One thing we can know about the human condition: we will face bad times, and we will face loss in many ways over our lifetime. These external circumstances do not create unhappiness within us; we create unhappiness in how we respond to those circumstances. Do we wallow in the unfairness of it all, refuse to forgive or allow ourselves to become bitter? Do we blame others or even God for our problems, or do we seek solutions for the things we can change and acceptance of the things we can't?
Continuous happiness will never happen to any of us because it's not possible, but we can see a huge difference between people who are chronically unhappy and those who experience unhappy moments or times in their lives. Happiness finds us when we stop pursuing it as an end and surrender our lives to building the elements of happiness into our lives by filling our life with good friends, good works and lots of love.
Our happiness or lack of it comes not because of the circumstances in our life, not because we pursue it, but because we do the work to keep ourselves forgiven up and loved up by giving of ourselves to others. The following will give you a list of some of the main things found in a chronically unhappy person. Doing the work to make sure the opposite is true of one's own life can set us on the path to becoming a happy person, at least most of the time.
1. Harboring unforgiveness. Forgiveness heals relationships and heals us. Harboring unforgiveness does more damage to the person harboring it than it does to the offender. Let it go and see how life changes.
2. Blaming others. Even if others could claim some of the blame, blaming others does nothing to help us grow as a person. We need to forgive those who need forgiven (including ourselves) and deal with the part of the blame that falls on our own shoulders.
3. Not taking responsibility for our own choices. Similar to the above, we cannot change what we do not acknowledge. Our choices are like seeds that grow into a crop of consequences. A learner will see and accept the consequences of the crop they reap while also learning to sew seed that will bring happy consequences. Bad choices effect more than just the person who makes them, and taking responsibility leads to a crop of growth that will bring happiness int the learners life and those who interact with him or her on a regular basis.
4. Crying at the bitterness of the lemons instead of making lemonade. Many ask "why me" but why not you? Who are you that life exempt you from pain? We can all find people who have it worse and those that have it "better". The dark threads of pain are what bring out the colorful strands of character.
5. Always saying 'yeah but...' about things we might do to help our circumstances. Anyone looking for a "yeah, but" excuse will find it. No plan of action is perfect, but rejecting an action because of one possible glitch immobilizes us, keeping us entrenched in our grave-like ruts.
6. Chronic whining. While an occasional "pity party" allows us to work though the things we don't like, chronic whining begs others to either sympathize with how horrible life is for the whiner or begs them to "rescue" the whiner. Neither works to make a better person. More likely, this person will drive away the very people who could help them overcome.
7. Chronic complaining. Chronic complaining also does not work to enhance lives. In fact it works to destroy them. If you can't change it, try acceptance instead of chronic complaining. If you can change it, begin today to do so one step at a time. Begin sowing the seeds of healthy character and begin putting weed-killer on those seeds of discontent called chronic complaining.
8. Unresolved anger. This goes with withholding forgiveness to those who have hurt you and with a mentality that rewards the person with a feeling of justification. Forgiveness does not negate justification. Forgiveness does not mean the other person wasn't wrong. Forgiveness doesn't let the other person off the hook for the consequences of his or her actions. What it does is free you from chronic, unresolved anger, allowing you the freedom to seek forgiveness from those you have hurt over the years.
9. Looking at your circumstances rather than above them. This doesn't require religious beliefs, but it sure helps. This author tries to look at the tapestry of life from above, from God's perspective. All I see if I look from my side are the dark threads and knots. But looking from a higher perspective, I can see how that dark thread was necessary to bring out the beauty in the front of the tapestry.
10. Isolating yourself from others who can help. This usually happens as you do the above.
11. Manipulating and Controlling. Trying to get others to change by manipulating and controling is a process people use to deflect seeing the problems in their own lives. We cannot change others; we can only accept ourselves and move toward maturity. When you change, you bring about change in others.
12. Trying to drag others down with you. The saying "misery loves company" comes to mind here. Unhappy people want to make sure they don't suffer alone by dragging others into their misery. Instead, allow them to help you pull out of your misery.
Chronic unhappiness does not the result from loss but from our life choices. Sadness comes to all of us at times, but a person who cannot find happiness in the midst of life's saga has some real issues to address. Start with that first step of acknowledging the problem and you will soon look back to realize how greatly your life has changed by walking one step at a time toward wholeness.