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This book made me look at marriage and commitment in a whole new light. So interesting to learn how less Westernized cultures view the dynamic of marriage and the role it plays in their personal lives and in the community - all while following her personal journey and the thoughts she wrestles with. There are points of merit and value to be taken to heart from these societies, which I loved.


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.
Your mammal brain feels good about things it can control. Some people break traffic laws to enjoy a sense of control, while others feel their power by scolding those who break traffic laws. Whatever gives you a sense of power won’t work all the time, however. You will end up feeling weak and unimportant some of the time. That triggers cortisol, but you can learn to feel safe when you are not in control.
To be faithful and committed to my wife, I had to eliminate the temptations, like too much perusing on Facebook or letting my mind wander too much in social settings. We’re all vulnerable to letting our minds and eyes wander. Things like alcohol, emotionally charged occasions and tiredness can all contribute to putting us in a position where we’re weak.
29Even more so than other material aspects of the romance, the preview scene is marked by a double codification and is accordingly interpreted rather differently by the public and the romance reader. In the public’s interpretation, the extreme conventionality of the scene is the dominant feature and the scene is consequently interpreted as yet another code that signifies the novel’s popular romance identity. Because the scene explicitly evokes stereotypes of the genre that are particularly widespread in our culture – the first kiss, the typical tension between conflict and attraction that is widely associated with popular romances, the clichéd and euphemistic language describing sexual attraction, etc. – this interpretation is guaranteed irrespective of the reader’s profile. Indeed, even a reader who is only aware of the most basic cultural stereotypes surrounding popular romance recognizes in this scene the genre’s conventions and will correctly interpret it as a code for the narrative’s popular romance genre identity. In this process the preview scene not only invokes but also reinforces and perpetuates a number of the stereotypes already surrounding the genre, much like the clinch that is its visual equivalent.

Jungian psychoanalysts take this idea further, and see romantic love as a “projection” of a key part of one’s inner world onto someone else. Basically when we meet someone new who “sparkles” for us, we use them as a canvas for us to place all kinds of wonderful things from our imagination onto them. This basically inflates the reality of that person into god or goddess-like status. The “perfect” person.
I must add here that all my friends and relatives were raised with varying degrees of this same belief. With the possible exception of the very most conservative families among us, or the very most recently immigrated families among us, everyone I knew—at some basic level—shared this assumed cultural respect for the individual. Whatever our religion, whatever our economic class, we all at least somewhat embraced the same dogma, which I would describe as being very historically recent and very definitely Western and which can effectively be summed up as: “You matter.”

Feeling overwhelmed with life? Take the time to write it down. Having clarity of mind can most definitely lower stress levels, allowing you to enjoy yourself and embrace happiness in your life. Next time you are utterly frustrated take a piece of paper, pen and write everything that comes to mind. You are literally taking a brain dump, but it will leave you feeling rested and with some additional space in your brain for happy thoughts!


Wayde seems to be doing a swell job at the agency, until he starts bringing "younger and cruder" girls in to model -- Gloria Porter being one of them. Fran starts to get suspicious of Wayde's intentions when one of the models mysteriously disappears. Wayde admits to running a scheme to steal money from businessmen with the aid of Gloria and the other model recruits. If the models asked to participate refuse, they are quickly done away with.
Commitments to yourself can be difficult to enforce but will ultimately feel good. For example, I made the commitment to bring reusable bags with me when I buy food, but I kept forgetting them. So I added the commitment to go back to my car and get them if I forgot. The next time I found myself at the supermarket without the bags, I thought “I’m too busy to go back to the car.” Then I realized that I will always be busy, and I am a powerless person if I can’t even honor a commitment to myself. So I went back to the car to get the bags, and I never forgot them again because I didn’t want to waste time going back to my car. You will not want to waste time starting over with Day One. You will want to honor your commitments to yourself and thus enjoy a new happy habit.
Donating your time can have the same effect. In a recent review of 40 studies done over the last 20 years, researchers found that volunteering was one of the most successful ways to boost psychological health. Volunteering was found to be linked with a reduced risk of depression, a higher amount of overall satisfaction, and even a reduced risk of death from of a physical illness as a consequence of mental distress.

Make a gratitude list. Reminding yourself of all of the things you have to be thankful for will instantly make you feel happier. Take a pen and paper into a quiet room and write down at least 10-15 things that you are grateful for. They can be as big as the friends and family in your life and as small as the new garden that was planted near your home. Think of anything that makes you smile and which makes your life a little happier. Having all of these things written down will help you see how much you have to be thankful for – and happy about.[1]

Make time for reflection. Finding time to take stock of your experiences and to sit back and consider what the day has brought you can make you happier. You may not be very happy because you feel like you’re just going through the motions and doing have time to just sit still and ask yourself, “What the heck just happened?” Find a time each day – or at least each week – where you can just sit still, stare at some scenery, and think about all of the events that happened to you. You’ll feel a sense of calm and will begin to feel less overwhelmed with everything in front of you, and yes, this will make you happier.
Figuring out how to feel happy is no easy task. Do you find yourself in a depressed state, wondering what you’re missing? Are you thinking that there must be something else that you should be doing? Are you unsure how to feel happy and fulfilled? Or maybe times are tough, and you don’t know what to do to make it through the challenges you’re currently facing.

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It’s no secret that stress can get you down. Luckily there’s a pretty sweet solution: some between-the-sheets action—and that totally includes solo sessions. Those mind-blowing romps can not only boost your mood, but also slash stress and beat anxiety. Blood pressure reactivity to stress is better for people who recently had penile-vaginal intercourse than for people who had other or no sexual activity. Brody S. Biological Psychology, 2005, Jun.;71(2):0301-0511. Can’t argue with that, right? And in case you need an excuse to get it on more often, consider this: Research suggests that the more sex people have, the happier they tend to be. One study even suggests that having sex once a week may make you feel as stoked as scoring an additional $50,000 in income. Getting lucky even more frequently—four or more times per week—has been linked to making more money—and while extra dough certainly can’t buy happiness, it definitely plays a part in it.
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