34The stereotype-driven character of the category romance’s materiality ensures that the public is likely to follow the producers’ primary suggestion and interpret the book in generic terms as a popular romance novel. This interpretation is achieved via the repetitive material invocation of numerous widespread stereotypes that surround the genre in our culture. Although this strategy reinforces and perpetuates a very clichéd cultural image of the genre, one of its major interpretative benefits is that such stereotypes can be interpreted – decoded – by a huge and diversified audience. This public intelligibility of its material code is an important commercial consideration for a book that circulates in a wide variety of cultural and commercial spaces frequented by a wide variety of consumers.
No, I don’t mean you need to be a sacrificing person all the time, but this is something that starts to happen naturally. When the needs of your partner start becoming your priority, you know you are in a serious love commitment. It does not make you feel any lesser nor does it make you feel like you are losing out on something; in fact it gives you great joy and satisfaction.
Do something small and simple, like letting someone go ahead of you in line at the grocery store, Lyubomirsky suggested, or call your 85-year-old great aunt who loves to hear from you, Holstein said. Acts of kindness increase well-being because they’re concrete. Another idea? Focus on one person — a boyfriend or girlfriend, a parent — and for one week really think about what you could do to make them happier. Then do it.
The problem, simply put, is that we cannot choose everything simultaneously. So we live in danger of becoming paralyzed by indecision, terrified that every choice might be the wrong choice. (I have a friend who second-guesses herself so compulsively that her husband jokes her autobiography will someday be titled I Should’ve Had the Scampi.) Equally disquieting are the times when we do make a choice, only to later feel as though we have murdered some other aspect of our being by settling on one single concrete decision. By choosing Door Number Three, we fear we have killed off a different—but equally critical—Piece of our soul that could only have been made manifest by walking through Door Number One or Door Number Two.
[T]he first thing we did, we agreed that we would do a whole issue; invest in a whole issue of Young Romance Comics before we peddled it to these gangsters that were publishing. (laughter) In this way, we would be protected. So we signed a contract; we were full partners in the thing. We were to pay for the art and editorial, they would pay for the publishing and do the publishing business. We thought we were pretty great with that contract–we were supposed to split the profits. We thought we were pretty damn smart to do that, but later I found out that these guys weren’t even putting their money into it. The distributors were giving them a 35% advance. So, they weren’t paying anything. We were the ones that were paying the money. The good part is that the thing sold out and that was really a bonanza. We were taking in tons of money.”
While happiness is experienced inwardly, its sources are mainly external and found in relationships that sustain us. These relationships are not confined to family but include how we relate to work, our communities and the environment. When we treat them well, the likelihood that our deep and abiding interest in being loved and cared for is increased.
While it’s hard to define (especially since it varies from person to person), some experts describe happiness as “a combination of life satisfaction and having more positive emotions than negative emotions,” while others view it as consisting of three parts: feeling good, living a “good life,” and feeling part of a larger purpose. There’s also a distinct difference between short- and long-term happiness: The former is a fleeting feeling, while the latter applies to how we describe our own lives.