I thought of you when I read this quote from “The Happiness Project: Or, Why I Spent a Year Trying to Sing in the Morning, Clean My Closets, Fight Right, Read Aristotle, and Generally Have More Fun” by Gretchen Rubin –
“It hit me while I was on the subway. I was reading Bruno Frey and Alois Stutzer’s Happiness and Economics, and I looked up for a moment to ponder the meaning of the sentence “It has been shown that pleasant affect, unpleasant affect, and life satisfaction are separable constructs.” Along the same lines, I’d just read some research that showed that happiness and unhappiness (or, in more scientific terms, positive affect and negative affect) aren’t opposite sides of the same emotion— they’re distinct and rise and fall independently.”
… To be happy, I need to think about feeling good, feeling bad, and feeling right. So simple, yet so profound. It looks like something you might read on the cover of a glossy magazine, but it had taken enormous effort to come up with a framework that ordered and distilled everything I’d learned. To be happy, I needed to generate more positive emotions, so that I increased the amount of joy, pleasure, enthusiasm, gratitude, intimacy, and friendship in my life. That wasn’t hard to understand. I also needed to remove sources of bad feelings, so that I suffered less guilt, remorse, shame, anger, envy, boredom, and irritation. Also easy to understand. And apart from feeling more “good”and feeling less “bad,”I saw that I also needed to consider feeling right. “Feeling right”was a trickier concept: it was the feeling that I’m living the life I’m supposed to lead. In my own case, although I’d had a great experience as a lawyer, I’d been haunted by an uncomfortable feeling—that I wasn’t doing what I was “supposed”to be doing. Now, though my writing career can be a source of “feeling bad”as well as “feeling good,”I do “feel right.”“Feeling right”is about living the life that’s right for you—in occupation, location, marital status, and so on. It’s also about virtue: doing your duty, living up to the expectations you set for yourself. For some people, “feeling right”can also include less elevated considerations: achieving a certain job status or material standard of living.
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