Friday, November 16, 2007

Perpetually Unhappy People

Do you know someone who is never happy about anything? I’m not talking about people who like to analyze things with a critical eye. I’m talking about people who just can’t find the good in anything. You know, the people that find the dark cloud in every silver lining.

I’m sure you’ve crossed people like this sometime in your life: The person who isn’t happy with any gift they are given. The person who looks at a menu at a restaurant and can never find anything they think is edible, order something anyway and complain about it as they eat it. The person who gets a promotion and complains the raise will put them in a new tax bracket. The person who, on Thanksgiving, can’t find one single thing for which to be thankful. I could go on an on.

They’re worse than pessimists. It’s not just them thinking about the worst possible outcome to a situation, it’s the fact that even when things turn out good, there’s something bad they have to say about it. And I find that when I’m around people like that, I feel like someone has just sucked the life force out of me. I don’t understand how people can go through life like this.

Today, while leaving a store, I passed Salvation Army collection kettle. I took all the loose change in my pocket – at least a $1.50 - and put it in the kettle. The gentleman ringing the bell said, “thanks”, and then I heard him mutter, “you could at least wear a hat, it’s cold” in a not-so-nice tone. I was appalled and wanted to snap back, but I thought to myself that I wasn’t going to let his comment detract from the fact that I gave something – although not a lot – to help their charitable effort.

This is the time of year that I find it easier to fight off unhappy people and prevent them from taking all my good thoughts and happiness away from me. When someone tries to find the bad in what happens, that’s their choice. But I won’t let people rob me of the good in what I do or what I feel. So the best medicine to counter unhappy people is to remind oneself of the bright side – and instead find the silver lining in the dark cloud.

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