Guest Posts, Video, What Made You Happy Project

Don’t Be An Asshole.

September 20, 2014

By Jen Pastiloff.


I have this project. It’s called The “What Made You Happy Today Project.” Well, it’s called that until I think of a better name for it. I ask people that question. Strangers on the street. People I know. People I don’t. People stepping off the bus. People stepping on. People on corners. People with dogs. Old people. Kids. People standing in the bright lights of a supermarket wearing matching pink sweatshirts.

Then, I let their answers seep in and move me. I let it change me- their words. Their lives. I often write about them. What can I say? I’m a storyteller. Watch the video. Wherein I discuss Russian people, being an asshole and happiness. The usual coffee talk, ya know. Post in the comments below what made you happy. Pretty please.

Video after the jump. Jump!

Don't Be An Asshole. With Jen Pastiloff.

It is my firm belief that we must (or I must) laugh at ourselves daily.

Calling myself an asshole was my way of acknowledging that. Someone so seemingly happy, who, from the outside might not seem that way (she was blind) and how humbling that is. I remember last spring my friend getting back from Africa and telling me how the kids in the village where she was staying were so happy. And how they had nothing. They were so grateful and they had nearly nothing to play with, except themselves.

And there I was whining that I needed new sneakers. The subtitle of my workshop is ON BEING HUMAN, so I agree that we are all indeed human. I just love to get myself in check. I use asshole lovingly. Anyway, post what made you happy below.



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  • Reply Anna September 20, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    You are a riot!!! Thanks for that inspiration ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️

  • Reply Barbarapotter September 20, 2014 at 6:23 pm

    Love it.

  • Reply Kimberly September 20, 2014 at 7:02 pm

    I laughed today which doesn’t happen very often. That made me happy.

  • Reply kari September 20, 2014 at 8:26 pm

    I gazed up at the stars tonight and their beauty made me happy

  • Reply Alma Luz Villanueva September 20, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    Hola beautiful Jen and fellow asshole…I received a ‘milk frother’ for my b’day coming up and was finally able to froth my green chai this morning, used half can milk, half water as soy milk does not froth. I kept laughing at myself at the idea of frothing my milk for my tea/coffee in the future. While thinking of so many without even milk…”The whole world is a form of truth.” Rumi But the truth is, it doesn’t take much to make me happy…the spinning heart crystal glued to my morning window, gift from my grandson, when that starts spinning, damn I’m happy. Of course, I get sad and cry pretty easily- today I cried reading a student’s so well written story about ‘love lost’…we live, hopefully, within the human spectrum. That’s what you keep pointing out, Jen, GRACIAS. xoxo

  • Reply Tracy September 20, 2014 at 10:51 pm

    You asked us to post in the comments what made us happy today. So many things, such little things but oh so important. Meeting a new person whom I feel may become a friend. Meeting a new person I’ll probably never see again, who touched my day. Helping a friend move. Receiving compliments just for being me. Getting an invitation to a friend’s house and knowing they are making shrimp just because I’m coming. Spending time with my husband. There are many more little things. All of which made me happy. I have oh so many reasons that I could choose to be unhappy about and nobody would fault me but it’s hard to be upset about even things like our only vehicle being broke down when there are so MANY little things in my life that remind me how fortunate and loved I am, and that cannot help but make me smile. ((hugs))

  • Reply What Made YOU Happy Today | Random Words September 20, 2014 at 11:17 pm

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  • Reply Alanna September 21, 2014 at 9:25 am

    Seeing your MASSIVE smile when you called yourself an asshole just made my heart soar. Your love is infectious. Thank you. Xxx

    And the roses in full bloom at Regents Park today were beautiful.

    And talking to a professor of mine from my undergrad days about my PhD research in London over lunch, who I haven’t seen in three years. X

  • Reply Margaret Davis September 21, 2014 at 2:58 pm

    As I approach my 70th birthday I am happy that I’m not an old, cranky, miserable cantankerous biddy.

  • Reply Carol Campbell September 21, 2014 at 3:47 pm

    I’m happy today because it’s International Peace Day and I wrote a poem to the children of the world pledging that I would do everything in my power to work for peace! Thanks Jen for all you do!!

  • Reply Stephanie September 22, 2014 at 11:27 am

    What made me happy today?…that the superintendent e-mailed the entire teaching staff to let us know that he had chocolate in his office to share!

  • Reply Brenda McDowell September 22, 2014 at 9:28 pm

    knowing I am here

  • Reply Barbara Potter November 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

    Silly little things. Since it is still early in the morning and have not done much yet. Waking up with a smile as I have done all of my life. Yes, I am one of those people and I don’t drink coffee…hehehe. Making lunch for my husband as he does not get a chance to get out of the shop to eat and surprising his assistant with lunch too. The sun shining outside and taking the bread that I thought was time to go and feeding the birds.
    It just felt so nice out there doing that. Well that’s it but enough to start the day with happy.

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