Allergic to Happiness
We are surrounded by material things designed to give us the good life filled with pleasure. Our possessions are supposed to make us happy, but they cannot erase the pain from our past.
They do not scratch where we itch. Ultimately, our prized toys turn to useless junk in the attic and we are still unhappy.
One reason so many people are depressed in spite of their success is that they have assumed that material, vocational or marital success would make them happy. But, for them, happiness has within it the seeds of its own destruction: it ends in disaster. Even the ‘threat’ of happiness in the future makes them nervous. It is as if they were ‘allergic’ to happiness.
To some, happiness is useless. Happiness is “easy.” It does not prove that we are “tough,” that we can “take it.” Suffering can be used to our advantage. It gives us the “right” to be happy because we have “earned” it. Suffering “proves” that we are morally stronger than people who “can’t take it.”
What kind of people have to “prove” that they can take suffering? People who feel inferior and inadequate to cope with the demands of life. What kind of people must suffer for their “crimes?” “Guilty” people. This is how insecure people “solve” the painful problem of feeling “less than” their fellow human beings.
Insecure people may feel that the opinions of others is better then our own judgment. They may seek others’ approval to verify their own experience and performance. The lessons they learned have come from those who were in a position to judge them. As a result, they may have come to accept that when they make a mistake, theyare inferior to all others.
Insecure people have no basis for predicting successful outcomes, they can only predict disaster in the future. They do not focus on solving problems in the present. They are obsessed with bad things that haven’t even happened. They act to prevent, plan, and control potential, future pain.
Many people cannot trust their judgment to tell them which daily decisions must be resolved immediately, which can wait, and which do not need to be resolved at all. They cannot trust their judgment to tell them how much responsibility is too much and how much is enough. Their judgment is not perfect because perfection is not a human trait. However, their judgment is good enough to get the job done.
When we trust our judgement as good enough it is not sabotaged by immature beliefs. It is based on unconditional self respect, which is to say that regardless of our good or bad choices, we are equally worthwhile and lovable. This doesn’t go up or down depending on our decisions.
These people are not trying to get approval like children. They have mature independent identities of their own. They assume appropriate responsibility and exercise good judgment based on the belief that not matter what happens they will deal with it. No matter what it may be, these people know that they possess the ability to endure and succeed despite any setbacks they may face. This is confidence.
Confidence is accepting one as a worthwhile human being in spite of one’s faults and imperfections. We generate confidence by:
– Accepting ourself as worthwhile independent of external consideration -
– Using our adult judgment to determine our responsibilities based on life today (reality)
-Assuming responsibility for our own well-being
Tags: Anger Management, Archive