Connect with us

Life

Why Striving for Happiness Is a Miserable Mistake

Published

on

happiness

It was Elbert Hubbard, the American artist and philosopher, who said, “Life is just one damn thing after another”. Inevitably, we are always going to have problems to deal with and inevitably going to find ourselves in a variety of situations; some of which will make us happy and some will make us unhappy.

To a greater or lesser extent, life just happens to us all. The sooner we come to a point of acceptance about this, the sooner we are likely to find peace and more importantly contentment. However, you can’t find contentment by just trying to be happy. There are far too many factors outside our circle of immediate control to contend with.

Even the very word itself is derived from the Norse “hap” which means luck or chance. “Happy” is a silly, childish word full of connotations of birthday cakes, parties, days at the beach and laughter. It’s a pleasant but transient state, fleeting and shallow. Sometimes we are happy and sometimes we are sad. It’s surface level and fluctuates day to day.

Happiness is temporary

Trying to be happy is like clutching at straws, throwing spaghetti at a wall and hoping some will stick or nibbling just the icing on the cake. Instead, you need to be working on contentment as contentment is the cake itself, the bedrock and the foundation. If you can find contentment then happiness will naturally follow.

Your level of contentment is the context. You can be transiently happy or sad on the outside yet still be firmly content at your very core. You are essentially, and fundamentally still content even though the events of the moment might be making you happy, sad, or hurting you.

“Happiness is nothing but temporary moments here and there – and I love those. But I would be bored out of my mind if I were happy all the time.” – Zoe Saldana

What does it mean to be content?

Luckily, whilst happiness is an emotional state, short term and largely controlled by extrinsic forces, contentment is much more within our grasp as it’s controlled by internal choices. Contentment is to a much greater extent, a way of being and thinking that we can cultivate and develop.

In it’s purest form it boils down to acceptance of the moment and gratitude for what we have got rather than what we haven’t. As the philosopher Diogenes the Wise said: “people have the most when they are most content with the least”. And that really is the key. Taking time to be in the present and to enjoy the current moment rather than constantly craving something “better”.

Contentment gives us an opportunity to enjoy life right now, not on the weekend and it’s the only way to true long term satisfaction. It’s not dependent on consumption, gaining things or life “going our way”. It’s a choice of perspective that allows us to be compassionate towards ourselves, to take time and to find satisfaction in the here and now rather than in the “if only” mentality that our consumerist society has conditioned us to believe in.

Contentment in “flow”

The ultimate expression of contentment in the moment is when you are in a state of what’s called “flow”. “Flow” is one of the most satisfying and contented states that a human being can experience. You might think that this might be when we are passively watching TV or relaxing but it’s actually when we are being creative and actively participating in an activity that we attain this state.

All of us have different activities that can trigger flow. Often, it will be something that we love doing or are maybe good at and it will be something that gives us a sense of self-identity and value. It will be the thing that fires you. The thing that makes you feel alive, the thing that, when you are doing it, makes time stand still.

You forget everything apart from the moment and, rather than fighting and forcing your body or brain to do stuff, it just sort of goes on glorious autopilot as if it was always meant to be doing “the thing.”

“Control of consciousness determines the quality of life.” – Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi

Find your thing

If you can, find “your thing” and do more of it and start to identify yourself as someone who is a “thinger” (if that makes sense) rather than just all of the multitude of other roles you perform, then you will be well on the way to contentment. You will find that it centers you, gives you much more satisfaction in the moment and you will source contentment from within yourself rather than looking for it from external stimulation.

Finding your flow activity and developing it will give you the energy and the fortitude to battle through the rest of your messy and stressful life. It will become a haven of peace, a well of strength, a way of identifying yourself, giving you self-belief, purpose and self-confidence. If the thing is beautiful, central to your life and a well of strength then you have found contentment.

With “the thing” at the core of your being you will start to have an inner strength and energy that will filter into the other aspects of your life. You will have found long term satisfaction and an abundance of happy days will follow and, when you are unhappy and troubled by the world you will be solid and steadfast in your contentment.

Go and find out what your personal thing is. Love it, grow it and nurture it as the very centre of your quest to accept and be in the moment. Don’t waste your time looking for happiness, take control, alter your perspective and develop a habit of contentment. Only when you do this all the happiness in the world is yours for the taking.

What do you think about being content at your core to find long term satisfaction? Please let us know by leaving a comment below!

Image courtesy of Twenty20.com

Advertisement
2 Comments

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Life

The Imbalanced Problem with Work/Life Balance

Balancing is for your checkbook, gymnastics, and nutrition; not for your people’s work/life ratio.

Published

on

Image Credit: Canva

Balance…it requires an equal distribution of value between two or more subjects to maintain steady composure and equitable proportionality. (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

How to Find the Courage to Start New

Change is scary, but it’s a normal part of life.

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

It’s 2023, a new year, new you, right? But how do we start over? How do we make the changes in our lives that we crave so much to see?  (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

Failing is More Important Than Succeeding

Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures.

Published

on

Image Credit: Unsplash

People often consider failure a stigma.  Society often doesn’t respect the people who failed and avoids and criticizes their actions. Failure is an integral part of life as life is incomplete without failures. Not to have endeavored is worse than failing in life as at some stage of your life you regret not having tried in your life.  (more…)

Continue Reading

Life

5 Indicators of Unresolved Attachment Trauma

Published

on

Emotional Attachment Trauma

Trauma caused during specific stages of a child’s development, known as attachment trauma, can have lasting effects on a person’s sense of safety, security, predictability, and trust. This type of trauma is often the result of abuse, neglect, or inconsistent care from a primary caregiver.

Individuals who have not fully processed attachment trauma may display similar patterns of behavior and physical or psychological symptoms that negatively impact their adult lives, including the choices they make in relationships and business.

Unfortunately, many people may not even be aware that they are struggling with trauma. Research estimates that 6% of the population will experience PTSD in their lifetime, with a majority of males and females having experienced significant trauma.

Unresolved attachment trauma can significantly impair the overall quality of a person’s life, including their ability to form healthy relationships and make positive choices for themselves. One well-known effect of unhealed attachment trauma is the compulsion to repeat past wounds by unconsciously selecting romantic partners who trigger their developmental trauma.

However, there are other less recognized but equally detrimental signs of unprocessed developmental trauma.

 

Five possible indications of unresolved attachment trauma are:

 

1.  Unconscious Sabotage

Self-sabotage is a common pattern among individuals with unprocessed attachment trauma. This cycle often begins with hurting others, which is then followed by hurting oneself. It is also common for those with attachment trauma to have heightened emotional sensitivity, which can trigger this cycle.

This pattern can manifest in lashing out, shutting down, or impulsive behavior that leads to feelings of guilt, shame, and self-loathing.

Many people with attachment trauma are not aware of their wounds and operate on survival mode, unconsciously testing or challenging the emotional investment of those around them, and pushing them away out of self-preservation and fear of abandonment.

This can lead to a pattern of making poor choices for themselves based on impulsivity.

 

2. Persistent Pain

 
Chronic pain is a common symptom that can stem from early trauma. Studies have shown a connection between physical conditions such as fibromyalgia, headaches, gastrointestinal issues, insomnia, muscle aches, back pain, chest pain, and chronic fatigue with the aftermath of chronic developmental trauma, particularly physical abuse.
 
Research has found that individuals with insecure attachment styles, such as anxious, avoidant, or disorganized, have a higher incidence of somatic symptoms and a history of physical and emotional abuse in childhood compared to those with a secure attachment style.
 
 

3. Behaviors That Block Out Trauma

 
Trauma blocking practises are used to avoid the pain and memories connected with traumatic events.
 
Emotional numbing, avoidance, and escape via briefly pleasurable activities that distract from terrible memories or suffering are common examples. Unfortunately, this escape habit stops people from successfully processing and recovering from their trauma.
 
Furthermore, when the pain resurfaces, more and more diversions are necessary to continue ignoring it. This can be seen in compulsive behaviours such as drug or alcohol addiction, emotional eating, numbing oneself through relationships, workaholism, excessive or dangerous exercise routines, compulsive internet or technology use, or any other compulsive behaviour used to distract yoursef from intrusive thoughts and emotions.
 
These actions have the potential to prolong a cycle of avoidance and repression, preventing persons from healing and progressing.
 

4. A strong need for control

 
It’s understandable that some people may struggle with control issues in their adult lives, especially if they felt helpless or vulnerable during their childhood.
 
This can happen if someone had an overbearing caregiver who didn’t let them make their own choices, expected too much from them, or didn’t take care of them properly. As adults, they might try to control everything in their life to feel more in control and less anxious or scared. This might be because they didn’t feel like they had control over their life when they were a child.
 
It’s important to remember that everyone’s experiences are different and it’s okay to seek help if you’re struggling with control issues.
 
 

5. Psychological Symptoms That Are Not Explained

 
Individuals with a history of developmental trauma may experience a range of psychological symptoms, including obsessive-compulsive behavior, intense mood swings, irritability, anger, depression, emotional numbing, or severe anxiety.
 
These symptoms can vary in intensity and may occur intermittently throughout the day. People with this type of trauma may attempt to “distract” themselves from these symptoms by denying or rationalizing them, or may resort to substance abuse or behavioral addictions as coping mechanisms. This can be a maladaptive way of trying to numb their symptoms.
 
 

What to do next if you’re suffering from emotional attachment trauma?

 
Everyone’s experience of healing from trauma is unique. It’s important to be aware of whether you have experienced childhood developmental trauma and how it may be affecting your relationships as an adult. Sometimes, the effects of trauma can be overwhelming and we may try to push them away or avoid them.
 
If you notice that you’re engaging in these behaviors, it’s important to seek help from a trauma therapist who can support you on your healing journey. Remember, you’re not alone and it’s never too late to start healing.
 

There are several ways that people can work to overcome emotional attachment trauma:

  1. Therapy: One of the most effective ways to overcome emotional attachment trauma is through therapy. A therapist can help you process your experiences, understand the impact of your trauma on your life, and develop coping strategies to manage symptoms.
  2. Support groups: Joining a support group of people who have had similar experiences can be a great way to find validation, empathy, and a sense of community.
  3. Mindfulness practices: Mindfulness practices such as meditation, pilates, prayer time with God or journaling can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations, and develop a sense of spiritual connection and self-regulation.
  4. Trauma-focused cognitive-behavioral therapy (TF-CBT): This is a type of therapy that is specifically designed to help individuals process and recover from traumatic events.
  5. Building a safety net: Building a support system of people you trust, who are there for you when you need them, can help you feel more secure and safe in your life.

It’s important to remember that healing from emotional attachment trauma is a process and it may take time. It’s also important to find a therapist who is experienced in treating trauma, who you feel comfortable talking with, and who can help you develop a personalized treatment plan.

 
 
If you desire to work with me on healing your wounds and unlocking the aspects of you that were never realized so you can achieve more success in your life then head over to awebliss.com and join my weekly LIVE online mentorship calls.
 
 
Continue Reading

Trending