how to be happy

The Obstacle to Self-Esteem No One’s Talking About

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Self-esteem is the holy grail of western psychology, but experts have missed the most important key to helping people get some.

The path of self-esteem is said to involve:

  • Making healthy choices
  • Taking action/good habits
  • Healing emotional trauma
  • Changing core beliefs
  • Respecting others
  • Maintaining clear boundaries
  • A positive mindset
  • Effective mental strategies
  • Self-care

There are millions of words written daily that promote the healthy ideas above. We’re swimming in positive advice. Granted, these ideas are healthy, but they aren’t working.

Depression is the number one disability in the world. Anxiety is at all all-time high. We’re overwhelmed with emotional angst. The world is going to hell in a handbasket.

The list of positive actions above would surely cure our angst, but we’re not cured by any stretch.

On the whole, we don’t have enough self-esteem to be healthy in spite of our unprecedented knowledge and self-awareness.

We’ve overlooked the one human tendency that blocks self-esteem.

Mainstream ideas are not enough to create self-esteem because there is something missing – and something deceptive about the self-help ideas we try to embrace.

While the various strategies are valuable and often effective when applied, they all share a common misconception that I dare say NOBODY is noticing.

A fatal assumption in self-esteem doctrine is this:

People want to be happy.

(no they don’t)

It is a mere assumption.

It certainly sounds like it should be true, right? But it is certainly not true enough. If it were 100% true, we’d take all those awesome happiness or self-motivation strategies and apply them with a vengeance.

Alas, most of us know SO MUCH MORE about happiness than we apply. We’re not looking at the reality that parts of us do NOT want to be happy, but are more comfortable living in whichever comfortable misery we’ve managed to make familiar.

Let’s state the happiness assumption more accurately.

People, in part, want to be happy.

Wow, huh?

That changes everything. And doesn’t it make more sense of the world around you?

Let’s try another, probably more accurate, assumption:

People are conflicted about happiness.



We’re psychologically invested in our misery.


Psychologically invested means:

  • Unconsciously committed
  • Prone to seek out more of the familiar unhappiness to which we’ve grown accustomed
  • Tending to avoid joy when such a positive state seems foreign
  • Psychologically attached to past traumas

Unconscious self-sabotage is the invisible obstacle on the path of self-esteem. Any happiness goal should take self-sabotage into consideration.

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