A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.


A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.Seneca

He looks pretty miserable, doesn't he? When I'm cold, I think about skiing, snowball fights, and having fun in the cold. Then I'm not as miserable.

He looks pretty miserable, doesn’t he? When I’m cold, I think about skiing, snowball fights, and having fun in the cold weather. Then I’m not as miserable.

What does that mean?
To me, this is a statement of our relative condition. Someone from the very cold regions of the planet might be miserable at the equator, while someone from there might feel just fine.

Who is more miserable, a rich person who believes they are miserable, or a poor person who believes the same? Or does their equal belief make them equally miserable?

On the other had, two other people, equally rich or poor, with the same circumstances, could feel something other than miserable. And they would feel just that way.

Misery, like happiness, comes from within. If you choose to be miserable, you will be. If you choose to be happy, you will be. Yes, sometimes it is easier to be miserable than happy, but you can be happy, if you put forth the effort.

Why is deciding not to be miserable important?  
It’s cold, rainy, and you’re happy. Well, you could choose to be miserable, but what does that gain for you? Is that any real help? Does it improve anything? Or does it just destroy your attitude and happiness? It might not be easy to be happy when cold and wet, but what other choices do you have?

Yes, I said choices. We can choose to be as happy as we are willing to justify to ourselves. Why are you not blissfully happy right this moment? Are you worried about something which might happen? Are you concerned about something which already happened? Are you stressing over a deadline?

We choose to allow things like these to interfere with our happiness. I have met people in severe pain, but chose to be happy anyway. They were dying of terminal cancer, but decided to die happy, instead of miserable. Yes, it was difficult, but they did it. Why can’t we?

There are a myriad of excuses for why we are miserable, or some lesser flavor of ‘less than completely happy.’ What would change in our lives if we released the misery, let go of our excuses, and made the decision that we were going to be happy? Yes, I make it sound easy, but if you can let go of your excuses, it really is that easy.

Where can I apply this in my life?
The answer is, of course, you can apply it to every part of your life where you are less than completely happy. I presume you aren’t perfectly blissful one hundred percent of the time.

If I’m wrong please (PLEASE!) leave a comment with your techniques and method, I really want to know! Even if you aren’t that blissful, feel free to share what works for you.

Happiness as a decision, while logical, sounds difficult at the same time. To me, the primary challenges are conflicting emotions and our own thoughts and attitudes.

By conflicting emotions, I mean it’s hard to be happy when you’ve got your angry on, right? If you can handle your negative emotions, and get them under control, your happiness then becomes a matter of choice.

By our own thoughts and attitudes, I mean that if we have the attitude that I can’t be happy without something, we have decided to be unhappy. Until we have that certain cell phone, certain style of clothes, or that special car, we have to be unhappy, because WE made that rule.

Too often, we tie our happiness to outside things. Attaining a shiny bauble. Getting a date with a special someone. Being selected for the team. Winning a contest. While we may have some influence in each of these areas, we have no real control over the outcome.

Does it make much sense to tie our happiness to something over which we have no control? Do you like gambling on happiness? If I spin the wheel, and it comes up red, I’m happy, otherwise I’m not? While I enjoy a little bit of randomness in my life, I don’t bet my happiness on it. Do you?

Where in your life does happiness evade you? Take a moment and try to figure out what your rules are for happiness. What is it you require to allow yourself to be happy in that part of your life? If you aren’t happy, might your requirement be a bit out of line?

How would your life be different if you let go of that requirement and decided to be happy anyway? Or is there another requirement or two in need of re-writing or eliminating? What can you do to simplify your life, and eliminate useless or counterproductive rules, which are really the obstacles to your happiness?

After all, the more rules you have between you and happiness, the less often you will be happy. Clear out the useless rules, and try not to think you are miserable, or you just might find yourself in misery.

From: Twitter, @philo_quotes
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/l/luciusanna105574.html
Photo by D. Sharon Pruitt

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About philosiblog

I am a thinker, who is spending some time examining those short twitter quotes in greater detail on my blog.
This entry was posted in decision, emotion, happiness, limits, obstacles, self knowledge and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.

  1. I agree. Happiness is a state of mind, a choice. However, one can BE happy and still feel sadness, or dislike something. It when one attaches emotions and circumstances to being unhappy, they are angry and miserable.

  2. Not more than 30 minutes ago I was discussing the very topic of happiness or contentment.The former I am granted the ‘right to pursue’; the latter I choose to live no matter what the circumstance. I respect your approach to happiness and agree it is an emotion, therefore, I strive to be content. Initially it was a challenge, emotions- feelings clouded the path of contentment, however, time,trials,and resolve carried me on the journey. My focus is a state of “being” rather than feeling. Perhaps my point is all semantics?

  3. Jim Ulvog says:

    Took me a long time to accept the idea that I choose my own attitude. Was actually quite liberating when I realized that was the case.

    Thanks for your ponderings.

  4. Pingback: “A man’s as miserable as he thinks he is.” | Outrun Change

  5. Pingback: Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass… It’s about learning to dance in the rain. | philosiblog

  6. Pingback: Happiness Is Not Mysterious, It Is Your Birthright | Happiness and Meaning

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