The 10 Habits of Highly Miserable People
by Jeff Stoker | Posted Originally Sep 8, 2016
Even if the sun was shining, the birds were singing, and life was just great, we all know somebody who would still be miserable for no apparent reason. It could be a work colleague, a family member, or it could even be you, this blog highlights the top 10 traits that these miserable people have that work to compound their misery.
This article is all about being miserable, not being depressed (which is a medical condition with a specific combination of symptoms) instead, I’m talking about the dour, sorrowful, gloomy, negative people that we come across and some of their traits and habits that they share.
But it’s a bit like ‘the chicken and the egg’ analogy, do miserable people do these traits because they are miserable, or do these traits give them a life of misery? To be honest it’s probably a bit of both, although what I do know is that if you can identify with some of these traits in yourself then you’d better watch out because a life full of misery may just be around the corner for you too.
Focus on the ‘what ifs’.
Miserable people tend to focus on what has gone wrong but also frustratingly they also focus on what could go wrong too in the future, their catastrophising creates anxiety, stress, and fear around the ‘what ifs’ or the ‘worst things that could happen’ in their life, at home or at work, leading to a fretful life of needless stress, worry and anxiety about things that may never happen.
Could have and Should have.
Miserable people dwell on what they could have done and what they should have done in life, this creates feelings of regret, sorrow and eventually bitterness of their past which starts to make them downcast in the present as well as giving them a sense of melancholy about their future.
One of the traits that miserable people tend to have is that they are always telling you what’s wrong, in meetings at work they naturally focus on the negatives. They are the naysayers that wait for perfection instead of striving for it, they take away the momentum from any project that crosses their desk. But even when you do get something moving forward and perhaps hit a few problems along the way, all you can hear is them telling you ‘I told you so’ as well.
Birds of a feather.
Somehow miserable people have an ability to find other miserable people with similar problems, in these groups they endlessly discuss their problems, if this culture takes over in the workplace there’s a negative effect on everyone, (see my other blog on the Losada ratio).
It’s not uncommon for miserable people to find other miserable people and develop need/need relationships built on their necessity to feel better by telling each other how bad their life is, unfortunately, any benefit is short-lived as eventually, all these groups do is compound their discontent.
All of the negative thinking miserable people do means that it’s not long before they also start to think bad of themselves too, and in their hopeless perception of the world, they start to develop a negative self-identity. When this happens they develop the inability to make positive choices when an opportunity arises to define their life in a more positive way, this re-enforces their negative identity, their ‘could have should have’ bitterness until they actually start to dislike or even hate themselves.
Negative self talk.
As well as negative identity and poor self-image, miserable people also suffer from negative ‘self-talk’ they habitually chew negative events over again in their mind, they ruminate and look for all of the negatives around them, they tell themselves over and over what’s wrong, why they aren’t good enough and they take the role of the victim telling everyone why the world is out to get them, how bad things are getting or how bad its always been for them. This negative self-talk is their default record that plays, again and again, like a stuck record in their heads.
Gratefulness, Gratitude and helping others.
As well as taking a negative slant on everything, and focussing on how bad things are, miserable people just don’t seem to feel grateful for the really important things in their life, for all of the positives that surround them, and for how well off they are compared to others.
Helping others never seems to come naturally to miserable people and in turn, seldom is gratitude returned, this lack of gratitude creates a lonely selfish existence that isolates the individual from the rest of the team.
Worse than being ungrateful really dejected people actually revel in knocking others down, this is the so-called ‘Godzilla syndrome’ where others are persistently knocked down for the purpose of making that person look bigger and feel better. Unfortunately, all this does in the workplace is ‘poison the ground’ and as we all know nothing grows well on poisoned ground.
Miserable people can often feel pointless, do the mundane and drift through life, they live in a state of apathy, they become predictable in always never following through, never doing, and always lowering the bar and striving for average. By doing this they never really fulfil their potential and they deeply regret the life they are leading, feeling bad about what they should have done instead.
The miserable can’t wait to tell you what’s wrong, they love to point out that it’s someone else’s fault, they blame others, they are ever critical and with this they fail to take responsibility to be proactive to make their own lives better too, often you may hear the phrase ‘it’s not my fault’ because in their eyes there’s always someone else to blame.
I wrote this article because for years I have worked, known, and I have listened to their problems of miserable people and I’m writing this article to highlight a few things that may be causing some of their misery.
Experience has shown that one of the first steps in helping people change is for that person first to first recognise that a problem exists, and then they can do something about it. Perhaps just by seeing some of these traits in yourself, you can start making a few small changes in your life too.
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