What’s Your “Pigeon of Discontent”?

For the past few years, for the weekly video as part of the Happiness Challenge, I’ve proposed a resolution for your consideration — a concrete, manageable resolution to boost your happiness (at least, one that has boosted my happiness).

I’m considering changing the format of the videos for next year. One possibility is to have readers post comments about the aspects of life that drag them down — then I’d discuss (I wouldn’t give advice, but I’d discuss) those issues in the videos.

Because, as much as we try to follow the Bluebird of Happiness, we’re also plagued by the Pigeon of Discontent. A Pigeon of Discontent isn’t a major happiness challenge, but an ordinary problem that has settled into roost. For example: you’re always exhausted; you fight with your in-laws; your house is a wreck; you feel panicked when you think of how far behind you’ve fallen on making photo albums.

I’m not sure whether this format will work, so I have a favor to ask: if you have a readily identifiable “pigeon of discontent,” please post it here. Having an idea of how people would answer this question will help me decide whether this would be an interesting, useful path to take.

So: What is your Pigeon of Discontent? What relatively small and ordinary issue drags down your happiness?

* Is your book group reading The Happiness Project? Email me if you’d like the one-page discussion guide — or the discussion guide for spirituality book groups, Bible study groups, and the like — at gretchenrubin1@gretchenrubin.com. Happy reading!

  • My “pigeon of discontent” is I hate where I live.  Two years ago we moved to the desert SW for my husband’s job.  I have always lived up north and miss the seasons and different weather.  I hate the heat.  I also hate this city.  Too much sprawl, horrible traffic, nasty politics etc.  I have tried making the house “homier” and my own (not big on the architecture here either and the lack of variety) and we go camping once a month and explore new areas.  I hate hating where I live but short of divorcing my husband moving is not an option for the foreseeable  future.  I try to focus on the positives of my life  but I still miss the autumn foliage, white christmases and rainy day baking.  Help!

  • Debbiland

    Team members at work who are quick to grumble about each other but slow to praise (myself included)

  • Wendy Saxton

    For many, it’s unfinished projects, such as painting. Painting relaxes me. I enjoy it, but I don’t always have time to finish right away. This drives some people crazy, but for me, a half painted door is simply art in progress. Like a good book, you finish when you finish. My mom once said, “You know you’re at Wendy’s house if there’s a half-painted wall or door in the house.” She said it in such a loving way, though. Her comment felt like a hug. In regards to painting projects, I’m a big fan of giving myself seasonal deadlines. For example, before November 1, projects will be complete so the house looks nice for the holidays.