Tuesday, February 05, 2008

From the Happiness Project

Collage by Lani

I thought I'd start at the beginning of Gretchen Rubin's blog The Happiness Project just to see what great things she has discovered. So in March of '06 she was working with the classic bad-parenting move: denying a bad feeling. The day had started with one sibling claiming, “No one’s paying attention to me. Everyone pays more attention to the Baby...”
Gretchen started to snap back with the usual, “...how can you say no one’s paying attention to you?” and started to give her lots of reasons why she shouldn't feel the way she was feeling.
But just in time she remembered the principle she'd read in Faber and Mazlish’s How To Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk. (Gretchen says it’s a parenting book but the principles apply equally well to dealing with other adults. Well read on, because I think it applies to our inner dialogue as well)
Faber and Mazlish say: Don’t refuse to acknowledge someone’s feelings of anger, irritation, or reluctance; instead, name the feeling and articulate the other person’s point of view. Of course this is really hard to do, because the urge to correct a bad feeling is very strong: “you can’t really feel that way” or "you don't really want to do that" etc.
So Gretchen tried it out that morning. “You wish people would pay more attention to you? You’re feeling neglected?” And the sad little sibling nodded. “Come here,” Gretchen said, “let me give you a big hug.” As simple as it was, it did the trick. Both mother and child felt much happier.

Well I got to thinking, I'll bet I constantly deny my own "bad" feelings, just the way Gretchen was going to do in her "bad-parenting move." I'll bet a lot of my own inner chatter comes from an inner parent scolding an inner child whose having some momentary silly feeling. And of course feelings pass but if you deny them then you get caught up in an argument with yourself and you really put yourself into a mess. Better to tell the inner child, "Are you feeling such and such? Let me give you a hug." I'm going to try that. Then I'll be freed up to practice being here now!!!


holly said...

Oh Lani, it's just the most perfectly needed post I've seen all day. I've been feeling so weepy and sad lately. I have a stressful event coming up and I just don't know what to do. Now I do, I need to give my inner child a great big HUG and tell her I love her. You're the best!

Lani Gerity said...

Don't you love it that what you need was right there, all the time, not all far away or difficult?
And I loved it that you popped in to see the post just when you needed to!
So thank you for making my day!

Bill said...

Hi Lani,

I'm working on my zine for Artellaland's second zine swap. The subject is "Grunge Art." The picture you have in this post is a wonderful picture that I think is an excellent example of "classy" grunge art. May I do two pages about you in my zine and include that picture? If you say yes, I can just grab it off your blog. I would like to list the link to your blog, and also a link to your Happiness class offered through Artella. I could put one of the pictures I did when I took your Happiness class, thanks to your wonderful generosity, too. Of course, I will send you a copy of the zine. Would that be all right with you?

I also sent this in an email to your web site address, but I think you use your blog more often. :^)

Your art friend,

Lani Gerity said...

Sure Bill, this picture would be fine to use. Can't wait to see the zine.