What you’re encouraged to want vs. what you’re allowed to have

One man’s joy is another man’s heartbreak

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Our level of happiness depends on how we act upon or repress our instinctual needs.

If we grew up in a hyper religious and puritanical tradition that was profoundly suspicious of pleasure, it’s quite possible that we will not respect the basic needs of our body and spirit. We will not honor our fundamental human longing for joy.

Because that would be a sin. Only heathens indulge in the corruption of the flesh.

And so, we’ll remain trapped in shame’s chains. And our capacity to function well will plummet.

That doesn’t sound like happiness. If our days slip away and we forget to do the things that give us pleasure, the zombie apocalypse has officially arrived.

The solution, however, is not to hop on the hedonic treadmill and solely pursue happiness through the pleasures of the senses. Rather, it’s to gain a greater understanding of our own needs. To make deeply considered choices about what life suits us. And to find the wherewithal to respect our own needs.

After all, one person’s joy is another man’s heartbreak. If we never felt the pang of longing to own a house, get married, have children, work a straight job and join the local congregation, and would rather live abroad, that’s okay. This is our way of having joy.

If we discover an unorthodox but healthy lifestyle that brings us massive fulfillment, but offends and confuses half of our family members, that’s okay too. This is our way of having joy.

Look, if you’re happy as you’d like to be, think about which of your instinctual needs are being ignored, repressed or not acted upon.

Look into your own eyes and whisper your joy.

Have you considered the disconnect between what you’re encouraged to want and what you’re allowed to have?

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Scott Ginsberg
That Guy with the Nametag
Author. Speaker. Strategist. Inventor. Filmmaker. Publisher. Songwriter.

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Author. Speaker. Songwriter. Filmmaker. Inventor. Founder of getprolific.io. Pioneer of Personal Creativity Management (PCM). I also wear a nametag 24/7.

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