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Stinking Thinking: The Sweet Smell of Successful Misery

Note: This is Topic #1 from the 10- part series, The Fine Art of Misery.

Any serious discussion of the fine art of misery must begin with the importance of "getting your head in the game." In other words, much of your mood and even your personality traits can be impacted by how you think and believe.  Your thoughts, beliefs, attitudes, Thinking Quote Wheather You Think...
and interpetations form the foundation for how you will feel and then behave in life. It is essential to sprinkle negativity and cynicism throughout your core beliefs in order to sustain a miserable life.

Where Do Thoughts and Beliefs Come From?

Look no further than the people who raised you. They had a pretty good opportunity to indoctrinate you into a belief system full of criticism, negativity, cynicism, and suspicion.  Then there is the popular culture, your teachers and even some clergy who might have  contributed to a life outlook full of fear, prejudices, self-doubt, and pessimism. This was a good beginning, but you need to maintain that strong foundation with daily practice. 

Adulthood: Misery Auto Pilot

This is great news. Hopefully, you arrived at the threshold of adulthood with plenty of childhood baggage from

 your wounded parents and a dysfunctional culture. You will find that as you get older, the carefree openness of childhood will slowly give way to the insipient onset of greater and greater fear with each year that passes. Your foundational negative beliefs and attitudes are kept alive daily with your "automatic thoughts" - those cynical assumptions and interpretations that are like tapes running in your head 24/7. Congratulations! Your misery is now on auto-pilot. It is your default way of experiencing life, love, relationships, yourself, and your future.  Don't mess with this. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. You will most likely stay in this pattern for the rest of your life unless one of two things happens: 1) you decide you don't want to be negative anymore or 2) you have a near-death experience. 

Near-Death Experience?

Yes, people who have had a true near-death experience often make a complete 180 degree turn in their approach to life. They have experienced some kind of mystical insight that offers transcendant perspective, rendering their previously miserable lives totally obliterated. They become joyful, optimistic, generous, and at peace. These poor souls are often propelled into lives of lighthearted joy. They easily forgive others from their past. They gleefully greet each day with enthusiasm. They can be quite annoying to be around. There is often a spiritual basis for their new-found happiness. Finally understanding Life from the grand perspective of the vast Universe can seriously harsh your misery buzz. Write this down: "don't have a near-death experience." 

 Your Thoughts and Beliefs: Totally in Your Control

I hate to break it to you, but this dirty little secret is true. Yes, you can control your thoughts and beliefs. You could choose to completely re-write your core negative attitudes and beliefs. It turns out, you don't have to be a victim of your autobiography. Who knew? In fact, your ability to change your thoughts and beliefs is probably the Thinking Color Illus Tennis Player Hammered
greatest power of your entire lifetime. You could choose to use this greatest power to change your greatest freedom:
your thoughts.But why start now? Auto-pilot is so easy and so familiar and so trendy.

"We can curse the rose bush because it has thorns, or we can rejoice that the thorn bush has roses." Which attitude do you choose to greet the morning with? I say, learn how to find the thorns in every situation. Be the first to recognize the "down" side to any new idea. Always play the devil's advocate role. Every family and workplace needs someone to take on this role. Step up and be the pessimist we all need to bring us back down to earth. Besides, who doesn't love to be around pessimistic people? And, it makes you feel superior when you authoritatively point out problems to those naive optimists in your midst. Quash that enthusiasm! A life of misery demands a steady supply of fundamentally cynical beliefs, pessimistic attitudes and negative automatic thoughts.  Choose misery. Remember, it's totally up to you.

Stay tuned for our next installment in the Fine Art of Misery series, Low Self-Esteem: How Low Can You Go?


Maria Howard

Wow, this is a good one. This reminds me of so many different things. The first is what Deepak Chopra speaks about life and karma. He also says that you can change your Karma, put out good energy, believe in yourself, and if you think it, you can do it. Do not let your past be your story. He also says the past is the past, be in the present and the future is not yet here.
I also think that how you are raised does impact your life, and if you did not like how you were raised or the beliefs that were instilled in you, change them.
The best line in this whole excerpt to me is you can change your autobiography.
The mind is more powerful than we think, you can tap into negative and positive. Thanks, Dr. Roush. Can't wait to read more about it.

Kristin L. Roush, Ph.D.

Hi Maria,
Thanks so much for your insightful contribution! I will be writing a lot more about the empowering aspects of how we choose to think. So glad you are part of the new Moved and Shaken family!

Certified Financial Analyst

Nice article. I liked the irony you used probably. But that too was meaningful.
Sometimes people catch the negative tone much better than the positive.


Thanks so much for your comment. I've wondered about this writing approach being too sarcastic and/or negative. I meant for it to be a lighthearted spoof that still sends a message - just in a contrary way using a different delivery. What do the rest of you think? Thanks! Kris


I really like the sarcasm, all in the series so far have made me laugh a few times at least. Only problem is, some of these things definitely apply to me! Every group needs a pessimist....right??

Kristin L. Roush, Ph.D.

Hi Steph, Thanks for your comment! Don't worry. I relate to much of what I've described because I draw from my own personal experience. I like to call myself on my own stuff, using a gentle teasing tone that communicates overall self-acceptance and ultimately, self love. I crack myself up, too. Glad you can see the humor. Your "every group needs a pessimist...right?" question was probably just a casual offhand remark, but it got me thinking. Tell me more. Kris

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