If you look, I bet you’ll see that practically everything humans do is an attempt to feel good.
I view that as an unmistakable sign of our inclination toward mental health. We clearly have a bend toward thriving…what could be healthier than that?
But just because everything we do seems like our best option for feeling good at that time doesn’t mean it is the best option. We don’t always know how best to help ourselves despite the fact that something within us desperately wants to.
Our options are limited by our state of mind, so anything can be an attempt to feel better.
From within a particular way of thinking, caring for yourself or others might occur to you as the natural, most feel-good thing to do. From within a different state of mind, habits and addictions might feel like the easiest, best feeling option.
Yes, actions that actually hurt you can be evidence of your innate capacity for wellness. They are your way of comforting yourself by doing the best you’re able to do given your current view of the world.
You can’t see what you can’t see. If you don’t see a better option—a better way to feel good—you’re going to do what you can. You are wired to do the best you can from where you are.
It’s not self-sabotage if it’s all you can see. The drug addict intellectually knows that drugs are killing him. But if he can’t see a way to stop, or if stopping feels too painful, taking drugs makes sense. He isn’t trying to make himself suffer; he’s doing it because it’s the only way he knows to suffer less.
Perhaps some people truly are masochistic, but I’m not sure I’ve ever met any of them. Day in and day out, I see people who want to feel better, but they see things in a way that provides a limited range of options.
Their attempts at feeling better might look like staying in bed when they’re depressed, using substance when they’re addicted, or being unkind when they feel insecure. That those actions produce more suffering does not mean they don’t have innate resilience and inner wellness. It only means that from their current state of mind, their options are limited.
When their state of mind shifts, as it always inevitably does, they will see a better way of being because well-being is home. It’s what we were all born into and it is where we will always naturally return.