I wasn’t expecting Barbara Berger’s Are You Happy Now? to change me much, because I am already a happy person. I picked it up mostly because I have friends who could be happier, and I thought I might glean some tips to help them.Was I in for a surprise!
When the book arrived in the mail, I was on my way out to a hair appointment, so I tucked it in my handbag and went. Upon my arrival, the receptionist told me that my hair colorist was running 20 minutes late. This was bad news! I didn’t like it that my personal schedule was being thrown off or that I’d have to pay more for parking. I felt annoyed—certainly not happy with this unexpected turn in my day. After stewing about why I hadn’t been notified in advance, I settled into a chair, pulled out the book, and began reading Chapter 1, “Accept What Is.”
I read, “In the life most of us are living, things just happen. Events and people just pop up, so to speak, in our experience. And that too is the way of it. Most of it is quite beyond our control.” Yes, I could relate. Running 20 minutes late was beyond my control.
I read on, “It’s very stressful to resist what is. It’s very stressful and tiring to fight reality all the time. And that’s precisely what we’re doing when we think that things should be different than what they are. We’re resisting this moment. We’re saying no to what is.”
By the time my colorist was ready for me, I had altered my state of mind and felt quite happy. I was happy that I’d had a good chunk of time to read this amazingly insightful book. I was happy to have such a talented colorist do my hair, and happy that I could afford to have it done.
That is just a teeny, tiny tidbit of this book that is full and rich in content, personable and straight-forward in its approach, and wise in its understanding of the human heart. Reading Barbara Berger is like listening to a best friend and receiving counseling from one of those expert Ph.D.s all at the same time.
Some of the issues discussed are the following: discovering the real you, asserting your rights, recognizing illusions, worry scenarios, the stories we tell ourselves, dealing with crisis, universal standards, seeing without filter, fearing your emotions, unconditional happiness, and much more. The book ends with a “Happy Life Worksheet,” instructions that will guide you in writing and moving on to more happiness.
No matter if you’re high, middle, or low on the happiness scale, I highly recommend this book. There’s a reason it has been translated into 17 languages and has been a runaway bestseller in Scandinavia, where the author lives. Now it’s America’s turn to get happier. Are You Happy Now? will change your life for the better, if you let it. And who doesn’t want a better life?