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Old 12-06-2009, 07:48 PM   #1 (permalink)
 
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Default What Makes Us Unhappy.

So I finally figured out how to define happiness.

We all want to be happy, but do we really know what happiness is?

When you are happy, you can feel it, but when you are not happy, it's hard to grasp.

Happiness is liking things the way they are.

It's as simple as that. This defines happiness consistently in any situation. Whether you are unhappy because of who you are, or how things are going in your life, or because of things that are happening to other people, this definition remains true.

When you aren't thinking about negative stuff, you may like the way things are, even if you really don't like those things you aren't thinking about.

On the other hand, you could also change how you think about those negative things, and turn them into either neutral or positive things. Doing this would mean whether you are thinking about them or not, those things are not controlling your emotions.

For instance, if things in your life are hard, you may be unhappy because you look at them as negatives, but if you think of them as challenges for you to overcome your opinion may change. If you consider that without those challenges you wouldn't have the opportunity to accomplish as much, then all of a sudden a negative in your mind becomes a positive.

We can take this definition of happiness, and use it to help us find happiness for ourselves.

Let's start with analyzing our likes and dislikes.

What controls what we like and dislike, or the way we perceive things?

Our beliefs.

Whatever we believe to be true will effect how we look at any situation.

For example, most people believe death is a bad thing. Then when someone close to them dies, they perceive it as a bad thing.

But why is death bad? It is going to happen to everyone. Death is a part of life. It's how things are meant to be.

By looking at it logically, we can change our beliefs and turn a negative perception into a neutral perception (unemotional).

Now let's look at things on a more day-to-day basis.

What is the perception that effects our emotions the most?

Our perceptions of ourselves.

We have learned to believe many things that hinder our perception of self.

We grow up learning to be ashamed of our bodies, to criticize human errors, to be generally intolerant of perfectly human things. These beliefs carry over into our perceptions of others and certainly our perception of self.

There is not ONE logical reason for having a negative perception about ANYTHING; not yourself, not another person, not an event, nothing. So how do we fix the most emotionally influential perception we have, the perception of self?

What controls our perceptions? Our beliefs.

What controls our beliefs?

For the most part, our environment.

We are born without any knowledge, and we look to our environment for answers. We don't know what to think about anything, but we see these people, living things not much different than ourselves, and figure we can learn from them.

Instead of looking inside ourselves for answers, we look to other human beings. This is why our beliefs are all screwed up, and this is why so many people have to "find" themselves. It's because for so long they've been looking to their environment for answers, they don't know what they really think anymore.

I don't know if this will be of help to anyone, but it's something to think about, and hopefully make you look at yourself a little more realistically (and positively).

Peace
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Old 12-07-2009, 07:16 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I'm too tired now to read every word but I get where you're going.

There's a certain tranquillity in embracing what there is. Flaws, both mental and physical, others around you, and accepting fault from mistakes. It's definitely hard to explain. And a very strange thing indeed.

My younger self would think what I just said is rubbish.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:17 AM   #3 (permalink)
 
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I have sort of come to the conclusion that it is impossible for any human being to ever be completely happy, since that would be contrary to our own interests. A constant desire for improvement and disatisfaction with one's current condition forces people to try to improve their position, so it makes evolutionary sense for a species to be inherently discontent to some degree at all times. In short, true happiness is against human nature.

This little hypothesis of mine seems to work out pretty accurately since otherwise billionares would just kick back and relax rather than constantly try to make even more money, despite having absolutely no rational need for it. They are human, so therefore no amount of money can ever be enough.

I guess we just need to accept that we are only ever going to be like 70% happy at best no matter how good things are.
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Old 12-07-2009, 11:31 AM   #4 (permalink)
 
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No matter how hard I believe it, I won't have a million dollars. That would make me happy. But I understand what you're saying and I agree with it. Just because you know something doesn't mean things will change though. You have to want it bad enough and find motivation. Something I don't have.
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Old 12-07-2009, 01:09 PM   #5 (permalink)
 
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what makes me unhappy..... lack of purpose in life and also not living in the moment but analyzing things too much.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:27 PM   #6 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon7 View Post
For example, most people believe death is a bad thing. Then when someone close to them dies, they perceive it as a bad thing.

But why is death bad? It is going to happen to everyone. Death is a part of life. It's how things are meant to be.

By looking at it logically, we can change our beliefs and turn a negative perception into a neutral perception (unemotional).
Good lord, I never realized that it was wrong to feel unhappy when a loved one dies. I don't think death is something that we need to learn to perceive neutrally or respond to unemotionally. Death is a part of life, but grief is a part of life, too. There are some things that it's ok to feel unhappy about.

I understand the overall point of your post, but I think you gave a very poor example here.
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:41 PM   #7 (permalink)
 
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The only thing that makes any of you unhappy, or anyone(myself included) is the pursuit of happines. Without pursuing happines, we don't need to be happy, just in key to what is.

The pursuit of happines, and the illusion of: I'm not happy now, I will be someday"

Is the anguish we experience... its the search of happines and not finding it that makes us unhappy. But without a search, what is there? YOu guys see if you can find the answer...

...me personally:I know the answer.

Yet, still it doesn't make me happy and because I am NOT happy I am unhappy... but what if I never looked in the first place?
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Old 12-07-2009, 02:48 PM   #8 (permalink)
 
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I don't smoke weed so I can't join in this conversation. lol
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Old 12-07-2009, 05:19 PM   #9 (permalink)
 
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things that will allow us to get hurt even at the cost of something that is pleasurable. Staying safe and not taking the risks in order for me to be in control of my life.
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Old 12-07-2009, 09:10 PM   #10 (permalink)
 
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I think I skipped to much stuff for this to be easily understood.

Nothing can MAKE you happy/unhappy. Happiness is based completely on your perceptions.

What is real? Does it matter? It's only your perceptions that matter to you.

The death thing is a perfect example.

When you are just born, do you have any belief about whether or not death is bad? Do you have any beliefs at all? No.

We are born with instincts, not beliefs.

Beliefs are unnatural, and they lead to harmful emotions.

I guess a lot of people reading this won't really know what I mean... I'm saying "belief" to refer to what you think you know.

These beliefs you have do not come from you, like I said in the original post, but they come from your observations of your environment. You believe what you witness.

Most of your beliefs probably come from one of your parents; whichever parent you respected the most, or payed most attention to. Since you have social anxiety disorder, the chances are you looked for approval from this parent. The reason for that is when you learn beliefs from someone, they pretty much control your perception of self.

This is where the part about our ego's running our lives comes in:

The ego is not what other people think of you as. It is what you think of yourself as. What other people think (or what you think they think) of you is a big part of what you think of yourself, it could sway your perception, but it doesn't fully control that perception. There may be certain people who you don't care what they think of you. And there may be some people that you care a great deal and get nervous and act strangely around -> These people demonstrate similar beliefs to that (possibly parent) person you first learned most of your beliefs from.

Whether people like you or not is not the issue, the issue is whether you like yourself. The beliefs you have in your subconscious are the determining factor in how you achieve that.

Example:
If you learned the belief that, let's say, people who like cookies are bad people (let's say your father acted like that and you learned to believe this as true), then if someone were ever to imply that you liked cookies you would be offended. So whether or not they dislike you is irrelevant, all that matters is how you perceive their actions under the influence of these beliefs.

These beliefs are put into our heads from a very young age, and we are not physically able to think critically for ourselves. Our brains develop and we become smarter, but we still have these beliefs with us because we have gotten so used to them.

It is important to question our beliefs, because if we do not we are letting our emotions be controlled by them.

Why don't we like things the way they are? (Why are we unhappy?)

What would you change about how things are and why?

Do you like who you are? Do you like being you? Why wouldn't you?

I don't want these answers, but you should.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:22 PM   #11 (permalink)
 
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You're absolutely right, and is a reason I could go into a lot of things wrong with society, but you can't change the world, only yourself.
Bottom line, you still need to have the motivation and the question is where do you tap into to reach that motivation?
It's a chicken and egg problem, because you need motivation to change, but to change you need motivation. For people to want to help you, you have to want to help yourself, but for you to help yourself, you need others to help you.
As far as beliefs, skepticism is healthy and something everyone should embrace. Skeptic belief, there's a good oxymoron for you.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:26 PM   #12 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Anon7 View Post
What is real? Does it matter? It's only your perceptions that matter to you.

The death thing is a perfect example.

When you are just born, do you have any belief about whether or not death is bad? Do you have any beliefs at all? No.

We are born with instincts, not beliefs.

Beliefs are unnatural, and they lead to harmful emotions.
Some beliefs lead to harmful emotions. Not all beliefs do. I still just don't see what is harmful or unhealthy about feeling pain and sorrow over the death of a loved one. If you love someone, you are going to feel sad when they die. The knowledge that death is part of life helps one to cope with the loss in the long run, but it is not enough to keep one from feeling sorrow. Not all emotions are easily subdued by logic, nor should they be.
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Old 12-07-2009, 10:49 PM   #13 (permalink)
 
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So basically you're just advocating CBT, but taking it a little too far. Epicurus argued that we shouldn't be afraid of death because where death is we are not, and where we are death is not. But clearly, this does not allay the fear of death in most people, if it does in anyone.

CBT is a great tool for exposing false and irrational beliefs, but that's all. Reality (and yes, reality does matter) also plays a role in how we feel. Nobody becomes blissfully happy simply by believing that everything is okay. We call these people delusional. Tell a homeless man that he's only unhappy because he believes he's unhappy, and see how far that gets him.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:48 AM   #14 (permalink)
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymid View Post
Good lord, I never realized that it was wrong to feel unhappy when a loved one dies. I don't think death is something that we need to learn to perceive neutrally or respond to unemotionally. Death is a part of life, but grief is a part of life, too. There are some things that it's ok to feel unhappy about.

I understand the overall point of your post, but I think you gave a very poor example here.
Agreed.
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