We all like upbeat, encouraging lists about how to make our lives better. We like to talk about how to live so that we achieve greater satisfaction and get those most out of life. There are articles and books and top 20 lists of the simple ways to achieve happiness. And most of the items on those lists are quite obvious, but so often we know what to do yet refuse to do it.
We know how to have harmony in our relationships, how to treat people with kindness and how to have a “better day”, but instead we would rather put our own needs as our greatest priority, throw a huge pity party, and just sit in it…regardless of the cost. We wonder why our self-serving way of living isn’t working for us OR the people around us.
Ironic, isn’t it?
Inspired by my Dad’s satire on 12 Common Ways to Live Life (and stay anxious and depressed), I’ve come up with my own list of how to stay miserable…
10. Complain… a lot
Nothing helps you stay miserable more than reminding yourself, and those around you, how truly unhappy you are.
Just when you feel the sun starting to shine, you can be sure to squelch it by posting an angry status on Facebook, a rude tweet, and adding sad emoji’s to all your text messages. Tell friends, coworkers and even acquaintances about how horrible your day, friends, family, job, and messy house are.
Also, make sure to complain about the things you can’t change. No one is as miserable as you are about things like the weather, and you’re probably the only one that has ever had car trouble so go ahead and let it out. Negativity is the key to a good complaint.
9. Make sure you know who to blame
You cannot stay miserable if you own your mistakes, so make sure you pass the blame to those around you.
Instead of the wisdom that comes from self-evaluation and learning, you deserve to be right. So stay right by making sure everyone else owns their mistakes. It doesn’t “take two”, it takes one…them. You can be right AND happy, so stick to your guns on every issue that comes your way.
8. Make molehills into mountains
Overreaction is necessary to making small things into a big deal. Use everything you can–your words, your gestures, your body language. The bigger the reaction, the better. If someone has done something to you that felt unkind, do not rest until justice has been served.
Things won’t get better. This is probably the worst thing that could ever happen to you. And that “choose your battle” nonsense is for pushovers. Every battle is worth fighting and every bad moment is an entire day ruined.
7. Trust every emotion you have
Every emotion should be acted upon. That’s why we have emotions, right?
Nothing chases away calm and logic more than letting your emotions be the guiding light in your life. If you feel angry, run with it. If you feel sad, sit in it. If you feel like you have been dealt an injustice, seek revenge. Make sure each and every emotion is tended to. Otherwise, you won’t be true to “who you are” and that would be a disservice to yourself.
6. Withhold forgiveness
Nothing makes you feel better than clinging to your rights. Forgiveness is a feeling, so if you don’t feel it, don’t show it.
The secret to any good friendship is an accurate score card. How will you know who owes who if you don’t keep track of each other’s wrongs? Forgiveness should be granted to those who deserve it, so hang onto it until they prove themselves worthy.
5. Assume the worst
Optimism is overrated, so be sure to assume the worst in every situation and relationship. If it seems like someone has wronged you, they most likely have so treat them with silence, irritation, and for-the-love-of-pete do NOT hear them out.
If it looks like betrayal, treat it as that. If it looks like your day might go south, head there anyways. No sense in waiting to see if things will improve, if there were miss-communications, or if something can be done to salvage the good pieces. Cut your loses and move on. It was probably over anyways.
4. Push away those who want to help you
Community is more of a burden than a blessing, so be sure to live in isolation. Your problems are no one’s business but your own.
And in order to throw a successful pity party, no one else can join. So keep people at arm’s length, don’t let those close to you know what’s going on, and make sure you only have one voice in your head–your own–to talk you through the tough stuff.
3. Make kindness something to be earned
If you’re not nice to me, why should I be nice to you?
Kindness is not a gift, it’s a currency, so makes sure to withhold it from whomever you feel doesn’t deserve it. After all, you deserve to be treated better so make sure people know that by how you treat them. A cold shoulder is just what they need to help them realize they should be nicer to you.
2. Take things for granted
Entitlement is the key here. Life owes you, a lot. Probably more than you have right now. So keep chasing, dreaming, wishing and praying for whatever is not right in front of you. It will soon be yours… if you just want it enough.
And what you do have could be better, so no sense in being thankful until your house looks like your Pinterest boards, you have the newest iProduct, and the success at your job and harmony within your family are both at an all time high. Because those are the basics, the bare minimum that is owed to you.
“More” is the new gratitude.
1. Stay on the side lines
Keep that bench warm.
Risk less, and do not put yourself out there. Don’t get too involved because relationships…and most of life…is messy. One of the best ways to stay miserable is to do exactly what you were doing when you realized you were miserable–don’t change a thing.
Relationships are too risky, initiating friendships is too much work, and staying at a safe place keeps you from ever getting hurt.
Funny, ironic, all too true? Some of these were challenging to write. To give advice that’s obviously ridiculous and goes against everything I know to be true is tough, but some items on this list flowed out of my head and my heart all too easily. Because I’ve done them. And still do them. But I will try my hardest to remember how absurd and self-seeking I can be. And how I can be right, or I can be happy, but I can’t be both (to quote my dad, again). And that if I want to live in harmony, I have to practice thankfulness, optimism, forgiveness, and pretty much the opposite of everything I listed above. Unless I want to stay miserable.