I enjoy the chat room for many reasons, not the least of which is people watching, just sitting back and observing as people interact. In an obvious attempt at oversimplification I’d say there are two kinds of people in the chat room – happy and unhappy. Here is a list of things I’ve noticed that helps me distinguish between them.
I’ve noticed unhappy people struggle with being thankful. They don’t seem capable of counting their blessings. Unhappy people seem to dwell on what they don’t have rather than valuing what they have. On the other hand, the happiest people are grateful for even small things. They know how to count their blessings. This feeling of general gratitude seems to do much to make people happy.
Miserable people often express how bored they are. They seem content to settle into a mundane existence, devoid of excitement, and then complain about it. It seems television and social media are how they define adventure. Happy people aren’t afraid to get off the couch. They see opportunities for adventure in everything and relish in the journey, not just the destination. They don’t just talk about, or think about, doing things. They do them!
To an unhappy person the best this life can offer has already happened. The good-ole-days are a precipice from where they have been declining ever since. They can’t to see a positive tomorrow because its view is blocked by yesterday. Happy people are forward thinking. No matter what life throws at them they’re convinced the best may be just ahead of them. They can enjoy thinking about the past without living there. They live in the present and look forward to the future.
Miserable people are selfish and only think of how things can benefit them. The irony here is their pursuit of “happiness” for themselves is the very thing preventing them from being truly happy. They also tend to surround themselves with selfish people who share their world view and exacerbate their unhappiness. Happy people find happiness in promoting, encouraging, and supporting other people. By wanting others to be happy they find real happiness for themselves.
Unhappy people are afraid of failure. It’s what keeps them working long hours in a job they hate for fear they might lose it. They become greedy and stingy with money out of fear they may someday not have enough. They develop health problems due to the anxiety all this fear causes. Happy people are generous with their time, money, and talents. Since they are not driven by fear of failure they are likely to take risks that reap for them greater rewards. If they fail they see it as training and they move on to the next opportunity. They accept failures as a part of life, as stepping stones, not as stumbling blocks.
Being tough is an unhappy person’s attempt at self-worth. Picking fights and arguments over absurd issues allows the unhappy person to promote themselves as a victor and test the understanding and kindness of others. However, they are quick to point out when others fail to show them kindness and sympathy. Happy people pursue peace in all their relationships. They’re not obsessed with winning arguments. They understand disagreements distance people and they are more concerned with drawing closer.
Blame is a favorite game for miserable people. Although they’d be hard-pressed to admit it unhappy people see themselves as victims. They blame their parents for their awful childhood, they blame their mates, their boss, some teacher in their past, and so on. While bad things do happen, happy people do not dwell on negative past experiences. They refuse to believe the shape of them is fixed. They take responsibility for themselves and strive to improve. Blame is the opposite of ownership and happy people own their lot in life and find ways to better themselves.
Unhappy people tend to take almost any remark or comment about them the wrong way. They are quick to take offense because they assume everyone has bad intentions. They think people are out to humiliate them and this breeds an overarching feeling of distrust toward everyone. Miserable people tend to think the worst of other people and can’t imagine they could be motivated out of good intentions. Happy people are the polar opposite. They tend to give people the benefit of the doubt and they see the good in others first. They assume people have basically good intentions and they understand most hurt feelings are a result of misunderstanding not malice. Even when confronted with genuinely bad people they like to think of the person’s potential for good.
Miserable people swim in their problems. It’s not enough to accept that their problems are real, they must become totally absorbed by them, and allow them to possess their thoughts and feelings. They also enjoy letting everyone know about them. Their problems and shortcomings become the focus of their conversation, research, and life. Happy people don’t hide from their problems. They acknowledge them but put them in their proper context. They identify the ones that can be remediated and work to that end. Rather than curse what can’t be changed, they cope and find a happy outlook in their new reality. They don’t let their problems define them.
Unhappy people seem to love drama. More than that, they seem to enjoy being in the middle of it. The reason seems to be the opportunity to come off as the fixer, the person others turn to, but who, in reality, just carries the drama to new levels. Exaggerating situations while consoling others with their own sad stories gives them a false sense of power. Happy people are genuinely interested in other people. They look for ways to comfort others without making everything about themselves. Happy people get great satisfaction from supporting and encouraging people. As already mentioned they prefer peace to conflict.
Life stinks! Life is hard. If something bad can happen it often will. These are the ramblings of an unhappy person. To them optimism seams idealistic and unrealistic. Expecting the worst becomes a survival instinct. Happy people are positive people. They realistically accept that bad things happen but they understand that does not mean only bad things can happen. They opt to see the good outcome, the potential. For happy people hope is a survival instinct.
For a miserable person nothing is good enough. Nothing works as it should, everyone disappoints them, nothing makes them happy. They are critical of everything and they’re quick to voice their criticism. Rather than working toward a solution they’d rather just sit on the sidelines and criticize those trying to get something positive accomplished. They antagonize others and believe they’re always right. Happy people are fully aware of their own shortcomings and make allowances for others. Their first inclination is to strive to understand others and that is quickly followed by a readiness to forgive. Happy people don’t hold grudges and for that reason they enjoy a good night’s sleep.
Unhappy people envy other people’s talents and achievements. They’re quick to downplay the news of another person’s success and to point out any negatives to deflate the excitement. They see other people as competition and take other people’s accomplishments as a personal failing. Happy people do not measure themselves in comparison to others. They can celebrate another person’s success and understand it has no bearing on their own worth and abilities. Happy people love themselves and can identify their own unique skills. This allows them to love other people and their abilities.
If you notice some of these bad traits in yourself don’t be alarmed. It means you have some work to do. Now is the time to change. Be assured the changes are well worth the effort because the reward is great: a much happier and more successful life.