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,
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
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
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?