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Happiness Set Point

I had heard about this concept a while ago and then it faded from my memory as life’s interesting tidbits are apt to do. Recently, it came up again, I can not remember where, and I thought, I need to look into this concept again. The Happiness Set Point, aka and related to the Adaptation Level phenomenon and subjective well-being and hedonistic adaptation to positive and negative experiences.

It probably wouldn’t surprise you to know that I was a psychology major before I changed to Mass Communications in my Junior year. It may surprise you to know that my Father is a big wig in the psychology world developing his own personality test to aid companies in finding the best people within their own companies to do the job. I have always loved the concept of teasing apart the knot that seems to be our psyche and our behaviors. I’m a dabbler and this was my daily dabble.Happiness Set Point on Shalavee.com

When I found the definition to this theory, I was intrigued and horrified all at once. The Set Point Theory of Happiness, as summarized on The Changing Minds site, states that after the initial excitement settles down after you’ve won the lottery, you will revert back to being as neurotic or as extroverted as you were initially. You are who you are, be it your genetic propensity or environmental influences, an external stimulus will effect you temporarily. I say, unless there is some sort of profound spiritual and mental shift or changing of values, you will still be you through most of your life’s ups and downs. Happiness Set Point on Shalavee.com

I have been thinking how much of a Lady of Perpetual Discontent I seem to be. I’m always wanting to make it better,  be happier, and see clearer. Under it all, I think I waffle on the concept of “fixing” myself. That is another subject for another day. So it seems to me that my happiness set point, even though I do laugh a whole lot every day, isn’t as high as I’d like it to be. I would like to prescribe to more gratitude journaling, to writing permission slips for myself, and am endeavoring to take myself less seriously while also taking myself more seriously in the matters of my talents. Because using those is what really makes me happy. Even you can see that. And my husband says, if it doesn’t make you happy, then you’re not doing it right. Not so much do I need to fix it but change perspectives a little on how I see the life I am living at any given moment.

 

PS. I found this subject actually depressed me and I began to feel slightly hopeless. It seeped in me, a general unwellness that said, you’ll never get any better at doing this. And it took a sermon on Hope and sighting a fawn at the end out the window to realize I had in fact begun to feel that way.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Crossing the Transition Bridge

I wonder how it is possible that people all over the world can really know themselves and their talents well enough to do work that satisfies them. And also ask for the right payment. I wonder how people are making such an impact knowing their gifts and sharing them to help the world, themselves, and so many others at the same time. Because I struggle every day to get just the right angle, the right understanding of what it is I’m here to do.

selfie from below on Shalavee.com

I stepped back recently and reminded myself that when I need perspective on my gifts, I need to go to the kudos file I have and remember all the really kick butt awesome things people, often strangers even, have said to me that have made such a difference to my esteem.

I'm an artist selfie from Shalavee.com

Andrea was the one who told me that I really am a good enough a writer to be published in magazines. Mr. Jerry, a former magazine guy had already told me this. Linda at the drugstore said that my hair always looks good. Amanda said my writing is just as good as anything on Huff Post. Over our dinner at the brew pub, Jill sweetly gushed in telling me what a good writer I was. My Christmas tree for the church last year garnered such enthusiastic responses from people I admired and don’t usually hear from. I have felt pretty good about myself this year on several occasions.

Mark and I driving over the bridge on Shalavee.com

I forget who I am. As soon as I’ve felt the compliment goodness for a day, it begins to fade and I forget who I am and what it is I give to the world. If your internal image doesn’t fit the outside world’s, nothing sticks in there. There is an exchange of energy that I’m paying attention to now. I’ve gotta build up the bottom of the pit so stuff like compliments and esteem stay in it.

It's not you but who you think you're not fromtruthinmotherhoodblog via Shalavee.com

What purpose does it serve to have a self-esteem sieve? No risks and no change means no failure I suppose. But eventually it’s too painful to stay. A transition bridge is there for me to cross and it’s a hard one. As if I’m crossing it in the dark built on foundations of faith I’ve never had before. But I”m taking it one step at a time and adding the cross boards from the compliments of the lovely people given to me daily. The nails keeping it together are made from gratitude. Keep it coming Universe, keep it coming.

From Sucky To Ducky

I am a proud graduate of the Low-Self Esteem For Girls School. In a decade I’ve come from sucky to ducky. While I’m constantly aware that I still have a long way to go, I can feel and see where I have been. It was a lonely anxious place. A sort of emotional black hole from which one is fairly certain there’s no escape and you don’t deserve to anyway. That’s the continuous sucking vortex that is low self-esteem.

I saw this woman once. I can’t remember where it was but I feel like I was in my 20’s. She had an aura around her and she was the embodiment of “happy with herself”. I was transfixed. She wasn’t skinny or beautiful. She was in her thirties and maybe blond. All I remember is her flowy white linen pants. They seemed the ultimate in comfortable as she was within herself.

My childhood baking tin from Sucky to Ducky on Shalavee.com

I knew there was the possibility of more. I was angry that everyone acted like there wasn’t. More confidence, more happiness, less stress. Because I won’t create it unless I believe it exists.

As I’ve said before, I was invisible to myself. New relationships could be really hard to make because you don’t see what they see in you. You’re suspicious of people’s motivations. If you liked my sense of humor or artistic talent or something about me but I didn’t see that in me then I’m looking at you like what do you want from me? Which then gives the potential new friend a weird vibe that feels unwelcoming and paranoid. Because it is. And then he/she may decide that I am more trouble than I’m worth and Adios, see ya’ later, you ain’t worth all of that. And then I’m alone again saying, see I knew you weren’t the person you said you were.

My childhood Raggedy Ann from Sucky to Ducky on Shalavee.com

People are weird. Such a miss-mash of idealism and perfectionistic extremes and rules and rituals. Our heads are Gordan’s knots of shoulds, coulds, and wishes for what we are unwilling to make happen. And the only thing that can save us is ourselves. I have adjusted my vision to my day today. To do what I can and not focus on what I can’t. I have gradually built a faith in my own abilities. It’s called self-efficacy. So that now creativity is like collaborative play with an old friend. And I am making sure to acknowledge these creative achievements and continue to push myself just outside of the known. And making friends online is an amazing empowering and trans-formative act that I wish I’d discovered sooner.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to all of you for being here, subscribing to my writing ( I hit 79!), and telling me the truths that you tell. You have restored a formerly cynical scared hermit into a dancing queen. And that doesn’t suck.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

100 Days Of Happy Project

I took Eamon to see his talking doctor last Friday. Her name is Sasha, she’s a social worker, and she is so young and so lovely.

The reasons are many as to why this is a little necessary. Originally, we began to see her because my son had one too many anxieties for a little guy. He’d break down at night and cry uncontrollably saying he was never going to be able to go to sleep. No matter what we assured him with, he just kept falling down the worry hole.

Recently we found we have a 9 year-old who really doesn’t feel like doing what we ask or tell or threaten him to do. So Sasha has helped by mediating. Explaining that parents are there to help him develop habits that he will take with him when he leaves. She is someone who he can believe will tell him the unbiased truth because she’s unrelated to him.

Last week was also teacher appreciation week. I had a heck of a hard time getting my grumblesome son to create a card for his teacher Mrs. A. On Monday I asked him to think of one nice thing to say about her. On Wednesday, he said she was funny and on Friday made the card and felt really good about giving it to her.  Homemade cards from this kid are cool.

Happy Birthday Boy on Shalavee.com

Happy birthday boy

While at his appointment, Sasha suggested that we join the 100 Days Happy Project. And so we have. I got little journals at Target for $2 a piece and Eamon has been tearing it up. He’s got the Happy section which is where we write one thing we’re happy about every day. And he’s got a journal going on in another section. We assured him we would never read what he’s written. Mark often laughs at how I leave my journal lying around and he just doesn’t even care.

So we are 4 days into the 100 Days Happy project. I figure it will be our summer homework. And there is everything good about creating a gratitude journal. Especially for a grumbly 9-year-old who speaks in extremes like “you never” and “you always”. An attitude of gratitude actually makes you happier because you begin to consciously focus on the positive instead of the negative. Maybe give it a try for the Summer along with us?

Mother’s Day Gratitude : Someone Kept Us Alive

Last Mother’s Day, while I was in the trenches of new motherhood again, scrambling to adequately fulfill my newborn girl’s every need, it occurred to me that everyone has someone to thank for intentionally keeping them alive. We were all helpless babies once. We can not remember being kept alive and yet, here we are. Someone has done this for each and every one of us. An odd thought and yet a fact you’d think we’d be a little more grateful for.

me and my girl's shadow on Shalavee.com

Tending to a newborn is a merciless and exhausting job. They are helpless loud high maintenance sleep-stealers. If this is your own baby, clever bonding hormones are cooking in your body to guarantee you adore your child all the way to the end of earth and time and thus you’ll keep the baby well and breathing. Humanity continues because of this bonding hormone. But without the birth mother, someone else must then take on this responsibility to keep active vital signs going for the little person. That notion is staggering.

Fiona Marie on Shalavee.com

Even when you do a “bad” job of raising children, you still have to continually provide their basic needs of food, sleep, poo placement, and clothing. As a Mother, I think of myself as multitasking management. I’m in restaurant management, waste management, time management, and anger management mode at any given moment. I work this hard for free because I love my children and I know it was my choice to bring them here. But were they to become the world’s responsibility, someone else would have to take it upon themselves to keep them alive. Or not.

Goofy Eamon on Shalavee.com

For Mother’s Day, I want to say out loud that I am grateful to my mother who kept me alive and out of harm’s way so I could have a chance to grow up and be a mother and know the amazing gift that children bring to your soul. I knew I wouldn’t necessarily be an Uber-Mom, but my children are both still alive and thriving. And as a mother, sometimes that is all I need to be thankful for.

Happy Mother’s Day to each and every person who ever mothered someone even just a little. Your efforts were noble. And won’t go unpunished. I mean unrewarded.

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