Self-Knowledge: Identify Your Patron Saints.

Self-knowledge is crucial to happiness, but it’s challenging to know yourself. Sometimes, I find, I can gain insight by asking myself questions that make me take stock of my interests and values.

For that reason, I asked myself, “Who are my patron saints? Of my Happiness Project, in particular, and for myself generally?” (A “patron saint” is a saint who has a special connection to a person, place, profession, or activity, or in more casual terms, a person who serves as a particular leader or example.)

Here are my six patron saints:

Benjamin Franklin: practical, curious, inventive.

St. Therese of Lisieux: showing great love through small, ordinary actions.

Samuel Johnson: wildly eccentric, with a deep understanding of human nature.

Julia Child: goofy yet masterly; light-hearted yet authoritative.

Winston Churchill: indefatigable, indomitable.

Virginia Woolf: intensely attuned to the power of the passing moment.

Well, Julia Child and Winston Churchill are probably rarely paired together in the same discussion, but they both represent very powerful ideas to me. It’s interesting—the posts I’ve written about these figures are among my favorites of all the posts I’ve written. I love thinking and writing about my patron saints.

Who are your patron saints? Why?

I’m working on my Happiness Project, and you could have one, too! Everyone’s project will look different, but it’s the rare person who can’t benefit. Join in — no need to catch up, just jump in right now. Each Friday’s post will help you think about your own happiness project.

* Speaking of Samuel Johnson, my next book takes its title from Johnson. Johnson remarked, “To be happy at home is the ultimate result of all ambition, the end to which every enterprise and labour tends.” My next book is called Happier at Home. What a pleasure it has been to write this book! If you’d like to be notified when it’s available, sign up here.

Other posts you might be interested in . . .

  • LouAnn

    love these, must come up with a list of my own

  • rustico bintero

    Live Christ,share Christ!

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  • Renee2275

    One of my patron saints is Eleanor Roosevelt. Her passion for making the world around her a better place, and her ability to never give-up, truly inspire me. I always think of her when I am working through a tough moment.

  • yllas

    Jim Henson. Srsly. They are out of the spotlight now, but The Muppets have brought such joy to ALL kinds of people for years and years. Mothers, kids, swingin’ party people, motorcycle men, priests, bartenders, politicians, homeless people. (all of these people, at least one of each, has personally professed to me their love for the Muppets.) All due to the vision of Jim Henson….Also, maybe not yet a saint, but on the list of maybe-someday, Ellen DeGeneres. Her show is just an utter joy to watch.

  • Kerry

    Audrey Hepburn! She was the epitome of grace, beauty, and simplicity. Despite the troubles she faced during her life, she was always elegant. She was also a very strong, independent woman, despite her fragile appearance. Truly a complex and beautiful person.

  • Kiwi_girl

    I’d like to find a patron saint but I just don’t know where to start!

  • Phillip Fine

    How in the hell could Virginia Woolf be intensely attuned to the power of the passing moment when she took her own life? And although Ben Franklin may have embodied the qualities of happiness, he didn’t make his wife happy; in fact, he ditched her for all intents and purposes!