Sunday, February 11, 2007

What Those Miserable People Don't Know

"You can be pleased with nothing when you are not pleased with yourself."
- Lady Mary Wortley Montagu

Most of us have wondered from time to time about people who never seem to be pleased with anything. To them, no one does a good job because "it's what you get paid for."

No one reaches high in their list of favourite or favoured people because everyone has too many faults or makes too many mistakes.
Sometimes these people can be happy only when they are drunk. But then, the ones who are "bad drunks" become abusers of others such as their own spouses.

Many will turn to various forms of addiction, be it drugs, gambling, prostitution, or even depression where they must be treated with legally prescribed drugs. Many of them remain smokers despite the dire health warnings. For them the world is simply not a happy place.

Some never watch the news on television because "it's all bad anyway." Others become news addicts, believing that by knowing more about the biased reporting of events put out by their favourite news sources, they are ahead of others at gatherings around the water cooler or the bar.

Lady Montagu said that they are simply not pleased with themselves, so they can't be pleased with others. That doesn't go far enough. It would be more accurate to say that they don't respect themselves and likely don't really like themselves. After all, who can like anyone who is always negative and that includes themselves?

Pessimists, if we want to call them that, seldom make it out of their depressive state as they age. A few manage through a religious epiphany. Others may be fortunate enough to find someone who cares enough about them to implement intervention strategies.

There's the answer. They need to believe that someone cares about them more than for what they can give to the others. Many times they have not found such people through the first few decades of their lives. The deficit likely began with their parents who thought that their parenting responsibilities were fulfilled when they provided food, clothing and shelter for their offspring.

You can make someone's life meaningful by caring. But be warned: it's not an easy project or one quickly accomplished. Remember, it took them many years to sink into the state they are in. No one can accomplish an attitude adjustment overnight.

But if you are successful, the rewards will be far greater than you could imagine unless you have experienced them.

Begin by listening to them. Give them your time and your attention. They will begin to like you for that reason alone. Then you can show you care in other ways because they will tell you about things that matter to them. You can change their lives.

Bill Allin
Turning It Around: Causes and Cures for Today's Epidemic Social Problems, striving to help you make the world a better place for at least one more person.
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