Do You Accept These Paradoxes of Happiness?

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Do you accept these paradoxes of happiness?

I love a paradox. G  K. Chesterton wrote that “Paradox has been defined as ‘Truth standing on her head to get attention,'” and I find that an idea expressed in a paradox captures my attention with particular force.

Here are some of my favorites:

We should be selfish, if only for selfless reasons. On a related note…

Being a little selfish helps me to be selfless. We must have treats.

Discipline brings freedom. As an Upholder, I believe this with all my heart, but Rebels will disagree.

Accept yourself, and expect more of yourself. W. H. Auden articulates beautifully this tension:

“Between the ages of twenty and forty we are engaged in the process of discovering who we are, which involves learning the difference between accidental limitations which it is our duty to outgrow and the necessary limitations of our nature beyond which we cannot trespass with impunity.”

Keep an empty shelf, and keep a junk drawer. Want to see my empty shelf? You can see it here, at 6:40.

Take yourself less seriously—and take yourself more seriously.

Go slow to go fast.

Think about yourself so you can forget yourself. 

You can be generous by taking. I love the story a friend told me that reminded me of this point. Also this story.

The days are long, but the years are short. Of everything I’ve ever written, this little video I made, The Years Are Short, is the thing that resonates most with people.

What are some of your favorite paradoxes? Happiness related, or otherwise.

From 2006 through 2014, as she wrote The Happiness Project and Happier at Home, Gretchen chronicled her thoughts, observations, and discoveries on The Happiness Project Blog.



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