I'm moving the book reviews to Fridays...
It was with this in mind that I downloaded the ebook "And then I'll be happy" by Kristen Houghton. I had come across an article of hers online talking about how you can break the news to your family that you would rather go away over the holidays than spend them with them (it was a lowering stress kind of thing) and I was impressed with how she wrote. In that article, she gave me the permission I needed to stop considering how my mother would take news like that and to act on my own behalf for the sake of my own family's happiness.
The thing I found about this book is that it doesn't really go much into the psychology of happiness. It tends to pinpoint the ways that women sabotage their own happiness for the sake of others and to give them a first step toward reclaiming their lives and happiness for themselves. Each chapter focuses on different scenarios and has 1-2 stories of real women in these situations. The topics ranged from setting aside your dreams, to affairs with a married man, to always pleasing your family. The central theme, though, is putting yourself on the backburner and putting someone else first. The stories were sad (even the ones with so-called "happy endings").
When I finished reading the book, I didn't really feel like I had added anything to my own happiness toolbox. I do, however, feel like I found a book that would be a good gift for a few older women in my life. That, in itself, made it worth reading for me. Do I recommend this one? Not really - unless you or someone you know is suffering from always putting themselves last and needs to identify it.
I am now reading Gretchen Rubin's "The Happiness Project" and it is much more in line with what I was looking for (and a much happier read). I'll likely review that one next week if I can finish it this weekend.