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My crusade against ungratefulness

Unfortunately, despite my best efforts, I appear to be losing miserably in the realm of convincing people how good their own lives actually are. Here is a blog I wrote on Myspace a long time ago and just came across it again today. I still feel as convinced of its truth as I did when I wrote it. I have written several such essay blogs. Some have been on a whim and other times to vent about the whining and pouting I put up with on a daily basis this year because we didn't always have snow days when kids wanted them. :(
No man is an island...

So goes John Donne’s poem.

I’ve spent the better part of my meditative hours over the past 6 months contemplating happiness. Whether by Providence, indomitable will, or a lucky gene pool, I have absolutely no problem mataining above-average happiness on a regular basis. The thing that vexes me is just why so many other people are unhappy or moody throughout much of their daily lives. But I believe I am getting closer to discerning the reasons behind this epidemic of malcontent teenagers.

The problem is that too many teens believe that every conceivable misfortune in their lives; something as small as not having a snow day to a relationship not going perfectly, is somehow just cause enough for a pity party to rival that of the courts of Camelot. Contrasted with my own take on misfortunes; that they are merely minor setbacks on the road to supreme victory*.

But yet another problem with such complacent philsophies of unhappy people is the fact that they believe they cannot be happy until good things happen to them. Well, this is just stupid. The fact that you woke up alive and [fairly] well this morning is cause enough for celebration in my books (as are most things). I don’t know exactly what you are expecting to happen everyday in your mundane life, but expecting anything more than business as usual is a sure fire way to disappoint yourself.

Similarly though, almost all unhappy people feel compelled to express their unhappiness in the form of frowns, stand-offish-ness, and general moddiness to those around them. Their most effective pseudo-reasoning for this is that if they are genuinely unhappy, they should express that feeling. They don’t want to be a phony! Sounds reasonable until you examine it from every other conceivable angle.

As an allegory, consider yourself driving somewhere in a relative hurry. The light ahead of you turns red and you stop as a torrent of cars process from your left and right. Now, you’re feelings might compel you to play Frogger and weave in and out of the cars. After all, you feel angry about having to wait at that red light! You don’t feel like sitting and waiting for it to turn green. But as a matter of self-interest, you most likely will in fact wait until it does.

So have you been a fake? A phony? You have in a subtle way, supressed your feelings for a higher interest after all [Vishnu forbid!]. Your happiness or lack there of operates in the same manner. Maybe you feel compelled to frown and be an across the board toddler around everyone because of some miniscule misfortune in your life, but I believe that logic and higher thinking demand otherwise.

If you really don’t feel happy, fake it. Be a phony! It might actually be good for you. After all, one of the great fathers of Psychology, William James, theorized that rather than happiness causing people to smile, it is a smile that causes people to be happy. (Ever wonder why I walk around with a big smirk on my face all the time?)

Because in the end, no man is an island. What affects one, generally affects most other people around them. So do humanity a service! Don’t try to "be real" or whatever the hell self-righteous people call themselves now a days. Instead, be fake and reap the benefits!

*For my purposes here, "supreme victory " = a happy life

And yes, my mischievous smirk I wear around friends causes much annoyance. :lol:


  • edited June 2008
    I think some people are only ever truly happy when they're feeling miserable.

    Without all those misery mongers, you'd never know that you were happy. In fact if everyone around you were deliriously happy all the time, you'd look pretty fed up in comparison.

    You might even start resenting the fact that they were so constantly positive, leading to a downward spiral of Boo Boo faces and tantrums and then where would you be?

    So, next time one of them looks at you like he's sucking a lemon, rejoice - he's helping you feel so good about being happy. :D:D:D
  • SimonthepilgrimSimonthepilgrim Veteran
    edited June 2008
    Gratefulness and optimism are among the benefits of the benevolent mind.
  • edited June 2008
    And at my stage in life, not necessarily age, I am terribly grateful that I woke up, can put one foot in front of the other and am still breathing - success!!!!
  • edited June 2008
    Knitwitch wrote: »
    And at my stage in life, not necessarily age, I am terribly grateful that I woke up, can put one foot in front of the other and am still breathing - success!!!!

    There you go! People set their happiness standards way too high. Being alive seems like a high enough standard.
    So, next time one of them looks at you like he's sucking a lemon, rejoice - he's helping you feel so good about being happy.

    That's an interesting way of looking at it. It's true that some of these misers are enjoyable to be around. Some people are just plain funny when they're mad or cynical about things. But it's the whinieness (sp?) that really gets to me.

    *Also, I remember watching a Twilight Zone episode once about a very miserly, old office worker who just wished that all the loud, obnoxious people in his life (everyone) would just disappear. His wish is granted, but eventually, he just starts feeling lonely. So he wishes everyone would return, but that they would all be just like him. Everyone returns as clones of him and he once again finds himself miserable and starts to hate being around all the like-minded people. He finally wishes things back to normal and is finally happy. I think there was a lot of wisdom in that episode, and the show in general.
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