When we allow our happiness to be contingent on other people or circumstances we're giving up control.
That resinated with me hugely, because I'm a control freak. The idea of even allowing other elements, situations and people to control my happiness is a no-go right off the bat. The introduction chapter is full of tips and tricks and statements that allow you to better understand what true happiness means.
The author shares the true measure of genuine happiness in five points; good relationships, good health, peace, joy, & financial provisions. She later states that achieving one of the facets of success without the other will never lead to full authentic happiness.
She later shares that the book is an honest assessment of the 30 "life inventory items" that have the biggest influence on your happiness. I am beyond smitten to learn what these 30 items are.
Day 1 is Love.
Love is the very first, and most important, life inventory item.
The author references that our culture today throws around the love word too frequently, which diminishes the value. I'm very guilty of this. I'm incredibly passionate, I usually use stronger words to portray that in written content.
Indicators of Love
She also talks about how our actions need to match our words. If someone tells you that they love you, yet they insult you for your work or a decision you made, then is that really love? She shares that indicators of love include kindness, gentleness, consideration, humility, selflessness, believing the best of people, and defending loved ones. She says, "note that feelings aren't included in this list."
Wow. I've been looking at love all wrong. It's not about how I feel for someone, only, it's about how I treat that person and whether or not my words match my actions. I feel like this is common sense, but also, a giant discovery in how I can love better.
The beautiful thing about love is that we feel happier when we give it as well as when we receive it. So give it freely through acts of loving kindness while expecting nothing in return.
As the author is wrapping up the chapter, she asks you to take an honest look at the love you've shared throughout the past year. And to ask yourself the following questions:
Have you shown love to yourself and to others? Yes. I try to show love every single day, to both people I am very close with and also complete strangers. ✅
Have you withheld love until others "deserve" it? Yep. I am very guilty of this. I need to adjust this. Love isn't about my feelings, it's about the love indicators that I represent to those I love. ⛔️
Have you given it expecting nothing in return? Yes, but not always. There are times that I do a positive action hoping for a positive reaction. I think it's time to adjust that. ⛔️
The author gives 4 action items, 1 of which that needs to be completed in the next 7 days. I won't share those, as I feel like I am starting to give too much of the book away and you need to go buy it for yourself!
The amount of love you feel increases with the amount of love that you give to yourself and to others. You get "extra credit" for showing love to those who can do nothing to you or for you.
The part of that quote that really resinated with me was the extra credit part. We so frequently do kind things knowing that we are hoping for something in return. True happiness means giving that love our freely, without expecting anything in return.
- Love with my actions, not just my words
- Give love freely, to everyone I meet
- Believing the best of people and defending loved ones are areas I need to work on.
See you tomorrow as we dive into Day 2, Relationships.