Unhappiness and Ego’s Part
“I’m unhappy” is the usual way of putting it. But it’s a statement of intent because it’s really like an ‘I AM Affirmation’. So are you really unhappiness? Or is it that you feel unhappy today?
The power of words is stunning, especially the words we choose in self talk – the chattering mind, the rational voice that likes to turn things over, debate and reason.
That voice which says “I’m unhappy” and then slumps, seems to go no further and doesn’t naturally follow-up with “but I would like to be happy”. So it’s easy to tell this is an ego voice.
You may wonder why your own ego, negative or not, would work against your best interests by making an already negative situation worse? It’s because ego is unconscious and like an app or program, it does what’s in its nature to do.
The negative ego has no intention of rescuing you. It has every intention of making things worse by repeating the same thing over and over again, “I’m unhappy” or “I’m pissed”. This is a recipe for deepening unhappiness.
Ego is highly defensive and to say nothing more than “I’m unhappy” is playing to its nature which is to always be the ‘right one’ and the ‘good one’. If it offered any help out of this feeling, that would be like admitting the feeling may not be correct or should be reformed. Ego is never wrong as far as it’s concerned, so the problem of unhappiness is created by ego and is the last part of you to let go of that feeling.
It’s the ego’s negative feelings which are mostly unconscious. This includes ego feelings that appear to be positive like pride, competitiveness and excitement. Now there is nothing wrong with being excited except when the ego thinks it’s a narcotic and expects the supply not to stop.
Remember that excitement is a peaky emotion, it is not sustainable because it relies on external stimulus to top it up otherwise it slides and dips lower. If you got used to the feeling of excitement, and expected it, you would be less happy with those times when you are not excited.
This is one of the reasons spirituality talks about equilibrium. You don’t want to be the pendulum swinging between extremes from excitement to boredom. The optimal state for most of the time is to be something in between because that takes the least energy of all.
Be watchful of some forms of ego unhappiness that come from failing and losing at ego trips like a blow to ego’s self importance.
So you don’t say: “I am angry” or “I’m angry” – that’s ego trying to identify you with your suffering.
Instead you say: “I feel angry”.
Notice a very different feel. When you ‘feel’ instead of ‘am’ there is a sense of a temporary state because feelings are not permanent – they come and go, they flare up, shift like swirls and eddies or move past like a cloud cluster.
Digging up the Past and the Present
Clinging to emotions from the past, or festering over a current situation, will press the trigger of unhappiness. There needs to be a stage of acceptance when it really is time to move on – or get on with the solution.
If it’s a matter of letting go, ego will make it difficult at first. If a person falls for its bluffs and lets ego run amok, the emotion stays long enough to get toxic and manifest in physical ways like sensitivities and illness.
For example, say you feel unhappy one day because something reminds you of an unresolved issue with one of your parents. Your ego logic says your unhappiness comes from how you were treated but offers no constructive solution.
Through body signals (like flatness or tension) ego communicates to you that the feeling, from something that happened in the past, is still with you in the present, the Eternal Now. Imagine how disempowering it is when ego demonstrates to you that something in the past can make you unhappy today. That means it can make you unhappy tomorrow as well.
Emotions are powerful and will flood the intellect because it’s cold and calculating whereas emotions are fired by charge and passion. So it’s impossible to problem-solve when you are stuck in a festering negative emotion like unhappiness.
This is why people go from being unhappy one day to spilling over to the next day until they get an unbroken underfelt of unhappiness over a week or more that leads them to conclude they are clinically depressed. The focus is on the feeling, not the solution. So people will go and get medicated rather than address the trigger for their unhappiness.
One of the hardest to handle when feeling pain is to get around the idea that the other party, the cause of the pain, is getting away with it. But once you decide you’ve suffered enough over it, a realisation kicks in and ego falls off your shoulders like a cape and there is clarity in your mind.
Suddenly you see the repeating pattern in your life and you’ve been down this same road before. Because of the emotional pain you can actually feel your bruised ego at arm’s length, totally naked and with nowhere to run and hide. In an act of pure rebellion against the false self, you can declare:
‘To hell with it! I may have fallen on my sword but what doesn’t kill me makes me stronger.’
Unhappiness Can Be Let Go
Emotional suffering is a form of resistance, a refusal to accept something that didn’t fit the construct in your mind. It is interesting that many people would agree that strong emotional suffering is as hard to endure as physical pain, sometimes worse.
But the focus on the suffering bypasses a deeper understanding of what’s going on, because what is happening at this moment is that a bigger picture reality is interjecting with your immediate reality. It’s like a tug-of-war with your higher self and your ego.
Just because it’s colliding with your ego’s mini world view, doesn’t mean it’s a personal attack. The flow of life in which you are swimming, floating or gliding is always going in a general direction. By accepting it, you often find that the suffering is ego’s attempt at trying to conceal from you a broader understanding.
That’s because ego loves repetition, predictability and fears change. We seem to be hardwired to negative emotions, likely due to primitive survival roots, that it’s much easier and more common to struggle with negativity than positivity.
Do break away from the ego’s fiction. It never just deals with the facts but always blows out of proportion and does a lot of speculating to keep you hooked. Let go of the unhappiness as soon as you realise what triggered it. If you have reason to be unhappy you should not be. There is always many who are worse off than you.
Ego is the one to hurt and believes the object of its hurt is permanent and is all that matters. Yet all events that happen in this physical plane are twists and turns in the Game of Life and the social structures we build and live in are the School of Life.
The soul whose home is in the higher dimensions knows this reality as a staged event. As Shakespeare famously said “He frets and struts his hour upon the stage and then is heard no more”.
Like grief, unhappiness should have a time limit on it. Instead of identifying with it you recognise it as an emotional process of dealing with the source of the pain and unhappiness for a reasonable period.
Instead of being the victim, it’s possible to avoid the ego trap. You can feel when ego prods you to get wrapped up in a feeling, like it deserves centre stage of your life. Maybe it’s a diversion to get you away from an insight and a chance to grow out of one nautilus chamber into a higher and larger one.
It never pays to give into your ego because you will always get a lesser outcome. When you fully accept you are not your feelings, you can detach from the ego at will. No longer are you a slave to your emotions.