Can I be 100% honest and tell you that even though Christmas is fast approaching, I haven’t been able to find the happiness that I usually have this time of year? Our tree just went up the other day in prep for ‘lil Man’s birthday party, and I almost bought store bought cupcakes. This is just not me. I am not sure where my happiness has gone (but know it’s going to kick back in here soon). So, it was perfect timing that I be asked to review “The Antidote: Happiness for People Who Can’t Stand Positive Thinking”.
“The Antidote” was written by Oliver Burkeman, a column writer for The Guardian. He decided to set out to see if those who constantly strive for happiness are 1) finding what they are looking for and 2) are actually making themselves more miserable in the quest. This isn’t a self help book, but a study of groups who search for the very opposite of happiness by seeking the things we try to avoid.
Think about it. You strive for wealth but stay in a job that doesn’t make you happy…then in turn, the money doesn’t make you any happier. Or, you find someone just to not be alone, but end up in a miserable relationship, avoiding all your friends because they cannot get along with your spouse. You thought you were finding happiness, but instead found misery. Must we always think positive?
Burkeman looked at concepts such as:
- Embracing failure–I didn’t know there was a museum dedicated solely to failed products! Perhaps if we as a society weren’t so afraid to fail, we’d have more (happy) millionaires who kept trying even when their first, second, or third ideas failed. I connected–it’s the whole “you live and learn” philosophy!
- Getting over yourself–You know the world today is full of narcissists. They strive to do everything for themselves instead of others. Shake off your feathers like a duck and bear no grudges. Live not only for yourself and the whole world will change.
- Being afraid of death–Although I come from the school of thought (and faith) that when I die, I will rejoin those who have already gone on, I admit I am a bit afraid to die. If I die early, I leave behind children and a husband, and I am not sure what they would do without me (there goes that ego!). But, there are some cultures that celebrate death, seeing it as wondrous. If only we truly could celebrate when our loved ones pass and not fear the end, our lives could be a bit richer.
Taking a look at finding happiness in a different light was definitely mind-opening. This was by no means a “this is how you are going to find happiness” book, but one that presented various ways to look for happiness other than striving for the positive (and feeling like a failure when you don’t get what you are aiming for). It’s a bit deeper of a read than I could do with the kids around, but definitely one I would recommend for anyone looking for “happiness”.
You can get your own copy of The Antidote on Amazon (currently listing for $16.50).
Disclaimer: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are 100% my own.