You Get More of What You Have

I found this interesting thoughts by Gretchin Rubins writing about The Happiness Project and I thought this is really good to be shared.

I find myself thinking about it in the happiness context, and I’ve often reflected that this statement sums up one of the cruel truths about happiness, and about human nature generally: you get more of what you have.

When you feel friendly, people want to be your friend. When you feel sexy, people are attracted to you. When you feel confident, others have confidence in you.

This truth is cruel because so often, you want others to give you what you feel you’re lacking. It’s when you’re feeling isolated and awkward that you want people to be friendly. When you’re feeling ugly, you want someone to tell you how sexy you are. When you’re feeling insecure, you wish someone would express confidence in you.

During my happiness project, I’ve been startled to discover the efficacy of the third of my Personal Commandments: Act the way I want to feel.

This commandment is important for two reasons. First, although we think we act because of the way we feel, often we feel because of the way we act. So by acting the way we wish we felt, we can change our emotions – a strategy that is uncannily effective.

Second, the world’s reaction to us is quite influenced by the way we act toward the world. For example, in situation evocation, we spark a response from people that reinforces a tendency we already have — for example, if I act irritable all the time, the people around me are going to treat me with less patience and helpfulness, which will, in turn, stoke my irritability. If I can manage to joke around, I’ll evoke a situation in which the people around me were more likely to joke around, too.

Life isn’t fair. People with a propensity to good cheer will find themselves in a friendly, cheerful environment, while people who are already angry or crabby will find themselves surrounded by uncooperative, suspicious people. “For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.”

Which leads, as always, to the same conclusion: that even though it’s tempting sometimes to think that I’d be much happier if other people would behave differently toward me, the only person whose behavior I can change is myself. If I want people to be friendlier to me, I must be friendlier. If I want my husband to be tender and romantic, I must be tender and romantic. If I want our household atmosphere to be light-hearted, I must be light-hearted.

Goethe wrote: “I have come to the frightening conclusion that I am the decisive element. It is my personal approach that creates the climate. It is my daily mood that makes the weather.” And he that brings a sunny day will find a sunny day waiting for him.

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