I have recently joined the bandwagon of Gretchen Rubin’s movement, The Happiness Project. After finishing her novel yesterday, I was convinced that I should start my own happiness project. Now how exactly do I go about doing that?
This is step one.
Gretchen’s First Splendid Truth states that
“To be happier, you have to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right, in an atmosphere of growth.”
I started jotting down the things that I liked to do, the things that irritated me, and the things that felt right. In order to be happy, we have to know and be honest with ourselves.
“You can choose what you do, but you can’t choose what you like to do.”
While I was reading, I came across this quote and saw how Gretchen’s feelings (not depression) were similar to mine. How she tackled these feelings filled me with strength, confidence, and (of course) happiness.
So, what exactly does this quote mean?
I was a little befuddled when I first came across it, but I came to understand that it basically means that we are who we are. By that I mean, we have the freedom to choose to do whatever we wish, however, we can’t choose what we like because baby, we were born this way (I’m looking at you Lady Gaga).
I find that quote speak so much truth about myself. For the past few years, I’ve always tried to shape myself to become someone who I wished to be, and not the person I am. I’ve always wanted to be someone who watches soccer games, I’ve always told myself that I’d become the best tennis player in the world, and I tried to convince myself that I like Hale & Hearty’s cold sandwiches or Starbucks’ coffee, but the thing is I just don’t. I could be that person who wants them, but the thing is, what’s the point of lying to myself? I just don’t like ‘em.
The world has so much to offer and it’s sad that I won’t be able to appreciate all of the hodgepodge that’s been going around because, in ways, I have my own set of limitations. I would wish I were more inclined to this certain profession or this popular hobby, but in the end, I’m Patsy.
We may wish to be like other people, but sometimes we don’t have the intellectual, physical, financial, or emotional capabilities that it would take to be those people. We have to work with what we like, dislike, and have because I’m sure we have our own significant share of interests and talents.
Let’s put it this way, wishing to be someone else is similar to trying on ludicrous hairstyles we like. We may try on hairdos we’ve longed for, but in the end, we just have to accept that it can’t be done with our actual hair, which means I will never walk down the runway for Victoria’s Secret and have those enormous pretty wings as much as I’d like to.
I used to envy those girls who would always go out looking grand. How girls, like themselves, would meet up for clubs and party all night, sip coffee as they talked about high fashion, and flip through Vogue magazines with champagnes at hand. I wanted to be that girl, but the thing is, it’s not me.
I love to paint, write, and read. I love going to flea markets, bookstores, museums, and Broadway shows. My fashion icon’s not Lady Gaga but Princess Kate Middleton. As much as I wish to be someone else, I can’t escape what I have and who I am, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
One thing I learned from The Happiness Project is to “Be Patsy”. Everyone says this all the time–be yourself, you’re perfect just the way you are, you’re beautiful, etc… But I never really listened.
It was nice to have someone whom I could relate to, and as cliché as it sounds, Gretchen made me feel as if I were not alone in the world. We all try to find a place to fit in, and sometimes when we try to blend in, we alter our beliefs, our lifestyles, and ourselves.
But like what Gretchen said,
“The days are long, but the years are short.”
Why be someone else when you know you could be happy by being who you are? I felt truer to myself once I admitted this. Why watch a soccer game when I could just paint a horse?