So I wrote Happiness: 101 a while back. Since then, I’ve learned a lot about CBT and positive psychology as well as gained some new perspectives of my own. There are some things I’m going to add upon, and some new suggestions and ideas I’ll give you. Due to how long this will be, I’m going to break the whole article down into parts.
“The Vices of Attachment”
Last time I told you about how interpersonal attachment can be really good or really bad. This time I’m going to discuss material attachment. We all want a nicer car, bigger house, and more things. That’s fine, but don’t make it a primary goal in your life to acquire everything and don’t make your happiness depend on that. Because once they are gone, that happiness will cease to come. Materialism is like an addiction, there will never be enough so you will never feel truly happy. You can buy the newest phone, but in a few months there will be a better one and you’ll have to buy that one. You can’t buy happiness.
This sort of ties in to your attachment to status. Nobody is better or worse than anyone else; everyone just has taken different paths. A doctor may be qualified to help others medically and may have training that you don’t have, but that doesn’t make him a better person. He just chose a path and it led him to where he is now. A hobo that has no status may have actually gotten to his position due to giving away too much, being too trusting, or just having been screwed over by the V.A. office. He doesn’t necessarily use the money for drugs or alcohol. Also don’t make assumptions, it won’t make you happier, but it will help your relationships and is just a general rule.
Just as you don’t make assumptions, don’t get attached to expectations. Expectations cause us to think a situation will be better or worse than what will actually happen in reality. When things don’t meet our expectations, we get depressed OR we see that we worried about something that would have never happened. Expecting the worst is just as bad as expecting too much. You will cause yourself to be in dismay over something that
is just as unrealistic.
The best way to prevent the pain from attachments is to learn to live without them. If you become heavily attached to relationships, find out how to be happy alone. If you become heavily attached to materialistic goods, abstain from acquiring more until you find happiness without it. If you are attached to the status you’ve earned, try to dissociate your identity with that status- be around people who are of different status. Don’t make expectations or assumptions. Here is the disclaimer: security. If you have lost your job, home, or wife, it’s perfectly normal to feel depressed. However, there was a point in which you didn’t have a job, house of your own, or wife before, correct? That’s your hope. You’ve survived without that stuff before, you can do it again.