once upon the happiness project

there once was a woman named gretchen
she had a loving husband, two healthy children, a house and a stimulating job
by all accounts, she ought to be 'happy' with her lot
yet one day she realised she is not
not that she is unhappy, but that she was not as happy as she could and ought to be given her everyday
so she sets about to find a way to remedy that
to cultivate a better than before enjoyment of everyday life over a period of one year
'the happiness project' is born

i first came across it via the wisdomous oprah  
i then got the book and am now half-way through it
it resonates a lot
it is my favourite combination of the everyday, old age wisdom and latest scientific research
it inspires daily habit changes with every chapter
but there is one particular personal commandment that gretchen adopts that has really stuck with me through the pages and since
it makes me recognise anew a particular thought pattern i have had for as long as i remember
it helps to keep the inner critic at bay more often than not since
it helps me notice and hone in on things that fill me up with that good feeling
it permits me to see my old new self in an accepting and nourishing way that is yet to feel comfortable
may be it will help you also

that personal commandment goes like this:
be gretchen [insert your name] (you can't be gretchen)

simple on the surface, yet also one of the great challenges nowadays
gretchen explains that the only way to build a happier everyday is to start from this foundation of your own nature, your own values, your own ways
and this includes letting go of the 'pretend you' you wish you could be if only you tried hard enough

i wish i could be a 'pretend me' often
i wish i liked coffee black (something so alluring when you don't dilute it with milk)
i wish i was pippi longstocking
i wish i liked celery and liquorice
i wish i had photographic memory
i wish my younger self read more
i wish i craved daily physical exercise
i wish i could speed read, recite poetry and imitate accents
i wish i could do a cart wheel
i wish i could cross-country ski out of my front door
i wish my hair would have a wave in it
i wish i could live off chocolate eclairs and mint magnums
i wish i'd stop wishing and accept 'real me' 

my 'pretend me' wish list goes on
and i always believed that if i could make myself be all those things i would be a better person than the 'real me'

gretchen realised that if she gave up the 'fantasy gretchen' idea and instead focused on nurturing the things that 'real gretchen' loves, her everyday happiness levels would by default go up
it suddenly clicked for me also
with every 'pretend me' wish i now try to let it pass before it chips away any more at the 'real me'
the 'real me' is much happier with this long overdue arrangement

does this resonate with you also?