Podcast 228: Make Your Own Art, Learn a Lesson from Mr. Rogers, and Be Aware of the Danger of “Excessive Reassurance-Seeking.”


Iepisode 224, we talked about “Design your summer.” Listeners have come up with great great ideas. We mention the podcast Binge Mode: Harry Potter.

Try This at Home

Make your own art. I think Elizabeth’s photo of the Gold Medal Flour in Minneapolis is good enough to frame—what do you think?In this context, we mention our beloved, frequent advertiser Framebridge, a service makes it so easy to frame your art. (Go to Framebridge.com and use promo code HAPPIER to save 15% off your first order) This mention isn’t a paid ad, we just love Framebridge.

Gold Medal Flour

Happiness Hack

Change your clothes from work clothes/school clothes to leisure clothes. This is a classic transition strategy—think of Mr. Rogers! Elizabeth mentions the interview with mega-producer David Hoberman on her podcast Happier in Hollywood

Happiness Stumbling Block

We’ve talked a lot about the overarching stumbling block of misunderstanding how others perceive our actions. This can take many forms. One pernicious form of this challenge is “excessive reassurance-seeking.” I refer to Mitch Prinstein’s book Popular: Finding Happiness and Success in a World That Cares Too Much About the Wrong Kinds of Relationships. Excessive reassurance-seeking happens when a a reassurance-seeker constantly questions and doubts a relationship, and asks for reassurance. This behavior can make the other person feel distrusted, stressed, and ineffective—and eventually (ironically) that person may pull away. Often, people who engage in this pattern don’t understand how their own behavior elicited the rejection. They focus on the behavior of the person they doubt, or whom they believe is pulling away, and they don’t see how their actions have sparked to that retreat. We mention the fascinating book The Five Love Languagesyou can listen to a Very Special Episode about this framework. Elizabeth and I are both “Words of Affirmation.”

Listener Answer

With “Listener Answer,” we ask for answers from listeners. What answers would you suggest for our listener Tanya? She’s in a tough situation.

Recently my company was bought by another company and as a result, I was let go. Only I wasn’t let go right away, I was given a working severance, which means I have to work for 2 whole months before leaving. I’m really struggling with this. What makes matters worse is that I was the only one in my department to be let go. So all day I’m surrounded by people talking about the new company and excited about their new jobs. I feel left out, and to be honest, a little bitter. I know they are excited about this new opportunity, and it doesn’t make sense that they should have to stop talking about it around me—yet every time they do, I feel more distanced and sad that I wasn’t asked to come along on this journey, too. As a result, this has been torture for me. I try to think about the positives: I’ll have the summer off, I wasn’t sure I even wanted the job anyway, I basically get paid to look for a new job, but no matter what I still come back to negative thoughts: I’m not good enough, I’m being left behind, I’m never going to find a new job, they all still have each other and I have no one, etc. I really just want to screw it and forgo my severance just to get out of this everyday stress, but I need the money. Do you have any advice on how to survive this with my relationships and mental health intact?

Elizabeth’s Demerit

Elizabeth is experiencing “reading paralysis.” She’d been doing a lot of reading, but now she has so much to read, she stopped reading for fun, and now she can’t even read for work.

Gretchen’s Gold Star

I give a gold star to our four-year-old cockapoo, Barnaby. I love his quiet presence, especially when he chooses to hang out in my home office with me. Barnaby


  • Do you love great quotations? Subscribe to my “Moment of Happiness” newsletter and receive a daily quote in your inbox. Visit gretchenrubin.com/#newsletter, enter your email address, and click “submit.” When you’re given the option to customize which newsletters you receive, select “Daily Happiness Quotation.”
  • If you’d like to present an in-person workshop with a group of adults to teach them about my Four Tendencies framework, learn more at workshop.gretchenrubin.com




Like what you see? Explore more about this topic.

Subscribe to Gretchen’s newsletter.

Every Friday, Gretchen Rubin shares 5 things that are making her happier, asks readers and listeners questions, and includes exclusive updates and behind-the-scenes material.