Monday, August 22, 2011

The Nine Rooms of Happiness: Loving Yourself, Finding Your Purpose, and Getting Over Life's Little Imperfections by L. Danzinger & Catherine Berndorf

Just as you have rooms in your house, so also you have rooms in your mind, and just like the ones in your house, they accumulate the baggage you pick up during your life. But if your mind, just like the rooms in your real house, get too messy, they can make it impossible for you to live a normal and fulfilled life. This isn't to say that all the rooms should be obsessively neat and spic and span clean, but as long as the rooms are relatively neat and clean, you will be much happier in your life.

This book divides problems in your life into one of nine areas, just like the nine main rooms of a house. While a real life house may have multiple bedrooms and bathrooms, your mental house has just one of each, and problems in your life are analogous to a mess in one of the nine rooms. The Basement is your earliest memories. The Family Room is for just that- your family, while the Living Room is for friends. The Office contains your job, while the bathroom stands for issues with health, beauty, vanity and aging concerns. The Bedroom is for love and sex and intimacy, not just sex, but closeness with people you love. The kitchen, of course, has places for issues with food and taking care of oneself and others. The Kid's Room is for issues left over from your childhood, where you are forever the child and forever wrong, and also where you deal with issues from your own children. And the Attic is for your expectations of and for yourself, for your dreams and wishes, mainly the unfulfilled ones.

Each of these rooms and their baggage can mess up your life and cause you to feel stress, and the authors show you how to find which room or rooms are causing your problems and how you can work to, if not solve them, at least realize what those problems are and how they are rooted in your psyche. While a problem may seem to be based in one room of the house, it could have its roots in more than one room. For example, a problem with how you raise your kids can be based on expectations of how your parents did it, or in trying to recreate the same memories you had as a kid, which is all but impossible, and you can kill yourself trying and never have it feel the same.

There is also a tenth room, a room of one's one, where you can just be yourself and shrug off what other people want you to be or need you to be and just be yourself. What that room is, is up to you, and you can decide for yourself. It's there for you to be you, whoever you are.

I found this an interesting book and an interesting way to approaching problems in your life. In addition to laying out where your problem or problems lie, you can also see if your problem is in any way influenced by other things in your life. But it's not neccessary to spend hundreds of dollars in therapy to try and solve your problems. You just need to see them with some measure of objectivity, define the problem, and work towards a solution.

Breaking down the problem into what rooms of your mental house it falls into can go a long way towards helping you see the problem objectively and see what needs to be done. And maybe help you deal with and feel better about your problems without forcing you to see a therapist.

I found the book helpful on my own part, and decided my tenth room is a library, where I keep the books I've read, the stories I've told and the things I've experienced, and this book may also help you as well. It's an interesting concept and works well with some good self-assessment. YMMV, but this book did help me a great deal. Recommended.

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