What are some common ways people sabotage their own happiness? originally appeared on Quora - the knowledge sharing network where compelling questions are answered by people with unique insights.
Broadly speaking, I would say that all of the ways in which people sabotage their own happiness share a common theme: the theme is a scarcity orientation, which is characterized by the feeling that "life is a zero-sum game," "my win has to come at someone else's loss," and "I don't have enough." This orientation leads to viewing the world and the events in it from an "Us vs. Them" or "Me vs. You" perspective. It leads to self-centeredness and a sense of separation from everything.
It is this self-centeredness and sense of separation that underlies all of the so-called "happiness sins"--the sins of chasing superiority, of being overly control-seeking, and of being desperate for love. It's the same scarcity orientation that underlies lack of trust in others, lack of trust in the "universe," and to the tendency to overthink.
The unfortunate thing is that many of us are not just unaware that we subscribe to the scarcity mindset, but that we do not even realize that we have been conditioned--by society and, of course, to a large extent by our genes--to adopt this orientation.
The alternative and much more productive mindset is the "abundance mindset," whereby we view the world from the perspective that "there's enough for everyone's need," and that "pie can be grown." Those who adopt this mindset are less likely to commit the happiness sins and are, in fact, likely to exhibit many of the habits of the highly happy, including pursuing flow, being loving/giving, and seeking internal control (that is, taking personal responsibility for one's own happiness).
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