Today, in a day and age where technology (among other things) has become such an integral part of our lives in our constant pursuit to stay connected with our family and friends (who in turn are actually the family that we chose for ourselves), the fact is that with the alarmingly real possibility of having all that we need at our fingertips (thanks to the Internet), our lot have become a tad too impatient. We want everything here, and right now. The very idea of having to ‘wait it out’ for something is enough to bring expressions of annoyance and horror to our faces.
However, even with all this progress in science, technology, (and every field for that matter) that the world has seen, especially over the last few years, there are certain age-old idiosyncrasies that still haven’t changed. Things that we as humans still harp on about, still hold on to, despite the fact that there is almost no logic behind any of these actions. Thus, not only are we an impatient lot, but also a miserable one, for that matter. Wondering what they might be? Read on and you’ll know:
10. Worrying about what other people think
This is one malaise that is passed on from generation to generation, something that society around the world still hasn’t been able to rid itself of. Many dreams and aspirations have bitten the dust due to this severely illogical thought that plagues people’s minds whenever they set out to do something different. Even today, an entrepreneur thinks a hundred times before launching his / her start-up. Women still have to break free from the shackles of stereotypes that the society have set upon them. The sad fact of the matter us, that we humans, being social animals, love to have that ‘attestation’ from everybody else (even those whose views don’t really matter) that what they want to do is good, and worth doing. Thus, we give into social norms and rules, at a time when we should not be doing so.
9. Eating your Feelings
This is another bizarre way we have found out to make ourselves all the more miserable. Funny thing is, we don’t even realize what we’re actually doing to ourselves till it is really late. What happens here is that instead of ‘manning up’ and actually facing the problem head-on, we tend to go into a funk where we convince ourselves that there is no possible way in which we can actually overcome the problem at hand. This might be because we really don’t have guts, or don’t want to stir up trouble, whatever it maybe. At the end of the day, out of the depression that ensues from us not being able to deal with the issue, we end up drowning all our frustrations and sorrows on food, especially from the unhealthy category, because they ‘taste delicious’, and in that moment, eating our feelings, and thus ‘feeling good’. Only thing is that it lasts for exactly 15 minutes. After that, back to square one – being miserable.
8. Being a ‘Yes’ Man
A ‘Yes Man’ is someone who does not have his or her own voice. Or rather, they choose to not have a voice, out of fear of being contradicted in terms of what they say or what they do. No wonder such people are miserable, because they have the quality of agreeing to, taking up, and going along with whatever the other party (it may be their boss/colleague/friend/sibling) feels is the right thing to do. This is again a manifestation of the fear of what people would say or do if they did things their own way. Most of the time, people morph into ‘Yes’ men because they don’t want to be seen as a spoilsport, or as someone who deviates from the set path/standard of doing things. Such people mostly just want to avoid unnecessary friction and conflict, even at the cost of the self-respect and esteem. No wonder we have a phenomenon called ‘emotional burnout’ at the workplace or at school!
7. Succumbing to Popular Opinion
It is a well – known and accepted fact today that no matter where we go in life, there will be certain people who, at least in our eyes, would be the ones ‘calling the shots’. The teacher’s pet at school that everybody loves, or the ‘really fun’ colleague at work that is the boss’s right –hand man, we all have seen characters like this at some point of the other. You may think that the existence of such people needn’t make a dent into our individual flow of getting things done, but the fact remains that even today, more and more people are seen jumping on the bandwagon with all the ‘popular people’, in the hopes that they too can enjoy the same kind of attention the latter is receiving, someday or the other. Disillusioned by the view that ‘everybody loves the cool people’, even highly enterprising people sometimes end up taking the popular route, fanning out their unique way of doing things. They end up discarding their own views on anything and just pick up on what everybody feels/says about the topic at hand.
6. Chasing things, not dreams
Another reason why most of us, deep down, find ourselves miserable today is because we don’t really pursue ways of being happy anymore. By letting ourselves be swayed by doing what society deems fit, all we seem to be concerned about today is owning or having ‘the next big thing’. By the time we graduated from school, all of us vied to go to the best college, so that we could have society’s stamp of approval. And after that, a job, at the company which was ‘the best’ in everybody else’s minds, not ours. Soon after, we want marriage and kids, a fine house and the latest car, because that’s what everybody wants, isn’t it? Why should we be any different? Forget about fulfilling dreams, who has the time and energy for all that? This is how we think nowadays. We have our eye on our neighbor’s house, suit, or job. Not on those mountain ranges we have for so long wanted to climb, or that book we wanted to write. Because that’s different, and ‘different’ is not equal to ‘good’. Get me?
5. Sticking with the wrong people
We all know that there can be only a handful of true friends that we can possibly make in our entire lifetime. And since our friends are the actual family we pick out for ourselves, we become entrapped the moment we make a lousy choice of the people we wish to stick around with. The worst part is that we don’t even realize that they’re the wrong sort of people, people from whom we should be running away, not embracing into our lives with open arms. Such people are more often than not very different from the kind we would’ve actually preferred. Chances are we stick around with them because it’s too late, or maybe because these people are ‘good boys/girls’ in society’s eyes. And when we do realize we’ve made a mistake in choosing our ‘friends’, they’ve usually already used us for what their own benefit, and left. And all we can do is bear the brunt of being taken advantage of – a lesson learned the hard way!
4. Suppressing your true feelings
Oh, the stories we encounter everyday about people having lost their chance at love, just because they were afraid to tell their loved ones how they actually felt, are numerous. I myself encounter such stories in the form of ‘posts’ on the Facebook wall. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Sons don’t believe in expressing their feelings honestly around their parents because ‘big boys don’t cry’. Even if we’re positively writhing in agony inside, we tend to keep certain feelings shut tight within us because we don’t want to run the risk of being labeled ‘sensitive’, or a wimp’. This is a terribly stupid way to shroud yourself in misery, because, when you think about it, one stands to lose much more than one thinks, by not expressing his / her feelings. No wonder we have so many icons in popular culture today that exhort us to live truly, love freely, and laugh loudly. But do we do that? That remains to be seen.
3. Not having an opinion
Our society has a very peculiar and downright ridiculous habit of voluntarily (and without hesitation) painting a very unpleasant (and sometimes exaggerated) picture of people who are opinionated (I mean, those that like to speak their minds). As a result, most of us grow up with the weirdest of notions, one of them being that an assertive, strong person who stands up for what he/he believes in (especially if it goes against social convention), is almost blasphemous. No wonder today in India, certain people still believe that ‘girls should be seen and not heard’. This sentence implies that women don’t even have a voice! And that is how we make ourselves miserable – we convince ourselves that it is far easier to shut up and conform to social norms than actually do something about them (because most of them are plain outrageous), and be branded a ‘rebel’. Thus, we just stand there. Mute. And miserable.
2. Letting it go
There are two sides to this heavy coin. One side speaks about those kind of people who put up with almost anything that comes their way, no matter how fair it is, warranted or not. These people are victim to abuse of all kinds, but instead of fighting back and standing up for themselves, they just let it go, and slide whatever happens under the carpet, because, they would rather not cause any more harm and trouble than there already is. The other side speaks of people who are the exact opposite – they just don’t know when to stop, or to let something (an incident/event) or someone go. They harp on to the event, and stick like a leech to those people whom they believe they cannot do without. Thus, we end up making others as well as ourselves more miserable by the minute.
1. Doubting Yourself
“Do you know how many marks Rohan got in his exams? 92 percent! And how much did you manage? Only 87 percent? For shame! Why can’t you study like him?” – does this remark ring a bell? Well, when it comes to the number one reason why we’re all miserable deep down, this is it. Society fails to stop comparing us with the rest of our peers, not realizing that all of us are unique, our strengths and weaknesses different. As a result, we start doubting our talent and our capabilities, not knowing that there is something different in store for all of us. We are thus reduced to just another rat in the rat-race, fighting for the same thing that society deems fit, even when we might not desire it at all. And thus, we are cloaked in misery, deep down.