At the start of this year, a friend’s blog post inspired by Gretchen Rubin’s book, “The Happiness Project”, caused me to stop, reflect, and try and sort my head out. In the book, Gretchen writes a list of her 12 commandments for life – the idea being that this is part of reclaiming how she lives, and thus becoming happier.
The friend sat in a diner in Prague and devised her own “manifesto”. I tried the same thing. It was called The February 28th Plan and was a list of how I thought I could save myself over the year, by re-integrating with the world around me. I wrote it in a notebook, and have looked at it and almost immediately forgotten it several times since.
As a plan for the year, has another 24 days to run, and I think it is time to acknowledge the need for a plan B. Recently a copy of Gretchen’s book found its way to me, and I found myself reading the list that started the whole thing off. I’ve decided to try again, but this time no putting it in a book and forgetting about it – it goes somewhere I’m going to see it. And, more importantly, so are others, who I’m asking now (please, if you could) to remind me of it, from time to time.
I’ll call them my 12 commandments, because that’s what Gretchen called hers, and I don’t feel like inventing a clever title . I’m not overly keen on the religious overtones, so please note these are Buddhisthomopagan Commandments. I’m not sure how that makes them differ from Christian commandments, but it JUST DOES, OKAY?
Here we go then, 12 BHP Commandments…or, A self-prescription for happiness, part 2 (hmm…so much for no clever titles)
1. Give yourself time.
2. Define yourself by your own standards.
3. Keep faith alive.
4. Keep writing.
5. Maintain your friendships.
6. Give as much as you wish to receive.
7. Be receptive to new directions.
8. Set goals and work towards them.
9. Work on your self-esteem.
10. Protect yourself.
11. Remember you deserve kindness.
12. Connect with yourself, every day.
I think I had the Yoko Ono song Revelations in mind when I wrote 6 and 7.
So – that is the list. I suppose I should start, right now, with number 12. Although, arguably, I already have.
It hasn’t been the easiest day. I’ve felt very low and ended up in bed this evening. But I hope I’ll look back on this list and felt I did something worthwhile today.
That said, this isn’t the sort of prescription that a pharmacist can help with. Nobody can fill this one out apart from me. And, having written this self-prescription, I’m not sure where to go next, or where to start. Some of it does involve behavioural changes, or at least a change in outlook.
I’d be grateful for any advice.
Just one more thing, though. This isn’t plan B any more – its plan A. Let’s see if that helps.