Have you ever gotten the very thing you knew you wanted only to realize it didn’t bring you true happiness?
I’m raising my hand! Because I have had that personal experience with fleeting happiness, I was intrigued by Sonja Lyubomirsky’s latest book, The Myth of Happiness: What Should Make You Happy, but Doesn’t; What Shouldn’t Make You Happy but Does. In the book she explores several key passages to adulthood, which focuses on three main areas: relationships, money and work, and middle age issues. According to Lyubomirsky,
“nearly all of us buy into the myths of happiness—beliefs that certain adult achievements ( marriage, kids, jobs, wealth) will make us forever happy and that certain adult failures or adversities (health problems, not having a life partner, having little money) will make us forever unhappy.”
Through her own personal research and the research of others, Lyubomirsky’s seeks to show readers how these myths have been reinforced by culture . Although the research shows that happiness is transitory primarily because of what she calls “hedonic adaptation”, which is our ability to easily become adapted to something and begin to take it for granted, the book offers ways we can choose to have more fulfilling lives.
For me this book was a slow read but I like the concept of the book and I believe that society as a whole would do better, if we had more people teaching these truths. Perhaps if people knew it was normal to have these ebbs and flows of happiness in their relationships, there would be lower rates of divorce. It’s the chasing of this illusive happiness that keeps so many unsettled and unsatisfied hopping from relationship to relationship, job to job.
The key things I took away from the book was the importance of gratitude and remembering (how things use to be) plays into us having fulfilling lives. In the end, I was reminded of a saying I heard sometime ago—happiness is about happenings. And truth is that sometimes in life the happenings aren’t so good but we can still choose to walk in joy.
About the Author:
Sonja Lyubomirsky, Ph.D., is Professor of psychology at the University of California, Riverside. She received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. in social psychology from Stanford University. Lyubomirsky and her research have been the recipients of many honors, including the 2002 Templeton Positive Psychology Prize and a multiyear grant from the National Institute of Mental Health. She lives in Santa Monica, California, with her family.
About the Book:
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: The Penguin Press ( January 3, 2013)
Find out what others thought of the book by visiting the TLC Tour page. Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Penguin Press for the opportunity to review this book. I was provided a complimentary copy of the book. No other compensation was provided.