Every person’s experience of unhappiness is different and unique but research shows that there are certain developmental blocks that cause unhappiness in all people. The origin (or cause) of unhappiness is almost always unhappiness with yourself. No matter how good external circumstances are in your life, if you are unhappy with yourself, nothing else will feel like it is working right.
Unhappiness with yourself looks like this:
*Feel like you are often making poor choices for your health and well-being. Feel trapped in a cycle of continually being unable to make better choices for yourself.
*Unable to carry out better decision making for yourself.
*Can’t seem to do what you feel like you should be doing in order to be a happier and healthier human being.
*You continually are taking what life gives you rather than actively creating the life that you want.
*Have a low drive to really do what you feel would be much better for yourself.
*Are unhappy with how you behave in your relationships.
*Feel uncomfortable with who you are and how you behave when around other people.
*Feel like you are continually throwing yourself under the bus.
If you experience any of the above, you will feel continually unhappy with yourself.
Mindfulness seeks to undue all of these undesirable ways of being. These negative behaviors are habits that are almost always the result of years and years of negative conditioning. These ways of thinking, feeling and behaving almost always lead a person towards self-destructive behaviors, chronic depression and anxiety. Because these ways of being have become so deeply entrenched within a person’s identity, it can feel almost impossible to change.
Mindfulness is like installing a new operating system into a computer that is no longer working right. From a mindfulness perspective, the above negative thoughts, feelings and behaviors are the result of ego defense mechanisms that keep pulling us back into ego-identification. It is the identification with our ego defense mechanisms (the old operating system) that keeps us perpetuating cycles of unhappiness.
Through mindfulness practice we cultivate a new identity that is more aware, grounded in the present moment (being rather than doing), effortless, accepting and compassionate. Some refer to this process as growing up. As a result, the unhappiness with yourself (ego-identification) tends to dissolve away and you can move into the next stage of your development as a happier, kinder, calmer and more aware human being.