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From the essay 'Of Solitude', Montaigne says: these are the things we normally think will bring happiness; they're wrong.
'We should have wife, children, goods, and above all health, if we can, but we must not bind ourselves to them so strongly that our happiness depends on them. We must reserve a back shop all our own.'
The 'back shop' doesn't mean a room behind your workplace to take refuge. It is not a type of selfish, introverted withdrawal from family life, but the need to protect yourself from the pain that would come if you lost that family. It is a place to mend a broken heart, not by avoiding future pain, but by coming into a different relationship with it.
The promise of getting away from it all is a fool's errand since, wherever you go, you take yourself with you.
To be with yourself is a chance for a great companionship. Your soul has the means to attack and to defend, the means to receive and to give. The quality of your inner conversation will determine the quality of life.
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