Marianne Williamson once said, "It is our light that most frightens us, not our darkness." This powerful quote holds a mirror to a peculiar aspect of human nature – our addiction to suffering. We often find ourselves trapped in a cycle of self-sabotage when life is going well, as if we have an upper limit problem when it comes to happiness and success. In this blog post, we'll explore this phenomenon and delve into the mechanisms that cause us to hold ourselves back, often under the guise of safety and familiarity.
The Upper Limit Problem
Imagine this: you're on the brink of achieving your dreams, happiness is abundant, and life seems perfect. Yet, something inside you urges you to hit the brakes. This is what psychologists refer to as the "Upper Limit Problem." It's a mechanism that affects us all, regardless of our backgrounds, designed by the ego to pull us back into sadness or fear when things are going exceptionally well. But why would we do this to ourselves?
The Ego's Trickery: Our ego, the inner voice that seeks to protect us, often perceives too much success or happiness as a threat. It worries that others might be jealous or that we might lose our excuses for failure if we're too successful. So, it cunningly drags us back down.
Comparative Joy: We subconsciously set our upper limit of joy based on the limits of those around us. This is evident in cases like lottery winners, where a significant percentage end up worse off financially after their windfall. The ego convinces us that if we're too successful, it could disrupt our relationships or make us stand out uncomfortably.
Hidden Barriers to Happiness
Our addiction to suffering goes even deeper than just the upper limit problem. There are hidden barriers we need to recognize:
Fundamental Flaws: Many of us harbor a belief that we're fundamentally flawed or not good enough. This deep-seated insecurity can sabotage our happiness because we feel unworthy of it.
Fear of Disloyalty and Abandonment: We often worry that our success will break family "rules" or societal norms, leading to our exile or outcast status. This fear can lead us to downplay our achievements.
Fear of Outshining Others: We hold back because we don't want to outshine our peers or make them uncomfortable. We prioritize others' comfort over our own happiness.
Selling Our Soul: Some of us believe that being happy and successful involves selling our soul or giving up our values, privacy, or time. This belief can keep us stuck in a cycle of suffering.
To break free from our addiction to suffering, we must ask ourselves a crucial question: "Are we willing to feel good and have our life go well all of the time?" This question challenges the narratives we've built around suffering and self-sabotage. It encourages us to embrace happiness and success without reservation.
Our addiction to suffering is a complex web of psychological mechanisms and hidden barriers that hold us back from living our best lives. Recognizing these patterns and questioning our willingness to be happy and successful can help us break free from the chains of self-sabotage. It's time to step into the light, overcome our upper limit problems, and embrace the joy and success that we all deserve.
Breathwork as a Path to Healing
Breathwork is a powerful tool to help bring clarity to this habit and to begin the process of removing our blocks and freeing ourselves from the burden of stories. It is a practice that can be accessible to all, offering a path toward healing and self-discovery.
Ready to start on YOUR journey? Join me FREE 5 Day Breathwork for Life Challenge and I'll send you notes straight to your inbox that cover "the how" and "the whys" of breathwork plus five daily 10 minute practices to get your started!
Better yet, join me for a WEEK of breathwork and all the other integrative practices that I know to be profoundly healing and beneficial in Costa Rica! My Rebel Soul Medicine Retreat is OFFICIALLY open for registration!