Welcome back to The Complete Guide to Misery!
Each post in this absurd series promotes a different form of human suffering and encourages readers to adopt self-destructive habits that will bring them mountains of anguish.
This silliness is intended to be satire, not self-help. However, if readers’ lives are enriched in some way beyond laughter, all the better.
Despite the attempts at humor, this is not meant to make light of the suffering of blood-filled people by the world’s myriad forms of abuse.
Please assume that you have free will.
Human beings are social creatures. Other people help shape who we are and will become. Therefore, you’ll want to nurture relationships that will support the development of your misery.
When meeting someone new it’s best to assume their worst intentions. This will help you feel horrid immediately, and is a necessary building block to develop a lifetime of anguish.
Once you assume others’ worst motives, you’ll be prepared to take the most innocent remark as a personal affront and wallow in the joy of despair.
By the way, the impact of assuming others’ worst intentions on the quality of ALL your relationships cannot be overstated!
Remember, strangers are just enemies you haven’t met yet.
CASE STUDY: KAREN AND THE STRANGER
Karen got together with her childhood friends Caroline, Kathy, and Joanne, at Joanne’s place. Karen had been busy lately and hadn’t been to the last few gatherings. She was looking forward to catching up over a quiet evening.
When she arrived, though, she was surprised to find someone new in Joanne’s living room. Every time Karen met a newcomer, or intruder as she liked to think of them, she assumed three things.
And she counted out all three to herself every time:
- The stranger (“they”) thought Karen was a piece of trash,
- Through remarkable perceptive skills, they had already assessed and determined Karen’s fundamental flaws and most embarrassing secrets,
- They planned to assassinate Karen’s character as soon as Karen left the room.
Karen instantly felt ready to misread and defensively react to anything this intruder said or did.
Caroline introduced the newcomer, her friend, Marcia, to Karen.
Marcia smiled and said, “Hello.”
Karen thought, “We just met and she’s already showing off her social skills. What a phony piece of crap. I’ve been at this party for thirty seconds and I already hate it. I shouldn’t have to put up with this superficial nonsense!”
Karen was proud of herself for approaching this new relationship with such a helpful mindset.
What We Can Learn from Karen
Before being introduced, Karen put herself on the defensive by assuming Marcia didn’t respect her, knew her worst secrets, and would ruin her friendships if given the chance. This prepared Karen to interpret anything Marcia did as hostile and antagonistic.
A Word of Caution
A dedicated pattern of assuming others’ worst intentions, specifically, that the universe stopped everything it was doing to kick you personally, is called paranoia.
Paranoia is beyond the scope of this blog.
However, reader, I feel obliged to inform you that all of your acquaintances, friends and enemies got together, while you were on vacation, and coordinated the details of how to ruin the rest of your life.
Thanks for reading and stay tuned!