How Shallow Is Your Happiness?

So I know I said I wasn’t going to post about the Happiness Project for another 50 days, but I have an interesting story. I heard from someone I know, by text message, who told me that my nonrandom acts of kindness was a shallow ploy to bring attention to myself and pat myself on the back: “How did you come up with such a self-centered and vapid concept? Praising yourself publicly for being a decent person. That’s a new low in shallow and insecure.”

Not nice, and we won’t get into the very complex problem of who that person is or where that all came from, but it’s an interesting point. And that’s actually the reason I wanted to stop updating so often. I didn’t feel right talking so much about the simple things that I do to make people happy. It did feel a little icky. But I was writing the weekly updates because I wanted to be accountable for what I said I was doing, and to make sure I had at least one smile daily. It’s pretty easy for me to float through a day without interacting much with anyone, tending toward introversion sometimes as I do, and I found it to be a nice challenge to put myself out there. So, like I said… I’ll be checking back in with the “list” of 50 things in another 50 days, so you don’t have to read about how awesome I am every week. Unless you want to. Do you want to? Nah.

There is good news, though! The good news is that my friend lent me a copy of the book written by the woman who inspired this whole project, Gretchen Rubin. The book is, of course, The Happiness Project. And here’s the Happiness Project blog, which is really where the idea for my project came from. I’m going to read the book and report back as I do.

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8 thoughts on “How Shallow Is Your Happiness?”

  1. Is that their exact quote from the text message? If so, wow. So instead of that person simply not reading your updates and letting you do meaningful things for yourself and others, they take the time to lambast you. They must be a real hoot to be around. They owe a sincere apology.

    Anyway, keep up the good work and good path you’re on!

  2. I find this interesting only because our society now values the posting of every stupid detail of not just our own lives but the lives of the truly vapid and selfish- kardashians, hiltons, etc. I personally don’t like to talk about the good stuff I do, but it is encouraging when we do because we live in a cynical and sad world where the simple details get lost so often. All we have at the end is the relationships we build with each other and that stems from the small happy details. Whether your friend apologized or not doesn’t matter, what matters is how you decide to deal with the criticisms. I say keep it going and spreading the love, Jen. It is so worth it to so many.

  3. Usually I tell you these things face to face instead of online Jen but since I won’t be here for a bit I just had to share, so here’s my two cents. First, if “patting yourself on the back” makes you feel good about yourself then DO IT!!! Who cares what this person or any other person thinks. If I remember correctly you did this to make other people happy because that’s what makes you happy and if that’s what you’re doing then go for it. Second, apology or not this person needs to know when to keep their mouth shut. Their is no reason to even say something like this because all that can come from it is you feeling bad about yourself.

    I say do whatever makes you happy and screw anyone who doesn’t like it.

  4. Another thought…you’re a writer, Jen. Writers write about what they know. No one criticized the author for writing about how arduously she prayed in Eat, Pray, Love. That could certainly be thought of as the author “patting herself on the back” for being so virtously pious.
    Just a thought…

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