All the happiness in the world stems from wanting others to be happy, and all the suffering in the world stems from wanting the self to be happy. (Shantideva)
It is no use to discover our own faults and infirmities unless the discovery prompts us to amendment. (John Quincy Adams)
While happiness may come more naturally to some people than it does to others, there are certain things we all do that contribute to our emotional wellbeing.
Sometimes, we feel as if we are chasing happiness and peace but we still do not have a grip on it. Even when some good is going on around us, we still feel that happiness or joy isn’t quite enough.
We also know that feeling miserable is a state of being extremely unhappy. Sometimes we think that misery comes from around us. Not that it’s wrong inasmuch as some people do go through a bad patch or hard times.
But, it is also an acknowledged fact that there are instances where the misery begins with none other than ourselves. Those who experience this feeling tend to let misery take over and allow that emotion to swallow them up either partially or completely.
Not only that, such miserable people never expect any good to happen around them. They even make the vibe theirs so that others would feel just as bad and negative as them.
Far from intending to criticize or condemn unhappy people, we should rather be sympathetic to them and highlight some of the habits that could be contributing to their unhappiness; the aim being to educate them about these common behaviors so as to help them get of the that misery.
So, if you are one that wants to avoid misery and focus on a happy life, here are some habits of miserable people you should know. By doing so, you will reject the negativity associated with a state of unhappiness and leave more space into which you can draw positive vibes and upbeat energy instead.
We all experience a mixture of good and bad things in our life, but our reactions can be very different depending on our current tendency towards good or bad. For unhappy people, the focus is very often on the bad situations and they might dwell on these long after these have come and gone.
In contrast, when good things happen to them, they forget them quickly, almost as soon as they are over. For the chronically gloomy person, life seems to be a constant battle that has to be fought every day.
He perceives a harsh and dangerous reality that is ever out to harm him. The unhappy person does not see a beautiful rollercoaster of ups and downs, highs and lows of life.
Part of who you are is what you say about and to other people. The conversation of a despondent individual is often derogatory gossip or moans regarding how awful his life is; the focus typically being on what’s going wrong rather than what’s going right.
He also tends to shy away from discussions of a deeper variety, preferring to stick to the superficial level where he feels most comfortable.
Miserable people constantly compare themselves to others. Regardless of how much they have to be thankful for, these people will always view others as being better off and this only serves to deepen their dissatisfaction.
In the process they are envious of other people’s achievements. They will run down other people’s accomplishments and triumphs by pointing out flaws and thereby downplaying the news and deflating the other person’s enthusiasm.
Such people try to fill the void that they sense in their lives by spending money on new, flashy and shiny things all the time. They see it as a way to maintain face with their peers and project a vision of a successful, happy person.
They do not understand that to achieve things in life – however big or small – one needs to have a sense or resolve. Unfortunately, they lack in this department and will often give up on a task or a dream simply because facing failure when you’ve not given it your best is always easier than facing it when you’ve put everything into it. They quit rather too readily and then blame others.
Unhappy persons don’t want to be unhappy; they just don’t always know the way back to a more positive outlook. They sometimes mistake self protection for self care and this shows itself through their selfish behavior.
They believe that if they look out for number one, they will eventually find success and happiness in some form or another. In the process they are always wary and distrustful of others and keep them at arm’s length and as a result lose on opportunities.
Even after getting to know someone closely, their distrustful nature does not allow them to trust the others completely. They neglect to realize that success is commonly found in collaboration, kindness, and, to some extent, in self-sacrifice.
It’s easy to pick holes in your life and yearn for the things you lack, but until you are grateful for everything that you are already blessed with, chances are you won’t be happy. Those who are the most discontent with their lives are the ones who fail to see all of the riches that they have in their lives today.
This lack of gratitude also expresses itself in a very real way because these unhappy people are far less likely to actually thank someone for something they’ve done. With a joyful mindset, a person is most likely to be 10 times more grateful for the things he has rather than the things they don’t. For miserable people, being thankful is a big no.
A miserable person avoids being grateful. Instead of counting his blessings, he would focus more on things that he doesn’t have.
Jumping to the conclusions is again trait of the miserable person. Rather than letting events play out as they might, an unhappy person likes to jump the gun and assume that whatever it is, it will be bad.
He would predict, often wrongly, that the likely outcome would be bad for him because he fails to consider all of the information at his disposal. More often he would try to second guess what others may do, preferring ignorance over knowledge, and refusing to accept clear evidence that might contradict his own view.
Despite their tendency to overstate the significance of minor problems, people of a downbeat nature are somewhat more likely to hide more serious issues from other people. They would generally prefer to try and ignore things for as long as they can so as to avoid the perceived embarrassment that they envisage from sharing their difficulties.
This hidden behavior can have side effects such as lying, paranoid thinking, and the eventual worsening of the situation. Obviously, the doors to self-improvement are close shut.
What others think and say about us cannot be controlled by us; but we can choose how we respond to it. For the despondent character, however, how other people see him is of utmost importance and he ends up with a nagging sense of worry at all times because of this.
He believes that his happiness is somehow linked to the opinions expressed about him by others without realizing that happiness comes from within.
Almost nothing is good enough for an unhappy person. Miserable people are very critical about things whether others agree with them or not. They are generally the first to express their views.
They trash something that someone enjoys in order to make their point. They like provoking others and feel that they are always correct while everyone else is wrong.
These are only indications that point towards a negative mindset and can by no means be exhaustive in view of the diverse human nature. However, it may be worthwhile to make a mention of other such traits highlighted by various thinkers on the subject.
Miserable persons are alleged to crave for control over life, they believe that life is fundamentally hard, they hold grudges, they are pessimistic about the future, they blow things out of proportion, they sweep serious issues under the carpet, they lack clearly defined goals, they forsake learning new things, they worry over money regardless of their wealth, they make everything about them, they live in and glorify the past, they do things for personal gain, they are afraid of economic loss, they blame others and play the victim, they think people’s intentions towards them are always dishonorable, they give themselves a negative identity and revel in it, they get involved in others’ drama, they always expect the worst, they focus only on themselves, they are critical of everything, they lead unadventurous lives, they live in the past, they love picking fights, they worry too much, …et all. They are even accused of making poor dietary choices.
This illustrative article, it may be reiterated, is not written to criticize people but just to highlight some of the many common habits that an unhappy person generally follows. It does so with the intention that you, the reader, might better understand the link between your behaviors and your sense of mental wellbeing. As Stephen Covey says that there is always scope for improvement. If you or your friend or a close relative happens to exhibit any of these signs or know of anyone who is a miserable person, it is time for a change because, with changes, you become a happier, successful, and cheerful person.
As already discussed, dejected individuals see life as hard work and so they don’t expect to succeed quite as much as those with more cheery outlooks. We should always remember that we are all unique individuals who must walk our own paths through life.
This also means that our vision of success ought to be distinct from one another. Even so such individuals are best advised to be proactive, take initiative and realize that our decisions create our life; begin with an end in mind; discover your true values and life’s goals; put first things first; plan, prioritize, and execute your tasks based on importance; think win-win; strive for mutually beneficial solutions; seek first to understand, then to be understood; become an empathetic listener and allow yourself to be influenced by others; synergize to achieve goals through positive teamwork and lastly, sharpen the saw to create a long-term effective lifestyle.
Bhushan Lal Razdan, formerly of the Indian Revenue Service, retired as Director General of Income Tax (Investigation), Chandigarh.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.
The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.