First, isn’t it rather odd that we can’t find anyone skipping down the rosy path of life free from miserys’ grip? Hasn’t anyone figured it all out?
And watching those viral youtube videos showing someone happily dancing like no one is watching, just doesn’t seem to do the trick either.
There are two basic approaches to dealing with misery. The first and most common, is what you might call the cheap fix.
The Cheap Fix
Included in the cheap fix is a strong drink after a long day at the office, or golf, movie or hot shower. Or any of the other countless misery relievers that make the bulk of commercials during half time.
The problem all these solutions have is that for them to work you first have to have the misery!
You have probably guessed, there’s a lot of money in keeping humanity well stocked in pain, stress and aggravation of any sort.
Don’t get me wrong, if you are ok with the constant “pain, pain, pain, relief” pattern of modern living – keep it up and make sure your medical coverage has a low deductible.
The Better Approach
The second and better approach is simple. Don’t engage misery in the first place.
Let me tell you a little known Jewish tradition. A person is not supposed to be buried with his clothes on. This custom carries a very important message, as explained by Rabbi Warren Goldstein. You don’t even take your socks with you, let alone anything else we think we have acquired in this life.
The truth is however, and don’t tell Hanes this, but you don’t have your socks while you are alive either.
And that’s the secret of avoiding misery. Not only can’t you take it with you, you can’t even have it in the first place.
In other words, misery is the emotion we have when we feel we are trying to do something that can’t be done. You can’t have that star. The title deed is meaningless. All you can do is look up and enjoy.
And if you can’t do that, then you better be prepared for misery.
Let me explain.
Do you think you have your house?
Not. The bank or the government can take it away – even if the mortgage is all paid off.
Do you think you have your car? Not. A drunk driver can total it.
Everything in this world is at best associated with us. We don’t “have it” any more than we "have" the stars at night. And the more you try and “have,” the more misery you find. When all you think about is what you have or what you want, then misery finds a welcome spot.
Interestingly, those people who are preoccupied with the plight of others (instead of their own), then misery is invariably squeezed out. The truth is, it’s not that uncommon. The minute you have a baby you make an immediate decision, “I don’t really count.” That decision is incredibly uplifting. Parents will often tell me it was the happiest day of their lives.
And this is the real relief of misery, add another person to the people you care most about.