Has dissatisfaction become a place of comfort?
A basic assumption of human behaviour is that people pursue pleasure and seek to avoid pain. Then why is it that some people seem content to wallow in their misery, even boasting about it as some sort of badge of honour? Even when given steps to improve their lives, they prefer to continue complaining. Is there a certain comfortable familiarity with being dissatisfied that becomes an obstacle to change? After getting a glimpse of joy, why do some people immediately shift back to what doesn’t work?
There are a number of possible explanations for this “addiction” to unhappiness:
* Deep-rooted insecurity or lack of self-esteem may cause some people to feel undeserving of happiness.
* People who grew up with a parenting style characterized by excessive discipline and unrealistic expectations may have learned to equate unhappiness with love and success.
* Lifelong struggles with trauma or other negative experiences may fuel an unconscious desire to continually return to the status quo of unhappiness.
* Some people who seem comfortable in their misery actually may be suffering from an underlying mental health disorder.
* Some people pride themselves on realism, believing that being practical or realistic also means focusing on the negative.
* Because of decisions or experiences in their past, some people are consumed by guilt or regret that they cannot overcome. Instead, they choose to punish themselves and/or others.
* Some people are afraid to feel joy since positive feelings might be a “setup” for disappointment.
* The prospect of happiness strikes fear of the unknown for those who have never felt anything but unhappiness.
* Dissatisfaction becomes a motivator to work harder, change jobs, eat healthier, spend more time with friends and family, or prevent unwanted behaviours or situations.
* Some people make it a personal mission to take on the world’s problems as their own. While noble in some respects, these individuals cannot allow themselves to feel happiness when, for example, people are starving or global warming is damaging the planet.
It’s a short, stark, disturbing and ruthlessly truthful/accurate article. I’d only add one other reason to it:
Some people have become extremely adept at using their self created unhappiness as a means of justifying their violations of others.