, studying all manner of ingredients including how they work and what they are used for, etc. I have worked incredibly hard on my business, and I think that my products, customer service, and number of loyal customers can attest to that. Knowing that I have built a brand and a business from the ground up, is not only satisfying, it is extremely empowering.
ENGAGEMENT: (Using the meanings, 'things that I am interested in, things that hold my attention'). Obviously, I am extremely interested in cosmetics and business, as I have my own cosmetics company. I am also addicted to reading. I very much enjoy being able to sit down with a good book and just lose myself in the story.
Second Part: Identify what brings you guilt, anger, boredom, and remorse.
GUILT: Honestly, what doesn't make me feel guilty? I feel guilty because I smoke, but I don't want to die and leave my husband or my children all alone. I feel guilty because we live out of state, so our children don't get to see their extended family very often. I feel guilty for being on the computer all day, even though I use it to work, go to school, and communicate with family and friends from back home. I feel guilty because I haven't gone to bed at the same time as my husband in maybe a year, because I stay up all night packaging orders. I feel guilty because I buy tons of makeup and beauty products, but then don't even use half of it. There are so many little things that I feel some type of guilt about...
ANGER: I'm angry that my house is never spotless, that my children misbehave, that we never have enough money. I'm angry that my husband works long hours and has to be away from home for weeks, months, even over a year at a time. I'm angry that I live so far away from my family, so I miss out on all of the traditions and even day to day things that I had while growing up. Hell, I'm even angry that I let so many things make me angry...
BOREDOM: I honestly think that I might have ADHD (although I have never been tested for it, nor am I qualified to diagnose myself lol). But seriously, I get bored so easily. My current snooze inducer? My college algebra class. Not only do I totally suck at math, but it's also really boring. Which totally sucks, because I need to study a LOT in order to pass this class, but reading chapters on algebra makes me literally want to pull my hair out!
REMORSE: Merriam-Webster's Dictionary defines 'Remorse' as "a gnawing distress arising from a sense of guilt for past wrongs"
If you had asked me a few years ago if I was remorseful about anything, I would have told you 'yes' a million times over. However, once I truly learned to let go and trust in God's forgiveness and in the compassion and mercy of others, I developed a sense of peace in my life (this also relates to joy). I can genuinely say that at this point in my life, I have no remorse. NOT because I have no past wrongs, but because I no longer have GUILT over those past wrongs.
Thinking about these short, specific questions, was actually really hard. I also found the 'good' things to be a lot more challenging to answer than the 'bad' ones, which I find really disappointing, but I'm not surprised. It is very easy to describe the bad things about one's self or one's life, but the 'good' parts don't stay in the front of our thoughts. This is something that I am hoping to change during my happiness project.
(ps...the really cute happy/sad photo in this post is not mine. It is property of it's owner, and I claim no ownership of said photo)