Unhappiness is the path of least resistance. It is the muddy puddle that gathers at the bottom of the hill. Falling and sliding have always been easier than climbing. Happiness requires hiking boots.
Below, are those traits and characteristics and behaviors and attitudes that combine to guarantee a miserable time on planet earth. They paint a dark picture, a sort of negative of the snap shot of the happy life.
By seeing the mirror-opposite of what happiness is, the qualities of happiness are underscored, like looking at a star against the backdrop of night. Stars are still there in daylight, but light is easier to recognize when set against dark.
Likewise, goodness stands out so starkly in Nazi Germany precisely because of the dramatic contrast Nazism created. Happiness, then, can also be seen more clearly when viewed against such a stark backdrop.
Unhappiness in 13 Steps
1. Be quick to anger. Stay angry. Be easily offended. Rage. Hold a grudge.
2. Complain. Be negative. Be pessimistic. Whine. Frown. Put others down. Put yourself down.
3. Yell. Criticize. Be impatient. Be intolerant. Judge harshly
4. Be inflexible. Demand. Nit pick. Be controlling. Manipulate others.
5. Confront. Hate. Despise. Be spiteful. Seek revenge. Be greedy.
6. Assume. Suspect motives. Doubt others. Be distrustful. Expect the worse. Look for the worse. Worry. Worry a lot. Fear. Fear change. Fear failure. Fear criticism. Fear the unknown. Fear the improbable. Fear what’s out of your control. Be cowardly. Hide. Be timid. Run away.
7. Refuse responsibility. Shirk work. Procrastinate. Wait. Don’t try. Leave it to others. Be lazy. Watch lots of TV. Stay inside. Look for shortcuts. Just get by. Aim low. Don’t aim. Be aimless. Stay up late doing nothing. Wake up late and do nothing. Don’t set goals. Take the path of least resistance.
8. Stay away from people. Isolate yourself. Don’t get involved. Shun others. Lock yourself behind a closed door and a closed heart.
9. Blame mom. Blame dad. Blame your brother. Blame the government. Blame the majority. Blame the minority. Blame life. Blame the world. Blame the universe. Blame God. Blame luck. Believe in luck. Wait for luck to change.
10. Excessively drink and smoke. Take pills. Medicate your life. Be addicted. Overeat. Undersleep. Don’t exercise. Ignore your health.
11. Lie. Cheat. Be duplicitous. Be selfish. Be prideful. Don’t change. Don’t learn. Don’t grow.
12. Lack self-control. Be insatiable. Give in to lust. Give in to urges. Give up on life. Give in.
13. Doubt yourself. Judge yourself harshly. Call yourself names. Condemn yourself. Despise yourself.
These, then, are the warning signs. They are the hazard lights and warning lights flashing on the dashboard of life, signaling the need to check under the hood, replace the tires, realign the system, replace the filters, tune and lube and make some serious adjustments to life.
Some of the list of traits and practices are more cause than effect (impatience and hate). Others are more effect than cause (frown and sleep late). Some are both in roughly equal amounts (complain and isolation).
But all detract from or prevent happiness. The more of such traits or practices plague your life, and the greater the degree to which they do, the more they will dampen your happiness and negate your joy.
Needed adjustments can be very difficult to make. But start. Start with just one trait. Then two. The trick is to begin … and then take the next step … and then the next … and then the next … building momentum in self-improvement … one day, one principle, one step at a time.
You can, this way, over the course of a lifetime, make significant strides to enjoying a happier life. Need a roadmap? Come back and follow the directions laid out in the posts that populate Meant to be Happy. Or just jump in the back seat and we’ll head there together!
Please leave a comment and tell me what you think. What would you add to the list?