Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Reaching a place of enduring contentment with ourselves

When sadness descends like a heavy fog, our first instinct is to stop giving ourselves privileges. 

To deny ourselves healthy experiences and emotions. To feel virtuous for depriving ourselves. And to contract our lives and become small, because that will keep things predictable and safe. 

Our sweet little routine will protect us. Even though joy has left the building. 

But’s a completely false solution. To punish ourselves for deviating from the happy path, that doesn’t make us heroic and empowered, it only serves to compound the pain. 

And so, instead of depriving ourselves when we already feel sad enough, a healthier choice is to do something nice for ourselves. To give ourselves the freedom to enjoy life in spite of our unsolved problems. To find a portal to transcendence, whatever that might look and feel like for our individual personality. 

Russell’s final paragraph in his book on the conquest of happiness put it perfectly:

The happy man is the man who does not suffer from failures of unity, whose personality is neither divided against itself nor pitted against the world. Such a person feels himself a citizen of the universe, enjoying freely the spectacle that it offers and the joys that it affords, untroubled by the thought of death because he feels himself not really separate from those who will come after him. It is in such profound instinctive union with the stream of life that the greatest joy is to be found

This is how we reach a place of enduring contentment with ourselves. 

By engaging in activities that match our vision of life, rather than depriving ourselves of joy. 

By embracing a diverse set of pursuits that form a complete identity, rather than letting one bad mood fill our entire identity screen.

What privileges are you denying yourself because of sadness?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.  

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