If you have not yet read Barbara Ehrenreich’s Bright-Sided, you should take a look. It might explain a lot about your problems with society.
The very rich people at Forbes magazine thoughtfully gave an article to the plebs about happiness. This article uses lies and half-truths in a perfect demonstration of bright-siding. Obviously I don’t like this article and I am going to point out problems. However, a few of the article’s claims are reasonable and I do concede some points without conceding my main point.
The key material of the Forbes article is as follows:
10 Troubling Habits Of Chronically Unhappy People
Some habits lead to unhappiness more than others do. You should be especially wary of the ten habits that follow as they are the worst offenders. Practice emotional intelligence and watch yourself carefully to make certain that these habits are not your own.
1. Waiting for the future. Telling yourself, “I’ll be happy when …” is one of the easiest unhappy habits to fall into. How you end the statement doesn’t really matter (it might be a promotion, more pay, or a new relationship) because it puts too much emphasis on circumstances, and improved circumstances don’t lead to happiness. Don’t spend your time waiting for something that’s proven to have no effect on your mood. Instead focus on being happy right now, in the present moment, because there’s no guarantee of the future.
2. Spending too much time and effort acquiring “things.” People living in extreme poverty experience a significant increase in happiness when their financial circumstances improve, but it drops off quickly above $20,000 in annual income. There’s an ocean of research that shows that material things don’t make you happy. When you make a habit of chasing things, you are likely to become unhappy because, beyond the disappointment you experience once you get them, you discover that you’ve gained them at the expense of the real things that can make you happy, such as friends, family, and hobbies.
3. Staying home. When you feel unhappy, it’s tempting to avoid other people. This is a huge mistake as socializing, even when you don’t enjoy it, is great for your mood. We all have those days when we just want to pull the covers over our heads and refuse to talk to anybody, but understand that the moment this becomes a tendency, it destroys your mood. Recognize when unhappiness is making you antisocial, force yourself to get out there and mingle, and you’ll notice the difference right away.