About Face:Changing the Direction from Which You Seek Happiness

There are times when “internal reflecting” becomes necessary and we are guided to dig in, evaluate, and give thanks. It is a time to ponder ideas and gather insights that might have eluded us during the busyness of everyday life, and slow down to look inward and receive the Light we may not receive at other times during the year. I hope this week’s newsletter is a little piece of Light that you are open to receive.

Several Christmas’ ago, I received a book written by one of my favorite spiritual writers, Thomas Keating. It’s called The Human Condition: Contemplation and Transformation. Profoundly, he reminds us that we spend much of our lives looking for happiness through avenues that can never produce it. We create our misery by “looking for love in all the wrong places,” as the song goes.  Nothing can be truer when it comes to pathology. Pathology is wired to produce misery, not happiness. Everyone has the same response to pathology—they are harmed, miserable, and eventually try to flee. It’s a true indicator of seeking happiness from a source unable to deliver it.

Your idea of happiness was probably initially developed around the relationship, or the fantasy that was painted for you about him, the relationship, or your future. Instead of understanding that happiness had been sought from someone, whom by the nature of their disorder could never deliver happiness, you were held captive in the compulsion of repeating the same scenario with him. You tried to find happiness in the very person who is hard-wired to NOT produce happiness!

Not all of this seeking happiness in the wrong place is the result of his pathology. Some of it is the result of our own unknowing about where happiness is found. It is not found in someone else. Instead, happiness is found inside of our self, rooted in our own spirituality through God. It isn’t about them. It is about us.

Keating says, “What we experience is our desperate search for happiness where it cannot possibly be found.” The key to our happiness is not lost outside of our self. It was lost inside our self when we began looking for it in someone else. We need to look for it were it can actually BE found.

The chief characteristic of the human condition is that everyone is looking for this key, and nobody knows where to find it. The human condition is thus poignant in the extreme. If you want help as you look for the key in the wrong place, you can get plenty of help because everybody is looking for it in the wrong place too! They are looking for it where there is more pleasure, security, power, and acceptance by others. We have a sense of solidarity in the search, yet without any possibility of finding what we are looking for.

The religions of the world have discovered the insight that (non-pathological) human beings are designed for unlimited happiness, the enjoyment of truth, and love without end. This spiritual hunger is part of our nature as beings with a spiritual dimension. Here we are, with an unbounded desire for happiness and not the slightest idea of where to look for it.

While we may certainly recognize that looking for happiness in alcohol or drugs is looking in the wrong place, do we recognize that looking for happiness even in relationships can be the wrong place? Certainly looking for love in pathology would never produce the key you were seeking, because it cannot be found where you were seeking it. But sometimes people even look for happiness in what appears to be the RIGHT places—marriage, children, higher education, careers, and service to others, only again to find that they are still seeking happiness in the wrong direction.

In religious language, the word, repent means to “turn away from.” And I like that concept even from a psychological growth standpoint. As you find your own path of recovery from the aftermath of the pathological love relationship, your recovery calls you to turn away from the very thing that has produced so much pain for you—the relationship, the choices, the person. In essence, in order for you to find happiness in yourself, in God, and in your own (often single) life, you must “change the direction from which you are seeking happiness.” This is especially true when everything in you wants to turn back to him, to the routine, to the perceived comfort—just to get through. Changing the direction from which you seek happiness is embracing the truth that happiness cannot be found in pathology. God did not create you for pathology. He created you for Himself—for peace, love, and joy.  It’s not there and will never be there in pathology.

Over the years, I have become pretty good at picking up on those who will “get it” and move on and never repeat the pathological love relationship dynamic again, and those who WILL, unfortunately, not change direction from which they are seeking happiness. They might change the FACE from whom they seek happiness, but they are still facing the same direction seeking it.

The Institute has been involved in helping hundreds and hundreds of people “change the direction from which they are seeking happiness,” and learn how to find recovery, healing, growth, and to make better choices for themselves. To that end, we are always consciously trying to expand the ways to meet the needs of our growing population of wounded readers and bring a wider comprehensive approach to your own health, wellbeing, and healing from the aftermath of pathological love relationships. We hope that we have touched your recovery in a positive way. We hope that we have helped you change direction on your path. If we haven’t, we’re still here!

Although there is much turmoil in the world right now, be reminded again, that we can always change the direction from which we have been seeking happiness and focus on a brighter future for our self and with our self. We look forward to being a bright part of your future. Thank you for entrusting your care and recovery to us. We do not take that privilege lightly.