Miseralites: Happy Being Miserable
Happy being miserable… what an oxymoron! It seems impossible, but many people have mastered this contradiction of life. Do you know anyone like this? You know who I’m talking about — people who bemoan life and begrudge others more than they delight in life and bless others. I call them Miseralites (‘miz-er-e-lites) because they are misers when it comes to happiness. Miseralites: happy being miserable.
Who Are the Miseralites?
Miseralites deny they are killjoys and don’t realize the kind of genuine happiness they are missing. They are the fake happy people, who’ve convinced themselves the components of happiness are the same as the components of misery. They confuse contentment with complacency; joy with exhilaration; peace with avoidance; satisfaction with getting their own way; and freedom with the absence of self-control. Some examples of Miseralites include: people who complain about being overweight, but claim they can’t eat just one cookie; those who want compensation for how their ancestors were treated; folks who’ve been so hurt by irresponsible parents that they continue to be irresponsible adults; people who want what others have, but aren’t willing to do or make the sacrifices necessary to get it.
Miseralites are stuck in survival mode, which Scripture refers to as “natural man.” The natural is how we are born and it’s how we are when we wake up every morning. Therefore, it’s easy to live in survival mode or the natural because we’re naturally there. It is a secure place for anyone gripped by fear, anger, contempt, shame, and guilt – the emotional instincts that preserve our existence.
While Miseralties know happiness exists, their adherence to fear, anger, contempt, shame, and guilt make it more difficult for them to find and grasp onto joy, peace, love, satisfaction, freedom, and contentment (the components of happiness). It’s easier and safer for them to preserve their existence than venture out of it.
To preserve existence means one has survived and to survive one must have a situation from which he survived. Therefore, one must be a victim. To stay in survival mode, one must continuously be a victim. Miseralites are constant victims. Even if they have no reason to be a victim, they will make themselves into victims by finding fault with others, blaming others, or by holding on to situations when they were actual victims.
Miseralites are not bad people. Like all of us, they’ve had bad things happen to them, but for whatever reasons haven’t been able to heal and overcome. This left them stuck having more fear than faith, more anger than acceptance, more contempt than respect, more shame than encouragement, and more guilt than honor. You don’t have to have all of these to become a Miseralite. An excess of any one of these survival emotions can result in enough misery for you to be a Miseralite.
Common Traits of Miseralites
To help you get a better understanding of Miseralites and perhaps determine your own status, here are 10 common traits of Miseralites. Know that all of them can be corrected.
• Are more interested in themselves than others. Miseralites are front and center in their lives and expect others to help them maintain that position of importance. They shy away from good attention, such as birthday parties honoring them, etc. and prefer attention that feeds their misery. Their self-interest keeps them at the center of their world, making them feel like the bullseye of a target, so they take things personally and are easily offended.
Miseralites’ self-interests make them less interested in people around them, so they lack empathy. They’re interested in others when the interests of others also interests them. Then, they will give that person more time and attention.
Their self-interest also prevents them from stepping out of their comfort zone and limits their willingness to try new things. This cheats them out of getting involved in challenges and opportunities that would help them gain confidence and build trust. Thus, perpetuating their fear and weakening their faith.
• Complain, but don’t do anything to improve things or wait for someone else to do something. This maintains the status quo, which equals complacency and perpetuates dissatisfaction. It eliminates the risk of failing or being criticized when trying to do something, so they never learn how to manage failure or enjoy success.
• Are quick to judge and criticize others. They are “Arm chair quarterbacks.” Their lack of empathy and unwillingness to get involved leave them with just their imaginations to figure how things should be done. Since their imaginations are based on their own interests and what they deem as right, they are quick to judge and criticize. This ease of fault finding authorizes them to be victims and makes having relationships with them challenging, since they believe relationships are comprised of fear, anger, contempt, shame, and guilt.
• Use their own beliefs as the frame of reference from which they measure and judge others. They are the standard to which they expect everyone else to live up to. They will say things like, “I would never do anything like that. Why would he?” They have contempt for, get angry with, and put shame on people who don’t measure up.
• Think in terms of right and wrong. They view other people’s opinions and behaviors as being right or wrong instead of being different. When someone disagrees with them, they feel like they’re being attacked for being wrong, so they counterattack with indignation and anger.
• Want what others have, but aren’t willing to do what it takes to accomplish it. Miseralites are too afraid of failure and rejection to go after what they want. Sometimes they are afraid of success because they equate success with perfection. They think if they succeed, they will be expected to be perfect in all aspects of their lives; a task too overwhelming to handle.
• Express their opinions as though they are facts. Because they view the world through a filter of their own feelings, thoughts, and beliefs, Miseralites focus on what they like and dislike and apply it to the world. Therefore, they are strongly opinionated.
• Find excuses why they can’t…. For every good suggestion you give a Miseralite that would make his life happier, he will give you 5 reasons why it won’t.
• Communicate via sarcasm. Sarcasm is flexible derision. Say you give someone a verbal jab and the person tells you he is insulted, you can bend your surly comment into joke. Sarcasm has an undercurrent of contempt and disrespect.
• View life in terms of fairness and are quick to voice what they think is unfair. Life is unfair, period. We complain about unfairness when we aren’t getting what we want or think we should have.
Miseralites want fairness, but they discriminate. They want fairness, but only regarding good things. To be really fair, if we measure what we don’t have against what people do have, we must measure both the good and the bad. Wouldn’t it be fairer if we also had other people’s pain? For example, like that of my best friend and her husband who’ve lost both of their children?
Fairness equals sameness. For life to be fair we would have the same illnesses, the same level of intellect, the same talents and skills, and the same stuff. We wouldn’t need specialists and there would be no competitive sports, no market competition, and no talent shows. There would be no diversity, no challenges, and no striving for excellence. This is not God’s intent.
Our Past, Our Choice
There is no law, rule, or adage that says our lives are supposed to be easy and pain free. That’s what pharmaceutical companies, quick fix enterprises, and overindulging parents what you to believe. We all have aftereffects from our pasts. Maybe we didn’t have any control over what happened to us, but we do have control over how we live with it. God gave us the choice to live the way we want and the ability to live the way He wants and He wants us to live abundantly happy.
We can continue to keep our past alive and make it our identity, thereby perpetuating our victimization; we can carry the burdens of our past like heavy rocks on our backs perpetuating pain and suffering; or we can move beyond our past with forgiveness through God’s love, grace, and mercy using it as a means to help others. It’s our choice.
To Be or Not To Be?… The Miseralite Question
Challenges can make us stronger, wiser, confident, and more faithful or they can make us weaker, imprudent, fearful, and suspicious. We determine the direction they lead us. We all have times when we feel distressed or depressed and are temporary Miseralites. So, we’ll have a pity party, get the support we need, and get ourselves back on track. Do not confuse Miseralites with people who are bereft. Those are situations of loss and grief from which people can heal, recover, and regain happiness. Miseralites struggle with knowing and accepting happiness.
You may be a Miseralite or may live with one. Evaluate your own Miseralite status here.
If you have symptoms of being a Miseralite…
- 50% of the time, you are a wishy washy. Commit to one side. At least you will have made a choice.
- Less than 50% of the time, stay tuned to learn how to be even happier.
- Greater than 50% of the time, you have the choice to stay or leave. No need to go any further if you choose to stay, but at least keep this prayer with you, “Dear Lord, I am stuck in the natural. Open my heart, mind, and soul to at least know and accept the spiritual as a way of life so I can live better for others, myself, and you. Thanks!”
For anyone who chooses to leave Miseralite status, stay tuned to learn how to correct your Miseralite traits and enjoy living happy. For anyone who lives with a Miseralite, stay tuned to learn how to live happier with someone who is happy being miserable.