The Happiness Project

A chronicle of my attempts to test-drive every tip, principle and scientific study that promotes happiness

Accept Yourself, and Expect More From Yourself

There are many paradoxes of happiness, and this is one of the most important.

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.

 

Also ...

  • I'm hard at work on Better Than Before, a book about how we make and break habits. In it, I reveal the secret of habit-formation -- really! Sign up here to be notified when it goes on sale. Or if you want to read the whole book condensed into 21 sentences, read here.

Gretchen Rubin is the author of The Happiness Project, a book and a blog about her adventures learning to be happier.

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