TongueinCheek Suggestions for People Who Enjoy Being Unhappy

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by JLH, Jan 11, 2007.

  1. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Guide to Misfortune

    By Rinie Geenen, Ph.D.

    For some people, being unhappy is a lot easier than being happy. They can even become pretty unhappy when striving for happiness. When endeavors towards happiness generally fail, the repeated slap in the face will lead to feelings of disappointment and hopelessness. If you are such a person, I would like to suggest that the pursuit of unhappiness may be a better option for you. At the least, it will greatly raise your self-confidence as you will finally be doing something you are good at. As a health professional, I am pleased to offer a number of recommendations which will help you on your way to be becoming a competent seeker of misfortune.

    My recommendations are partly based on the book The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious: The Pursuit of Unhappiness by Paul Watzlawick. I sometimes give this Guide to Misfortune to acquaintances who get married. Young people tend to be entirely in the clouds on their wedding day. My gift brings them back to earth. My acquaintances are glad to have friends like me.

    On the beach

    Before giving my recommendations, I will first examine whether you have the ability to become a misfortune seeker. Please take some time for the next exercise.

    Sit down in an easy chair, close your eyes, and relax...

    Now, imagine that you are lying peacefully on the beach...

    It is a lovely warm day. You’re lying comfortably and you feel entirely relaxed...

    From time to time a refreshing breeze blows. Then it is quiet again...

    When you open your eyes a bit, you see a dot on the horizon...

    It is a small boat. The dot disappears momentarily, but then reappears. You close your eyes again and feel warm, quiet, and relaxed....

    You feel a comfortable warmth in your hands, your arms, feet, legs, and body....

    You are lying down, at ease, on the warm beach. It is calm...

    You are completely relaxed and quiet, relaxed, and quiet...

    Now rate this exercise from 1 to 5. Rate 5 when you are very capable of performing the exercise. When you have completed the exercise, try to forget the feelings it raised. Once your mind is blank, you can go on with the second exercise.

    Squeezing shoes

    Please, close your eyes again.

    Now direct your attention to your feet and shoes.

    Think how annoying it actually is to wear shoes...

    Your shoes do not have the appropriate size.

    They pinch on one side and are much too wide on the other...

    Think about your feet to the best of your ability...

    Try to discover all kinds of uncomfortable feelings.

    The temperature of your feet is not right... They are too hot, too cold, they itch, or they hurt.

    Your toes are bent and do not have sufficient space to move...

    It is very unpleasant to wear shoes...

    Actually, you would rather prefer to take them off...

    Now also rate this exercise from 1 to 5. Rate 5 when you are very capable of performing the exercise.

    Perhaps you are more successful with this exercise than with the exercise on the beach. In that case, you are able to use your thoughts to evoke unpleasant feelings. If so, then there is good reason to be optimistic: you have what it takes to become a competent seeker of misfortune.

    Ten recommendations

    However, to become a really competent misfortune seeker, you ought to practice. If you want to become a professional, take good notice of the following ten recommendations:

    tell yourself every day that you have an incurable disorder;
    collect all proof possible to demonstrate that you are not doing well;
    keep searching for a medical specialist who confirms the hereditary basis of your disorder;
    pay special attention to any unpleasant signal of your body;
    realize that nothing can make your suffering bearable;
    reveal the load of your suffering to at least one person every day;
    always do what you ought to do instead of what you would like to do;
    avoid people who say that you must learn to cope with your condition;
    do not contemplate possibilities that might improve your life.
    do not listen to patients who claim to have recovered; they undoubtedly had a disorder other than the one you have.
    Read these recommendations carefully over and over again until you remember them all. Do not spend useless energy in striving for happiness, because you will be repeatedly disappointed. Instead, you will proudly succeed when striving for misfortune.

    Strive for the best

    I want to add two last warnings.

    In the first place, even an advanced expert of misfortune needs to recognize that happiness is always around the next corner, just waiting to pounce. Perhaps, one day, you do indeed find yourself determined to become happy again. Then my advice is to just raise your standards to such an extremely high level of happiness, that it will be impossible for you to reach.

    Perhaps even more threatening are those people around you who give the impression that they like or love you. If this is the case, take care and be wise! Immediately make clear to them that liking or loving you is as useless as bringing water to the ocean.

    If followed correctly, this Guide to Misfortune is a key to living an unhappy life. Please note, however, that this author does not take responsibility for any feelings of happiness which you may experience occasionally. When this happens, realize that it is your own thoughts that evoked this feeling.


    Paul Watzlawick. The Situation is Hopeless, But Not Serious: The Pursuit of Unhappiness. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 1983

    Rinie Geenen, Ph.D. is assistant professor at the Department of Health Psychology of Utrecht University, Utrecht, The Netherlands. His research involves biopsychosocial aspects of chronic rheumatic conditions. He wrote many scientific and professional publications for patients, scientists, and clinicians.

    Source: NFA
  2. wish_to_be_healthy

    wish_to_be_healthy New Member

  3. JLH

    JLH New Member

    Do you have any more "tongue in cheek" type "suggestions"?

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