A Quick Question for the Miserable

We all know our share of miserable people in life. We all know how miserable people love to spread the misery. We all know that spreading the misery gives them a little boost in life. It gives them that little smile that most of us obtain from a kind word or a gentle smile from another. Miserable people don’t find joy in simple niceties such as these. They would rather spread the misery, so they don’t have it clogging their insides. Life is a zero-sum game to these people. If we are happy in life, they can’t help but feel a little more miserable in our shadow. If we are miserable, they can’t help but feel—if for just a moment—that their lives aren’t that bad after all. Schadenfreude is what the Germans call it: A malicious satisfaction obtained from the misfortune of others. We also know that most of these people do not see themselves as miserable. We all know these people. These aspects of their character are as much a part of them as the water and blood that flows through their system.
One good thing that comes out of bullying is that most of us have experienced it. Most of us know what it feels like to be picked on. It teaches us the golden rule: treat others the way we want to be treated. I’m amazed how many people forget this rule, but I suppose it’s such a cliché that most of us forget that it applies to us too, until it does.
And when I talk about miserable people, I’m not talking about people who are clinical or suicidal. Those people have their own crosses to bear, but they are extreme examples of the characters I’m discussing. I’m talking about the people we experience in our everyday lives. I’m talking about the people who take snarky, potshots in guerilla fashion. I’m talking about the people who consistently conclude their statements with: “I’m just kidding, quit being so sensitive!” I’m talking about the ‘look at me’ characters that disrupt a class or an office with their comments. I’m talking about the people who make comments to fluster another person and cause them grief for no reason whatsoever. What motivates these people to be who they are in their everyday?
I have a miserable person in mind with this piece, and I’m quite sure that she believes she is a happy person, but she says things to make people around her miserable. The question I have for her is, is it her intention to make those around her happy? I will tell her that it’s a rhetorical question since most people will answer that they want everyone to be happy. I will then ask her if it is her desire to do everything she can to make people happy, to generally leave people alone, or to make them miserable? I will then tell her that her answer–that which occurs in her every day actions–will reflect upon her, and those actions will tell her if she’s happy or miserable in life. I’m not talking about the people in her inner circle I will say, I’m talking about the people who can’t do anything for you. How you treat those people who cannot do anything for you in life, I will say, will tell you a lot about yourself when you look in the mirror.


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