“I’m Not Miserable” and the Quest to Want Better

“I’m not miserable”. I’ve probably said those words to myself hundreds of times, and I know I’m not the only one. We say, “I’m not miserable” as a way of justifying our acceptance of unhappy situations. We believe we have no right to want more, or better, or different, unless we are in misery. We say, “I’m not miserable” to shut down the voice in the mind or ache in the body that’s trying to let us know something isn’t right.

I’ve often felt guilty for not loving what other people saw as a dream job. I had a great salary, flexible schedule, freedom to enjoy hobbies, and I had the most understanding boss in the world (me!). I had nothing to complain about. Feeling unhappy was selfish and privileged.

I spent years being “not miserable” until I had become completely miserable.

Misery is exhausting, and burnout is the price I paid for allowing “not miserable” to go on for too long. But we do it in all areas of our lives: careers, relationships, friendships, health. It’s like we’re programmed for self-destruction through self-denial.

Now, I’m teaching myself to think differently. Step 1 is letting my inner voice be stronger than any external voice that tells me what I should think or ought to feel.

Could it be worse?

When do you catch yourself thinking, “Well, I’m not miserable,” or, “It could be worse”?

Make a list of these instances – write them all down.

Can you identify whose voices they reflect?


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