Tag Archives: misery

You make me so miserable!!!

Dr. Ken Larsen

miserable_kenDr. Glasser told us that we choose our own misery.  That’s just what a miserable person wants to hear, right?  WRONG!  When I ‘m miserable I want someone to blame.  I want to feel helpless and a victim of the fickle finger of adverse circumstances.  Something, someone OUT THERE is causing my misery and suffering.

The problem is whose behavior can I control?  If my suffering is caused by someone or something outside of myself, I am condemned to a prolonged period of suffering.  I am a victim.  No one understands me.  Poor me.

Please forgive my mocking tone as I make this point.  The hopeful message that Dr. Glasser was bringing us is that if we are choosing our own misery, we can choose something else.  If we stop criticizing, blaming and complaining about external causes, we can take responsibility for our life and our total behavior.   A good way to recapture the mental health and happiness that has slipped away is to look at what we can change, our behavior.

total-behaviorDr. Glasser talks about total behavior as the four wheels on a car.  The front wheels are what steer the car.  They are how we choose to act and to think.  The back wheels are often the result of what we are doing with the front wheels.  Our actions and our thoughts have an impact on our emotions and our physiology.  The evidence for this is conclusive.

The hard part is turning away from the misery that shelters us from responsibility.  It takes courage and determination.  To change our miserable feelings, we need to move away from the back wheels and work on what we are doing and thinking.  This can be as simple as taking a walk, and reading an inspirational account of someone who has overcome their misery.

I have had bouts of depression and melancholy many times throughout my life.  I have learned to pay attention to what I’m telling you here.  It’s hard to stay miserable and depressed when physically active.  I’ve learned to take a walk, ride a bike, go the club for a workout, call a friend.  Anything to shift the focus of my attention from the navel gazing “poor, poor, pitiful me” to something that refreshes my appreciation for the life that I have.

For many of us, this message is a review of fundamental insights from Dr. Glasser’s Choice Theory.  It is good to review fundamentals from time to time to refresh the wisdom we have learned.

What’s my diagnosis?

By Bruce R Allen, MSW, LCSW

When something hurts, I want to know what it is all about.  I remember as a kid, hurting my arm and almost hoping the X-Ray would show that it was broken.  Certainly this would explain why it hurt so much. At least if it were diagnosed as broken, then somehow I could relax.  Most of us know this feeling.  Typically we want to know so we can more easily find a solution.

The problem with my aching arm was that I got no cast to fix it, nobody signed my cast, I got little sympathy, had no red badge of courage to show and was not excused from my chores.  Darn, if it had only been broken, think of the relief I would have had!

When we hurt, we do want the care and concern of others. And we may well want to be excused from some chores and responsibilities. That just seems right.


thinkingwoman

What happens when our diagnosis doesn’t offer any of this, but just implies that we need to eat better, exercise more and work harder.  The powerful relief of giving up, seeing ourselves as victim and giving in can draw us into a sense that our misery is actually our friend.

In the pursuit of joy and happiness, we look to better solutions. We can understand that our pain can be our wakeup call that we need to think more about how we want our lives to be.

Just as the pain of a burn tells us to move away from the flame, it also tells us to move toward something cooler.  Do we focus on the flame, or do we focus on how we can live so that our skin stays in cooler places?  Do we focus on the relief of the cast on a broken arm or consider how we can live in way that our bones don’t get broken?

Since we are gifted with the power to think about our thinking, we can notice when we spend our time focusing on the flame, or relaxing in the diagnosis of the broken arm. If we can notice how we are thinking and what we believe, then the dawning of choice arrives.

You ain’t nuthin but a hound dog!

By Mike Rice

We humans can be pretty resilient when disappointed or when things don’t go our way.  One of the most common ways people declare their unhappiness is by complaining.  When all known skills to overcome one’s unhappiness fail, complaining becomes evident.  We’ve all heard the old saw, “The squeaky wheel gets the oil.”  But also, the squeaky wheel can also get replaced.

There is a belief that exists that by moaning and groaning, somehow, somewhere, someone will come along with the answer to one’s unhappiness or even resolve their unhappiness for them.  This usually occurs when the complainer has given up on their own ability to ease their frustration.  So they continue to go through life, moaning and groaning and not doing much about their unhappiness except to give up and endure it . . . complaining all along.

Motivational speaker, Les Brown, tells the story of a young man who heard a sorrowful moaning and groaning sound as he was walking down the street in his neighborhood.  He wondered who and why someone was making this sad lament.  He followed the sorrowful sounds as it got louder and louder indicating he was nearing the source.  He came upon an elderly man sitting on his porch reading a newspaper.  Lying next to the old man was an equally old hound dog.  The young man approached the older man and asked:

dog

“Excuse me sir.  Is that your dog making that mournful sound?”
The old man replied:  “Yup.”
The young man asked, “Why is he moaning and groaning like that?”
The old man answered, “’Cause he’s laying on a nail.”
This prompted the younger man to ask, “Then why doesn’t he get up?”
And the old man replied, “’Cause he ain’t hurtin’ bad enough yet.”

Is moaning and groaning resolving your unhappiness or is it just easing your frustration?  Have you found many people to join you in your unhappiness?  Misery loves company but company hates misery.   Whenever you get tired of all the complaining that isn’t making you feel any better, you have three choices you can rely on that will bring you happiness at a moment’s notice . . . guaranteed.