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Happiness Project Book Club: Responding to Feelings

April 22, 2016

One little piece of child psychology Gretchen Rubin mentions in the April chapter makes sense with any kind of human interaction: “we should acknowledge the reality of people’s feelings.” No matter what age we are, we don’t want someone else telling us how we do and don’t feel.

I’ve heard women say, in conversations about their spouses, “When I tell him something that’s bothering me, I don’t want him to fix it.  I just want him to listen and sympathize.” Rubin takes this knowledge a step further and writes down her “cheat notes” for how to respond, ranging from simply writing down what her children tell her (or waving a magic wand and acknowledging that she’d LIKE to be able to magically solve the problem) to simply listening. (And yes, I did just split that infinitive.)

One of my favorites is her suggestion to admit that a task is difficult. This dovetails with my reading of Carol Dweck’s book Mindset (which I recommend to everyone!).

Finally (though now in her ordering) is one of the hardest suggestions at all–at least for me. Sometimes the best thing to do is to be quiet and listen.

In my next post, I want to take some time to discuss the section on “keeping happy memories vivid.”

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One Comment leave one →
  1. April 23, 2016 6:30 pm

    I understand exactly about having someone listen to . . . not solve . . . problems. I just need to bounce off someone!

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