How to be miserable, stay grumpy, and suffer more.
OK have I got your attention? Sometimes we need to look at a problem from a completely new look. The title is a bit tongue-in-cheek, but what IF we were to explore a course that taught us how to suffer more and be grumpy. What would that look like?
Amendment: So I’ve had some really positive comments on this article in another forum. But I also had a really important constructive criticism so I'm adding 3 key points to remember as you read it.
1. This article is intended for the reader themself, not to be used as a tool to criticize other people for being critical.
2. There’s something called logic fallacies. One of those is when the opposite of a fact is also a fact. This is often not the case in reality. Example; Fact: carnivores have canine teeth. But the reverse is not true. Thus having canine teeth does not make something a carnivore. For example gorillas and camels among others, have canines and they are herbivores.
3. Just because something is a risk factor does NOT make it a cause. Example: "Moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to an approximate 30-50% increased risk in breast cancer."* But the alcohol does not cause breast cancer. Nor is it valid or helpful to blame women with breast cancer for drinking a glass of wine at their meal.
4. Poor health and disruption in happiness is not our fault because we are not "positive" enough. There is an unfair system (sin) at place in our world, where often the person who is hurting has to do work to alleviate their own suffering even though it may not be their fault they are hurting in the first place. Life can suck, but it doesn't have to stay that way.
5. My humorous look, intentionally overgeneralized, at some tools for cognitive behaviour therapy are not to be taken as rooted in some kind of all or nothing factual science. In fact doing so is a distortion in and of itself. My intention in this article is to look at oneself from a different perspective using humour, because humour can often be quite therapeutic when doing self reflection. We can be pretty hard on ourselves and I was hoping to alleviate some of that pressure by getting you to laugh at some of the mistakes that you might be making. But in no way would I want to shame anyone who is struggling with a critical attitude or denial or any of those things, in fact others may think you are being critical when you are just being honest. That is there misunderstanding not a reflection on your character. I myself have struggled with many of the items in the follow list. I think that’s why I found it so relevant to me personally and why found so much humour in it.
The first step in being miserable would be to be, stay in denial. Why? Well, if you’re denying it you don’t have to deal with it. Denial a way of enabling you to continue to feel miserable when the event is already passed. You can deny that it’s over and relish in your depressed, angry, frustrated state. Next step, hold it all in. Certainly don’t share what you’re thinking and feeling with anyone else. After all they can’t help you. They’ll probably just say what you’re going through isn’t even relevant. At the very least, they’re going to minimize it and try, or worse yet try to fix it for you.
If you can’t hold it in, then complain. Complaining is a great way to stay grumpy. After all you’re just telling people the truth. I mean isn’t honesty the best policy? In fact, I highly recommend journaling. List all the problems you’re having and how miserable each one makes you feel. That way whenever you get a little too positive or happy, you can go back and rehash old grudges.
Mope. Moping lets the body know the correct position to be in when you’re feeling terrible. There’s nothing worse than a hypocrite, like someone smiling when they’re miserable inside. So it’s much better to mope because you’re being honest with the world around you.
Notice honesty has come up a few times. Being right is the best way to keep your relationships on the rocks and protect you from being vulnerable. After all when your always right it’s really hard for other people to live up to your expectations and that can increase your suffering tremendously.
Blame yourself and others. A good place to start is blaming others, that’s usually easier than blaming yourself. Well it does depend on your personality, and either one works pretty good. Blaming others takes all the responsibility off your shoulders, and since you’re not responsible you can’t fix it. Blaming others takes the pressure off you from having to make yourself miserable because people often hurt us and do us wrong. Remember since you are right, they must be wrong. That’s just logical.
Of course if you have a hard time blaming others, then you can always turn to blaming yourself. This is also quite effective because it acknowledges the fact that you’re an idiot, a failure, and since you are those things there’s no point in trying to fix anything. It’s just who you are and this will just continue to go on forever.
Minimize the positive. Those happy thoughts thinkers with all their foo foo fluff just don’t know reality. If you minimize positive things that you or others do, it helps put everything more in context of reality. It certainly won’t last. Nothing good lasts forever.
Accentuate the negative. You could even exaggerate a little bit. I mean come on, realistically who doesn’t get that when you’re feeling miserable and grumpy, exaggeration is probably more truthful than saying it exactly the way it is. Here’s and example, I’ve got such a headache feel like my heads going to explode. I mean it’s not really going to explode, but you’ve got articulate it well so people get how you’re feeling.
Trust your emotions. Oh this is a good one. Your emotions are really going to tell you how you should be feeling and thinking. Just go with your gut, go with your heart, that’ll really stop all your positive thinking. I mean if you feel miserable you must be miserable. If you’re feeling lonely you must be alone. You can’t trust that someone sitting beside you is really going to be there for you. I mean obviously they’re not doing enough to make you feel part of the group. Oh I guess I’m combining blame here. Well that’s great to show you can combine several of these to make them far more effective in staying miserable.
Remember, if it’s ever happened once, somewhere, to someone, it can happen to you. That’s right if it’s possible it’s probable. There’s at least one person out there who got run over by a truck while sitting in their living room. You should worry about that every time you sit down to enjoy watching some TV. I mean sure, they’d have to drive on the sidewalk, across the lawn, and through the house wall, but it’s possible right? And I mean if we’re going to be positive, we need to be positive that the possible can happen. That leads me to the next one.
If it’s happened before it’s going to happen again. If you found a hair in your food three times in a row, then you can certainly conclude every time you eat out there will be a hair in it. This is a good one to combine with our last one “if it’s possible it’s probable”. After all if bacteria can be on hair, and you found hair in your food three times, you better watch out for flesh eating bacteria in your burger. This tip can add much anxiety to your miserable grumpiness which is a bonus.
Label everything. Now I don’t mean with stickers. Of course you could do that which would take up time and anything that waste your time helps to make you miserable because you’ve wasted time. But what I’m talking here is labelling people or yourself. You see when you label something it really encapsulates what it is at its core. I mean someone didn’t just spilled the milk they are a slob. You didn’t just fail the one test, you are an absolute failure. See how much worse that sounds, there’s great material here for feeling miserable.
I think those tips should really help you to suffer and stay miserable. But if this course really wasn’t right for you then might I suggest the reverse of these? I also recommend reading Dr. David Burn’s best selling book, “Feeling Good” or listen to his podcasts. But I warn you that won’t do much to help you feel grumpy.
* McDonald, Jasmine A, et al. “Alcohol Intake and Breast Cancer Risk: Weighing the Overall Evidence.” Current Breast Cancer Reports, U.S. National Library of Medicine, Sept. 2013, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3832299/.