The 2 Causes of Misery

What causes people to be unhappy in this life?  Dr. Jeffrey Bernstein sought to answer this exact question.  Bernstein is a licensed psychologist and has worked with individuals, couples, and families for over twenty years.  It was from this vast experience that he came up with the two main reasons why people were miserable in this life (SOURCE).  Here were his 2 reasons.

  1. Overly Wanting What You Don’t Have.
  2. Overly NOT Wanting What You Do Have.

Even though these may not be the only two reasons, they certainly include most cause of misery.  If nothing else it, these two points should get us thinking about our own lives.  Every day people are being consumed by unhealthy thoughts about the things they have and desires for things they don’t.  Let’s look at a few common examples.

Overly Wanting…

  • Money.
  • Power.
  • Success.
  • Beauty.
  • Love.

Overly NOT Wanting…

  • Your marriage.
  • Your spouse.
  • Your children.
  • Your home.
  • Your job.

People have driven themselves into the deepest pits of misery by focusing on these aspects.  All of this can be summed up in the word “selfishness.”  All of these desires are self-centered.  It is all about what makes “me” happy, and what makes “me” better.  So, how can we combat these desires of ours?  It all comes down to being content with ourselves and what we have.

Paul put it best by saying, “Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.  I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.  I can do all things through Him who strengthens me” (Philippians 4:11-13).

Overly seeking something we don’t have can lead to a very miserable life.  Learning to be content is one of the secrets to happiness.  No one is perfect and no life is perfect.  There is always something to improve, but we can’t let those desires consume us.  Let’s learn to look on the positive side.  Let’s learn to look at the good points, and learn to love the blessings God has placed in our lives.

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