With so many choices for how to feel happier and so many neurons to help you feel better, you can build a lot of new pathways to your happy chemicals. But you only have a limited amount of time and energy. If you spread it everywhere, a new road may not get built. So choose one remodeling project to start with. Commit to repeating it for forty-five days whether or not you feel like it. If you miss a day, start over with Day One.
“Love” comics had suddenly become popular and so Marvel introduced My Romance in September 1948. Close behind it were Love Romances, Love Adventures, Love Tales, Love Dramas and a load of others, including My Love and Our Love. Again, Marvel was playing follow the leader, and again, some of the titles in this new genre would enjoy unusually long runs. The redundantly titled Love Romances, kept on chronicling the trials of the heartbroken until July, 1963.
39However, this ostensibly homogeneous generic identity is thoroughly complicated in what I have called the secondary codification of the category’s materiality – a genre-specific code that only readers familiar with the genre detect and decipher. Via these coded elements, the category romance’s materiality suggests a more refined and singular interpretation of its text that is essentially designed to indicate how the novel is different from its generic colleagues. This hidden layer of the semiotic code not only enables the romance reader to develop a secondary set of textual expectations, but also thoroughly complicates the homogeneous image of the genre that is painted in the primary (public) layer of the book’s material codification. Instead of further supporting the stereotype-based public interpretation of generic standardization, this (hidden) secondary layer of the material code consistently signals ways in which the romance novel develops a more specific identity. As illustrated in the analyses above, the degree of specificity of this identity increases gradually. Whereas the front cover is often still concerned with suggesting shared identity traits, such as subgenre, level of sensuality and line identity, the first page inside the book resolutely focuses on the text’s singularity by showcasing the manifestation of authorial voice in the narrative text.
To this day, I admit, I’m not entirely sure how to use this information. I cannot quite bring myself to make an official motto out of “Ask for less!” Nor can I imagine advising a young woman on the eve of her marriage to lower her expectations in life in order to be happy. Such thinking runs contrary to every modern teaching I’ve ever absorbed. Also, I’ve seen this tactic backfire. I had a friend from college who deliberately narrowed down her life’s options, as though to vaccinate herself against overly ambitious expectations. She skipped a career and ignored the lure of travel to instead move back home and marry her high school sweetheart. With unwavering confidence, she announced that she would become “only” a wife and mother. The simplicity of this arrangement felt utterly safe to her—certainly compared to the convulsions of indecision that so many of her more ambitious peers (myself included) were suffering. But when her husband left her twelve years later for a younger woman, my friend’s rage and sense of betrayal were as ferocious as anything I’ve ever seen. She virtually imploded with resentment—not so much against her husband, but against the universe, which she perceived to have broken a sacred contract with her.
There’s a reason why people always talk about faking it ‘til you make it: “When we smile, the muscles in our face send signals to our brain that help create — biologically — a better mood than when we frown,” said positive psychologist Barbara Holstein, EdD, who has a private practice in Long Branch, N.J. It might sound silly, but Holstein encourages people to sit for a minute and just grin. Or better yet, smile at someone. This helps establish immediate connection — another key to feeling upbeat.
Regardless of the perspective, science is generally pretty hard on romantic love, whether it is seen as a “goal oriented motivation state”, an “illusion”, a fantasy projection, or just really dramatic lust. Either way, it is normal for romantic love to end (slowly or abruptly) when the illusions and projections are forced to change as we learn more about the actual human being in the relationship with us (“oh he/she isn’t a god/goddess after all!”), or the intensity of the drive naturally subsides.
She was twelve years old, I would learn later, but tinier than any American twelve-year-old I’d ever met. She was exceptionally beautiful. Her skin was dark and healthy, her hair glossy and braided, her compact body all sturdy and confident in a short woolen tunic. Though it was summertime and the days were sultry, her calves were wrapped in brightly colored wool leggings. Her feet tapped restlessly in plastic Chinese sandals. She had been hanging around our hotel for some time—I had spotted her when we were checking in—and now, when I stepped