Part 1. The Energy of Authentic Happiness and Your Personality
“Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” Abraham Lincoln
Everyone is searching for happiness in their life. Eastern medicine has taught for over 2500 years that feelings of happiness in a person are associated with the free-flow and balance of life-force energy in the human body. Western medicine is beginning to agree with this concept as it has gradually accepted acupuncture, an Eastern medical treatment aimed at unblocking and balancing a person’s life-force energy in body, mind and spirit as a treatment for pain and discomfort. Our brain orchestrates and oversees this flow of life-force energy throughout our body, both consciously and unconsciously, to keep us healthy, active and alive. When our life-force energy is flowing freely and is in balance, we feel happy. When our life-force energy is blocked or out-of-balance, we experience this imbalance as stress, tiredness, depression, pain, unease, and even disease, all of which lead to feelings of unhappiness.
One of the most extreme forms of unhappiness is the result of becoming addicted to drugs or alcohol. According to Eastern medicine, the unhappiness associated with drug or alcohol addiction is characterized as a serious imbalance in life-force energy. The only way out of this unhappy condition is to work on balancing life-force energy in body, mind and spirit. The Path of Advanced Awareness to Conscious Recovery is a simple, yet highly effective method for teaching anyone seeking recovery from the extreme unhappiness of drug or alcohol addiction how to measure and balance their life-force energy in body, mind and spirit.
“Authentic happiness” can be described as long-term feelings of happiness that grow and remain within us throughout our lifetime. Research conducted by “The Science of Happiness”, a new psychological movement based on the power of positive thinking, has found that “authentic happiness” comes from a combination of three major components:
- Pleasure – the “smiley-face” experiences that relate to short-term happiness, driven by internally produced chemicals such as dopamine in the brain.
- Engagement – depth of involvement in relationships, work, groups, romance and/or hobbies.
- Meaning – using personal strengths to serve some larger end beyond our self.
So, according to “The Science of Happiness”, in order to become “authentically happy” in our life we should incorporate each of these three components to a reasonably balanced degree: 1) we need to enjoy healthy pleasures in our life without becoming addicted to them; 2) we need to develop loving and lasting relationships with family, friends and significant others without becoming co-dependent or exploiting them; 3) we need to rise above our ego-based desires to do things that serve others and give greater meaning to our life.
Psychologists today believe that about 50% of our basic feelings of happiness are due to how our brain was wired at birth, ie, our genetic makeup. About 10% of our happiness comes from major life circumstances such as how much money we have, where we live, or the kind of car we drive. That leaves about 40% of our feelings of happiness under our conscious control. Studies have shown that choosing to think about things from an optimistic point-of-view, such as what it is that we were meant to learn from a difficult situation, is a major contributor to developing and maintaining “authentic happiness” in our life.
Western medicine describes two different hemispheres that make up our brain, each responsible for different manners of thinking. Our left-brain prefers more rational thinking while our right-brain prefers to think more emotionally. Carl Jung, the famous Swiss psychiatrist, published his book “Psychological Types” in 1921 in which he suggested that the personality characteristics of just about every person on the planet, regardless of religion, sex, ethnic background, age, or any other difference, fits into a combination of four distinct personality types he called: Thinker, Sensor, Intuitor and Feeler. Jung’s characterization of these four personality temperaments was:
Our personality can be thought of as how each of us prefers to consciously think about things, make decisions, act on those decisions, and interact with others. It is the way we prefer to use the mental component of our life-force energy in our brain that gives us our uniqueness in how we behave. The mental component of life-force energy in our brain is referred to in this course as “conscious energy”.
Each of the four temperaments of Carl Jung can be described by a group of words on a set of Personality Awareness Cards as shown in Figure 1.1 superimposed over a model of the human brain.
We all exhibit these four personality temperaments, we just have them in different proportions. We typically have a dominant temperament that is the most developed in us; a secondary temperament that is less developed; a tertiary temperament that is even less developed; and an inferior temperament that is the least developed in us.
To get an idea of your personality temperament rankings, look at the personality temperament cards shown in Figure 1.1 and rank them. Begin by selecting the card that is “most-like-you”. This represents your dominant or most developed personality temperament. Then rank the other three cards as the 2nd-mostlike- you, the 3rd-most-like-you, and the 4th-most-like-you (least-like-you). Your personality temperament rankings represent the order that you prefer to utilize conscious energy to think with, to make decisions with, to act on those decisions, and to interact with others.
Participants in The Path of Advanced Awareness to Conscious Recovery course take a Personality Self- Assessment to obtain a numerical ranking of their individual personality temperaments. Numerical scores are computed for each temperament from a low score of 5 to a high score of 20. Balanced temperament scores fall within the range of 9–15. “Overdeveloped” temperaments are indicated by a score greater than 15. “Underdeveloped” temperaments are indicated by a score less than 9. Using results of their individual self-assessments, participants construct a Personality Temperament Spectrum Chart (a shown in Figure 1.2) that visually reveals levels of balance in each of their four personality temperaments.
Balancing Personality Temperaments
According to Carl Jung, balanced personality temperaments help a person handle whatever comes along in their life, leading to greater happiness. Participants in the course learn several practical ideas on what they can do to increase their own personality temperament balance by “relaxing” overdeveloped temperaments and “stretching” underdeveloped ones. For example, in the Personality Temperament Spectrum Chart of Figure 1.2, this person is overdeveloped in their Thinker temperament and underdeveloped in their Sensor temperament. Here are some ideas and suggestions from the Workbook that they might consider to bring more balance to their personality:
To relax an OVERDEVELOPED THINKER:
- Practice the art of listening.
- Work on lowering any tendency you might have to judge people.
- Open your mind to accept different points of view.
- Let go of your need to be “right” all the time.
- Consider the other person’s reasons for saying whatever they are saying before you respond with your ideas on the subject.
- Become more spontaneous in life rather than planning everything you do.
- Learn and practice the art of romance.
- Get out more with other people. Expand your group of friends.
- Learn to sense what is happening around you in the present moment.
- Become more conscious of how you are feeling about things.
To stretch an UNDERDEVELOPED SENSOR:
- Make a list of the things you would like to accomplish in the next week or so and develop a plan to accomplish them in a timely manner. Cross them off as you do.
- Make sure that you are financially secure and understand where you are spending your income. Develop and maintain a budget to keep yourself out of financial trouble. If you need help, ask someone to help.
- Make a list of the dates of birthdays of all of the important people in your life, especially your family. Send a card or call them on their birthdays.
- Be on time. Make an extra effort to be on time for any appointment you make. Do whatever it takes to get into the habit of being on time!
- Clean out and organize your closet, garage, office or living space. Consciously work on eliminating clutter and chaos from your life.
- Make sure you are healthy. Eat right, get enough sleep and exercise. Take a physical and discuss with your doctor how to maintain your health.
- Bring some humor into your interactions with people. Learn the art of telling a joke or a funny story – it can be learned. As part of the course, each participant develops a written plan on what they could do to bring more balance to their personality temperaments by stretching or relaxing any of their out-of-balance temperaments.
Personality Preferences and Addictions
There is an ever-present danger that an overdeveloped personality temperament could degenerate into an addiction. An addiction is something triggered by an uncomfortable emotional response that can take over and unconsciously lead us to feel upset if it is not satisfied. This becomes an unhealthy habit in our brain and is a sure-fire path to unhappiness. Over time, addictions only serve to separate us from our true self and those around us. The unconscious process of allowing an overdeveloped personality preference to slip into an ego-driven addiction results in experiencing life as a constant battle against your self, those around you, and the world in general. Feelings of authentic happiness come from keeping our desires under control and not becoming addicted to them.
Potential Addictions Of An Overdeveloped Intuitor:
Drugs, alcohol, sex, laziness, too much television, computer games, text messaging, listening to music, telephone, driving too fast, being overly competitive, over dressing, overly concerned with looks, hyperactive, being a “workaholic”.
Potential Addictions Of An Overdeveloped Sensor:
Neatness, overly controlling, overworking, too demanding, over planning, authoritarian, security, obsessed with money, too serious, being overly critical. Potential Addictions Of An Overdeveloped Thinker: Working puzzles, too much computer, too introverted, overly judgmental, overbearing, need to be “right”, lecturing, arrogant, insensitive.
Potential Addictions Of An Overdeveloped Feeler:
Overly sensitive, need for affection, clinging, neediness, gossiping, obsessive talking, insecurity, hopeless romantic, codependency. Participants seeking recovery from addiction learn how to bring more balance to their overdeveloped personality temperaments that have become addictive. Learning to balance addictive personality temperaments is a significant step along their path of Advanced Awareness to conscious recovery and authentic happiness in their life.
By Veeder South Ph.D.