They say misery loves company. And whoever “they” are, I think we can all agree they’re right.
So why does misery love company?
We all know somebody whose outlook on life makes even Debbie Downer look good. He or she feeds on negativity, can’t seem to find any good in life, and is always the first to find fault or blame in someone or something. Ultimately, the person’s attraction to negativity always seems to find its way to anyone who will hop aboard the misery train and ride along with them.
Is there any hope for the miserable person…and his or her company?
Here are some thoughts to consider:
1. People who live in misery typically live in the past. Not only do they live in the past, but they can’t seem to let it go. Likely, someone or something has left them hurt and greatly scarred. Instead of moving on and forgiving, they still carry around the weight of the burden(s). Essentially, those who live in misery become shackled to the pain and blinded to the present-day beauty and joy surrounding them. Rather than using the past as a reminder of what they’ve overcome and marching on into the future, they’ve instead set up permanent residency in the “valley of misery.” The best way to overcome misery to move on, live in the present, and embrace the future.
2. Miserable people usually miss out on real life. Because they’re chained to the pain, most people who live in misery miss out on abundant life happening all around them. Since they feel lonely or abandoned, they tend to bask in their loneliness rather than unlocking the shackles and joining in on the friendships and relationships knocking at their doors. One of the best ways to defeat misery is to stay busy in community with others. Invest in family members you may not know very well. Intentionally plug into a small group at church. Volunteer with missions (local or abroad). Ultimately, put the energy toward serving others. That’s where real life happens.
3. People who live in misery are generally selfish. Though it may sound a bit harsh, it’s true. Misery promotes putting one’s own feelings and needs ahead of others. Selfless individuals are generally happier people. When one’s focus is on God’s will, taking care of those in need, and making the world a better place, there’s no time left to wallow in misery. Misery gets trumped when selfishness is bumped. Choose selflessness every time.
4. Living in misery is quite pointless. God created us in His image…with a real purpose–worshiping Him and helping others come to know Him. Our ultimate goal is eternity in Heaven, so no one should waste a moment making Hell on earth–for themselves or anyone else. Frankly, misery is a choice. When we choose misery, we deny who we were created to be. There’s no better strategy to combat misery than intentionally choosing joy.
When misery comes knocking, don’t answer. There is hope for the miserable person, and it’s found in living abundantly and joyfully as God has created and called us. Misery may love company, but joy loves company so much more.