Ask any woman how she’s feeling. Even when things look pretty darn great from the outside, chances are that at least one thing (and it may seem minor to others) is nagging at her, making her feel less than spectacular, bringing her down: I’m too fat. My husband doesn’t help enough around the house. My friend is going to be mad if I don’t call her back. Why don’t my kids try harder at school? My job is less than inspiring. Whatever happened to that old boyfriend, the one who got away?
Whether it’s the size of our thighs or our bank accounts, there always seems to be something that isn’t measuring up to our high standards–and we let the dissatisfaction spill over into other areas of our lives, distracting us from taking pleasure in everything that’s going right.
In The Nine Rooms of Happiness, Lucy Danziger, editor in chief of Self magazine, and women’s-health psychiatrist Catherine Birndorf use the metaphor of a house to release us from this phenomenon. In this house, the living room is where we deal with friendships and our social life; the bedroom is where we explore intimacy, romance, relationships, and sex; the bathroom is for issues relating to health and body image; the kitchen is for nourishment and the division of chores; and so on.
Our “inner house” can have eight beautifully designed, neat and tidy rooms, and one messy one, and still we focus on the mess.
The Nine Rooms of Happiness pinpoints common self-destructive patterns of behavior and offers key processes that will help readers clean up their emotional architecture. After each room is “clean,” Danziger and Birndorf show us how we can spend time on ourselves figuring out what is most meaningful to us–finding larger passion and purpose that makes returning to the rest of our house a pleasure, no matter what calamity or mess awaits.
The result? After reading this book you’ll think differently about the things that are bringing you down and be able to live a happier, more joy filled life, in every room of your emotional house.
From the outside, you’d think I have it all: beautiful house, wonderful children, devoted husband. But am I happy? I think so. There’s nothing that has gone terribly wrong. There’s no reason for me not to be happy. But I don’t feel happy so much as I feel I’m just going through the motions. Sometimes I have the feeling that there’s more and I just haven’t found it yet. But what . . . and how dare I want more? Isn’t all that I have enough? –from The Nine Rooms of Happiness