Since time immemorial, philosophers have been the primary source of knowledge and wisdom about happiness and living a good life. The main principle of this wisdom is the ” happiness paradoxes.” The paradox of joy mentions that the more you strive for happiness directly, the lesser you get it. You will achieve more pleasure if you forget about it and chase your goals. The critical message of ancient wisdom is not to pursue happiness directly.

The irony is that you have to pursue the things you want to achieve, but it is the opposite for happiness. Let us go through these happiness paradoxes.

1.Accept me but expect more of myself.

It is one of the essential happiness paradoxes. According to Flannery O’Connor, “Accepting oneself does not preclude the venture to become better.” Let us take an instance of a person who has a fear of driving. Should they set their anxiety as a limit or try to conquer it? It would not be easy to overcome, but once they do, they will be happy.

2.Take me less seriously and take myself more seriously.

This paradox is very self-explanatory. When you take yourself a bit less seriously, you are bound to smile more and stress less. In the same instance, it does not mean that you should not take yourself seriously at all.

3.Push me to utilize my time efficiently, yet I can also make time to play, wander, read at an impulse, and fail.

Being productive and self-improvement is a must for happy living. Being effective in no way condones that you should be overworking and burning yourself out. Make some time for yourself to enjoy the little things in life.

4.Strive to be emotionally self-sufficient so that I can link better with other people.

This paradox is fundamental. Several times we require outside help to feel happy. We seek advice from various external sources or even do drugs! Being a part of a society is fantastic, but do not take it too far; else, you will become a dependent robot who cannot do anything by itself. It would be much better to depend on yourself.

5.Keep an empty shelf and also keep a junk drawer.

You must be wondering why to keep an empty shelf? The open frame signifies that you have room to improve and expand. It shows that you maintain order and space. However, we must also have space for some messiness in our lives.

Think if you have an empty shelf or a junk drawer, or both?

6.Think about myself so that I can forget myself.

We experience so much in life. Some experiences are good, and some might not be good. When we start thinking more about ourselves, all the resentment and grudges we hold vanishes. Knowing yourself and planning will allow you to have better days, focus on others and be productive.

7.Control and mastery are the vital elements of happiness, and so are novelty and challenge.

This paradox is absolutely accurate and also meaningful. Control, mastery, novelty, and challenge have an intimate connection to happiness.

8.Labor can be played, and play can be labor.

According to George Orwell’s observation, “But what is work and what is not work? Is it work to dig, to a carpenter, to plant trees, to fell trees, to ride, to fish, to hunt, to cater for chickens, to play the piano, to take photographs, to create a house, to cook, to sew, to trim hats, to fix motor bicycles? All of these are work to somebody and play to somebody.”

9.The days are long. The years are short.

You must have heard mothers say, “The days are long, but the years are short.” They say it out of empathy. It does not mean to enjoy every minute of your life. She is simply advising you to enjoy life.

10.Happiness does not always make me feel happy.

Happiness is not a feeling but a doing. Glee is a consequence of what we do and how we behave. Hence, when you feel unhappy, shift your focus and do something different, and you will find yourself being happy. Joy comes when you change what you do.

11.Flawed is frequently more perfect than perfection.

There is a Japanese term called “wabi-sabi.” It defines the unique beauty of imperfection and incompletion. There is also a superficially similar phrase in software development, “Worse is better.” They are, however, different in meaning.

12.Spend out to become rich.

The hunt for happiness often implies embracing both sides of the paradox. For instance, W.H. Auden explained that when we are in between our 20s and 40s, we go through a period of discovering ourselves, which generally involves knowing the difference between accidental restraints, which it’s our duty to outgrow, and therefore the necessary restraints of our nature beyond which we cannot invade with impunity.


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