Clutching Unhappiness

Yesterday, I wondered why we chase happiness, but don’t want to catch it. Perhaps we are clutching a big bundle of unhappiness and don’t want to put it down.

eckhart-tolle-unhappinessWe are comfortable with unhappiness. Often, we think we deserve it. “Deserve” is one of those words I see a lot of on Facebook and wonder how people know who “deserves” and who doesn’t. Deserving is a way of giving people permission to feel an emotion they are going to feel anyway.

Back to why we clutch unhappiness. It fills up the empty space in our heart that happiness has avoided. It fills up time. We watch others have what we want, do what we would like to do, get the promotion we drooled after. Unhappiness is familiar. We confuse ‘familiar’ with ‘comfortable.’ And we live comfortably with unhappiness.

There’s one more reason why we hold unhappiness instead of letting it go. It gets more results.  Share some joy on Facebook, and you get a few kind “likes.” Put up a tear-stained, painful post and people stand in line to comfort, advise, share their story or top your tale. Unhappiness gets results.

We’re an interesting folk. Chasing what we can’t catch and clutching what makes us miserable.

–Quinn McDonald wonders why people know that you can tell a joke just once and get people to laugh–the second time, it’s no longer funny. But an unhappy story makes us cry time and time again, without changing the situation.

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35 thoughts on “Clutching Unhappiness

  1. Pingback: How to Get Back to Yourself | Build Your Dream Body

  2. Oh so right! We hang on to all sorts of miseries because they’re like a comfortable old shoe . . . and then one day we buy a new pair and find it affects our whole posture, the way we walk, the way we set out into the world! Small changes can challenge fiends disguised as old friends.

  3. Shakespeare’s most produced plays are the tragedies: Hamlet is #1, Romeo and Juliette #2 and MacBeth and King Lear are tied for #3. Often we embrace other’s tales of woe so that we can feel better about our own state, or our escape from a similar situation. Even adventure stories contain large elements of, ‘Whew, I am sure glad that is NOT happening to me!” A lot of humor is based on things happening to other people, sometimes bad things. Look how many times people get hurt doing something on America’s Funniest Videos. Humans are odd.

      • with mom, dad and sister dolores all gone..and 13 years between us- [i left for college when she was 5], the challenge is to grow a healthy relationship.. i printed out your words, left them for her, also shared them with friends who do not get your posts. sister lives with the mentality that the glass is half empty and god will knock it over….

        • Happiness is a big threat to some people. They are afraid of it, afraid that if they are happy, they will become different. And it is true, they will. We all have a Story that we live. The story often makes other people in our lives wrong: “Mom never loved me enough.” And we prove how hurtful that was to us by choosing the life that continues to make us miserable. By constantly punishing the people who hurt us, we feel better. “See what you did that made my life awful?” We do this after the parents are gone, because it becomes our motivator, our fuel. Finding a different fuel is hard. It changes how we see life. It’s too much for some people. And it’s very, very sad.

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