This phrase has not been around for decades. It’s been around for centuries and remains as true today as it was for Sophocles in ancient Greece. The tendency for ‘misery’ to want to share itself with others has remained unchanging over the years and through every political and religious revolution. Why is that?
Every Thought/Belief Seeks to Be Fed. It Needs Fuel.
Whenever a thought arises, regardless of its source, you might think of it as a tiny living entity. It stays alive for another day if it gets sufficient energy and attention. One source of that energy is our own ruminating, worrying, and recapitulating of the thought. But an even more powerful source of ‘fuel’ for the thought is the attention of others.
Thus, there is an inborn nature tendency to share our struggles and complaints with others. Their response, however helpful or not, serves as supercharged fuel to keep those thoughts alive and well-fed for another day.
Thus, if we want to change our habits of misery, we must learn to master how much energy we are giving to the misery-making thoughts that keep showing up.
Feed them, and they must grow. That’s the law of thoughts and the emotions that flow from them.
In today’s emerging world, we see that we have unlimited access to great information about an unlimited number of potentially informative, positive and uplifting messages. We also have access to any information about anything, thus allowing for learning and master of almost any topic.
On the other hand, there is immediate access to an infinite array of misery-supporting commentaries and content. We can share our misery with others very personally through apps or sites we favor, or we can simply tune in to those media stars who stir up fear and misery in our hearts. There is a wide range of options.
The point is this: Misery wants to be fed. We must do something about this if we want to change where and how we find happiness in our lives.
Confronting the Mythology that Binds
Myth 1. Complaining Is Sharing, And That Is Useful
The tendency is to complain about our lives, our neighbors, our boss, or even the kids and seek out a compassionate ear. We feel that we want to share, and yet we ‘share’ the same or similar stories over and over.
Truth: Every complaint makes us a victim. We never find happiness at that moment.
Instead, make a commitment today to end all your complaints. Yes, all of them. Take this seriously, and just do it for a week. No complaints about your body, your sleep, your kids, your spouse, your job…everything. The magic is now in play, as this opens the door for real change. Your attention can leave the past and return to this moment.
Myth 2: Focus on what’s wrong in the world, so we can fix it. Certainly, this is useful.
No, it’s not. Not really…if we want happiness. (Ninety-nine percent of the time, this focus is just about complaining. It’s not about fixing anything.)
Of course, I would sound silly to suggest that this is no audience for those who can do this with a loud, angry or clever voice. There is a huge audience, both in your neighborhood and across the globe, who seek to engage in discussing and complaining about what is wrong with the world.
And, it’s okay to do this. Many wills and even make a living doing this.
This article is about abandoning misery and finding more satisfaction. There is no happiness down the path of focusing on the many wrongs in the world.
Truth: We become what we think about most. (But only all the time.)
Thus, when we spend most of our time resisting the life that sits in front of us, we are in a state of resistance. For an abundant sense of satisfaction today, I simply must have my attention somewhere else.
Myth 3: The future is where to focus. Certainly, solace is found there.
To focus on the future is certainly essential in the setting and attaining of a goal. This is a strategic discussion, and quite limited. It’s about direction…not about where your moment-to-moment attention should be. This is a critical distinction.
If our day-to-day actions are consumed with building a future moment to enjoy, we can certainly build resources, build band accounts, build companies and find bigger cars, bigger boats, and bigger houses. That formula works for the acquisition of stuff.
It does not work for the acquisition of happiness, however.
Truth: Be present in your life at this moment, without complaint, and joy will follow.
It’s never tomorrow, or next week or even next year. Who knows…we may not make it till then!
The great stuff is right in front of us now. This is what deserves our full attention and full presence. If we don’t like what is in front of us, then change what we can and stop complaining about the rest. It is the incessant complaints and sharing of that with ourselves and others, that traps misery as our best friend. YUK. Who wants misery as your personal escort through every moment of the day?
Declare freedom from misery by confronting each of these mythologies. Seek to be present, finding ways to be grateful for the many, many gifts we have in life.