Have you ever wondered why the characters from the Netflix TV series “The Crown” are so extremely unhappy, even though they are surrounded by such lavish luxury and pomp?
I realize that as a TV series it is a work of fiction, but having observed the royal family over the years in the media, I estimate some content isn’t that far from the truth. Yet in this article I will focus on the characters, and not the actual people themselves.
I remember back when I first started watching the series, that I was struck by the level of unhappiness some of the characters experienced, even though they were surrounded by incredible pomp and luxury. Several characters in ‘The Crown’ like Prince Charles, Princess Margaret, Lady Diana and even the Queen when she was younger, appeared to have a major internal struggle with their self-worth.
It seemed that their regal surroundings made little impact on boosting their self-worth, because their every move was dictated by outside sources. Evidently being a royal carried with it certain limitations. Yet most of us would struggle to believe this because the royals seem to have everything anyone could ever want — they live in castles, have mansions for holiday homes, servants to attend to their every whim, fame, wealth, travel in private jets and yachts, stay at the most luxurious hotels and basically lack for nothing. So what then was the reason for all their unhappiness?
Where you place your focus determines your happiness
I believe it has got to do with where they placed their focus. If you focus on the bad things in your life, even though they may be few, those few bad things will come to dominate your thinking.
You might experience them as limitations you cannot escape from. You may feel trapped, imprisoned and unable to break free from a suffocating environment. If you go on to internalize those limitations, it can lead to a deep sense of unhappiness. It makes no difference if you have a posh couch or an expensive car, you won’t notice the good things you have because you will be blinded by what you don’t have.
Psychologists have a term for this. They call it upward social comparisons. In fact for most of us the inclination is to make upward comparisons. We tend to compare ourselves with people who are doing better than we are. For ‘The Crown’ characters, this would seem somewhat ridiculous, as who could possibly be better off than them. Well in my estimation, just about anybody who had the freedom to choose their own path. For the members of ‘The Crown’ this fundamental aspect of living would be forever beyond their reach. All their money, power and position would never be enough to scale the unassailable heights created by their situation. In reality, we all have limitations and this was theirs.
So what is the solution?
As I mentioned before, I believe it has to do with what dominates your focus. What you focus on will either lead to thoughts of joy or sadness — and you control what you focus on. Focus on the negative and you will feel congruent emotions. No one is exempt from this, not even the queen, pope, or beggar on the street corner. What you focus on will determine your emotional state. The trick is to focus on the good you have, and you will immediately feel better, and boost your self-worth, something the characters on ‘The Crown’ seem to be greatly in need of.
During the show I wondered how much more joy the characters could have experienced if they took stock of all the wonderful things they already had in their lives; all their privileges, opportunities and advantages that came with their position. How much increased joy and happiness could they have felt by focusing on all the good things they had rather than on the few bad.
It just goes to show, that you don’t need to be surrounded by staggering pomp and luxury to be happy. Focus on the good you have in your life and you will be happier than the queen; at least happier the one from the Netflix TV series, ‘The Crown.’