“Conscious self-denial leaves a man self-absorbed and vividly aware of what he has sacrificed; in consequence it fails often of its immediate object and almost always of its ultimate purpose. What is needed is not self-denial, but that kind of direction of interest outward which will lead spontaneously and naturally to the same acts that a person absorbed in the pursuit of his own virtue could only perform by means of conscious self-denial.”
– Bertrand Russell, The Conquest of Happiness
Agree, disagree? Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about how a feeling of deprivation is very unhelpful–even when I’m the one doing the depriving of myself.
When I feel deprived, I feel resentful and also spend a lot of time pondering what I therefore “deserve” or “have earned” or how unfair it is.
But the opposite of a great truth is also true, and there can also be great pleasure in self-denial.
What do you think?