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March 11, 2019

A Happiness Reading List for all of Us.

 

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Books are so cheap compared to what they do for us.

Some books have been really instrumental in giving me everyday tools to feel better.

I would like to share these books and what I have learned from them:

The 10 Second Miracle by Gay Hendricks

This book allowed my feelings in— all of them. I was able to feel them and to have them pass away.

The liberty it gives when we take responsibility for a certain situation. For example, we may feel that our job sucks. If we then say “I am responsible for being in this job that I don’t like.” I am all of a sudden in the driver’s seat. It puts me in a place where my mind feels it is in control and starts to think of solutions and I get into action mode to change what isn’t working for me.

You are a Badass by Jen Sincero

To think with everything that happens, this is good because…

Even if it doesn’t seem good at all, there is often a reason to think of why it might be good. The baseline for me is, if I really can’t come up with something positive, thinking that this bad event helps me to practice equanimity, has helped me. I used to get frustrated by little inconveniences in everyday life, whereas now they teach me equanimity.

Key Takeaways: To match my beliefs with what I want. I realized that I have all sorts of ideas about my limitations. For example, that some people do not love or like me, or that I can’t achieve certain goals. Realizing that these are just thoughts in my head and that they may not necessarily be true, was such a relief. It already made me feel better to just tell myself that these people do like me and that I can achieve these goals.

What also really helped was to realize that judgments reveal so much about the person making the judgement—revealing the limitations of that person. So when I saw this woman dancing at a bar and I found that it looked ugly. I realized that this simply meant that I wouldn’t allow myself to dance like that. So my judgement of this woman, I showed the limited reality I was living in myself.

Also, I realized that for me it reflects my state of mind. When I feel great, I love everyone and let them be, but when I feel miserable, I judge people around me. Maybe the poor person judging us is probably just feeling miserable. So we should do our thing and thereby setting other people free to do theirs.

Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod

Disclaimer: I haven’t read the actual book, just used Google and YouTube to understand the idea.

I wake up at sunrise most days to read, write, meditate, write positive affirmations, visualize, and exercise in the first hour and a half of the day. This is such a pleasure for me and it gives something interesting to do in the morning. It also gives me time for the important things in life, namely to get inspired, to feel good, to get new insights, to start consciously and positively. Ever since I started doing this, almost four months ago, I get so many insights during the day and I feel more positive.

The Work by Byron Katie

This book helps us look at events from different perspectives and gain remarkable new insights. Often we get stuck in our own thought pattern that we repeat over and over again. Sometimes we don’t even consider that the reality might be different than we think. So this book, or her ideas in general, helped immensely because of the “turnarounds.” For example: “She rejected me,” might convince us that this is the truth, but if we turn it around to “I rejected her” or ‘I rejected me.” We can probably find reasons why these are true as well. This is super useful, as now this gives us something to work on, and gives us a way to improve the situation without relying on someone else who we can’t control.

“The reality is always kinder than we think”. I thought that was such a nice quote by Byron Katie. After thinking about that, I started to realize that I don’t know any wise people who are not happy. And it is definitely not the case that these wise people necessarily had easy lives. Think of Nelson Mandela, Byron Katie herself, the Dalai Lama, and others. This tells me that I am probably unhappy, because I am not very wise yet. If I would have been wise and I saw the reality as it really was, I probably would have been happy.

Calling in the One by Katherine Woodward Thomas

This is therapy in a book form. Whether you are in a happy relationship or not, this book has so much to teach! I haven’t finished the book, but some highlights for now are:

I am connected to everyone and everything,” this was one meditation the book asked me to do. At first this statement seemed quite far fetched to me, but after saying it a number of times in meditation it grew on me, and now I see and experience it as the reality.

I am to some extent responsible for what happens in my life. On some level, I attract certain people and certain experiences in my life. If these are negative experiences this might be because I still carry around negative energy from things that happened in the past. Changing the people and experiences I call into my life, starting with forgiving and letting things go inside me that no longer serve me, is my first step. Creating the life that I want begins the path to working on myself. This feels empowering, as instead of thinking that “the world is against me,” I can now see it as “the world is pointing me in the direction with a possibility for growth”.

The ideas we have about ourselves are just ideas. We have the capacity to expand the repertoire that is “I”. This book made me practice with behaviors that I never thought I could do. I used to think I’m not one of those people who can have a fashionable hairstyle—as if that is an unchangeable truth. By simply looking up the current trends in hair styling and styling my hair sometimes in such a way, I experience that what I apparently can and can’t do, may depend on changing my ideas about this “I”. A fashionable hairstyle may be unimportant, but experiencing this small change gave me the realization that I may be able to do and be different than I considered “not me” before. Which to me was fundamental.

I hope these book recommendations may be of benefit to you, as they have to me.

 

 

author: Elena Alexandra

Image: Carlos Úbeda / Flickr

Image: Elephant Journal / Instagram

Editor: Julie Balsiger

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Elena Alexandra