How to Defeat Enduring Misery
The beginning of self-awareness is believed to be linked to the earliest moments of our life when we initially respond to our name or when we first see a reflection of ourselves. The notion of a self-...
The beginning of self-awareness is believed to be linked to the earliest moments of our life when we initially respond to our name or when we first see a reflection of ourselves. The notion of a self-concept develops in us from that instant. Interestingly, once our awareness of self is born, everything that happens to us throughout our lives will have an effect on it.
The environment we grow up in will condition us to value certain things that when sought, will increase our self-esteem. These values are however subjective and personal to each of us. Adhering to these values is what causes us to feel good about ourselves. And having a positive view of ourselves may lead to the experience of happiness. But this kind of happiness is longer lasting and not the temporary kind that results only from simple pleasures.
When an unfortunate event occurs in our lives, we may feel sad about it. But the sadness is often brief and does not really affect our view of ourselves. Real misery is not quite the same. It is an enduring sadness which does not fade with time. Misery often stems from seeing nothing positive in ourselves. When this happens, we lose any reason to feel good. And this causes our self-esteem to plummet. And engaging in mere superficial gratifications will not erase this misery.
Why does this happen? Having nothing to value in oneself is the reason. So, what is it do we value? Is it academic or professional success? Is it material prosperity? Is it having stable and fulfilling relationships? Is it doing charitable acts and exhibiting generosity? Is it being able to follow a moral or spiritual standard? Or is it simply liking what we see when we look in a mirror? This will depend entirely on the individual’s values and the personal standards he has set for himself.
Therefore, in order to find a lasting reason for feeling good and staying happy, we must first ask what it is that will cultivate a positive view of ourselves. Once we know what that is, we can strive towards its satisfaction. Finding and nurturing what we regard as positive and good in us will help prevent the onset of misery.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Frederick Fabella, PhD is a graduate and undergraduate professor in the Philippines. He is an editorial board member of the IRP international research journal and a Fellow of the Royal Institution Singapore. He is the author of Transcendence: Essays For Personal Reflection. His blog can be found at Meanings and Perceptions.