Tag Archives: self-help

How To Be Unhappy

I can’t write much about being happy, as my normal state is definitely not upbeat or cheerful.  However, after reading the fantastic and funny “This is How” by Augusten Burroughs, I was inspired to write about the elusive state of happiness.

In one chapter, Burroughs writes that the pursuit of happiness can have the opposite effect. This “goal” can make you frustrated and unhappy because that’s not your natural temperament.  However, he doesn’t use that as an excuse to live in a perpetual state of depression and unhappiness. His point is that it’s ok to feel just OK.

Right now, I feel surrounded by unhappy people.  I’m not excluding myself from this unhappy lot entirely.  However, after reading “This is How” and a slew of self-help articles, I do feel like an expert not about happiness but how to be unhappy.

This is how you can be truly unhappy:

  1. Dwell on things, especially on past events.
  2. Spend too much time on Facebook.
  3. Compare yourself to others.
  4. Lie to yourself.
  5. Regrets.  As Augusten Burroughs said, you can only live in the present.
  6. Worry about what others think.  This also contributes to financial problems!
  7. Hold on to grudges and what others have done or not done for you.
  8. Trying too hard to change others.  Most people won’t listen and you just get frustrated.

Do I have answers on how you can stop doing all of the above things?  No way.  I think the main reason I feel OK right now is that I’m trying to live in the present and not dwell on “what ifs”.  I have good days and bad days in terms of happiness.  I’m also not trying to be happy; feeling content with what I have and where I am is more do-able for my personality.  That’s not to say I don’t experience great moments of happiness, especially around my kids.

Of course age has something to do with my current attempts at being OK with my self. At some point, you just got to accept yourself and your life.

What do you think are the keys to unhappiness?

A Male Perspective On Work/Life Balance

I am reading “This is How” by Augusten Burroughs of “Running with Scissors” fame.   This is both a self-help book and a parody of traditional self-help, and pretty funny, too.   One chapter focuses on limits and how it’s a good thing that we all have limits, whether it’s of time, money, ability or something else.   That got me thinking in many ways including how this relates to the work/life balance discussions that are all the rage in the web-sphere and media via blogs, forums and articles.   What made his take most interesting to me is that he is not writing from the perspective of someone married with children.  Basically his argument is that limits force us to be creative.  If life had no limits, our life would feel stagnant and valueless.  And the line that struck me the most: “Not having it all is good.”

You should read the book for that chapter alone.  While he really wasn’t talking about women juggling career/work/chores/life, it seemed applicable to that situation.   Time limits can definitely lead to exhaustion but it also forces you to make better use of time, at work and at home.

Sometimes it’s good to get a male perspective on a topic dominated and discussed mostly by women.

Oh, there’s also a very good chapter about how to be fat.