choose happiness

Thursday, June 26, 2014

On the topic of happiness, two recent essays give us up.

The first is "Rhapsody in Realism," in which David Brooks reflects on Lydia Netzer's "15 Ways to Stay Married for 15 Years." The theory has to do with imperfection. Fessing up to it. Facing it. Living with it. I quote:

But Netzer’s piece is nicely based on the premise that we are crooked timber. We are, to varying degrees, foolish, weak, and often just plain inexplicable — and always will be. As Kant put it: “Out of the crooked timber of humanity no straight thing was ever made.”

People with a crooked timber mentality tend to see life as full of ironies. Intellectual life is ironic because really smart people often do the dumbest things precisely because they are carried away by their own brilliance. Politics is ironic because powerful people make themselves vulnerable because they think they can achieve more than they can. Marriage is ironic because you are trying to build a pure relationship out of people who are ramshackle and messy. There’s an awesome incongruity between the purity you glimpse in the love and the fact that he leaves used tissues around the house and it drives you crazy.
The second piece was part of my daily Linked-In feed, a story by Bernard Marr about happiness and how it might be found. Marr has five tips for us: Live a life true to yourself, don't work so hard, have the courage to express your feelings, stay in touch with your friends, let yourself be happier.

Let yourself be happier.

He explains:

Happiness, it turns out, doesn’t have that much to do with the car you drive or the job you have or even the person you spend your life with. Happiness is actually a choice.

It’s the difference between seeing an unexpected event as a setback or an adventure; the difference between being frustrated by a delay or relishing the time alone; the difference between resenting someone for who they aren’t and loving them for who they are.

We don’t have to repeat the mistakes of those who have gone before us. Our happiness, our success, nearly every detail of our lives comes down to choice, and we can choose to live the way we truly want to live, or spend our final days regretting the choices we didn’t make.
 We are all flawed people, that's a fact. But we still, thank goodness, have choices we can make. 


Victoria Marie Lees said...

God help me, Beth, I always try to choose happiness. Beautiful always. Thanks!

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