We really don’t. I know some people who wear their misery like a badge of honor. They believe that the more upset and angry and stressed out they are, they more they are truly living life, with all of the terrible things that come with it. They also take a lot of pride in being a martyr, and they enjoy telling others about their suffering in great and significant detail.
I have to say, I have no time for these people. It seems like they are trying to show the world that they care more about the state of things because they are choosing to be so upset about everything all the time. They cannot understand how anyone can find the good in anything because they themselves cannot seem to find anything but bad, bad, bad everywhere they look.
In a way it’s easier to just look at the bad stuff and resign yourself to things never getting any better. It takes strength to foster things like hope and joy and optimism in our lives, especially when the daily news is telling us otherwise. But in every single person’s final moments of life, do you think anyone is saying to themselves, “If only I’d been more miserable.” ?
It’s all a mindset. Yes, terrible things happen. Yes we get disappointed and crushed and beaten down. Yes, there is a lot to be sad and upset about at any given moment. But if we want to choose a different path for ourselves, one of joy and light and gratitude, then I would encourage you to think about this:
“I don’t think of all the misery, but of the beauty that still remains.” -Anne Frank
Here’s the funny thing about seeing the bad side of everything. it doesn’t make anything better. These people who wallow in sadness and despair believe that by acting this way, they are somehow improving the situation. They also tend to believe that it makes them superior, and if other people aren’t reacting the same way then those people are wrong. It’s like, “This horrible thing happened in the world so I am going to be as upset as possible so I can show everyone how empathetic I am. I’m more upset than YOU, so clearly I must care more.”
Being around these people is endlessly tiring.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t be affected by things - we’re not sociopaths. In difficult times we need to allow ourselves to experience sadness, grief, and pain, of course we do. It’s a necessary part of living and learning how to deal with hard things so we can move on from them. But therein lies the key: we have to MOVE ON. We do not have to let these negative feelings overtake and consume our daily lives. It doesn’t do any good, no matter what the people who cling to them might tell us.
Pain is certain, suffering is optional. -Buddha
Make the choice to acknowledge your pain but keep your suffering to a minimum. We all have the ability to make that choice, and it’s absolutely essential to experiencing a healthy and happy life rather than a miserable one. Which do you prefer?