As always, like to do a top ten list at the end of the year. Top ten best theories to explain why you are unhappy . . .
1) Attachment theory: A subset of Freudian theory. In a nutshell: your parents are to blame and that’s why you can’t form healthy attachments to others. A good theory for those times when you’d like to shift blame, but we don’t recommend it on a regular basis.
2) Freudian theory: AKA– psychodynamic theory—see #1. Freudians say you can’t escape your past; you are stuck with it unless you have massive amounts of therapy. Sounds expensive.
3) Investment theory/social exchange theory: It’s the structure, man. The world is a harsh place. Get what you can, when you can. The benefits will outweigh the costs. And if you’re lucky, the harm to you might not outweigh your narcissism.
4) Cognitive theory: Your thoughts are the problem. Get these in line and you’ll be happier, healthier, and mindful. One of my personal favorites.
5) Behavioral theory: Another personal favorite. Works well in conjunction with #4: while you are changing your thoughts, try changing your behavior. Without behavioral change, aka, action, we are just a bunch of theoretical wannabes.
6) Behavioral genetics: We are what we inherit; it’s in our genes, man. Closely tied with #1 and #2 because we get to blame our parents. Don’t take this easy out. Be better than your genetic predispositions.
7) Personality disorder theory: Also known to mental health professionals as axis 2 disorders . Five to seven percent of people walking around have one, but oh the numbers of people this 5-7% affects! The personality disordered make life miserable because they are (take your pick): rude, intimidating, self-centered, arrogant, and/or without conscience. The light at the end of the tunnel? It’s called karma, baby. Just be patient. (But don’t wish harm to them; that has karma attached to it too!)
8) Social justice theory: AKA: I’m tread upon by others. A legitimate defense, especially if said treading is being perpetrated by #7s. But I promise you #7s don’t care, and won’t make life any easier for you, so best to do your best and move forward.
9) Assholes: A Theory: A book by Aaron James, PhD. Obviously related to #7, but I think they deserve two slots, don’t you? Solution the same as #7. Be patient.
10) You haven’t yet mastered the art of loving someone/something more than yourself. Not a real theory, but deserves honorable mention anyway. A good New Year’s resolution.
Hope 2015 finds you healthy, happy, and sane.