Further Secrets of Adulthood:
Or as W. H. Auden put it, “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.”
Or as Flannery O’Connor observed, “Accepting oneself does not preclude an attempt to become better.”
There are many paradoxes of happiness, and this is one of the most important.
In Happier at Home, I write about how I struggled with this question as I faced my fear of driving. Should I accept a fear of driving as a natural limit of my nature, or should I expect myself to conquer that fear? Very reluctantly, I decided to make myself start driving again.
Is there an area where you struggle to decide whether to “accept yourself” or to “expect more from myself”?