Happiness or Unhappiness: Is it choice?

I recently read an article claiming that some habits and personality traits can ensure unhappiness in others regardless of who or where they are.  The writer cited a habit of “being negative and complaining loudly…all the time.”

She continued, “They enjoy being miserable and want the world to know about it…find(ing) faults with everything and everyone,” and adds that unhappiness is also spawned when certain people “…think that everyone is against you or is [sic] life is constantly hatching some conspiracies to bring you down.”

Having grown up in the 1960s in a hyper-critical family, going to church with followers who admonished those with problems for “not believing/trusting enough,” and then joining the military to find a place that I believed would be more “fair,” I had a distorted view of life and what it “should” be.

Of course, television shows like Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver left me to compare my experiences with that of the families I saw on the screen.  These were replaced with more “realistic” versions of family and the patri- and matriarchs of the 1970s and 80s–Archie and Edith Bunker of All in the Family and Dr. Cliff and Mrs. Clair Huxtable of The Cosby Show.

None of these were the reality “shows” of today, when people air their dirty laundry in front of a viewing audience on television or on social media like Facebook. Instead of using humor to soften the blows that life deals, some make it their platform to deliver rapid fire attacks to destroy others.  Often times, it is to wage a war against someone they claim to love.

Sometimes, we all need to vent, and the emotions of anger, sorrow, disappointment, fear, and the many others that flood us with questions, such as “Why me?” or “When does this end?” are at the forefront of our minds.  We do not know how we can take much more. But it is something else all together when we wallow in what has been, and then try to justify our own bad behavior.

Though it may be understandable on some levels, constant complaining and negativity in all encounters is draining on everyone. If we want to be in relationship to others in business, friendship, family, etc., then we have to choose our words and attitude toward situations.  We must ask ourselves if it is worth jumping on the negativity bandwagon or if it is better to go a different direction.

There are some people who will also choose to look at life as an opportunity to seek out and destroy others who have denied them that which they insist is theirs to control. I think this goes beyond these people being unhappy, but that there is something deliberately vindictive, malicious,  and evil about them, which screams loudly through their veiled rhetoric of justice and fairness. There is a noticeable darkness and air of superiority in their delivery, and in their humor. These are people in a category all by themselves; psychologists may have special diagnostic labels, as well.

There will always be times when we are sad, upset, and feeling like we will turn the corner to once again face loss or other things that throw us into a tailspin. But we can choose to move beyond these situations and see the good in any situation. That is not always an easy thing to do.

I certainly do not suggest that we view life from beyond a yellow smiley face mask, but rather that we step back to view a situation and see it for all that that it is or can be, as we try to make sense of anything we may encounter.

Or we can continue to make life so miserable by choosing behavior that will leave us standing alone with no one willing to listen to us any longer.

We are all in the same war, and that war is called, ‘Life.” Only our battles are different.

© 2015 Coral Levang

Source:  How to ensure unhappiness in life by Dawnwriter, Persona Paper








4 thoughts on “Happiness or Unhappiness: Is it choice?

  1. I think happiness may be a choice, but when life throws curve balls, being happy when you’ve just been given a fatal diagnosis or lost a child requires a great deal of effort to overcome the obstacles that threaten our happiness. We all need to take time to grieve our losses and then move beyond them, and we have to make a conscious effort to be happy despite our losses.

    1. Of course, I do not suggest that we live in some happy-drug-induced euphoria when curve balls are thrown. We must go through the stages of grief, and learn how to move past the initial sorrow, so that we can find some peace and joy in our lives. I think we are on the same page here.

  2. I’ve never been sure how free a choice it really is…I default to “cheerful” now but didn’t when I was eating wheat, and I didn’t notice my natural sister defaulting to “gloomy” before other neurological damage from scarlet fever had become obvious.

    From time to time I’ve posted things that I hoped would actually help depressive people. The ones who bother to respond always seem to be defensive, thought.

    1. I have never understood how there can be such vacillation between cheerful and gloomy. Trust me, I have experienced the highs and the lows of that. But I have tried throughout the years not to be defensive when others try to help. I find that openness to being willing to try to see it from a new perspective has helped me. I am not always successful, but will sometimes gain new understanding. Maybe there are new tricks for this old dog?

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