The happiness project, M-style.

M has been struggling lately to find balance in his life. With his dissertation heating up and a demanding job, this is when his worry tendencies go into overdrive.

And as much as I try to allow him to find his path towards balance with respect to worry and resolve (realizing that worrying along won’t do a damn thing, it’s doing something about it that will), it’s hard to watch when he starts cocooning himself in his worry, and he is a million miles away. I know it’s been a struggle lately as on top of his usual worries, some stuff with his family has been really getting to him, and that, combined with his inability to say no sometimes, and his frustration levels get very high (trust me when I say that his frustration level vs. the average person is nothing…just the fact that I know him so well is why I know he is frustrated. He is good at masking things like that to most, so the fact that he is opening up to me continually, speaks volumes).

So when, as we laid under the warm sun on a beautiful top 10 summer day by the pool at his complex, he said to me “I don’t like myself right now. And the only thing that makes me happy right now is you” that caused me to stop and take pause. Of course I am thrilled that I can bring such joy to him and his life (as he does to mine) but when I am the only thing that is making him happy…well, that just needs to change.

One person or thing should not a happy person make.

I know everyone goes through phases where everything is frustrating, from work, to family, to financial etc., but I guess for me, it’s the difference between letting that drag you down completely, or trying to find the bright spots where there are many dim. I don’t want to force ‘my way’ of finding joy onto him in any way at all, but as I walked through Target looking for my latest lake read (Jodi Piccoult, of course), I stumbled across “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin. I surprised M with it with the preface that I am not forcing this on him and if he doesn’t want to read it, he doesn’t have to, but reading the back cover, it just screamed “M” to me. I mean, if these ‘four splendid truths’ aren’t exactly what he needs to read and know, I don’t know what is!

I think his reading this book as we sit by the lake over the next few weekends will help him gain some new perspective. That and blogging…he’s finally set up a personal blog where he can vent more openly (it’s somewhat anonymous, so I won’t link to it here). Reading that blog (as he’s allowed me to read it, which I was surprised at, but honored to read) has given me such a window into his soul and how his mind works. Some of it isn’t a surprise, but some of it is in the sense that it’s helping me understand him to the level where I can (hopefully) help him, support him and continue to love him.

At the core of it, M is actually one of the most positive people I know. It’s what I adore about him and what drew him to me when I first met him. So when he starts getting cynical, I know he’s sliding into a worry phase. And I hope this book and his writing, will continue to help him explore how to channel that energy in the most effective ways…instead of just worrying to no end about it.

(I secretly can’t wait to read this book too, it looks incredible! Totally up my alley too).


In other news…I urge you to check out Tina’s blog detailing the “Great Fundraising Act” for Susan, a blog I just started reading, in fact, who has been diagnosed with lymphoma…at 25. I feel blessed to be part of this effort and being able to donate to this cause. Take a minute and read Susan’s story, I promise, you will be filled with inspiration.

If you would like to donate, go to Janetha’s blog post dedicated to this effort, to donate to a PayPal account that will go directly to Susan for medical care.

21 thoughts on “The happiness project, M-style.

    1. Doesn’t it sound awesome? I think it’s going to be a good read for me too, and just generally sounds like some great baseline ‘happiness rules of thumb’

    1. Ya know, it is really hard. I just want to fix it for him and I can’t. I can just support him and help him in other ways.

  1. I’ve wanted to read this book too! Keep us posted on his progress. It’s wonderful how much you care about his happiness. 🙂

    1. I am looking forward to reading it too! And yeah I want him to be happy…for HIM and not just about us. That isn’t good balance for him…ya know?

  2. I’ve been following her blog for some time now. She’s on my side bar under “I am inspired by…” (along with some other great reads!)

    I totally get this because my man says the same thing sometimes. And yes, it makes me worry and want him to find his happy somewhere other than me too!

    I’m glad he has an outlet. And I’m glad he has you!

    1. I didn’t even notice this was on your blog! Too cool. Guess we’re on the same wavelength, yet again. I am glad M has an outlet too and after talking more about it with him last night, I think he is ready to act on making some changes for HIM to make himself happy. I can’t do it for him, and I told him that.

  3. I so need this book too, off to the library to get it. I’ve been way too stressed recently about stuff, I just have to let it all go. Sorry I haven’t been commenting in a while.

  4. I read through parts of this book while I was at work. (I’d sneak into the bookstore…) It spoke to me, too. Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on it…

  5. I honestly think M’s problem is that this has become such habit for him that he’s having a hard time breaking out. but the good news is that he’s open to it and ready to make a change (for his own good, more than for you, which is how it should be in this case). it might take him some time to break the habit but with your support, he’ll be golden. Just keep those patience pants on, sis. 😉

  6. Buying that book was a really nice thing to do, and even if he doesn’t read it, I’m sure M appreciates the gesture.

    Of course, you shouldn’t be the only thing that makes him happy, but at least you do. 🙂 All you can do is keep being you and it will mean the world to him… he will work the rest out for himself, fear not.

    1. Thank you friend. You are right. He will work the rest out himself, I can’t do it for him, nor should I. I know he appreciated it and he is working through it.

  7. I just bought that book but have not had a chance to read it yet. I love those kinds of books – self improvement books about living a happy, positive, productive life – and all with a good attitude. My hubby would never read it though. I’m happy to hear that M is open to it. Can’t wait to hear how it goes 🙂

    1. Thanks for visiting! And I love those books too…we are going to Maine this weekend and I hope M reads it, or else I will 😉

  8. Wow. This was a powerful post. I hope that in time, M will feel better about himself and his life. Do you know why in the midst of feeling such unhappiness, he is so positive? Is it the 4th Splendid Truth in action? Has he felt bad about what he’s processing? Whatever his path, know I’m sending thoughts and prayers to both of you!

    And, thanks for sharing the link to Susan’s story. xoxo

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