Monday, March 1, 2010

The second paradox

This is the second in a series of posts inspired by Gretchen Rubin of the Happiness Project Nine Paradoxes to Contemplate as You Consider Your Happiness Project. The second paradox is: Take myself less seriously—and take myself more seriously. As you may know I'm a big proponent of play. So you can bet that taking things less seriously is near and dear to my heart.

It is important that we are able to laugh at ourselves. All too often our ego gets to wound up in our day-to-day actions and when we make a small mistake, trip on a curb or say the wrong thing we get embarrassed. This is the problem with taking ourselves too seriously or ego gets bruised, every slip up or prate fall we have bang up our ego and it hurts. On the other hand if we can joke about a stubbed toe or flubbed line we tend to let it go easier. These bruises on our ego build up over the course of the day and add to our stress level as long as we don't let them go. We need to banish them from our minds and the best way to do that is laughter. It is ok to look silly, it happens to everyone.

Let us make a distinction however about laughing off embarrassment as opposed to masking our faults. There is a difference between being able to laugh at ourselves and being the clown crying behind his makeup. We need to be willing to face our flaws and work to change them.

The other half of this paradox, taking one's self more seriously, is not about our egos but about remembering that we have value. Not only do we all have value we bring value to everything we do. We are important and we deserve to have fun and get the things we want as long as we do not bring harm to others. When we take ourselves seriously we relies the important of our lives and become more aware of what we do with that life. Taking ourselves seriously also involves being willing to listen tour selves. This can mean being honest about our weaknesses or excepting when we need help. It can also mean listing to our physical bodies admitting when we need sleep or only eating when we are truly hungry. When we take ourselves seriously, we value both our actions and we listen to what we are telling our selves.


Mark said...

This is an excellent lesson. You have expressed your thoughts with eloquence. Embracing this paradox and living it takes awareness and wisdom.

Quinn said...

I think that one of they ways of knowing that something is worth doing is that it takes awareness and wisdom. The real goal is making these two things reflex.

Jeffrey Tang said...


I really enjoyed the last part of this post, where you talk about what taking yourself seriously really means. Often we vacillate between two extremes: egotism and self-loathing (often disguised as selflessness), without realizing that there's a balance to be found between the two. Thanks for addressing that balance.

Quinn said...

It is important that we don't confuse pride with egotism. taking pride in what we do is natural egotism is when we hold who and what we are as well as what we do over other people and use that to separate ourselves from them. Pride is satisfaction in what we have accomplished.

Anonymous said...

It is all about balance, nature exists best in balance and so do we. I look at the part of the paradox of not taking one too seriously as keeping in touch with one's inner child and the ability to play and see the lighter and creative side of life, and another paradox, is from this some serious problem solving can come to light and serious growth can occur.

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