The paradox of happiness

http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=paradox+of+happiness+images&qpvt=paradox+of+happiness+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=D04D69F8CC2E1B10FE1F8DF2526CCFD2DBEDE0C6&selectedIndex=1

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A paradox is not the same as a contradiction. If you say to me, “The skies are clear and the skies are cloudy,” you are talking in contradiction. Because the skies cannot at once be clear and cloudy. Either the skies are clear. Or they are cloudy.

But, if you ask me, “Is love a force sublime, beautiful, life-giving and nurturing, or is love terrifying, painful, disquieting and often overwhelming,” my answer will be, “Yes.” And I won’t be joking. Or speaking in contradictions. “Yes” is the right answer to your question. It just happens to be a paradoxical answer, because the very nature of love is paradox.

http://www.lvrj.com/living/pondering-the-paradoxical-mystery-of-human-connections-144133365.html

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https://curtisnarimatsu.wordpress.com/2013/03/09/in-praise-of-married-couple-sista-clara-and-herb-alvarez-and-sista-claras-under-his-wings-social-ministry/

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http://www.lvrj.com/blogs/kalas/Before_you_can_love_others_you_must_love_yourself.html

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A paradox is like a hammock: The only way to rest comfortably is to hang each end of the hammock on irreconcilable opposites (see note). And the difference between a contradiction and a paradox is that with a paradox [irony], the irreconcilable opposites are always true.

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Objectively, your question pushes us toward the necessity of two psychological maturities: discernment (the ability to understand what’s going on) and stewardship (the ability to weigh and measure what you have and don’t have to give, and, if you do have it, whether you should). These two things lie at the heart of all deep deliberation and, in any given moment, shape the answer to your question regarding where your primary concern should be.

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Here’s a banal illustration: I’m on an airplane as I type this. Before takeoff, the attendant gave us the safety lecture. She said that, while they never anticipate a sudden loss of cabin pressure, should it occur, oxygen masks would drop down from overhead. She said that, if I was traveling with a small child who needed assistance with the mask, that I should put mine on first.

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In short, as a function of discernment and stewardship of my “concern economy,” I should in this case make myself my primary concern. I assume because, were I to lose consciousness, my primary concern for my child would immediately become a moot point.

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No primary concern for self matters unless it obliges us in relationship with others. No primary concern for others is completely healthy unless it reflects a healthy regard for self.

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http://www.bing.com/images/search?q=paradox+of+happiness+images&qpvt=paradox+of+happiness+images&FORM=IGRE#view=detail&id=0A767BFF316D88ECA850E36793F72F4A6B48600E&selectedIndex=12

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Want To Live In The Present? Try This Effortless Breathing Exercise

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http://www.lvrj.com/living/contemplating-happiness-and-smiling-at-the-thought-196751721.html

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How do I measure happiness?

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My mind flashes a paradox.

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I think happiness is both overrated and underrated.

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Happiness is overrated in the sense that, at least how I use the word, it describes a passing subjective experience. Enjoyable? Yes. At the heart of how we know our lives to be meaningful and valuable? Probably not.

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I’m saying that, at 55, I’m less invested in the question (in any given moment) “Am I happy?” As a definitive measure of much of anything, I would consider that question in myself to lie somewhere between childish and narcissistic. For me, there are tons of questions more important than “Am I happy?”

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For example: Does it have meaning? Value? Is it authentic? Am I being authentic? Is it true? Is it beautiful? Is it satisfying? These treasures can thrive in my life even (and often) in the absence of happiness. Happiness is an independent variable.

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With all respect for the Declaration of Independence, I respect life, I enjoy liberty, but I no longer pursue, as such, happiness. I have come to expect happiness to orbit across my path from time to time, as is its wont. With pretty much a mind of its own.

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On the other hand, I no longer underrate happiness. I think happiness emerges from …

■ Contentment: making peace with “enough-ness.” I have a bed. A roof. Food in the cupboard. Underwear in my dresser and shoes in my closet. A vocation. I love and I am loved. Seriously? What else do I need?

■ Peace: those moments when I have nothing to explain, defend or justify; therefore, I am free to be present to my own life, and the lives of those around me.

■ Gratitude: When I remember that I am not entitled to happiness, I have more capacity to enjoy it as a gift.

So, whether lost in my work or just being with loved ones, when I notice my contentment, peace and gratitude, that’s when I notice I am happy. And I smile somewhere in my soul, nod and say, “Nice of you to drop by.”

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