I am reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin, and I’ve enjoyed how many times it’s inspired me to put the book down and just think about what I’ve read. One idea that particularly struck me is to examine your own universal truths. After seeing a few of her examples (My kids are the most important thing in the world to me, I am too busy) I understand the concept, but I’m finding it very hard to think about what my own might be.
I studied Sociology in school because I loved breaking down a culture and looking into what makes up its parts and how it runs. This is really easy to do with another culture, and almost impossible to do with your own. It’s easy to look at women in burqas and start to understand how “feminine” might be expressed in that culture, but when your own version of “feminine” is something so ingrained that it feels innate, it’s almost impossible to see how it functions in your own culture.
So too with deciphering my universal truths and labeling them. Because they are such a part of me, I am having trouble naming them. Instead, I’m trying to look at my behavior as an outsider and try to understand what that says about me. This morning we accidentally overslept and had to rush around to get out the door on time. Note that we did *not* miss out on a hot breakfast, even in the chaos. At the breakfast table, I said to Nat, “Well, I can say that ‘You always have to make time to eat!’ is certainly one of the first truths I know I have!”.
The reason this navel-gazing appeals to me so much is that I realize that plenty of my truths are negative: “I don’t have enough money”, “I’m too heavy”, “I have too much to do in too little time”. It can’t help matters to have these thoughts in my head. So many of them just need a little flip to be positive: “I’m active with lots of things, and I get to choose among many ways to spend my time everyday.” I want to identify what’s running through my head and make it work in my favor.
Others that I’ve identified:
I am pretty smart
I am reliable
Things generally work out for the best, even if it doesn’t seem that way at the time
Leaving early for appointments and work makes your whole day go better
When I feel down, a good sleep is the best medicine
What are your truths? Which do you like and which would you like to change?