Tuesday, October 6, 2009

How to be Rich and Happy (initial review)

I slept really well last night. I woke up feeling... new.

I started reading a new book yesterday, called How to be Rich and Happy by John P. Strelecky and Tim Brownson. I will be reviewing it and writing about my thoughts over the next week or so (however long it takes me). I am grateful to Lisis at Quest for Balance for suggesting it - she's reviewing it too.

I have only read up to Chapter Five so far (it ends at page 39 of 218) and I am already thinking differently and starting to feel more centered. If you're skeptical of self-help books, I'll also be sharing Donald's perspective (often known as Mr. Skepticism).

One of the most important things I have taken away from the book so far is the motivation to actually put something into action this time. The authors say that they have been guilty of reading self-help books, understanding the principles, and then never putting them into practice. I have definitely done this too. It is time for me to move forward, to try something new, to be willing to fail, and to feel good about the whole process.

What I have read so far has prompted me to think really hard about my values. I have realized how interconnected they are, and also how some of my values are so much more important than others. I can also see now why some negative things bother me more than others.

For example, negativity is something I desperately want to avoid. When my mother-in-law suggests to Donald that perhaps he should stop waiting for news on this job and should apply for other things, I react at a much higher level than I would at most things. I am defensive and protective. I am angry. Even though I understand that she is trying to help him avoid getting hurt, I do not appreciate her efforts. I want to prevent Donald from falling back into the black abyss of depression. I also need her to respect that as a married couple, Donald and I are in charge of our future ourselves, despite the fact that we are somewhat dependent upon his parents right now.

Fierce Conversations and How to be Rich and Happy both advocate the importance of living according to one's values. I feel like I am on the right track. My introduction to this book came at a wonderful time.

Now that I have identified what my core values are, I'm looking forward to reading about the next step.

While I was writing this post, I nagged Donald about whether he would say something to his mom about not being so negative about his job search. I phrased it badly (I made it about me) and it didn't come across the way I intended. I pushed him away.

As we seem to get closer to having some kind of answer about his state of employment, I can tell that we're both on edge even more than normal. I'm concerned that I have been blind to some signs that he's not doing as well emotionally as I think he is. He hasn't returned calls or followed up on basic household type things lately. I have to trust that he has been moving forward in some way.

I also need to remember that he and I are standing side by side, facing the unknown together, working together to help each other take the next step, whatever that may be. We are not adversaries, we are partners. The only way we move forward is together.

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