Life is Too Short to be Miserable

Kim’s Wisdom

A good time is always happening somewhere. Life is too short to be miserable. If you are unhappy in part of your life, change that situation, and find the good times.

Why Be Miserable?

Sometimes, something familiar, even if it’s horrible, is more comfortable than uncertainty.

This is essentially being stuck in a rut. I heard a quote I’d like to share with you because I feel it’s true, although I forget where I heard it. (Tony Robbins, maybe?)

The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.

These words draw a chilling parallel between a rut and a grave. Essentially, it’s saying that being stuck in a rut is like being dead. You could also say that being stuck in a rut is like being the living dead, or a zombie.

People can stay stuck in their ruts because familiarity is comfortable and efficient for your brain. If you’ve ever been stuck in a rut, then maybe you can relate to this.

Other times, people stay miserable because they have self-image issues, and don’t believe they deserve good times. Perhaps they’re punishing themselves for some past misdeed. Again, I’ve heard a couple of great quotes about this, though I don’t recall who said them. (Elanor Roosevelt for one, maybe?)

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.

People will treat you as badly as you allow them to treat you.

These quotes highlight and recognize every individual’s innate power over, and responsibility for, their own emotions. Remember, your feelings are a product of your thoughts and beliefs. Since you can choose what to believe, and how to focus your thoughts, you can learn to regulate your emotions at will.

Please don’t feel blamed for allowing yourself to feel bad, or to be treated badly. That’s counter-productive, and entirely misses the point I’m trying to make.

The point I want to get across is that you are actually more powerful than you may realize. You are also inherently worthy of, and should demand to be treated with, basic human respect and courtesy. If you are not being treated well, or if interactions with certain people leave you feeling crappy about yourself, then you should really think about those situations.

Stop taking crap, and demand the respect you deserve. You’ll help your self image by taking a stand for yourself. You may find that some people are honestly unaware of how their actions effect you, and they will start treating you better. If you continue to be treated poorly, or if it gets worse, seek greener pastures.

Are You Addicted to your Misery?

Have you ever met someone who complained about everything, all the time? If so, then maybe you’ll agree when I say that some people appear to be addicted to misery. Check out the following definition of addiction, and we’ll break it down after.

addiction

noun

1a compulsive, chronic, physiological or psychological need for a habit-forming substance, behavior, or activity having harmful physical, psychological, or social effects and typically causing well-defined symptoms (such as anxiety, irritability, tremors, or nausea) upon withdrawal or abstinence the state of being addicted

Let’s agree that complaining can become a habit. In this case, a habit refers to something someone does chronically, or repetitively, and they might not even be aware they’re doing it.

Quite often, a person who is asked to stop being so miserable will express irritability or anger. Alternatively, or in combination, a person will feed their own misery internally with a story. For example: no one cares how I feel, no one listens to me, my feelings don’t matter etc. Thus they get their misery fix.

Every emotion has related neuro-chemicals. According to the experts in What the Bleep Do We Know?, if there is an emotion you can’t seem to stop feeling, then you are addicted to the neuro-chemicals associated with that emotion.

Physically, misery is bad for you. Stress is called the silent killer, and misery is a persistent despairing stress that can do you great harm when uncontrolled. Misery is almost always associated with sleep disturbances, and not getting good sleep is proven to mess up your health.

Misery feels awful, so why would someone be addicted to misery?

The fact is, our society, through various media, glorifies victimhood and shuns personal responsibility and empowerment. I’m sure everyone has heard some variation of the “It’s not my fault. So-and-so [made me/wouldn’t let me] do it” story.

Also, misery give the miserable person something, or meet some kind of need. Someone addicted to misery always has to win the “whose life sucks more” contest. Perhaps the person feels a sense of significance when people listen to them about their woes. Perhaps it’s the only time people ever do listen to them, so it gives the complainer a feeling of friendship and community.

I would say misery and complaining can be just as addictive as any drug, and just as contagious as any virus. One person complains, and their complaints multiply and spread to the people around them because, as the saying goes, “Misery loves company.

Misery is like a super-contagious virus, and can quickly demoralize a group, damage relationships, ruin your sleep and cause all sorts of problems. Misery clearly has harmful physical, psychological and social effects.

By the definition above, I would say that misery can be addictive.

So, we’ll say misery can be an addiction. However, what causes misery?

Misery is a Choice

According to the 4 Noble Truths of Buddhism, all suffering (or misery) is caused by desire or attachment. Psychologists agree that there are 2 main things that cause misery:

1) Not having what you want
2) Not wanting what you have

Psychologists are coming to see misery as a choice we make. This is great news! If we are choosing misery, then we can un-choose it. We can learn to think differently.

We will be far less miserable by being mindful of just how attached we become to what we want and don’t want.

Our attachment to our wants and don’t wants creates our misery. If we release our attachment, we will release our suffering. We can begin to release our attachment by becoming aware of it.

Bringing it Back Around

Life is too short to be miserable. A good time is always happening somewhere. Find that good time!

If you are, or have been addicted to misery, please understand that misery is a choice we make through our attachment to our wants and don’t wants. You can shed your misery by releasing your attachment to a particular outcome.

To feel better instantly, try feeling genuinely grateful for something. Count you blessings.

I like to believe that misery is the opposite side of the gratitude coin. In the same way that a person who feels grateful finds more and more things for which to be grateful,  a miserable person finds more things, situations and people to be miserable about.

Your emotions are a choice. Choose wisely.

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