Confession time: For many years I used to be what I call an “enterpainer.” I loved to entertain friends with my pain, sharing amusing stories full of woes and miffed-ness.
One day I discovered a psychological concept which really woke me up—and motivated me to change my “enterpaining ways.”
I’m excited to share this concept with you, because I believe it might motivate you as well.
When I first heard these words, I immediately wondered what they meant.
I found out they represent a truly important psychological theory – one which clearly explains how and why sometimes a person’s comfort zone might actually be to stay in discomfort.
As a child you learned habits on love and happiness from your parents.
If you learned that love comes with yelling and insults, then being in a relationship with too much peace and too many compliments might actually inspire anxiety.
Snagging an abundance of joy might also trigger you to self sabotage happiness – in order to maintain that “masochistic equilibrium” which you learned in your childhood.
Or you might simply choose scenarios from the get-go which bring you lower levels of love and bliss.
When this concentration shifts – even if it’s upwards -you will then start to feel twitchy, because this new zone feels so unfamiliar.
As a result you might instinctively want to do something to self sabotage happiness, so you can shift your happiness concentration back down, down, down, down, down to your familiar zone – your “masochistic equilibrium.”
Or, as mentioned above, you might simply choose situations right from the start which bring you a familiar level of pain, so as to match the “masochistic equilibrium” you grew up with.
You must one hundred percent accept that you do a lot of the goofier things you do because of negative childhood brainwashing.
Or what I call “brain dirtying” – because your lens to the world gets dirtied with negative beliefs that you must wipe clean. Then, and only then, can you clearly see new paths to getting the life you desire and deserve.
After you get done blaming your past for present pain, you must also accept some responsibility.
After all, you’ve been an adult (or adult-ish) (and maybe even just plain ol’ doltish) for a while now.
Yes, your troublemaking subconscious has gotten you into some painful relationships and challenging situations. But enough already! Now is the time for you to show your cerebrum who’s boss and stop allowing those painful misadventures.
Next time you’re tempted to settle for a pattern of pain, repeat the following mantra:
Spend as much time as possible with them so you can start to shift your belief system to what “normal love” and “normal happiness” are.
Apply this strategy with all the areas you might be self sabotaging your happiness.
Over time, you will begin to view highly positive situations as examples for your new normal.
The more you witness positive examples of love, success and joy, the more opportunity you will have to change your belief system about life. And thereby you will start to change your “masochistic equilibrium.” Soon you won’t want to self sabotage your happiness anymore.
Clear your life of these depressing triggers.
You might want to remove items from your home that your ex-spouse has given you.
Instead, get “trigger happy” and focus on positive triggers that remind you of all your happy relationships.
You might want to put up photos in your home that represent happy times, happy people, or happy philosophies you want to live by.
Finally, there’s an added sneaky reason why painful self sabotage patterns form: a theory à la Carl Jung.
He believed that our lives need meaning and purpose. If we don’t have meaning and purpose, we acquire a bad habit in order to create drama and excitement. Our goal is to feel like there’s something interesting and entertaining happening in our life. Even if it’s a bad exciting thing.
Jung’s name for these patterns of “enterpaining” situations was “low-level spiritual quests.”
It’s easier to dump negative patterns in love (which give you drama and “enterpaining stories” to tell), if you develop an exciting hobby or passion-project to serve as your “high-level spiritual quest” (which then gives you excitement and happy entertaining stories to tell).
Personally, I discovered lots of reading and writing of books, which then filled my life with far more entertaining things to talk about, and lessened my need for “enterpainment.”
You might consider taking up cycling, skydiving, painting, scuba diving, or international cooking. You might start training for a marathon. Or plan a trip to some place exotic.
Who knows? Maybe in the process you’ll meet an incredibly wonderful person (or people), and you’ll have some of your most entertaining stories ever told to share!