Sulking is a habit we learn from early on in our childhood and which most of us carry into adulthood. Sulking is only the top layer of many layers of resentment – beneath it are many unmet needs that need to be explored. How does one deal with this noxious habit?
Sulking is a silent protest. It is a form of anger. It’s our subtle way of saying, I am not happy, and I am upset with you (or the situation). Anger is a secondary emotion, beneath it are many unmet needs and the ‘sulker’ is implying, by you ignoring me, you or the drama of life are not meeting my needs!
The word ‘sullen’ and ‘sulk,’ originate from sullein, which means alone. When we are sullen, we are actually feeling very alone. The world is a place where I perceive no one actually loves or understands me.
Just as children cry and sulk when they don’t get their choice of candy or preferred toy, we as adults do the same when we don’t get what we want. It’s actually a cry to want to be loved, understood, included, involved, integrated, and embraced. Yet when this doesn’t happen, we feel helpless, abandoned and alone – very much like the child who couldn’t get his way.
Sulkers are deploying (as an army deploys for battle) through their silence. Since they are unable to control the situation actively through their strength of self-worth, they try to gain power by manipulating others through guilt and blame. Friends and family try everything to ‘make me happy’ and I will be the centre of attention. And as they do, I will have gotten my way! Just like the child who threw the temper tantrum and eventually got his mother’s cuddles and loving affection.
Whenever we have little self-worth we will always try to gain control of situations or people through manipulative means. After all, sulking gets us some attention and makes us feel powerful, it gets us noticed – and who would want to voluntarily give up that power. Stopping sulking then, involves working with issues of self-worth and building an inner resolve.
Sulking is in fact immature, or in other words, it’s the inner child within us that has not quite developed yet. It’s a feeble way of addressing situations, not a courageous one. We replicate the same behavioural patterns of our childhood and why not – they seem to work and get us the same results – but, do they?! We can continue with the old and familiar patterns, but it does not make us strong in our ability to face situations, in our communication skills; it does not give us the strength to move on and to take charge of our life, or take blessings from others – we are forever dependent on others to fix us or our situation.
Sulking keeps us selfish –it’s an inverted ego. It’s all about ‘me’ and how I can manipulate the situation in my favour. Because we don’t get our way, we don’t want others to get theirs either! We play the game of ‘One-upmanship’ by intimidating others with our wants and needs.
And in the long run, we don’t win friends; we only perpetuate distance in relationships. That is why people prefer not to deal with sulkers – they are sensitive, self absorbed and arrogant. The other party has to go to great lengths to pay attention and not upset the sulker!
Long-term sulking is unhealthy and toxic for the mind and body. Sulking is a state of mind – a mood you create and remain buried in. You continue to create negative thoughts and are convinced there is a conspiracy against you. Repetitive sulky moods are self-destructive.
Increase self-worth. Create a pedigree of your own – so what if someone doesn’t invite you to the party – organize your own party! Create a league of your own. Boost your feelings and thoughts of self worth – only then will others respect you and your preferences. Learn to express your feelings truthfully, calmly and openly whilst respecting yourself and the other party.
Create more honest relationships based on connectedness and trust. Stop playing the game of making the other party guess all the time. As you reach out with your love, forgiveness and communicate clearly, you will open doors and invite others in, defusing isolation and alone-ness.
It’s time… to stop sulking and to start smiling at life. Build an inner self respect and don’t fret over situations. Be mature and communicate your needs clearly. Know that the universe loves you and is working to make you stronger and more powerful – from the inside out. Always stay in a party mood, happy and light, and you will be surrounded by love, so much so, that you will never feel alone.
By It’s Time… by Aruna Ladva ©
Brahma Kumaris in Australia
The Brahma Kumaris have had a presence in Australia since 1975. There are centres and class locations in the major cities, as well as three Centres for Spiritual Learning, where courses, classes and retreats are held. Brahma Kumaris Australia is a registered charity in the area of education (spiritual). All programs are offered free of charge as a service to the community. The ongoing operations are funded through donations from students and the public in the spirit of maintaining its educational services for the benefit of all in the community. Meditation online: https://learnmeditationonline.org