It sounds obvious: “happy women live better.” But do not be fooled; for many women today, finding that happy place is easier said than done. Author and personal and executive coach Valorie Burton has written Happy Women Live Better: 13 Ways to Trigger Your Happiness Every Day (Harvest House, 2013) to provide women with a guide to recognizing opportunities in their busy, often stressful lives to embrace and experience genuine happiness.
With 13 chapters, each devoted to a specific “trigger,” Burton offers anecdotes and background into various challenges to being happy; she then offers insightful tips and exercises to help readers examine and implement these triggers in their own lives. Throughout Burton acknowledges the many “happiness myths” that women live with—including that success will produce happiness, that looking for happiness is selfish, and that “having it all” will result in a happy life. She debunks the myths, displaying her awareness of women’s anxieties, desires, and strengths, and then offers productive, informative coaching to steer readers toward alternative, achievable happy endings.
The book’s appendix follows up the coaching chapters with lessons for younger women (see excerpt included here) and “Personalized Action Plans” for women at various stages of life. Happy Women Live Better offers both insight into the roadblocks that can detour happiness and practical exercises that help readers reflect and progress toward a genuinely happy life, providing a valuable resource for women of all ages. _
Pay It Forward By Valorie Burton
Top 10 Happiness Lessons to Teach Girls and Young Women
1.Don’t plan just your career; plan your personal life.
What do you want your personal life to look like 10 years from now? Set goals for your career but also set goals for what you want personally. If marriage is the goal, when you are of age, date only those whom you would actually consider marrying—those who share your goals for family and spiritual life and have a shared vision you want to live out. And choose friends who share your values. Be there for them, but be sure you choose friends who will also be there for you.
2.Nobody on a magazine cover really looks like that!
To whom do you tend to compare yourself? Stop making upward comparisons to women who do not actually exist. Every magazine photo is airbrushed to make the model look flawless. In real life she has blemishes, too! Embrace your unique beauty.
3.You have a purpose. Your job in life is to find it and live it.
How is someone’s life better because he or she crosses your path? Every day do something to brighten someone else’s day. There is a reason you were created. You have gifts, talents, passion, and experiences that can make this world a better place. You are not meant to hold on to them but to use them for good.
4.It is okay to fail. It is not trying that you will regret.
What are you afraid to try for fear you might fail? It is not okay to let fear keep you from trying. When you fail, learn the lesson. Use it next time. The happiest women live without regrets. They are bold enough to go for what they want. They know that the secret to success is to keep trying until they succeed.
5.“No man is a good catch who is not madly in love with you.” —Pearl Cleage
Does he treat you like the valuable woman you are? A man’s success and good looks are not what make him a good catch! How he treats you, his character, emotional stability, and faith do. Don’t settle. Don’t chase a guy. The one you are meant to be with will find you, and he will know he has found a good thing. You will know by how he treats you. He will not risk letting you slip away.
6.Don’t say anything about yourself that you do not want to be true.
Your words matter. Never speak words that you do not want to come true: “I can’t.” “I’m stupid.” “Nobody loves me.” Speak only words that give life to your dreams: “I have what it takes.” “I can.” “I’m good enough.” Optimism breeds happiness!
7.Buy experiences, not “stuff.”
What is one thing you would like to have the money to do? Happy women live below their means and aim to be debt-free. While your friends are pinching pennies to pay off credit cards and loans, you will have the freedom to save money, give some away, and spend some on experiences that bring real happiness—a night out with friends, a fun trip, or dance or photography lessons to teach you something new.
8.Talk to your family more than you e-mail and text them.
Texting and e-mailing are great for touching bases and sharing information. But make it a habit to actually talk to the people who matter. Happy women connect face-to-face, where they can touch, see, and truly be with a person. You cannot build strong relationships in 140 characters or less.
9.Listen to that still, small voice.
Have you ever felt your inner voice telling you something but just ignored it? When? God speaks in a whisper, a nudge in your spirit that guides you in the right direction. Don’t ignore that still, small voice. Trust your ability to hear from God. He gives you that gut instinct, that intuition. It is divine intelligence. Don’t discount it or ignore it. It is your secret weapon! And if you are ever afraid you are wrong about it, trust that God will let you know and redirect your steps.
What do you like to do purely for the joy of it? Your life is a gift. Enjoy it! Not everything has to be about reaching goals and getting results. Sometimes you just need to stop and play! Always keep your inner kid alive.
Valorie Burton offers readers 13 ways to create happiness in their lives: