Month: September 2010

The Biggest Cause Of Unhappiness

Do you know the biggest cause of unhappiness, regardless of factors such as race, age, sex, or culture?

That’s right… it doesn’t matter who you are or where you are from, the biggest cause of unhappiness is always the same, though you likely don’t realize it.  Most people never bring the root cause from the subconscious mind to the conscious mind, so the conscious mind seizes on all sorts of manifestations of the root cause and decides it’s the whole thing.

The root cause, though, is not money.  It’s not relationships, or being stuck in a dead-end job, or any of those other things that pop into your mind.

The root cause of unhappiness, nearly all unhappiness, is mentally giving up your control of your life, your actions.

The other things, that come to mind more easily, are nearly always a manifestation of that perceived loss of control, rather than the actual cause themselves.  Stuck in a dead-end job?  You have the ability to walk away from that job today.  Any feeling that you do not is an illusion, it is you mentally giving up your control… “I can’t leave that job, I need the pay check.”

That is a false argument… you can leave the job any time.  Convincing your conscious mind that you can’t is simply dodging the responsibility.  If you “can’t” do something, then it’s not your fault when you don’t.  You don’t have to deal with choosing whether or not to do it.  There is no risk.

Without risk, though, there is also no opportunity.  Imagine if you refused all risk, and stayed with your first job, maybe working in a fast food restaurant.

And with relationships, too… you can’t get the girl, so you don’t try.  You can’t be an amazing artist, so you never pick up the brush.  You can’t cook, so you only make macaroni and cheese in a box.

That doesn’t sound like a life anyone would choose, does it?  It doesn’t sound happy in the least.  In avoiding the possibility of pain, you have also closed out the possibility of joy.

At the same time, you feel constantly resentful at what the world has done to you.  You see other people succeeding and ask why they got so lucky, while you’re stuck where you are, and have no way to get out.

You still don’t admit the choice, though, and without that choice, you cannot improve.  As long as you consciously deny that you have a choice, you can’t move on to somewhere happier.

And what’s worse… your subconscious knows that you do have that choice.  It knows who is causing all of the unhappiness and frustration, and it holds you responsible.  After long enough, you tend to start hating your life, often without even being able to give objective specifics as to why you hate it.

You don’t, of course, have control over everything in your life.  You can’t choose not to be blind, or choose to be smart… but you do have a life filled with choices every day, and as Rush says “If you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice.”

Choosing not to decide means that you cannot succeed.  You live a passive life, always being pushed along by outside influences, unable to reach any goal, because you will not choose to take action toward it.

It’s simple, but painful (which makes it not easy), to change.  The only way to change, and start erasing the unhappiness, is to admit that you do have control, that you have a choice. That means, though, that you have to face up to the fact that you always have had a choice… and that your current circumstances, that you “couldn’t” change, were something that you chose.

It’s okay to start small.  You can actively choose something small… you can choose to go to the gym to start getting in shape.  You can choose to take a class in something you always wanted to learn (I’ve recently done this myself, with martial arts).  You can choose to start a project of one sort or another at home… something that lies in the direction of your dreams (dreams never truly die… and you’d be amazed at how powerfully they can come back once you take action toward them).

You don’t have to start small, though.  It’s perfectly acceptable to wake up all at once, throw off the shackles that you have chosen by choosing not to decide, and make sweeping changes through all of your life.  Sometimes a drastic change is the only way to keep from going back to where you were.

It doesn’t really matter what it is that you choose to do, it simply matters that you consciously accept that you have a choice, and that you made it.  The fact that something happened as a result of something that you actively chose makes it, in some odd way, easier to accept failure… especially if you continue to make choices and keep moving ahead.

Ask anyone you ever meet that seems at peace with themselves, truly happy or content, how much control other people have over them.  Everyone of them will tell you little or none.  They live by their own choices, and their own actions, and because of that, they live a life that is in keeping with who they truly are… after all, why would you do anything else knowing that everything you do is by your own choice?

The Biggest Reason Good Relationships Fall Apart – And How To Stop It

All relationships naturally tend to fall apart.

It doesn’t matter how good your relationship is now, how good it used to be, or how good you think it can be… all relationships are constantly, though often very slowly, moving toward falling apart.

That doesn’t mean, however, that all relationships will fall apart.  There is a way to counter the natural drift… but before we get into that, we need to understand what relationshipsare, and why they naturally fall apart.

What Relationships Are

Relationships are a bond between two people, a bond that connects them and holds them together.

There are many kinds of bonds, of relationships, ranging from family to friends, and even the connection between soul mates.  Each type of relationship has its own properties… a relationship with friends is simply different than a relationship with family, which is different than the relationship that you have with your significant other.

The type of relationship has an influence on the natural starting strength of any individual relationship, with your personal experience giving the type of relationship its relative importance.  If you had a bad family life when you were young, for instance, for you family connections may be weaker than friends, while for others family bonds may even be stronger than their relationship with their spouse.

The type of bond is not absolute in determining the strength of an individual relationship, though… you may naturally be close to your family, but your relationship to your best friend may be closer yet.  The same can be true of significant others, too… you may have been closer to your family, and even friends, than to your first love, but your relationship with your one true love may cause all other relationships to pale by comparison.

Why Relationships Fall Apart

Relationships are the bond formed between two people.

As we go through life, we gain new experiences, and those experiences change us… sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse, and sometimes just different.  This process never stops… every moment we are alive, we are changing and through this constant change we are always becoming someone new.

Constant change means that the relationship you formed is under constant strain, because it was formed between who you were, not who you are.

Any bond that is under constant strain weakens over time… just think about a weight suspended from a rope.  It may take a long time, if the rope starts out being strong, but eventually the weight will weaken the rope to the point that it will break.

The same principle holds true for relationships… a strong initial bond can withstand a lot of strain from the changes that you both go through, and the weakening is so slow that it can be very hard to notice.  A gradual weakening is not the same as no weakening, however, and unlike the weight hanging from the rope, with relationships the “weight” keeps increasing, as you keep moving through life, becoming who you will be.

How To Bring Your Relationship Back Together

Relationships are the bonds between two people, and those bonds weaken over time… so how do you keep your relationship from falling apart?

You can’t keep the bonds from weakening over time… but you can forge new bonds.

The closeness of your relationship depends on how often you create new bonds.  If you take too long, the bond you have may strain beyond recovery.  If you only form new bonds when your current relationship is strained, you’ll never do better than staying where you are.

If you form more bonds before your relationship gets strained, though, it will actually get stronger.  Your relationship can deepen and strengthen, growing and blossoming as time goes by and you keep forming new bonds.

There are many ways to form new bonds, as many ways as there are people, but they all have one thing in common… they all require you to spend quality time doing something together.

Here are a few ideas to get you started, some easy, some hard:

  1. Talk to each other… about things deeper than the surface stuff you would tell a casual acquaintance.  If your emotions don’t rise up as you talk, you aren’t going deep enough to form a new bond.
  2. Go out somewhere together… and don’t let yourselves be interrupted.  If you can avoid it, don’t bring your phones, avoid getting into conversations with others if you see them while you’re out, etc.
  3. Make something together… or for each other.  This can be something as simple (and cheap) as a playlist, or as complicated as restoring a classic car.  If it’s for each other instead of doing it together, though, you need to both put time and effort into it… going out and buying something is not the same as making something, and if any bond at all is forged, it will be weak.
  4. Stay in together… but make sure that it’s time and in a place where you can truly focus on each other.  Watching a movie together can certainly forge a bond, but only if the “together” part is more important than the “movie” part.

These are just a few basic ideas, not very specific… you can take them and expand upon them, or come up with entirely new ideas.  What you do isn’t that important… it’s the fact that you are doing it together, that you are giving your time, your effort, and your attention to each other.

Wrapping It Up

All of the above applies to all kinds of relationships, not just the kind between significant others.  The same things weaken and strengthen relationships with your family, your friends, and your spouse.

All relationships naturally fall apart… but if you consciously choose to renew them, to create new bonds between you, it will never reach the breaking point.

Your relationships can keep growing, becoming always stronger, for the rest of your life.

Stressed Out? Easy, Quick Stress Reduction

Nearly everyone has times when stress builds up, whether from specific things or just from life in general, to the point where they feel overwhelmed and stressed out. Knowing how and why you get to that state can help you to avoid it in the first place… and there is a 3 step method that can help you quickly and easily reduce your stress once you’ve already gotten there. Where Your “Stress Load” Comes From […]