Sometimes, I think we really enjoy being miserable. Otherwise, why would we be working so hard to live our lives in despair?
I know this guy who’s rich, owns more than one home, runs a successful business, travels when and where he wants, and truly is better off than 99+% of the world. But he is seething, because he thinks “they” hate him. I don’t recall hearing anyone say bad things about him and he hasn’t told me who “they” are, but I have a guess. Someone on cable news, or on one of the internet sites he visits, told him he’s a victim, resented for his success and falsely labeled as evil.
He seems to believe these conclusions, coming from people who have never met him about people who will never meet him…about conversations that have never happened. His life is just a bit less happy, just a bit less peaceful, just a bit more unsettled, because “they” told him what some other “they” believe about him.
He isn’t alone, of course. I know people of different backgrounds and ages who seem to be striving to achieve a miserable life. Somebody is out to get them, to strip them of their rights, to indoctrinate their children, and double dip in their salsa. Left, right, male, female, gay, straight, Marianne, Ginger, they’re all working hard to be offended. They aren’t vocal about it all the time, but there’s a nearly perceptible hum as their minds churn over the indignities of the day.
I get it. We have major issues to resolve and major disagreements about how, or whether, to change. It’s natural to get angry about the whole thing, whichever thing we’re thinking about, and it’s easy to find examples of whatever it is that sets us on a rampage. In the end, though, we get trapped in our own cycle of outrage, anger and an enervating despair about our future. Thankfully, there are no politicians or cable news hosts or internet trolls who would stoop low enough to take advantage of this weakness.
It takes two to tango, as they say, and it also takes two to form a dominant/submissive relationship. That’s really the core of these interactions, isn’t it? We trust someone to direct our perceptions and drive our emotions in a way that provides some kind of thrill, some reward that makes the pain worthwhile. That means there must be some excitement, some validation, some enjoyment in our misery.
Or, maybe we aren't having any fun at all. Maybe there is no real payoff from all that suffering and we suddenly realize we’ve signed up for a raw deal. What happens if the misery becomes so overwhelming that we must flee the pain? Is there a point at which we’re tired of being mad as hell, so mad we cannot take the anger anymore? Can we exercise the ultimate power of the submissive and simply say ‘no?’
Misery makes us weaker, uncertain, less resistant to suggestions we might oppose, quite sensibly, in our saner moments. There’s an entire industry profiting from our misery, achieving their success through our despair. We’ve seen this movie so may times, you’d think we’d recognize the plot by now.
Spoiler alert: We don’t win.
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Who writes this stuff?
Dadwrites oozes from the warped mind of Michael Rosenbaum, an award-winning author who spends most of his time these days as a start-up business mentor, book coach, photographer and, mostly, a grandfather. All views are his alone, largely due to the fact that he can’t find anyone who agrees with him.