The Life of Bon: Act the way you want to feel

Wednesday, July 09, 2014

Act the way you want to feel

I'm having a bit of a hard time staying on top of my blogging game.

I guess you could say I'm a bit distracted.  My mind has mostly been going like this the past few weeks: Baby. House. Baby.

Also, it's summer.  Summer never lends itself as well to blogging as I think it will.  I have my days free and open, a total switch up from my chaotic and busy days of teaching.  But still, the post doesn't get done and email response time is sloooooooow.  Summer has a way of filling itself up with non work related things like swimming pools and barbecues and Office marathons.  And maybe that's the way it should be.

I will tell you what is helping my blogging game, though.  This little Kate Spade planner.

I'm pretty much in love.  Last week I went to a blogger get together and was totally inspired by how organized Amberly is with her blog.  She had her posts planned in her agenda, all the names of companies she wanted to work with, goals for each month, etc.  Impressive!  Then Miki was saying that even though everything she does for "work" is digital, the creative side of her still loves to use pen and paper.  I admit, I have had a very hard time switching over to electronic versions of some things.  I prefer to read a real book (Greg has BEGGED me to get a nook... my reading light at night drives him crazy), reading scriptures on an app lacks the spirituality for me, and planning something in my phone never quite makes me feel like the organized baller I so desperately want to be.  I suppose I'm old fashioned, but I'll be a tangible planner girl for the rest of my life.  I love being able to see all in one place what I have going on for the rest of the week, the month, the year. This particular planner goes 17 months- it starts in August 2014 and goes all the way through 2015.  And mine has books on the cover.  I'm in love.  (Although I also love the gold polka dotted version.)

I was going to write a whole post today on how I organize my days in the summer.  But that sounded boring to me.  So I'm not going to write that.

I'm going to write this instead.  A little over a year ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and many of the ideas in that book have stuck with me.  A saying I often think of that she uses is "Act the way you want to feel."

I have found that saying to be perhaps the most helpful thing in my pursuit of just being a decent human being.  Take yesterday for example.  I was pretty stressed out after our doctor's appointment because of some uncertain news, (which I will post more tomorrow... not trying to be vague, just don't know details yet) and then I went into this total panic when I realized we didn't have anything ready for a baby.  I started washing and folding clothes, getting sheets on the bassinet, taking care of all the little things I keep saying I will do sometime in the ultra vague time period of "before baby."  Greg left to work and I was grumpy with him because of stress and panic and somehow it was all his fault.  You know.

Then, last night I went to dinner with two good friends of mine- a friend from my time in Argentina and her twin, whom I worked with at Copper Hills.  I made myself put my stress away because I wanted to enjoy the night and I wanted to be a pleasant, fun, happy person.  After dinner we sat in their front yard just chatting and chatting and the night was perfect.

When I got home I decided to walk through our home that is being built.  It was dark, but I took a flashlight because I wanted to see the color that had just gone up on the walls.  It is supposed to be light gray.  But it didn't look gray at all !  It just looked cream!  I was beyond bugged- the flooring is already going in and the paint is the totally wrong color! (First world problems, I know.  I swear, I hate myself sometimes for caring about this stuff.)

Naturally, when Greg came home, I took the paint color debacle out on him.  My happy dinner mood had long since vanished, and I was back in brat mode.  When I complained about the paint to Greg, he defended the builders/ painters, saying that I had chosen a very light color and that it hadn't looked very "gray" at all on the swap, but that I had been insistent we get something light.  Naturally, I didn't remember this.  I thought I had chosen the perfect shade of gray.  He was right, of course, but I hate it when he's right and I hated it that he didn't have sympathy for my paint fit.  (Even as I type this out, it all sounds so totally embarrassing and ridiculous.)  Greg was sweet, though, and kept asking me how I was feeling, if everything was okay, what he could do, etc., to which I mostly gave him one word responses while I looked at car seats online.  It didn't take long for Greg to call me out on my behavior, "So, are you just going to be in a bad mood until we have the baby?" and he went to get in the shower.

It made me think.  I had been in a bad mood all day, but really only Greg had gotten the grunt of it.  When I was with other people, I forced myself to be happy.  I wanted feel happy, so I acted happy.  And I was.  When Greg was around, though, for whatever reason I didn't put any more effort into acting happy.  I was mopey and whiney and kind of needy.

So I remembered my little mantra from The Happiness Project, and promised myself that I was going to act the way I wanted to feel.  Because I didn't REALLY want to feel whiney and mopey.  It was just the easiest thing to feel.  What I really really wanted to feel was excited, energetic, blessed, flirty.  So I acted that way.  And pretty soon, it wasn't acting, I really did feel that way.

The night did a complete 180 and Greg and I told inside jokes and laughed in bed until way past when we should have fallen asleep.  The night was good.

When I'm frustrated with someone, mad at a situation, want to freak out on someone.  When I want to complain and whine and throw baby hissy fits.  When a blog commenter offends me.  I don't want to feel offended.  So I try to tell myself to act the way I want to feel.  Not offended. Not whiney.  Not mad.  Not frustrated.

It doesn't always work.  But it works a lot.  Try it and report back to me.  I promise you- it's a game changer.


  1. Anonymous9:40 AM

    Summer is definitely perfect for doing lazy things.

    I love this mantra!!

  2. I love this post! I think we all struggle with this, and I've definitely noticed my day improve when I make a point to be happy. I LOVED the Happiness Project! I'm starting to read Happier at Home, which is perfect because of my background and the fact that I always want to be 'on the go'. I hope it encourages me to love my home even more! Have you read it?

  3. Thanks for the reminder. I definitely needed to hear this story/advice! I am going try this!

  4. I'm totally a pen-and-paper type of girl too. And I love that planner!

  5. I totally believe that advice. I use to always tell J that when I wasn't happy, I was just going to fake it. At first it was more of a back handed idea that I'd be miserable and faking a huge goofy smile. Then I started to realize when I woke up tired, felt grumpy or just off. If I acted happy then I WAS happy. My car mirror got smashed the other day and I was so bummed out, but on my way into work I just kept thinking, the weekend is coming.. be happy and it worked! I felt way better and even had a chuckle when I got back to my car. It's good to feel happy! :)

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  7. I have to admit, I have missed your more consistent posting because I feel like i'm missing talking to a friend but I am glad you are having a fun summer and I hope everything turns out well with the baby. Great advice! I feel like even if I am not in a bad mood I still I sometimes fall into one with my husband because of the dumbest things and I think "why does this kid even love me when I constantly act like such a little brat?!" I need to give the mantra a try as well as read the book! Thanks for boosting my day!

  8. I love this post!

    First, I love your new planner almost as much as I love my new Erin Condren. I have to have paper and pen. Electronic planning just doesn't work for me.

    Also, I love your takeaway from The Happiness Project. It's something I need to remember more often. Acting the way I feel.

  9. Definitely needed this today.

    I should read that. Everyone always talks about it.

  10. Anonymous7:00 PM

    I started reading the Happiness Project but moved and stopped reading it. Apparently I need to continue with it because I could've used that advice two days ago!
    It's so hard to remember that when you feel depressed/irrational/angry/irritated. But I will try this next time. Thanks, Bonnie. :)

  11. I am behind you 100% on this theory. It was a wake-up call for me when I realized that nobody was in charge of my attitude except for me, and it's a CHOICE I make. If I made up my mind to act better, I was better. Thank you for reminding me, because I have been trying to plan a wedding… The stress has been getting to me! But I should just be thankful and happy, and I will choose to act that way!

  12. You are so right Bonnie! Thanks for the mantra.... going to try and remember that the next time I'm being whiney and unreasonable.

  13. I love this and I need to remember it. It is easier to be your meaner self with the people who love you the most. We do choice how we act to situations and I need to remember this myself.

  14. That is such a cute planner! That mantra is great. Going to try to remember to think about it the next time I'm being bratty.


  15. I needed this post today. I've been grumpy and frustrated a lot recently because life is busy and stressful and nothing is going the way I plan it to!!!! (Which is a big deal, because you know, my planner...) Thanks for the inspiration to be better!

  16. Love that book. How's all the shopping goings?