Can seeking happiness be an actual purpose to life? #quora

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Original thread here. Have a nice weekend!

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Advice I would give my 20 year old self #happiness

On Quora there are plenty of Q&A along the lines of ‘looking back, what would you advise your 20 year old?’  I think I finally have the answer and it’s not ‘eat less sugar and floss daily’ (though this advice would have saved me tens of thousands of pounds in dental costs which I could have invested in passive fund and retired by now). My advice to my 20 year old self is not to look for yourself in other people. Not to run around looking for love as desperately as I did. The lack, the gap can only be filled by finding yourself, by discovering who you are and by falling in love with yourself.

There are 5 tips to finding yourself that worked for me:

  1. Understand your strengths and your values
  2. Be honest with yourself and others
  3. Learn to love yourself
  4. Let go of expectations and beliefs that are not yours or hinder you
  5. Find peace, find balance

More on loving yourself in later posts – this has been the central theme for me lately. I leave you with a poem by Charles C. Finn which I learned about in the Tiny Buddha‘s Guide to Loving Yourself book and reblog from Life In Light Of Eternity. Be yourself.

Don’t be fooled by me.
Don’t be fooled by the face I wear,
For I wear a mask, I wear a thousand masks,
Masks that I am afraid to take off,
But none of them are me.

Pretending is an art that’s second nature to me.
But don’t be fooled
I give you the impression that I am secure,
That all is sunny and unruffled with me,
Within as well as without,
That confidence is my name and coolness is my game,
That the water’s calm and I am in command,
And that I need no one.

Don’t believe me, please!
My surface may be smooth,
But my surface is my mask,
My varying and ever-concealing mask.
Beneath lies the real me,
In confusion and fear,
In loneliness.
I idly chatter with you in the suave tones of surface talk.
I tell you everything that’s really nothing,
Of what’s crying within me.
So, when I’m going through my routine,
Please don’t be fooled by what I’m not saying,
And what I’d like to be able to say,
But what I can’t say.

Only you can call me into aliveness,
Each time you’re kind and gentle and encouraging.
Each time you try to understand because you really care,
My heart begins to grow wings,
Very small wings, very feeble wings, but wings.
With your sensitivity and sympathy and your powers
of understanding,
You can breathe life into me, I want you to know that.
I want you to know how important you are to me,
How you can be a creator of the person that is me if you choose to.

Please choose to.
Do not pass me by.
It will not be easy for you.
My long conviction of worthlessness builds strong walls.
The nearer you approach to me, the blinder I may strike back.
I fight against the very thing I cry out for.
But I am told that love is stronger than strong walls.
In this lies my hope,
My only hope.

Who am I, you may wonder,
I am someone you know very well-
I am a hurting member of your family,
I am the person sitting beside you in this room,
I am every person you meet on the street.
Please don’t believe my mask,
Please come behind it to glimpse the real me.
Please speak to me, share a little of yourself with me,
At least recognize me.
Because you care.

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For those who loved and lost… ‘Anything worth doing is worth doing badly’

Susan Cain is a bestselling author and co-founder of Quiet Revolution. I mentioned her before on the blog as a person who is making introversion ‘normal’. In one of her recent posts she shared Jack Gilbert’s poem below ‘for those of you who have loved and lost: your love was still magnificent’.

The poem is not just beautiful but also perspective shifting. That break up, unrequited love or lost friendship that you are reminiscing about – stop beating yourself up. You loved. You did the best you could, you ripped your heart out and you showed your vulnerable, naked self to the world. It does not matter what happened next – ‘anything worth doing is worth doing badly’. Let’s keep repeating this mantra until our memories are reframed from pain, loss and darkness to love, light and achievement.


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Quote of the week #happiness

I watched ‘The Last Shaman’ on Netflix last night and I loved this quote. Stop looking for love elsewhere (in material riches, in other people) – find it in yourself first.


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Happiness at work – promotion is not the only way

I have been thinking about this post for a while. As we start 2018, evaluate what we achieved and formulate our goals, I thought I’d talk about my recent findings around happiness at work.

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A little poorer and a little more obscure… Here is to a simpler, minimalist 2018! #happiness

At the start of 2017 I wrote: I start 2017 with a firm belief that less is more and freedom is everything. I want time, for my family, creativity, spiritual growth and development, I want quality of life. Be it The Minimalists blog and documentary (on Netflix), Mister Mustache’s musings on radical saving, Uber Frugal Challenge from Mrs Frugalwoods, my friends who inspire me with their focused saving or Alain de Botton’s video below, I came to realise that less is more and an alternative to stressful and forced career and income growth may be much more appealing minimalist living and spend reduction, or ‘voluntary poverty’ as de Botton defines it. Minimalist living reduces noise and brings priorities into focus. It is freedom that comes with this lifestyle that I am after.

It is the end of 2017 and I am happy with my progress – my spending habits have been transformed, I hit the previously unimaginable save rate of 15% of my income (30% next?), I am moving to a more flexible job, which will free up time and headspace for my projects. I will earn less but I will also spend less and have more freedom. It is an experiment. Here is to a simpler, minimalist 2018!

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‘To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind’ by @jamieveron #happiness

This is the best manifesto I’ve read in the last couple of months. FOMO, feeling inadequate, pushing yourself to achieve what you think you should be achieving, comparing yourself to others, beating yourself up about not measuring up to your beliefs of others’ expectations (and the absurdity of it!), getting up before dawn to show up at your writing desk or exercise mat (lol, I do it) and feeling this enormous pressure to be more, to do more – we all do it. Should we not just take a step back and chill? Jamie Veron is on to something here – To Anyone Who Thinks They’re Falling Behind. Be less spermy and more eggy, as Lissa Rankin puts it, my dear life nomads 🙂

You don’t need more motivation or inspiration to create the life you want. You need less shame around the idea that you’re not doing your best. You need to stop listening to people who are in vastly different life circumstances and life stages than you tell you that you’re just not doing or being enough. You need to let timing do what it needs to do. You need to see lessons where you see barriers. You need to understand that what’s right now becomes inspiration later. You need to see that wherever you are now is what becomes your identity later.



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