John Stuart Mill once told us that it is better to be Socrates dissatisfied than a fool satisfied. There is a merit to misery that is simply unavailable to genuinely happy people, and what comes with it is usually a more fulfilling, well-rounded life. Much greatness has come from anguish and despair, and we never would have experienced the brilliance of Ernest Hemingway or Vincent Van Gogh if they weren’t a couple of Gloomy Guses. Here are five habits of miserable people that will help you share the successful lifestyle of a pathetic wretch:

1. Outward Reflection: If one were to examine the world, one would find it heavily flawed. They say that ignorance is bliss, and quite frankly it is. If you want to enjoy a nice bout of depression, pick an issue, any issue. Wonder about the environment? Read up on it. See what the people who study it have to say about it, and then see what the people in power are doing about it. The more you learn and study the world, the more your crippling cynicism will develop, ruining any potential good mood you might ever possess again!

They're called "Little People!"

They’re called “Little People” and they shouldn’t be tossed!

 

2. Inward Reflection: If we turn our mind inwards, we can potentially find another well of sadness to dip our beaks into. They say that the instant you start to wonder about whether or not you’re happy, you can no longer be happy. Self-reflection is antithetical to happiness because happiness exists outside of thought in a shallow but euphoric high. If one critically examines their life, they will inevitably find flaws and regrets to dampen their mood, but in doing so will also create a deeper understanding of their Self and identity that they would otherwise never find.

Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can't even hold a job *parking cars*!

Back there I could fly a gunship, I could drive a tank, I was in charge of million dollar equipment, back here I can’t even hold a job *parking cars*!

 

3. Attachment: It’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. This is actually a terrible thing to say to someone in the throes of heartbreak, and they would be quite justified in punching you in the face if you do. However, the amount of despair that accompanies a breakup is reflective of that person’s capacity to love. If one felt nothing, then this indicates an utter lack of human connection. The crushing loss or disappointment that inescapably goes hand in hand with attaching your heart to someone or something displays the full extent of that person’s ability to love.

I can't believe he invaded her "Bay of Pigs"... if you catch my meaning

I can’t believe he invaded her “Bay of Pigs”… if you catch my meaning

 

4. Striving: If someone never expected anything of themselves, and drifted listlessly through life without any direction or ambition, then they would likely be quite content. It is those who try, and then quite likely fail, who suffer despondently. Was it your aspiration to be a big movie star? Unfortunately, after all those acting classes and unpaid internships at a movie studio you’re still serving coffee to aggravating, entitled assholes. Those who dream, those who fight, those who try, they are the ones who push us forward, and they are the ones who get the headache for it.

God damn it, Lex. Every. Fucking. Time.

God damn it, Lex. Every. Fucking. Time.

 

5. Anguish: Fear is different from anguish because fear is related to something that can be physically or psychologically dealt with. Anguish exists as a contemplation of possibilities. When we wonder, “What am I going to do?” we recognize our freedom to choose, and all the responsibility that comes along with it. When we acknowledge the infinite number of choices we have, and how even one will eliminate all others, we are gripped with dread.  Our ability to choose precludes happiness. If we have the choice between A and B, and can switch back and forth at a whim, we will never be as happy with whatever we end up with than if we were simply stuck with A from the get-go.

How will I ever save my franchise? More aliens? Less aliens? AUGH!

How will I ever save my franchise? More aliens? Less aliens? AUGH!

 

So let’s hear it for the learned, self-aware, free and loving dreamers, because with their torment they will always lead superior lives than those who content themselves with mere happiness.

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