The paradox of happiness!

To listen to the audio version of this blog, click here.

I think it’s safe to say that if you are reading this blog – you want to be happy.

The paradox I’ve found in life is this… in order to be happy, we must grow. And in order to grow, we must face our fears.

So the equation looks something like this:

Happiness = Growth = Facing fears

Which can be simplified to be:

Happiness = Facing fears

This is a paradox because it is terrifying to face our fears. I know it is for me. I’m scared of all kinds of things. I’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately and something that I’ve started to become scared of is flying. I used to be a great flyer. Now, I’m a fearful flyer. I think it’s because now I have so much to lose in my life. There was a time in my life where I had nothing to lose and so I didn’t value my own life as much.

But now, I have so much that I love in my life that I don’t want to lose it or miss out. And so I think this has translated into being a fearful flyer.

But, in order for me to grow, this is a fear I have to keep facing. Over and over and over again. And based on the equation above, it’s by continuing to face that fear that happiness will come. Why? Because part of me growing is facing my fear of travel and I need to travel more and more for my life these days. And if I do not travel, there is so much growth and happiness that I will miss out on.

Another fear I have is letting love in. I know it sounds ironic for the guy who started “The Daily Love,” right? Well, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – we come to teach what we need to learn. And letting LOVE in is a hard thing for me to do. It’s VERY easy for me to give LOVE. Giving is a form of power. But letting in Love, letting in abundance, letting in all the things I truly want is scary because I could risk getting hurt. But I’ve come to realize that I risk so much more by not letting in these things.

And so, again, I must face the fear of being hurt so that I can grow in Love and abundance, which will result in greater happiness.

Does this mean I will fly on a junky airplane or just let anyone in? Of course not. We need healthy boundaries and discernment. If I got on a plane and the pilot was drunk, I’d get off. Or if someone lied to me, I wouldn’t let them close to my heart. We need discernment. But for those safe flights, for those that love me and would feel happier if I let love in, these are the people and situations I need to go towards, even though it’s scary.

So, I’m curious… if happiness = facing fears – what fears could YOU face today?

As always, the action happens in the comments below, leave a comment and join the conversation! The TDL Community thrives in the comments and it’s a GREAT place to get support!



  • Ashlie

    I sometimes have a hard time describing my fears as colorfully as you have just done. I am freightened to fully trust another human being outside of my loving parents and beautiful children. I fear that trusting them gives them the keys to destroy my heart and ultimately my life. I realize how much there is to learn from each and every spirit that blesses my presence. I hope that when the opportunity to learn how to trust fully comes I recognize it and grow into the human that I would like to be.

  • Dee

    Mastin I can totally relate to this….I’m so scared to open my heart to someone, my body feels it so strongly….I feel tightness in the chest, my legs go like jelly & i feel like I need to pee! I go all control freaky and orchestrate things like I’m keeping busy to avoid them. I’m scared of being taken care of, I’m afraid of falling pregnant. I’ve never tried to be pregnant before and if it happened I don’t know what I would do being that vulnerable. In saying all of this, I have opened my heart before and remind myself…it’s only scary at the start. Once you get over the initial hurdle you kick yourself for feeling afraid. It’s just the initial jump that hits me. I don’t know how I got this way but I want to turn it back to the start. Thank you for sharing Mastin, glad to know I’m not alone – too many ppl deny this part of themselves

  • I am terrified to show my humanness and vulnerability at work.  It was communicated in my last job for many years that I should more or less be a robot.  What ends up happening is I am too flexible, I take on more responsibility than I should,  and I don’t get the help or support I so desperately need.  I just go it alone…and it’s painful sometimes.  The thought of facing these fears and starting to open up and say “no” more, makes me want to simultaneously cry and throw up.  But does it mean I could potentially increase my happiness at work?  I will have to give this some thought.  Thank you, Mastin.  Happy Thanksgiving 🙂

  • Suzanne

    I have come to understand that my fears reflect my own weaknesses.  That said, it makes them more interesting but not any easier to embrace.  I would still rather shop, than face a fear…but I am aware and I am learning.

  • I find that I fear my own talent and I fear being successful.  I know that may sound arrogant, but it’s the truth.  Whenever I reach a certain level of accomplishment and met with the challenges that come with it, I fear I am not good enough and fail.  This failure leads to defeat which makes me feel that ‘I am not good enough’ and I run away.  It’s a painful nightmare that I’ve just started to wake up from.  Thanks in part to blogs like The Daily Love and teachers like yourself,  I have become more present and aware of my patterns and have started the work necessary to change them.

    Thank you for the work that you and others like yourself do each and every day.

  • Sofie Karlstrom


  • Is it possible to have removed the element of fear from your life? -To live fearlessly?

  • Heather

    I saw you on Oprah and it was truly the Uni-versal love reaffriming what I am discovering on my spiritual path. This message today is exactly what I needed to hear. I am getting married and it is something I have wanted for so long however it is something I fear too. The message brought to me so profound that to face our fears is to growth and truly to not face growth is a scarier alternative. Thanks again, Heather

  • Lately, I have been doubting my dreams. Do I REALLY want to be THAT responsible in serving love? That accountable? I am on the “Love Train” living and breathing vulnerability 24 seven. I have experienced first hand that life can be taken away in a moments notice, through cancer. While I am a student in this Earth School, I want to LIVE every moment and be 100% used as Love’s vessel. It is in our vulnerability -we are humbled. It is in our humility-we serve what cannot be seen, but felt in our core knowing. Because we know each moment, may be our last. Death is our greatest teacher. “Love isn’t stupid,” and when we trust our knowing-not our mind-we will put on our seat belt or get off a plane. The trick is to go with our first instinct. The doubt comes in and tests us. Our mind goes into “Rules and Regulations,” There is NO cookie cutter answer. TO ANYTHING. Our intuition knows best even when a rule would tell us otherwise. “Doubting your doubt is a turning point.” Cinnamon Lofton. Just Monday night, a drunken homeless man came to the door of our ” Cal Poly Living Love Class” in a friend’s home in SLO. Cinnamon was guided to look into his eyes in the spirit of oneness. She was guided to not to rush him off. Cinnamon knew she was safe because her mind was not in the way. Just when she was creating something beautiful right in front of all her students, the homeowner  got up from her seat, and slammed the door right in the man’s face out of fear. Our entire class was on this subject. Sometimes what may “SEEM” to be unsafe to the mind, is an opportunity for us to listen to our heart. To trust. To love. In this “HERE, NOW” moment, I choose safety in my dreams. I choose to trust. I am EXACTLY where I need to be: in my office, wearing PJ’s, drinking coffee, and sending much love to all of you fellow living lovers!  The Daily Commenter, Kathleen   are-you-there-kathleen-its-me-god/

  • Tinawrn

    another wonderful concept to embrace on my new journey thanks

  • Sarah

    The fear I can face today is the fear of being alone and vulnerable. I fill my day with tasks, books, cleaning, friends, family ect… however when I am going to bed at night an overwhelming sense of loneliness still pervades. I do have the courage to face this fear and to be present with this feeling of loneliness and see what other feelings and emotions come up. I intellectually know thi,s however the “doing” part is what I fear. So, that is the fear I can face today, thank you Mastin for asking this contemplative question! 

    • Lanazincone

      Hi Sarah, There was a recent study I read that stated that in our connected society, where we are always tweeting, texting, facebooking & emailing etc. That we are never left alone, to just be. To contemplate on our own. To work things out. And therefore in the quiet hours of the evening, when we are not connected and have our mind on other things that this overwhelming sense of loneliness, anxiety, & fear comes out. We need to disconnect ourselves from social media and spend time alone, to think, listen and contemplate. It’s amazing what we can discover within ourselves. Look for your own love and beauty. I can guarantee you’ll find it.
      Best regards. Lana

    • Dear Sarah, 
      The biggest fear I had for most of my life was to be Vulnerable. Until I realized that my Invulnerability was my weakness. Vulnerability is a strength, an openness, a sensitivity. I event wrote a book about it called: SOAR with Vulnerability – 11 Insights to the Full Enjoyment of Your Life.

      Once I’ve let go and surrender to my Vulnerability all fear dissapears as well.
      You are only Invulnerable when you are in fear.

    • Ljackson6045

      Sarah, I just saw your post and mine is right above yours. I also fear being alone and you’re right it’s when it’s dark at night that my mind starts thinking and thinking and I feel that fear most. Lonliness is that fear which brings out all the other emotions. I wish you peace and the ability to face and overcome your fear. I am trying on a daily basis. In life that’s really all we can do.

    • Jeff Reinke

      Hi Sarah, I’ve read some of the other responses and you are getting some very good, deep advise: practice being alone at times that are less intimidating, learn about your fear by getting more involved with it, remember you are a child of faith and having more faith will help, and other good ones too. I too have had a fear of being alone. Mine was not so much a fear that I was by myself at the time, but a fear that I would be alone in life and not loved. If you look at this fear, it’s really not about the lack of being with someone. Our fear is about, just as all fear is, a lack of love! Just as darkness cannot exist in the presence of light, fear cannot exist in the presence of love. Fear is dark and scarry because it’s mostly a manifestation of our imagination. Loneliness seems real because we imagine it to be real. Give in to your fear and face it, while remembering, “You are not the fear.” The fear is a thought, just like any thought. “You” are the one that hears the thought. The fear can not hurt you, but by letting your conciousness become involved with the thought, you generate the fear you are experiencing. Separate yourself from the fear by looking at it apart from you. Remember, you are not the thought, you are the one that hears it. Don’t fight the thought, face it calmly and let it go. Just like any other thought. Fill your heart with loving thoughts and make loneliness a thought you don’t need anymore. I hope this helps! I have been where you are. I was able to overcome my fear by being more loving. We really do get what we give. By giving love, the Universe will return the favor! God Bless… -Jeff

    • Sarah.. hugs & love..because by sharing your story, you’ve slowly faced your fear of being vulnerable.  We support you sister!!  

  • Allison_quiter

    You are amazing!

  • Elizabeth

    Fear is a lack of Faith. You cannot have both. They do not go together. You have to choose (with  your free will) one or the other. Fear comes from the Ego, Faith from your Spirit.. from your connection to something bigger then your “self”. Knowing we are all one and that your “story” and Ego is just that.. an illusion. You are a Spiritual Being having a human experience. When you re-member (beome one with all), you can release your fruit of the Spirit and live by these gifts: Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness and Self-Control. God Bless, Elizabeth  

  • Marina

    Hi all, my fear and desire at the same time is receiving love. It makes me feel out of control and vulnerable to receive love from another person, though I very much want it and  need it. I will take steps today to be open to receiving love, in all forms. Thank you.

  • Noenoe006

     over a week ago, i had a dream i was in a plane, behind the steering wheel in the middle all the passengers & as we waiting for take off…a plane coming in had crashed near us, killing 135 passengers. the very next day, i finally checked my emails & discovered i received an email regarding an interview for flight attendant i had applied for a couple months before during my lay off. this & a couple other ‘airport’ aspects were all very intriguing to me. i will fly for the interview this december, get to visit a distant cousin i haven’t seen in years & by divinity, i will return in time to see my very 1st grandbaby born, due 12/12/12 in the year of the dragon! (im so excited:)
    my initial reaction was of worry & anxiousness.
    i remember attending a seminar once where the speaker informed us that we all get butterflies & the key to success was to get them to fly in formation.
    i noe that both my conscious & subconscious are actively getting better as i was able to allow the thoughts to surface, acknowledge them, then turn inward to focus on the positive outcomes & solutions rather than on the problems that may arise. there will  be no regrets. i am detached from the outcome & ‘expectations’ therefore there will be no dissappointment, only divinity.

    i too have a fear of letting love in & am able to give love easily.
    it’s funny how the ‘signs’ start ‘talking’ to you since you’re not ‘reading’
    i am currently facing this fear, have taken baby steps, but no leaps or bounds Yet however, i am not attached to the outcome nor do i have any expectations & will accept the lessons & time invested if the other party is not experiencing the same page. i am not afraid of the butterflies are in formation.   
    (how funny that whitney houston’s ‘how will i know’ comes on pandora while typing this part)
    i luv u mastin!

  • Marisa

    I too have a fear of letting love in.  However, over the last couple months, I have chosen to take charge of insecurity.  What I fear most is being hurt and vulnerable.  As of today going forward, I choose to have faith in the unknown and will no longer allow fear to be a factor in my life. 

  • Yep, this is what i fear: “But letting in Love, letting in abundance, letting in all the things I truly want is scary because I could risk getting hurt.” I’m afraid to be hurt and disappointed. My yoga practice is slowly helping me shed the fears and open up a bit more, with each day that goes by.

    Since it’s the season of gratitude, even though every day should be the season of gratitude, I want to say that one of the things I am grateful for is to have people in my life, like you, that have faces their fears and answered a higher calling. 

  • Hana

    I live in fear, in a constant fear on every day basis. It just happens to be that I have resistance to things, to changes and to experiences out of fear because I project fears onto the future events. It is not good, I know, but that is right now where I am.  It is a fear of living and it has been since ever and until now when one gets to face it right under her/his nose one does not have to deal with it. It has came to surface and it is now screaming much louder. 

    As far as fears you mention, Mastin, you have or experience now when you have more in your life, I think that what is important is not to create too much attachment to them. Even those are great things but to be able to live without attachment is the way to go. Otherwise we create sorrows and sufferings and our spiritual progress is being hindered.

  • Ewspirit12

    Today I will face the fear of letting go of the past and any agenda I have for the day.  I will let spirit be my guide.


    TDL- I literally was just blogging about this subject. My inspiration came from my own fear (spending the night alone in my house). And, just yesterday I had a little bit of a set-back. But, reading this posting really brought things back into perspective. It’s a horrible thing – fear. And it’s been really difficult – but you’ve given me a reminder (and hope) to just keep moving towards it. I think ‘tapping’ is working…and TDL definitely helps too. THANK YOU so much!

  • Ljackson6045

    Awesome topic for today. I’ve been doing alot of soul searching since I lost my life partner a couple of weeks ago. My biggest fear is being alone. I don’t have brothers or sisters and I lost both of my parents several years ago. It seems as though now I have no one in my life that truly cares about me. I’ve never been one who enjoys being alone. I’m just not comfortable in my own skin and entertaining myself. I find that being alone makes me think which in turn makes me look at myself and see all the flaws. I cannot seem to focus on anything positive about myself, however, I know that I have positive attriutes. I just cannot seem to find them. Maybe someone can share about being alone and how I can get comfortable with myself. Thanks to all and peace and love this Thanksgiving eve.

  • Guest

    I fear the fact that I fear. I fear fully acknowledging how little control I have over my deepest feelings. I fear that I am wrong – always wrong: I should not fear, I should be strong, I should not need anyone – I should be okay on my own, I should be confident, I should be able to set better boundaries, I should let love in! But this is not how it is. I fear all that stuff and have great difficulty fully admitting and feeling it. I fear my true feelings and I fear myself. Now… I guess the important part is how do I face it… I just must try to admit it and not run from all of it somehow. The only way I know to get to the depths of all that is to express it physically – to dance. I know that but I don’t do it… that’s what I need to figure out – how to keep doing my “practice”. Thanks for your question – it hit a chord.

  • Sara

    I’ve only been on your list for two days and both the emails I’ve got have been so significant to my life right now. Thank you! Keep ’em coming!

  • Sara

    Actually I’ve thought of a question. How do you get to the bottom of the real fear so you can face it. I’ve been working at facing my fears and I have a feeling they are surface level  symptoms of something deeper. How do I drill down?

    • Dazz

      Hi Sara – I’ve found that just asking ‘why?’ can be enough to help you to delve deeper.  Ask yourself ‘Why do I feel this fear?”… then wait for an answer.  Don’t over-think it rationally – just allow what comes naturally to you…  You may find that it reveals another fear or personal insight that lies deeper within you… When that comes through, query this again… ‘Why?’… then see what comes through… Keep repeating this, each time focusing on delving deeper and deeper into yourself for answers. Maybe even write everything down as you go through the process…  It might even lead to a personal epiphany! I hope this helps.

  • Katielady2001

    my heart is worn on my sleeve. I am to over trust and don’t pay attention to my intuition.I guess what I am trying to is I fly to much and try to fly the plane called life on my own. In the past, well since fall of 05 I have been in 4 relationships. Two were long. One of the two was an on again off again adult relationship (mostly sex) but I loved the guy. It just ended at tnat. I always figured it was because I was the less mature out of the two of us and that was why it didn’t work out.

  • The fear that I am facing today is moving forward with the final stage of ending an unhealthy relationship, having her move out.  After three years of on again, off again, bruised chins and broken hearts during the attempt at creating a ‘good relationship’ I have finally reached a true point of power.  Power over myself and my emotions.  I have gained enough perspective about myself to finally look myself in the mirror and admit to my fear of being self-sustained.  

    I’ve found myself in relationships with women who are more ‘financially abundant’ than I am; and in turn I became a kept sort of woman.  I found comfort in that because I like the idea of being able to continue to create, live and raise my son with the knowing that I’m being supported.  Little did I know that the woman I was involved with saw herself as more of a ‘financial benefactor’ rather than my partner.  

    Spending more time attempting to create a flow of communication with a person who had made it abundantly clear that she was not the one for me is what served as the greatest distraction from facing my fear.  

    My fear is losing everything. When I say everything, I mean the financial stability that I feel knowing that she is in my corner to make sure the lights stay on, so that I can continue to be the creative one.  Everything also means losing the perceived family that I created with her and my son.  Losing my family creates much more fear than the financial support; because the truth is, money comes and goes.  

    Today, after weeks of toiling with the idea of how and when to have ‘the talk’ I am in the space of acceptance.  Accepting that this change, as much as I feared it is going to open doors of financial, spiritual and love abundance in my life.  So I have to welcome it and trust that I have the power, knowledge and faith to walk into this change with confidence.  

    Reading this blog has really changed my life.  I’ve been enriched by the words shared by Mastin and the quotes from other writers.  I appreciate the constant commitment to writing daily that you have demonstrated.  I am encouraged and challenged to commit to my craft and write daily.

  • I, too, fear letting others in because I have been hurt in the past.  Some recent thoughts…I need to receive in order to give…so I need to receive love in order to give love.  Also, I was always putting others needs before mine because I felt I was somehow invincible and could wait. ..or maybe that their need was greater than mine.  I’ve come to the conclusion that my “good” is not their good and that there is enough good for everyone.  There is abundance so the fact that I put their needs before mine just leaves me in the position where I am not receiving my own good.  Ridiculous!  I’ll try not to do that in the future.  There is enough good for everybody.  The fear I can face today and every day in the future is the fear of “receiving.”  I am great at giving, but not receiving.  I have my first opportunity on Saturday and it’s difficult for me to accept because of my lack of trust—but I’m going to!!!     

  • Kattat

    my biggest fear right now other than being lonely for the rest of my life. I figure if I ever get my licence I may never be able to see at night. Even could my eyes get any worse as I get older.

  • Melanie

    Mastin I SO appreciate this blog.  It is amazing how the universe always gives us exactly what we need.  I really resonated with what you said about how you used to not fear flying, but now you do because you have more to lose (more that you love and don’t want to lose).  I started a business called Yoga’licious last year and while choosing to follow my hearts path of Yoga and leave personal training was a huge step into fear and growth, I had nothing to really lose. Now I have built up an amazing community and I see the expansion and opportunities to keep spreading my message and help people get excited to be in their bodies.  My fear that I am moving through and going towards is taking the next steps into getting my message out there in an even bigger way.  It also includes allowing myself to be messy and human as I step out of my comfort zone in the sequences I am teaching in my classes, the new group classes that I am offering, and allowing myself to be fully seen and exposed in the fact that I don’t know everything but I do have alot of love to give :).

  • Kylie

    I am loving that I am finally starting to embrace facing my fears. I’ve always faced my fears, but I never enjoyed it or embraced or accepted it.  One thing I have trouble with is letting go of people that hurt me.  I finally faced a fear this year by ending a friendship that was toxic (my oldest friend too).  She lied to me and was hurtful to people I care about.  I have found happiness and liberation in facing the fear of letting her go, and of course my life is much happier/less drama… but there is not always happiness at the end of it.  There is lingering sadness of losing something/someone.  Anyone have any advice on how to let go?  

  • Michelle Sears

    The fear I can face today is the fear of rejection or not being good enough. I know it’s a fear a lot of people have but that doesn’t make it any easier to overcome. And you nailed it about teaching what we most need to learn. I have a self esteem building website that helps my visitors but it also helps me. When I write, I’m writing to them and to myself and that is how I’m facing my fear of rejection.

  • Messina

    Wow  you just lead me to a major insight. ” We teach what we need to learn”, that’s Powerful my friend. The fear I can face today is trusting that I am enough just as I am. I don’t need to be anyone other than who I am to be loved, accepted, valued. I don’t need to be more, I simply need to be me.

  • “What fears could YOU face today?”  I am going to change this question to “what fears AM I facing this year? OMG, what am I not.  I grew up a shy girl, with self esteem issues, people pleaser but as the year began I was listening to Ms. Gabby B on gems you’re leaving in 2011 and creating for 2012.  The main thing on both of my lists were pushing past my comfort zones & honoring myself.  And while it hasn’t been an easy road, I’ve been climbing the mountain one obstacle at a time, from breaking with a man who was cheating on me & didn’t know what he wanted from life, to leaving a job where I was allowing myself to be mistreated, to framing my life based on what I think people wanted me to be….to finally putting myself out there, helping women, starting a Youtube channel and finding my voice! 

  • Tamara Levitt

    Beautiful post Mastin. Thank you for this… so absolutely perfect for me today. xo Tamara

  • Ooh, Mastin… Your fear of allowing love in now, and sense of being very alone as a child (I watched you on Super Soul Sunday) shows me the the high importance of my work… I work with mothers and babies – one of the most vital things I educate about is the importance of providing constant, nurturing contact with babies from newborn onwards. In order for babies to grow into happy, content, confident young people and adults, close contact with the caregiver is vital. We live in a society where babies are pushed away from their parents – literally (in strollers) and metaphorically – to massive detrimental effect. 

    If a baby’s cries go unheeded, it learns that its needs are unimportant, leading ultimately to unconnected neural pathways. In brief, the child becomes insecure, full of anxiety and, when an adult, is much more likely to turn to drugs, alcohol, crime, in order to have those unmet needs resolved. It’s powerful stuff.

    And, as my three year old daughter said to me last night… “Mummy, touch gives us love”

  • Melissa

    Individual growth and relational growth are not mutually exclusive. 

    Happiness can come from two individuals growing together, but not necessarily in the same direction. 

    Because personal growth is part of my identity, when I am with a partner who was not growing (not in any direction) this directly affects my happiness. 

    The fear would be of being with a partner who is not growing, facing that has allowed me to recognize the partner that brings joy to my life, and has been bringing joy into my life for years now. 

  • Lagasse A1

    I have found that the fear of the unknown has kept me from moving forward.  I am a creature of habit and like to know how things stand.  I have learned that I need to face my fear in order to live and grow and move forward, but still find it difficult at times.   Especially now as I struggle to really put myself out there and become the person I know I am meant to be.  So, i find there are a LOT of fears that I have to overcome to get there.  The mention of letting in love is HUGE for me.  Especially learning to love myself.  I have come a long way from that person I used to be I just need to open up more and let the fears wash over me and allow to let more love in and not feel so vulnerable in the process.  Allowing someone in does not mean you have to lose self!

  • I am afraid I am destroying my marriage and the lives of two little girls who love me. I am alone and feel surrounded by negativity..I am afraid of saying anything to anyone.. I feel like I may need medication. I have been anger for so long, resentful and hateful. I have pushed so many people I love away.. My pattern for years.. I have lost friends who mean the world to me.. I need help!