Personal Commandments from Always Brittany

A few months ago I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and I loved it.

Self-help books really depend on my mood- I usually either love or hate them, rarely do they rate in the middle for me. And I'm all about it at the moment.

 Basically, this woman decided she wanted to be happier so she came up with a plan and put it in motion over the course of a year.

Part of this plan includes having personal commandments to live by. You can see and read about about Gretchen's commandments here, but like all aspects of The Happiness Project they vary between individuals.

Gretchen states:

These aren't specific resolutions, like make my bed, but the overarching principles by which I try to live my life.
It's a creative way of distilling core values.

She says it took her months to come up with hers and there is no rush. But of course I wanted to jump right in; here is what I have come up with so far. It's only 9, whereas she has 12...but there is no one way to do this and these feel like a strong start for me.

1. To thine own self be true. 
This is basically the same as Gretchen's first commandment of Be Gretchen. But I like this wording better. When I think of Be Brittany, I get confused. Part of my life trouble comes from the fact that I am not always sure of who I am. Thinking of what feels true is more natural and calming and strengthening. 

2. Be generous in action and thought.
 This one is something I've been thinking on and striving towards for quite a while now. It's partially a Biblical inspiration, and partly from what I could have sworn was a John Green quote but I can't confirm online. But it basically was something about the best marriage advice he was given was to be generous. I specify in both actions and thought because I do want to be generous when giving of my resources to those in my life. But the thought portion is to help my relationship with other people. Almost always, when I am having trouble with someone and have talked to them about it, they almost never meant whatever hurtful comment I was brooding over the way I took it. And you know what, even if they did...they could have just been having a bad day. I'm certainly not perfect, and I need grace. I can walk around assuming the worse about people, or I can be generous in my thoughts about them.

3. Accept your limits; only Christ saves.
 This is a big one for me. That's a big part of my anxiety, because I tend to think that EVERYTHING is my responsibility. But that is bad for me and also not exercising my faith. This is not a disregard for the things that I can do and the responsibilities I do have, but it is the realization that I am human and have limits and that's okay.
4. Little by little.
I tend to have big lofty goals that intimidate me to the point of immobility. Take for instance, Hubby's 30th birthday. I wanted to make it a big deal but we didn't have the money and I wasn't sure where to find the time and I was tapped out of energy. Within an hour the other day, at work, I had planned his and Babycake's next parties. Simple but cute. I have plans to make/purchase decorations/etc piece by piece over the next few months so when the time comes, I'm ready and have the supplies to put into action. If I had been able to take a step-by-step approach originally, I wouldn't have gotten so overwhelmed that I ended up doing nothing.

5. Promote what you love.
 There is a lot of bad in the world. I get that. And we should strive to minimize it. But my personal mental health is dependent on surrounding myself with positivity and hope. It's not my natural inclination- which is exactly why I have to make it a priority. I want to show support and spread good.

6. Just ask/say/do it. 
 Finally talking to people about my anxiety has made me realize that being honest and just saying I need help has massive positive effects. And it's the same with many other areas of my life. If I just suck it up and spend 20 minutes cleaning, I am happier because my environment is clean. Joining my workout group was intimidating as an introvert who never placed value on physical health or exercise before, but it's been a massive blessing. Just doing it, even if it is a failure, is almost always better than sitting around stressing over the idea of doing it.

7. Take people at face value. 
 This kind of ties into #6. This relates partially to my decision to be honest and actually tell people how they can help. For instance, I have a friend who is super crafty- not only is she good at crafts but she enjoys them. So I asked her to help make our Halloween costumes. I didn't have the money to blow on purchasing from a Halloween store, because those prices are ridiculous. But I don't have the time/energy/skill to make it myself. She said yes, that she loved doing stuff like this! Normally I would brood over whether it was too much to ask, but I'm believing her when she says it's okay and even enjoyable.

8. KISS: Keep It Simple Stupid. 
 I've been thinking of these commandments for maybe a week and this one has already become a saving grace. This was my frame of mind when I planned the parties mentioned above. This was my thought when I was tempted to spend way longer than necessary finding a new icon to use in my Bullet Journal key, and what I'm reminding myself during my search for a desk for our soon-to-be-office. I'd love to be the type of person to get a cheap desk off Craigslist and DIY it up, but usually the cheap-o just sits in the garage for's more sensible for ME to buy something I can just throw together quickly and start using right away.

9. Prayer First. 
This really should be my first one, but it's my last. You can see why I need to make it a commandment. I want to get better about truly centering my life around my faith.

These are all pretty standard things to abide by in life. But again, I'm human and imperfect. Mantras and reminders help me live life in a way that is both enjoyable and useful. So I'm excited to have this reason to sit down and come up with some specific coping mechanisms and rules to live by that are helpful to me.

Do you have an personal commandments, or just sayings you keep coming back to?


  1. Mine is: Treat people the way you want to be treated.
    At times, it can be very trying. VERY trying. Especially when people are shitty to me and I just want to "show them" how it feels, which usually doesn't work since they don't respond to things the same way I would.

    After that... I'd probably say: Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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