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Go into the self-help section of any bookstore today and you can find millions of words on how to affirm yourself, fulfill yourself, solve your problems, find happiness for yourself, etc.

Do you think we are possibly at risk of taking ourselves just a little too seriously?

Do you think it’s possible to make yourself miserable in the pursuit of happiness?

Robert Louis Stevenson suggests a little different perspective on this. He wrote…

“In every part and corner of life, to forget yourself is to be happy, to lose yourself is to be a gainer.”

I think we can sense the value of this:

  • The times when you “lose yourself” completely in a task, and you’re so absorbed that you don’t even notice the passage of time.
  • The times when you “forgot yourself” to be there for a friend or loved one.
  • The joy you get from giving freely, expecting nothing in return.
  • The importance of getting over yourself, getting out of your own way.
  • People who are successful in long-term relationships often talk about the importance of quickly “turning loose” of arguments and resentments.

Eventually, we will “turn loose” of everything anyway, so why not get some practice now?

Yes, we could approach life with a clenched fist. But Stevenson is suggesting we’ll be happier approaching it with relaxed, open hands.

Maybe we’ll discover that learning to turn loose of yourself…is the best way to turn yourself loose on the world.