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“... Americans seem to have a deep cultural aversion to negativity. ... My son's report card at preschool divided his performance not into strengths and weaknesses but into strengths and emerging strengths.”
“The truest expression of personal freedom that this life can offer is the experience of giving birth to children, raising them, and then traveling without them.”
“Whenever I hear the word empowerment, it always makes me feel slightly edgy, as if at any moment I might be asked to take my clothes off. If someone suggests that a given activity is going to be 'empowering,' I know that it is almost certainly going to be undignified, mildly humiliating, or involve heights. As a rule, 'empowerment' appears to be the consolation prize for those of us who will never have any actual power, and you can safely assume that no one in any position of genuine authority will be joining in.”
“As our lives have become increasingly isolated, with little time for friends and socializing, we have professionalized contentment, paying experts to give us the advice that used to come from our confidantes and communities. In a culture that loves consumerism, happiness has become the ultimate consumer product.”
“In a culture that both insists that we have complete control over our happiness and too often equates unhappiness with inadequacy, social media gives us an unprecedented ability to craft and present a happy front. This shifts the business of bliss away from how happy we feel to the perhaps more culturally urgent matter of how happy we look.”
“We live in the era of the curated life.”