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Tiff Lin’s Happiness Project

I must acknowledge my Enneagram Type 7 – fear of anxiety/missing out on new experiences/impulsive escapist attitude

“Sevens attempt to control their level of anxiety by keeping their attention occupied with ideas and possibilities that excite them. They keep their mind full of activities that they can look forward to, positive experiences that they know they will enjoy. Every time anxiety rears its head, Sevens are ready with a new adventure, a new book, a workshop they plan to attend, or an exciting new relationship. As long as they can keep their attention occupied with positive expectations, Sevens can hold their pain and anxiety at bay. They do not want to deal with their anxiety or examine its causes in their lives because doing so draws them inward, making them more anxious, while extroversion pulls them outward, toward the environment, repressing anxiety, at least temporarily. They discover that the distractions which their activities provide repress anxiety whenever it threatens to erupt into consciousness, but that they need to keep searching for exciting activities to keep themselves safe from their inner distress. They therefore throw themselves into more and more experiences to avoid having to face anxiety or any feeling of unhappiness…”

The problem is that the more Sevens fill up their minds anticipating the fun they will have in the future, the less they are in touch with whatever experience they are having in the present

The more anxious they get, the more they distract themselves by anticipating the future and the less their experiences serve to quell their anxiety. Sevens keep fleeing outward into the world of experience as they try to outrun the fear and hurt inside them. But the more they flee, the bigger the thrills they need and the harder they are to sustain.

Well…folks, I already knew this about myself. But knowing is half the battle. Knowledge is nothing. Action is everything.

and i’ve had just the SLAP TO REALITY that i’ve needed to take myself seriously.

The truth: ITS BEEN OVER A MONTH SINCE I’VE WALKED.

As of May 28, I’ve been in the hospital for a total of 15 days bedridden and went through 3 surgeries and got pumped with IVs in 6 different places. I’m currently still going to the hospital everyday for hyperbaric oxygen therapy to repair cells/quicken the healing process. I’ve placed myself willingly under house arrest for a total of 3-4 weeks.

I’m at the point where I don’t really want to talk about it because this has been the story I’ve repeated over and over again…to 6 different doctors and to the rest of my worried friends and family from Taiwan and the US.

The main point is- that i’ve learned (the hard way) that I do things to myself without understanding consequences. I think I’m invincible to pain but then I learn that the human body has a funny way of catching up to you before you realize it.

But i’ve grown stronger in a way. Mentally speaking. Anyway, these are just some insights that I’ve taken from reading a book, The Happiness Project by Gretchen Ruben that led me to seek out truth in my own process.

——

I am happy, but I want to be happier/more grateful/less anxious about future/more appreciative of the present.

I’m excited by the environment and respond strongly to my surroundings, throwing myself into the world of experience with enormous vitality. But is this childlike wonder/excitement sustainable?

Living a life of paradox

I want to change myself but accept myself
I want to take myself less seriously but also take myself more seriously
I wanted to use my time productively  but also have time to wander and play
I want to live in the moment but not worry that day-by-day is going to waste

So how do you change without having to change at all?

Follow commandments/principles

  1.     Be yourself
  2.     let it go
  3.     act the way I want to feel
  4.     do it now
  5.     be fair
  6.     enjoy the process
  7.     lighten up / cheer up / be silly
  8.     do what ought to be done
  9.     no comparisons or calculations
  10. there is only love
  11. forget the past
  12. spread joy
  13. never bother with people who don’t matter
  14. stay in touch
  15. life is fleeting
  16. create something that wasn’t there before
  17.  stop collecting useless crap
  18. make mistakes
  19. Give thanks: for the ordinary and the extraordinary
  20. create something that wasn’t there before
  21. Choose not to take things personally
  22. This too shall pass
  23. I am already enough
  24. What do I really, really, really want
  25. Keep it simple
  26. If you can’t get out of it, get into it

If I had to pick 10

1. Be Tiff Lin – be comfortable with yourself and know your limits
2. Do good, feel good – when you do a good selfless deed, you feel it lift you up
3. Don’t make promises you can’t keep
4. Always arrive on time – it’s a sign of respect and is the first step towards being true to your word
5. Inspire and be inspired – teach and learn simultaneously- share/exchange
6. Life is simple- don’t overthink/assume – you can’t predict everything
7. Listen to others and accept them for who they are despite their differences= everyone has a story
8. Be more patient and generous with time – small steps equate to big changes
9. Be a powerhouse of energy for others to follow- mental/body/spiritual
10. Enjoy the moment for it might be your last

Secrets of Adulthood

1. its okay to ask for help
2. do good, feel good
3. its important to be nice to everyone
4. people don’t notice your mistakes as much as you think
5. what you do every day matters more than what you do once in awhile
6. consistency and routine and healthy daily habits count more

Why study happiness?

Happiness can prepare you for adversity- to develop the self-discipline and the mental habits to deal with a  bad thing when it happens
Happiness can prepare your mind to be mentally strong

THE CHALLENGE

Having now being forced to be indoors during recovery, I have to find other alternative options to substitute what once made me happy (expressing myself through movement/activity/constant stimulation/meeting strangers and hearing stories) and to find another way to be constantly stimulated (drawing, writing, painting, poetry, reading, decluttering, personal projects)

MIND OVER BODY BETCHES!

I’ll dedicate a post on each. It’s been fun in a way. Learning that with focus I can do quite a lot.

Everyday is hard. Every morning I wake up, I have to remind myself that happiness is a choice. And put myself through “my process”

But it’s still been a learning journey and that’s all I can ask for of myself. at this present time.

 

 

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Awareness of Self

Awareness of Self:

Here’s a fun exercise. Go into your room and take note of what is present around you

For me….

  • A cluttered desk piled with papers/receipts/plastic bags/concert tickets
  • An ironing board I took from outside the street with dirty/clean clothes piled on top
  • Mismatched socks on the floor
  • Posters/colors/pictures/decorations covering every inch in my room

Let your awareness take in everything

Ask yourself:

  • Do I see order or disorder?
  • Do I see my uniqueness?
  • Do I see how I really feel?
  • Do I see what I really want?

What does this stand for?

  • inner disorder
  • fear of meeting one’s obligations
  • accepting too much responsibility
  • ignoring mundane details

Conclusion: The environment I surround myself in as I wake up and as I sleep is not conducive for me having peace of mind.

Now step into your social world. When you are with your family or friends, listen with your inner ear to what is going on.

Ask yourself:

  • Do I hear happiness?
  • Does being with these people make me feel alive, alert?
  • Is there an undertone of fatigue, boredom, saying things just to be saying them?
  • Is this just a familiar routine, or are these people really responding to each other?

Are you being authentic with yourself? We fear to be seen as inauthentic sometimes out of fear of being judged/shamed/rejected, so we do things that we don’t really care about doing and say things we don’t 100% believe in saying…and then we end up being, sincere, at best. However sincerity is NOT authenticity. Take a moment and reflect on whether your intuition can pick up on whether a “wow, funny bumping into you here! We’ll have to catch up soon!” is just a sincere go-to response or if there’s a voice of authenticity behind these words…

Feelings

  • At my worst: I feel antsy, restless, want to have more options and choices available. Become adventurous and “worldly wise” but less focused. Uninhibited, fear of being bored, in perpetual motion, but do too many things–many ideas but little follow through
  • At my best, I breathe in my environment and feel totally present and emotionally deeply grateful and appreciative for what I have. Become awed by the simple wonders of life: joyous and ecstatic. Feel connected with the world and everyone in it. Love of people and boundless goodness of life make me want to scream with joy. I’m satisfied with the results that I produce.

Thinking

  • “I know more than I think I do”
  • “I have the tools and the resources to live my dreams but fear of uncertainty is holding me back”
  • “I need to find out what I like and what I don’t like”
  • “I need to get out of my comfort zone”
  • My mind is becoming restless and I want to calm down
  • I need to love and trust myself before I can love anybody else

Actions

  • I am acting out of complete integrity
  • My actions symbolize who I am and why I am here
  • I gave up having control and will react to what will come to me

Being

  • I realize that I am cared for and loved
  • I realize that my life has purpose and that I matter
  • I sense that random events are not random
  • I see that I am unique
  • I realize that life has the ability to run itself
  • I realize with wonder that life is infinitely worthwhile and full of possibilities

– Influences from LandMark Education, The Book of Secrets, Enneagram tests.