Are you your own worst enemy?
You find the person of your dreams. They are everything you hoped for. All is going really well, and then you start picking fights and being difficult until your partner leaves you. Or maybe you found a fabulous job, a job that you have worked so hard for. But once you settle in and get into the swing of things, you do something stupid and get yourself fired.
Why is it so hard for many of us to sit in ‘happy’? We are constantly striving to push ourselves to a state of fulfillment, but once we get there, we go and stuff it up. Worst of all, we don’t even realise it until later on when we look back with regret, and grieve those missed opportunities.
Self-sabotaging our own happiness means that we are exhibiting behaviors that are causing us to move away from what we truly desire. In other words, we are accidentally stuffing up what we actually want.
The thing about self-sabotage is it is unconscious. We don’t even know we are doing it. By the time we realise, the damage is already done. The girlfriend, the job, the uni degree…all gone, as well as the happy place we were enjoying there for a bit. The self-saboteur comes out to play usually when we are experiencing strong positive emotions, like happiness.
Being ‘content’ is uncomfortable for some of us, particular those of us who have grown up in a household where being unhappy was just the way it was. So the feeling of happiness would just feel plain weird. Your brain wouldn’t know what to do with it, and certainly would not be expecting it to stay for long. In fact, we would feel more comfortable expecting the worst.
Not to be too grim here, but from an evolutionary perspective, it is far better for us to be in control and live in discontent, where we can predict unease and then we are not too disrupted when everything is wrecked by some unpredictable event (or person for that matter). Being happy long term doesn’t help us because it doesn’t prepare us for events that could threaten our survival. Hence it is wired into us (some more than others) to be a little suspicious of happiness. Self-sabotaging your own happiness protects you from disappointment.
But, you’ll probably notice that if you keep doing these behaviours and habits they are going to take you away from attaining the things that you deeply desire, like a great relationship, a stimulating and fulfilling job…and well, a happy life.
If you are a ‘happiness self-saboteur’ (and you don’t wish to be), then don’t lose heart. Like all annoying subconscious thought processes that make us behave in ways we are unaware of, you need to start noticing when you are doing them. That means, recognising when the enemy (that means you) is starting to make you feel a bit ancy when you get too happy. Then stop yourself from automatically letting go of that life wrecking ball you have holding in your hand
Feeling happy and content is pretty damn nice. So just sit in it for a while.
You never know, you might like it.