BE HAPPY GETTING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT

The following excerpt is from the self help
psychology book, Be Your Own Therapist.


This seems impossible to achieve, to be happy when we get things we don't want. The reason it seems impossible is that we believe we should be unhappy when we don't get what we want. (In all of this, there is the following truth: if we believe such a situation calls for unhappiness, we will be unhappy.) The essence of changing such unhappiness is to change the underlying belief that it is normal and natural to become unhappy when we don't get what we want. Having to change one's ice cream flavor if they have run out of chocolate is not a situation in which most of us would agree that unhappiness would be automatic. There would be far less agreement about other "more important" wants such as a desired new job or love interest that failed to develop. Yet it really is in how we think about these denied wants. If I start emphasizing in my head all the reasons why that new desired job was not ideal or emphasizing my spiritually-based belief that "my higher self (or God/ Higher Power/ karma) makes sure I always get what I really need," then unhappiness is not likely. (And if it does appear, then I have self-therapy to do.)


The ultimate in self responsibility: Wherever I am unhappy, there is where I need to change myself. Most of us blame others.

Recently during the Mississippi River flooding, several big-city reporters were astonished at the reactions of a few of the midwesterners who had lost homes and livelihoods to the river. For some of those experiencing such catastrophic losses were not unhappy or stressed out. (Such losses are expected as a part of living close to the land or sea by farmers and fishermen. Therefore, unhappiness during such natural disasters might be for a very limited time, perhaps just for a few minutes.) Those incredulous reporters didn't realize that they were the ones who probably could have used therapy most at that moment!


There may be childhood successes as well as childhood trauma associated with this belief in automatic unhappiness when I don't get what I want. Many of us as toddlers learned to threaten a tantrum or tears in the supermarket when denied a favorite food item; this often resulted in our gaining the item. Thus, we learned that we sometimes could get what we wanted by being unhappy. Therefore, we sometimes continue the process today by hoping or demanding that others respond to our unhappiness or hurt feelings or depression. Those who did have such early successes in getting others to respond to threatened unhappiness will have difficulty giving up this mode of personal relating.


As traumatized children, on the other hand, we were not successful in getting what we actually needed, items such as enough real love and acceptance. We wanted and needed these items and did not get them. Most of us learned that not getting what we needed did lead to unhappy feelings and trauma. Our childish minds then interpreted that experience as also meaning that not getting what we wanted was the cause of the unhappiness. Not true.


This unhappy belief (if I don't get what I want, I'll be unhappy) is widespread in this culture. If you wish to read further, I suggest Kaufman's To Love Is To Be Happy With. Just ridding this culture of this one belief would do worlds for our society's happiness. I can be happy no matter whether I get what I want or not. Changing yourself in this regard is not necessarily that difficult. Often the most difficult part is just coming to realize that such a change might be possible.

Next Excerpt  

He whom neither slander that gradually soaks into the mind nor statements that startle like a wound in the flesh, are successful may be called intelligent indeed... Confucius 500 B.C.

More Excerpts This Chapter
   LET ME HIT YOU WITH A SLEDGEHAMMER
   THE TYRANNY OF JUDGMENTS
   THAT IS THE WAY I AM
   YOU MAKE ME UNHAPPY
   YOU HURT MY FEELINGS- THEREFORE YOU SHOULD CHANGE
   STICKS AND STONES
   WE DIG THINKING RUTS
   SIZE AND CONTENTS OF THE UNCONSCIOUS
   NATURE VS. NURTURE VS. LIFEPLAN
   THE PERFECTION THAT YOU ARE NOW
   BE HAPPY GETTING WHAT YOU DON'T WANT
   YOU'LL SEE IT WHEN YOU BELIEVE IT
   YOU GET WHAT YOU BELIEVE IN
   HOW CLOSE CAN WE COME TO "HAPPILY EVER AFTER"?

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