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Part of You is Programmed to be Unhappy

In our positivity-obsessed culture, it seems ludicrous, rude or evil to suggest part of us is bent toward failure or misery. This post will argue this is true nonetheless and explore how to heal.

If you’re making consistent poor choices, consider this: Part of you (perhaps an unconscious aspect of your autopilot behaviorpersonality) is leaning toward those choices.

If no part of you were so inclined, then you certainly would make the wiser choice 100% of the time.

Many of our regrettable decisions are made on autopilot. When left to its own devices, the unconscious mind steers you according to its prior programming. It seeks out the familiar.

When you’ve become accustomed to misery, then poor choices are the most obvious.

Examples of such choices might be:

• Bad food choices that sabotage weight loss plans
• Overreacting or getting defensive
• Procrastinating
• Avoiding responsibilities around the house
• Lying, cheating, or betraying people
Hiding your feelings and acting passive-aggressively
• Hitting the snooze button and oversleeping
• Turning down opportunities that are good for you

Why do we make these  ‘choices’?

If you respond with “I don’t know” then you are not thinking deeply enough. When you analyze your behavioral patterns, you might come up with insights such as the following.

Every one of the poor choices above leads to a similar place that involves failure and feeling badly. None of the choices are necessarily good for you. You may even be aware of this fact as you make the choice.

When you couple this realization with the idea that the unconscious mind is behaving according to prior programming and seeking out the familiar, then you must accept that prior programming, usually childhood programming, is set to steer you toward pain.

If feeling bad is both familiar and avoidable, then bad choices have become part of your programming. Your autopilot is set to failure and emotional misery.

Not good!

To free yourself of unfortunate programming, you need to consciously intervene.

You cannot consciously intervene unless you get out of denial about your tendency to make bad choices that make you feel bad. Accepting that part of you is programmed toward unhappiness and failure is the first step to ending self-sabotage.

Armed with this awareness, you can then ‘catch yourself’ living up to your faulty programming and, without blaming yourself, quietly begin the reprogramming process of making different choices.

Catching yourself is the key – and it’s harder than you imagine. It takes effort and care. When part of you would rather remain in denial and simply doesn’t care all that much, you’re up against the challenge of a lifetime.

Confronting yourself as often as you can may help. You can do this by stating your behavior and how it will surely make you feel.

For example:

I am eating this donut, even though it will make me feel bloated and depressed.

Even though I’m unhappy at work, I am not open to finding solutions or a new job.

I am hitting the snooze button again, even though I will be stressed and feel like a flake when I get up.

I am arguing with my partner again even though it makes me feel alone and rejected.

I will not make sales calls, even though I will feel like a failure when I don’t have any sales.

I will put off mowing the lawn today, even though I will feel useless this evening.

Uncover The FactsThis kind of confrontation puts the real issue front and center. Some of our automatic choices make us feel bad. We continue to make those choices to fulfill prior programming that taught us that this is appropriate – these bad feelings are ‘the way things are.’

Making different choices can even seem scary or unappealing, as they go against deeply embedded programs of ‘how things are.’

Still, if you confront yourself regularly, a new awareness will slowly but surely dawn upon you. You’ll start to question the validity of your past programming. You’ll dare to try out new choices and familiarize yourself with feeling good, strong, and happy.

A great way to expand your awareness is to learn more about how attachment to negative programming leads to self-sabotage. Watch this self-sabotage video. It’s been viewed by well over 100,000 people, many of whom report that there is nothing else like it. If you need a fresh perspective on why you make unwise choices and how to turn things around, this enlightening video is a great place to start. And it’s free.

Part of You is Programmed to be Unhappy

Mike Bundrant

Mike Bundrant is the author of Your Achilles Eel: Discover and Overcome the Hidden Cause of Negative Emotions, Bad Decisions and Self-Sabotage and co-founder at The iNLP Center which offers online certification in Neuro-Linguistic Programming and life coaching.

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APA Reference
Bundrant, M. (2017). Part of You is Programmed to be Unhappy. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2018, from


Last updated: 6 Oct 2017
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2017
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