I bounced into work today with all the enthusiasm of someone who knows the long long walk to the train station is right at the other end of the day and a colleague commented how I always look happy in a morning. I can't see the point in being miserable I told him - I'm a cheerful soul at heart. He laughed and asked if I had ever heard of the principle of choosing your mood. I had but it reminded me of it and it's something I'd like to share with you today.
Miserable people surround us daily. We've all come across them, they'd destroy every happy thought in your head if you let them. Some people suck the very happiness out of life, not just their own lives but the lives of everybody around them as well. Mood hoovers... I did a blog about them a while ago. They annoy the hell out of me. Almost every miserable person I have ever met has generated at least some of that misery from their own determination to be unhappy. They wallow in the attention that misery brings and they take a perverse pleasure in turning down practical solutions. In my experience most people who are miserable are miserable because they want to be.
I commented on a particularly desolatory individual on Twitter a few weeks ago and somebody replied saying I shouldn't criticise people for looking miserable as something deeply traumatic might have just happened to them. Well yes, I suppose it might. But it's far more likely that they're just a miserable bugger. And when I look at just how many people sulk through the morning commute I find it hard to believe they've all had a dog drop dead on them that morning.
What I think is actually happening is that gloom is becoming the default setting for many people. "What have I got to be happy about?" - they cry. Well right back at you, what have to got to be so miserable about? I'm not saying people don't have problems and I'm not even saying that I'm the perpetually irritating ray of sunshine that I might be coming across as. But what I am saying is that a lot of people don't make the effort to fight back against the apathy of their general dullness. It wouldn't hurt people to make a friendly eye contact when I pass them in the street or to crack a smile back when I've made the effort to smile first. I'm not talking manners, I'm talking spreading a bit of happiness in the world. I'm talking about making the most of those days when you don't have problems.
Life as we all know is a series of peaks and troughs and the way I see it is when the going's tough good times are probably just round the corner so you've got something to look forward to and when life's good you may as well make the most of it because the one thing you can be sure of is that hard times will come round again. A lot of cliched new age memes urge us to live in the moment and I don't actually think that's bad advice. How does the poem go?
"Tomorrow should never concern us and yesterday's so far away..."
I'm not very sympathetic with the chronically miserable. Give me someone wanting a practical solution and I'll offer all the help in the world. Just want to whine? Go drag somebody else's mood down. I'm not interested in people who won't give happiness a chance. Misery has achieved a kudos that bores me. I don't give a toss how screwed up or nihilistic you are, get on with it and work harder to find something to be glad about. It's your life, you made it. If you don't like it make the effort to change it. And that change starts with you and choosing a better state of mind for yourself.
The trouble to my mind is that people lack perspective. Most of us generally have pretty happy lives and even when the rough times do hit we've pretty sheltered from real hardship in the western world. Nothing wrong with counting your blessings. I choose to be happy not because my life is perfect but because I know it could be a damn sight worse. I'll never have to walk four miles a day for clean water. I don't have to face the diseases and poverty of my ancestors. It's a pretty cushy number being around at this time in history in the western world and if anybody should be smiling we should. This is what I mean by choosing your mood. You can decide see your problems in isolation and let them get to you or you can see them in perspective and crack that smile. You can choose to let your problems get on top of you or you can choose to get over it and on with it. Your state of mind, your choice.
A friend wrote a poem about me when I left school and the last lines were;
Our fondest farewell we both do bid -
To the wondrous happy Head Girl kid.
I left school 20 years ago and since then I've had the same ups and downs as everyone else. But that description still fits me today and I reckon it always will. I'm happy and I will continue to be happy for the simple reason that I have made the choice to be.
Join the Witch Path Forward Facebook community. (Click the icon).