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When we expect something positive and have a desire for something good, that very experience of want, or to covet, is in a way, a negative experience for us.
Referred to as the ‘Backwards Law’ by the modern philosopher Alan Watts, pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack the same right now.
Example: The more we want to be rich, the more we realize that we aren’t rich, and the feeling of lack and unworthiness comes to the surface, even if you are otherwise not poor at all.
Not being ambitious or aspirational is looked down upon to any normal person, but if the person is grateful, the life that is led is a happier, more fulfilled one.
Pain and failure, according to Mark Manson, provide us with positive results:
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Being worried about doing the right thing all the time that you become worried about how much you’re worrying. Or feeling so guilty for every mistake you make that you begin to feel guilty ...
When you care less about something, you do better at it. It's also your chance to avoid engaging in negative feelings towards the emotions you experience. 🤐
Rumi, the 13th-century Sufi poet, compared emotions to unexpected visitors.
We're supposed to let them in and not hide from them, suppress them or pretend they do not exist.
In a society that promotes gratitude and positivity, there is pressure to suppress or conceal negative feelings.
But psychological studies reveal that acceptance of your negative feelings promotes emotional resilience, with fewer symptoms of depression and anxiety.
Acceptance of negative emotions involves not trying to change how we feel but taking them for what they are.
Acceptance works because it blunts the emotional reactions to stressful events. In time, it can lead to positive psychological health.
Happy people tend to live active and somewhat busy lives. They meet up with friends after work, go on a hiking trip with the family on the weekend, and play tennis every Wednesday morning with a friend.
This busy lifestyle provides an unintended but powerful source of happiness: anticipation.