Paul Watzlawick, an Austrian psychologist, claimed that humans have an innate talent for tragedy. He demonstrates this in his book "The Art of Embittering Your Life", in which he illustrates that turning life into a miserable experience for us and those around us is hard full-time work.
The art of ruining one's life is within everyone's reach
Currently there is an imperative that can be encountered everywhere: enjoy. The anxiety to achieve happiness has reached unsuspected limits. But despite this, there are still people who go out of their way to be miserable and embitter their lives. In fact, if we pay attention to them we will notice that they devote an enormous amount of energy to transform themselves into their own executioners.
Imagination is their most powerful tool for turning their life into an ordeal. However, we must pay attention to these behaviors because no one is exempt from falling into their web or starting to bitter life without realizing it.
1. Being afraid, of all the possible and the impossible
Fear is a normal feeling that has an adaptive role because it protects us from danger. But when we raise the level of fear we stop living. Living constantly in fear is not living, it is dying slowly. Miserable people make sure everything becomes a threat, so they end up living in an ever smaller comfort zone.
2. Getting bored, ad nauseam and beyond
If you want time to go slower and every day to count, do something new every day. If you want your calendar pages to fly, let yourself be consumed by routine. The best choice to make life miserable is to always do the same things the same way, follow the same routine year after year, and close yourself off to everything new. These people have every reason to complain, but they don't realize that they built the wall around them themselves.
3. Deport "wonder" and "wonder" in the "land of never"
There is nothing that makes us feel more alive than the discovery continues. When we discover something new our brains are activated and we are happy, satisfied and euphoric. On the contrary, miserable people surround themselves with a halo of “all-rounders”: nothing amazes them, and what amazes others is classified as the plagiarism of something that already exists. Thus, in their life everything becomes predictable, their existence is full of boredom because they have closed the doors to prevent something wonderful from happening, however small.
4. Arguing for stupid things, for the "pleasure" of arguing
For miserable people, being right is more important than talking to find an agreement. It is a difficult problem to manage, especially in relationships, because these people focus on the details to ruin their day and, consequently, ruin it for their partner. The problem is that these people do not argue for important things, or to defend certain values, but they get euphoric, they attack and it is impossible to maintain a civil discussion with them.
5. Eliminate the word "gratitude" from the vocabulary
These people have developed a very negative view of the world, so they find no reason to feel gratitude. They are unable to find something positive in every situation, they do not realize all the good things they have because they only focus on the failures, mistakes and weaknesses. They often think that only "stupid" people can feel gratitude and that the world is a vale of tears in which nothing good ever happens.
6. Complain about everything and everyone
Since miserable people have no reason to feel happy or grateful, they usually complain about everything, they become chronic complainers. Both the conversation and their internal dialogue focus only on the negative things that happen to them. They complain when it rains, but also when it is sunny, when they have a job and when they lose it, when the right wins and when the left wins… In this way they miss a lot of good opportunities because they only see the negative side of situations.
7. The past determines the present, ad infinitum
What happened in the past still drags itself into the present. These people manage to do their utmost to carry the burden of missed, wasted or ignored opportunities. They even remember the bad grades they received at school, even though 30 years have already passed. They think "bad memories are forever". However, if the past has been better then they think they will never be happy again and resign themselves to dying a little each day.
8. Choose the worst version of yourself
We all have certain personality characteristics that do not make life easier for us. Some people have a tendency to be anxious, others to obsession, paranoia or hypochondria. They are what is known as "accentuated personalities". Most people try to compensate for these traits and limit their effects by enhancing other positive characteristics. Unhappy people, on the other hand, accentuate them. They go out of their way to be the worst version of themselves and let these characteristics determine their existence. So they can assume that every day of their life will be negative.
9. Be wary of others as a paranoid "secret agent" would
“No man is a complete island in himself”, said Eduardo Galeano. We need others, contact with others brings us many benefits, but only when we are able to maintain assertive interpersonal relationships. Miserable people make sure this doesn't happen. They constantly mistrust the intentions of others and if you do them a favor or a compliment, they immediately think that there is a second intention, that we want something or that it is a veiled form of humiliation. Miserable people always depend on what others don't say, rather than what they actually say. Obviously, in this way they end up being alone. So they have another reason to complain about how miserable their life is.
10. If all goes wrong, the fault lies with others
To live unhappy, there is a way that never fails: to blame others. The problem is that if we take responsibility it means that we also have the ability to be happy and to change. Conversely, miserable people point the accusing finger at others. All their misfortunes are always the fault of others: the parents who did not give them the correct education, having a child too early, a boss-despot at work, a reckless partner or the politician on duty. Every scapegoat is good. But there is nothing better to be miserable than gratuitous hatred.