I have recently reflected on my own tendency to have felt happy only when I felt unhappy. And I sensed that, even when everything was going fine and I could see that I was achieving my goals, there was often a sense of unhappiness within me.
By observing my own emotional and cognitive processes it brought to my attention what could have led to some of the reasons why this was happening. As although I have revealed a part of myself here, I think this is an area that is common today.
Before I go into my empirical understandings of what is happening at the causal level, I will talk about the effects.
Whether the unhappiness is expressed through peoples addiction to the media, that is full of negativity and disempowering content, we have also heard the saying ‘no news is good news’. Or in a person’s need for attention and to be validated for a situation in their life when they felt victimised, and don’t feel ready to move on.
We can also feel a tremendous amount of power by feeling down, as strange as it sounds. This can be due to us feeling as though in our current perceived reality that there is no other way for us to have our needs met. So as destructive as the situations are that we are creating, to us that might feel like the only possibility.
This occurrence is known as secondary gain. How I see secondary gain is that during our childhood we associate what is going on as being safe for us, no matter how functional or dysfunctional to ourselves it is. And then as we get older we continue to attract the same situations into our life, as to our ego mind, they are familiar and therefore safe. At first glance this doesn’t make any logical sense. However when we are younger we don’t possess the cognitive awareness or ability to be discerning. With the benefit usually being at an unconscious level, as we become more conscious aware of ourselves we can start to see that there is another way to get our needs met.
And I feel that the medical profession shoulder a lot of the pressure for us. With a doctor’s role being of far greater importance than prescribing drugs for us, the role they play is akin to a therapist, someone who will understand and listen to us without judgement. And we can all relate to the fact that having someone who will listen to us being an extremely rare phenomenon.
There is also the area of friends who only seem to appear be there when things are not going well or when we feel off course. And certain foods seem so much more appealing to us when we feel under the weather.
Another part, perhaps the most important one of them all, is in our need to be approved of and accepted. With every one having heard the line your friends will be there when you’re down, there is also another side to it, of your friends will be there for you when you’re up. So when it comes to feeling happy and successful, this could lead us to feeling as though we will separate ourselves from our friends and family, and sabotage ourselves to avoid this perceived reality from manifesting. I think the true of it is that the people who truly love and appreciate us will support us during the good and the bad times.
A number of examples come to my attention, when I think about what these causes could be that can create such conflict in our later years. During our childhood we might have only felt as though we received love during our tantrums or times of great sadness and neglect or when we made a scene to our parents or caregivers. What comes to mind is the example the baby who cries’s and then receives attention from their mother. There might have also been a very repressive and cold nature during the younger years, that due to their own pain didn’t want to see their children happy or expressing any kind of vibrancy and forced the child to conform to their perception of the world.
Now, I don’t believe that anyone does anything harmful while they are conscious. I believe our parents are ultimately doing the best that they can and if they create harm, it is due to their own wounds being acted out. This is while I feel it is so important to constantly become more conscious and to heal our pain, not only to love and appreciate ourselves, but through loving ourselves we respond the same way to other people and to our environment. I think as badly as we are treating our environment, we are ultimately doing more harm to ourselves, and our environment is just an extension of that pain.
My perspective is that happiness comes from following our own truth, which will cause us to feel empowered, free and connected to others. And what we do will not only offer value and make a difference to ourselves, but to the world as a whole.
Oliver JR Cooper
Author, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.