Why is there so much unhappiness in the world? Why do so many people spend so much time searching for love, success, recognition, and inner peace and not find it. Instead they feel stressed and disappointed. Many people dedicate their lives to these goals, but end up disappointed and sometimes bitter. So, why is there still so much unhappiness around?


The answer to this is undoubtedly very complex and I certainly don’t pretend I have the whole answer, but part of the answer seems to be that a lot of people base their search for these things on a wrong assumption. Their underlying belief is that we all unequivocally want happiness, success, love, etc., apart from those who are mentally ill and we’re not mentally ill, are we?


My experience over the years as a health kinesiology practitioner showed that this is not true. Perfectly sane, normal people are ambivalent about all sorts of positive things such as love, freedom, happiness, recognition, trust and love.


You may want love, but do you also have a little bit of fear or apprehension associated with it? Thinking about having a loving relationship can bring on feelings of claustrophobia, responsibility or unworthiness, even if you’ve had a ‘normal’ experience of relationships so far in your life. If you experienced abuse as a child, you may also feel extreme fear and panic.


When you think about being happy, what other thoughts and feelings appear unbidden? Do you feel it would be boring or undeserved to be happy all the time? Maybe you feel it would be unethical to be happy, when so many other people are unhappy. Maybe you think it won’t last.


What happens when you think about being successful? Do you also remember being told as a child that pride comes before a fall? Do you believe that if you are successful rather than mediocre, a big disaster will shortly follow? Do you believe that only selfish, aggressive people are successful and that in not being successful you are showing what a nice person you are.


Recognise that it is perfectly normal to want something and not to want it at the same time. Appreciate that people often have two sets of reasons that bring opposite conclusions about a topic. Knowing this can often help us make sense of behaviour. If you want love and yet are scared of love, you may show apparently conflicting behaviour. When you are not in a loving relationship, you are unhappy and seeking that special person – you are not experiencing love and so you are unhappy. Then you find someone and for a while you are deliriously happy – you are experiencing love and so are happy. But over time you begin to feel boredom or claustrophobia or unworthy of all this love, and so you do things to sabotage the relationship and bring it to an end. For a while after the relationship ends you are happy, but then you start to feel unhappy again.


So, think about the things you want in life, and listen for the negative thoughts and emotions too. Sometimes just knowing in the full light of day these negative thoughts can bring about change. Sometimes owning these thoughts, rather than trying to suppress them, can shift your feelings and thought processes. Sometimes you may need help. Find a local therapist who can help you, or try taking flower remedies or using self-hypnosis CDs.

(c) Jane Thurnell-Read 2018