What are we talking about today?

Some days have themes. I don't necessarily post something in each of these topic areas every week.

Sunday: Church-related or spiritual things.
Monday: Running.
Tuesday: Books.
Wednesday: Transportation.
Friday: Green living.

01 May 2011

Ode to Joy

I just finished reading The Happiness Project, by Gretchen Rubin. And it was fabulous, and I think you should all go read it. After you finish reading and commenting on this post, of course. :)

When I searched stock.xchng
for 'happiness', this pic
came up. Who am I to argue?
One thing Gretchen realised toward the end of the project is just how much work it takes to be a cheery, upbeat person. She noticed that the path of least resistance is not, surprisingly enough, happiness, but rather crankiness. (Which, I suppose, totally explains why I enjoy it so much.) Apparently there's fun to be found in contradicting, in deflating, and in bringing a cheery person back down to earth. Or, as my pal Brandon put it once, in being the last great critic of our time.

Which, as Gretchen says, makes it hard to be joyful. It makes it hard to appreciate the small things, to genuinely be happy with life, to enjoy the silly and the absurd, and-- this is a big one-- to keep cool when things go a bit awry. This isn't about being Pollyanna (although Gretchen does reference Pollyanna). It's about not going around poking holes in someone else's joy just to make one's self feel better about life. I'm sure we all know someone who does this regularly. (I hope that someone isn't you.)

What with it being Sunday and all, I have a verse for you: "The joy of the LORD is my strength" (Nehemiah 8:10). This is one of those verses that seems to have different meaning to different people, but it tells me that I don't have to get upset about every little thing that happens here on earth. I have the luxury of remembering that this life is but temporary. Traffic jams and mixed-up orders at restaurants need not cause a meltdown of my day. And for the bigger, more major life catastrophes (and unfortunately, I've heard about several among my family and friends this week, and we all know about the massive disaster that is the Southeast), it's okay to be upset, even while drawing on the fact that God is still in control.

(By way of aside, this is the kind of post that tends to draw negative comments about my religious beliefs. Since today's post is about not deflating someone else's joy, please be forewarned that I will delete overly-negative comments.)

So! What brings you joy? What do you do about Negative Nellies (or Nelsons)?


Michelle in a shell said...

LOVE her book. You should subcribe to her newsletters (if you haven't already) for constant happiness wisdom :)

Karen Peterson said...

I really need to read this book. I take it as a sign that this is the second time I've been reminded of it in the past two days.

Rachel Morgan said...

Haha, I love that that's the picture that came up for happiness!! And thanks for sharing the verse.

Anonymous said...

Pul Lease....I LIVE with Mr Negativity. Sometimes in the midst of my extreme happiness I have to get right down and dirty with him and straighten him out. Fortunately for me I can't entertain a funk for any more than ten minutes. Unfortunately for him, he's not allowed to.
Great post...love the belly jeans picture.

Su said...

@Michelle: I went to her website & subscribed! Thanks for the suggestion!

@Karen: It was pretty good! I had to read it slowly, though, to process it properly.

@Rachel: I love the pic, too! And I love the verse. :)

@mybabyjohn: Hee hee, I bet it's exciting at your house when the polar opposites start competing!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great book. I've had a funny old day today I would do well to keep it in perspective.

A parcel arrived the other day and I wasn't home so it went two hours north and we have to pick it up :( We never go that way but hubby is picking my parents up from airport so he was going to pick it up. He forgot the piece of paper and I had one hour to find it and give him the address. Alas I found it 3 hours too late - so frustrating! *deepbreath*

Su said...

Oh, dear. Yes, that would drive me up the wall! I would need more than one deep breath, I'm afraid.

Charlie's Church of Christ said...

joy should be duplicated not stolen. yet it's so easy to fall into being negative. We think if we steal someone's joy it will be ours, but we are none the richer for the steal. If we get any kind of rise out of it, it's gone in the time it takes to sneeze.

Su said...

Right. Kind of like a drug high, almost, except even shorter-lived. And with just as much a plunge back into depression.