Thursday, 1 March 2018

"The Unhappiness Syndrome" Book Review

My Rating: ★☆☆☆☆ 1 Star

I really enjoyed this book in the beginning. I had high expectations being that it was a self-help piece speaking about habits that may potentially make us unhappy. 

I delved in expecting to discover some solutions for fixing habits which are possibly inviting unhappiness into my life. What I got though, was a beginning with potential then a few remaining chapters of unrelatable advice and scenarios. 

The relatable/Good:

“Ultimately, happiness is determined by your mental landscape” Ok, I can agree. 

Let’s see the next ↓

“First, accept that your feelings of envy are indications that show where your interests lie. Second, understand that the people you envy are not your enemies or rivals, but your ideals”. Yup, I can totally understand and remember this piece of advice whenever I feel envious of someone else. Thank you for helping me understand my envious tendencies. 

The fact that I found it unrelatable in the section in which religion was introduced could have been attributed to my difference in belief; however, I am usually unbiased and can choose to learn from other religious teachings and advice. This time I could not connect.

The section which spoke of bad habits in marriage left me angry at the author for condoning sexism:

• “Play the role of a delightful and attractive wife”. This statement right here had me reeling. Not once did the author mention that the husband is possibly frustrating the wife or ill-treating the wife or that the wife is exhausted. Or the fact that laundry is piling and the sink is filled with dirty dishes is because he depresses her, or some external factor is upsetting her and causing her to shut down, or that she just wants a BREAK to relax. 

• And why can’t the husband genuinely ask his wife what’s going on and get to the root of the problem when he sees dishes being piled before feeling entitled to a clean house and perfect wife.

• She DOES NOT NEED to put on makeup to make her husband want her. Why can’t her husband want her in her natural state? Why does she have to put on a mask? 

Look, I understand that sometimes it’s good to make a little effort, but since when is taking care of your husband, the kids and the house not enough for him. Have we gone back a few decades/centuries to days of slavery? 

DO NOT put the blame on women for the fact that their husbands cannot maintain their feelings of love and affection.

And women, DO NOT ever feel the need to play Cinderella or Snow White just so your husband can feel a slither of love for you. Because chances are, if he feels something just because you play this role, it isn’t love.

And DO NOT ever feel that it’s enough for your husband to simply be the breadwinner. That can’t be his only role. Oh, I get that it’s a tough role to play, believe me, but it’s not enough. And he shouldn’t be worshiped just for that while you are being drained.

Another issue I had was that this author speaks of some women who have too-high expectations and that they should “feel grateful for any offer that may come”. I do not believe in this piece of advice. It could be the culture difference but I believe this to be unhealthy and the only outcome is unhappiness – the very same thing this book is trying to steer us away from. 

Look here, as a human with emotional ups and downs and external stimuli and triggers and mental issues and I could go on and on – Happiness isn’t as simple as it is portrayed in the book. We are complex beings. Yes, we do have habits which birth unhappiness, but these strings of advice are unhelpful. No one is happy all the time. No one can even attempt to be happy all the time because that in itself conjures unhappiness lest you fail. 

Digital copy received from publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

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