Compulsive comparing, of course, only leads to debilitating cases of what Nietzsche called Lebensneid, or “life envy”: the certainty that somebody else is much luckier than you, and that if only you had her body, her husband, her children, her job, everything would be easy and wonderful and happy. (A therapist friend of mine defines this problem simply as “the condition by which all of my single patients secretly long to be married, and all of my married patients secretly long to be single.”) With certainty so difficult to achieve, everyone’s decisions become an indictment of everyone else’s decisions, and because there is no universal model anymore for what makes “a good man” or “a good woman,” one must almost earn a personal merit badge in emotional orientation and navigation in order to find one’s way through life anymore.
37As noted in the above analyses, this is hardly a subtle process. On the contrary, the category romance is very obvious in its material genre performance. This generic blatancy is, as Gelder has pointed out, another characteristic element of popular fiction, in which “generic identities are always visible. This is how it differs from Literature. Popular fiction announces those [generic] identities loudly and unambiguously” (42). Although it is precisely this very emphatic generic conventionality that gives rise to the stereotypical interpretation of genre literature in general and the category romance novel in particular as a kind of literature that is repetitive, formulaic and inferior to literary fiction, this is the price that the category romance novel is apparently willing to pay in order to achieve the generic transparency that is the commercial bread and butter of popular fiction.
I don’t mean to imply that the Hmong don’t believe their children matter; on the contrary, they are famous in anthropological circles for building some of the world’s most exceptionally loving families. But this was clearly not a society that worshiped at the Altar of Individual Choice. As in most traditional societies, Hmong family dogma might effectively be summed up not as “You matter” but as “Your role matters.” For, as everyone in this village seemed to know, there are tasks at hand in life—some tasks that men must do and some tasks that women must do—and everyone must contribute to the best of his or her abilities. If you perform your tasks reasonably well, you can go to sleep at night knowing that you are a good man or a good woman, and you need not expect much more out of life or out of relationships than that.
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One of the most beautiful pictures of this combination came through at the very end of the movie “The Passion” when Jesus was hanging on the cross and gave up the spirit. He was literally, there was a transactional love there. He was literally assuming the guilt of every sin you ever committed on himself and dying on your behalf. But then the camera goes up and looks down, and I don’t know if you can see it, but that is a giant teardrop falling from heaven to earth and that is a beautiful scene, communicating right there both the committed love, which drove Christ to the cross. “For God so loved the world, he gave his only be gotten Son.”
Participants recalled a previous purchase made for either themselves or someone else and then reported their happiness. Afterward, participants chose whether to spend a monetary windfall on themselves or someone else. Participants assigned to recall a purchase made for someone else reported feeling significantly happierimmediately after this recollection; most importantly, the happier participants felt, the more likely they were to choose to spend a windfall on someone else in the near future.
3. Do something fun. Temporarily distract yourself from the stress, and re-charge your battery, with an enjoyable activity. Watching a funny movie is a reliable way to give yourself a pleasant break, and listening to your favorite music is one of the quickest ways to change your mood. When my older daughter was in the intensive-care unit as a newborn, my husband dragged me off to a movie one afternoon -- and that few hours of distraction made me much better able to cope with the situation. Be careful, however, not to “treat” yourself by doing something that’s eventually going to make you feel worse (taking up smoking again, drinking too much, indulging in retail therapy). My comfort-food activity is reading children's literature.
All I can say is Wow! I absolutely couldn't put this book down. I have read all of Debora's books so far and I absolutely love the characters. The stories Debora writes are so enthralling, and she keeps you on the edge of her seat, wondering what will happen next. I laughed out loud at parts, and also cried at parts of the story. What a wonderful story, and of course, no surprise to me, since I didn't expect anything less! My only wish is that I could have these marvelous people in my neighborhood - or in my family!
Has your mate given up their favorite candy bar because of your peanut allergy (no kissing for you), or traded in that meat-lover’s pizza for your vegan one? Well, you can be sure that when they start making changes to their routines and behaviors based on your beliefs, situation, or circumstance there’s no doubt that they’re committed. I mean, who else does that?
We’re obviously big fans of exercise in general, but making time for a regular fitness session does more than just sculpt a strong physique. While getting your sweat on may not cause happiness, it can certainly contribute to it. Physical activity helps our bodies produce disease-fighting proteins—called antibodies—and our brains release endorphins. While antibodies boost happiness by keeping illness at bay, endorphins are feel-good chemicals that improve your mood while promoting feelings of euphoria. To top it all off, research suggests that regular activity may lead to lasting happiness. Long-term association between leisure-time physical activity and changes in happiness: analysis of the Prospective National Population Health Survey. Wang F, Orpana HM, Morrison H. American Journal of Epidemiology, 2012, Nov.;176(12):1476-6256. So it’s safe to say your gym membership pays off—physically and mentally—in the long run.