I have been thinking all week about this advice from Oliver Burkeman’s last column for The Guardian, “eight secrets to a (fairly) fulfilled life”:
When stumped by a life choice, choose “enlargement” over happiness. I’m indebted to the Jungian therapist James Hollis for the insight that major personal decisions should be made not by asking, “Will this make me happy?”, but “Will this choice enlarge me or diminish me?” We’re terrible at predicting what will make us happy: the question swiftly gets bogged down in our narrow preferences for security and control. But the enlargement question elicits a deeper, intuitive response. You tend to just know whether, say, leaving or remaining in a relationship or a job, though it might bring short-term comfort, would mean cheating yourself of growth. (Relatedly, don’t worry about burning bridges: irreversible decisions tend to be more satisfying, because now there’s only one direction to travel – forward into whatever choice you made.)
How I wish I had this framework in the past!
We are looking at houses right now, and, being the crazy city-loving walkers that we are, we’ve seen lots of large houses which would ultimately diminish our lives, and tiny houses which would enlarge them. (“Location, location, location…”)