Why Do We Take Pride in Being Busy, Sick, and Miserable?

in happierpeople •  2 years ago  (edited)

Have you worked or lived somewhere before where being miserable was a sign of respect? When a friend has been sick and you have offered suggestions, were you then shocked to hear them appear to defend their right to be sick and resist getting any help? What makes us take pride in our misery and fight to keep it? For example, take this work conversation.

"Well, I stay later than you do."

"But I come in earlier than you do."

"Oh yeah, I don't take a lunch break."

It's like you're miserable at work, you hate it and you can't wait to go home. Why the hell is there pride in being more miserable than everyone else?

Why is this normal?

Why is it normal to suffer?

Prefer to watch?  Try the original video of day 165 of Happier People Podcast on YouTube!

Why do we take pride in being busy, sick and miserable?

I know I just had a little uncomfortable moment talking to a family member and the whole thing behind it was that, "Well, you're just not suffering as much as the rest of us."

Like that you don't have enough misery in your life, that your life is easy because you're not miserable all the time.

This is the big thing with working at home and it's a big thing with stay-at-home moms that somehow because you don't have a job that you hate going to and miss out on spending time with your family, that somehow you're not as good as everyone else who's going to work and suffering, complaining about their boss, being aggravated, and coming home tired, exhausted, and needing something to take the edge off.

That somehow because you spend time with your child during the day, that you take care of your family, that you don't go do something that's completely pointless like shuffle a bunch of papers around that truly makes no difference at all and really just creates more work for other people, because you don't do some BS boring job somewhere, that somehow you're less than other people as you fully enjoy the rewards of life.

Isn't that insane?

My friends and I, we used to go out and drink five plus years ago, and I remember we joked at how miserable we were going to be the next day.

Well, I'm going to have a horrible hangover."

"I'm going to have to get up for work, that's going to really suck, at least you can sleep in."

"Well, I'm going to have to deal with this meeting in the middle of the day. Oh, man!

We're all comparing misery and taking great pride in the fact that one of us is potentially going to have it worse than the others.

Oh, that really sucks.

I remember that I used to stay up really late and say, "Oh, man, I'm going to have to get up tomorrow."

It'd be like some joke, like how funny it is, but it wasn't funny the next morning when I was tired and cranky, and aggravated. It wasn't funny when I used to have jobs that I hated going to and came home and complained. And yet, why do I feel like I'm getting away with some crime right now because I don't have a regular job to go to?

Why is it that I feel like I'm doing something wrong because I'm happy?

I think that's one of the things a lot of us struggle with when we actually make positive changes in our lives. I'm looking around to make sure I don't get hit by a car, that'd be a negative change, and then I could really tell you how miserable I was then.

"Let me tell you about how I got hit by a car walking my dogs, making a video for you. My God, that was so miserable."

What was I talking about before I went off on that?

I feel like that was a really good tangent and now I just totally blanked. It's fine, it's fine because I'm keeping it cool.

When some of us actually go on the diet, actually meet the person of our dreams, actually start having the life we've always been telling everyone, "If I just had this, I'd be happy," why is it when we get all that stuff, we feel like we're somehow screwing everyone else over?

Sometimes your friends will even stop hanging out with you because you're just too damn happy now, "I can't complain about how bad things are to you anymore. You just don't understand my life because your life is so nice, and you actually go to bed at a reasonable time. You actually get eight hours of sleep at night. You actually eat healthy and you exercise, and you spend time with your family. I just don't get you anymore. You don't understand my life where I'm miserable and I take great pride in it."

I understand that I feel like a lot of us, we look out around at our lives and say, "Well, I can't do things right, so my God, I'm going to make this crap pile of my life and it's something to take pride over. Look how nasty my life is. Well, you should see how nasty my life is."

That prevents us from actually getting what we want because all of a sudden now we've started taking pride in how messed up our lives are, and giving up even a little part of how messed up it is, means that now we're losing who we are.

"I just don't know who I am anymore, now that I get eight hours of sleep a night, and I eat right, and I pray, and I meditate, and I try not to have drama, and I work at home, and I have a nice life. I just don't know who I am anymore. I mean, who am I?

I used to take pride in being a fat alcoholic who made sure to have the top of the food pyramid as much as possible: fats, meats, sugars, oil.

"Hell yeah, let's pile that on, I don't want any vegetables, get that out of my face, if it's on my hamburger maybe."

I remember condemning my other family members who were trying to eat better. I remember feeling like my other family members were missing out on the fullness of life because they were different from me. I guess that's what happens when we want to be miserable.

"Oh, it takes one to know one."

Well, I'm grateful I'm sober now, I go to AA every day. I used to be pretty bad about driving and I'd run up on the curb. Yes, I used to be a pretty bad driver.

So who am I to judge if someone else tries to run me over one night because they're drunk and they're texting, and they don't notice that I'm walking my dogs in the middle of the road because there's no sidewalks?

These are my thoughts tonight. I share them because I hope they're useful for you. I feel like at certain points in my life this might not have made any sense, tonight it makes perfect sense and I talk about it because it's helpful for me to review these things and listen to them, hear these things because I want to keep having a happy life.

Why is it so tempting to be miserable?

There's something about it, it's just so sexy to be miserable, so sexy.

You get up after you are out all night drinking and/or drugging, or whatever you do, or eating ice cream sundaes all night. You get up in the morning, you feel like crap, and then you don't eat breakfast, and you're hungry all day at work. You get your coffee, and then you got a caffeine, you go on full-blast on caffeine, you're way over the top, and everyone's all crazy, and you're pissed off, and by God you're proud of it.


I always try and wave at everyone on my dog walks because you never know who is just on the edge of ending it all.

At least I appreciated every little wave I got when I was on the edge of it. You give what you want to get, right?

How's my camera time doing?

Oh, I can ramble on for like five more minutes before the camera cuts me off.


Someone said,That Jerry Banfield guy has some massive ego.

I saw that comment on Steemit.

Am I a massive ego?

A massive ego!

"I guess I am whatever you say I am and if I wasn't, then why would I say I am in the paper, the news every day I am. I don't know that's just the way I am. Boom."

I hope you've enjoyed it.

I love you. You're awesome. I hope you have a great life.

If you found this post helpful on Steemit, would you please upvote it and follow me because you will then be able to see more posts like this in your home feed?


Jerry Banfield with edits by @gmichelbkk


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Jerry your post reminds me a lot of this chapter from "We Learn Nothing" by Tim Kreider, I think you'll like it


reading this is a sign of relief for me. I totally understand it exactly because I was in the position before when I was meeting my friends and I am working at home. I always invites misery. I stop doing this and I realized I stop doing this when I got an offline job that made me feel busy and tired during the night that I stop feeling miserable. It gives me a different perception.

People actually blame you deep down in their minds, if you are more comfortable then them.. AKA Envy..

Happiness is the key of life .

I've worked in several places like, both private consultancy and an academic setting. I hate it.

I see and experience the so called misery contest happen all the time where I work and also with people who I interact with outside work. My workplace definitely promotes a culture of overworking ones self even if being there so many hours doesn't even accomplish any additional work.

I was once indoctrinated into the belief that working 50-60 or even sometimes 70 or 80 hours a week and having no free time was a noble or good thing. Then a few years ago it hit me that some day I'll be dead and none of it will matter.

So now I say NO to as many things as I can as far as work is concerned. I still get things done that are actually important but there's so much extra curricular crap that they force down our throats that it's really hard sometimes to just do my job as it's definite in the job description.

This is one insane world we live in isn't it.


"My workplace definitely promotes a culture of overworking ones self even if being there so many hours doesn't even accomplish any additional work."

As I noted below, it's immediately obvious why they would want to do that. It would be surprising if they didn't do it.

Japan tried forcing this culture for decades, and now they have a generation of young men who don't want to move out of their parents house or interact with women, because that is simply seen as a gateway to a lot of unwanted responsibility.

The balance between work and play in the west is well out of whack. We could use more siestas.


Funny you mention the Japanese...my company's headquarters are in Japan and the culture in my facility is kind of a bastardized version of what the Japanese were doing years ago. The Japanese expats in my facility are quite honestly more reasonable and logical in their thinking and actions than many of the Americans that run the place are.

I remember asking an expat if the kids there (in JP) still had 6 day / week school and he said "no we figured out it's bad for them so we stopped doing that".

I don't mind working hard and I like being productive but the corporate culture in the U.S. has become completely insane to the point where it's nearly impossible to get anything meaningful accomplished. Unfortunately I've only been in the corporate world for just shy of a decade so I can't say "oh it didnt' used to be this way..." and know for sure that I'm correct in saying that.


""no we figured out it's bad for them so we stopped doing that"."

I wonder if it's going to take a generation to get back to some sort of middle-ground. The young men there now are, on average, doing nothing with their lives.

Couldn't agree more with everything else you said.


Its only insane if the people around you feel you so. There's a sort of peer pressure that is a lot like a invisible blanket draped over different aspects of your life. Work tends to be the kind that is universal misery. Since work life is such a large component of life in general, and we are always trying to size up our peers, we end up having these shitting contest that is nothing but negative.

Is group mentality.. That generally is why people collectively stay late I think and end up loathing themselves.


As you might imagine, the corporations are absolutely fine to not only allow but promote this as well, whenever possible. Much like the banks encourage the idea that having bad credit, or breaking a contract (under the terms of the contract itself, like defaulting on a mortgage) somehow makes you a bad person.

I honestly think Mike Judge is a luminary in this area. His work on this topic in the movie Office Space is legitimately genius.

Unfortunately, by failing to reward loyalty, giving adequate raises, etc employers have made it a battle to attempt to do as little work as possible without getting fired. Just as Peter notes.

Everybody has his/her own opinion on this. More than often, it is as you have written in this post. Only small percentage of people will think otherwise. Well written and thoughtful.

@jerrybanfield Are you sure you dont live in the UK!? Especially Yorkshire, people love to moan in Yorkshire... :P

I think people also take pride in being busy and overworked at times too!

when people say they are unhappy o miserable, thereby they seek attention from others. Consolation, support, help, which they do not need. They need someone else's part. And they do not know other ways to get it.

This is the way to show and feel your importance to others.



a form of regulation of the self...

Why really ? In psychology it's called secondary gains. For example you are XYZ so that you have attention for being XYZ. Others have little programs embedded inside them and they are "satified" whenever something bad happens. How strange creatures we are...


True. That is kind of how the cookies crumbles. Our darken hearts. LOL

Maybe cause they just want to be "normal" in the mediocrity. People always are scared from who excel or who is better.

I really need to go sub you on YouTube @jerrybanfield. I'm DarthShadie on there.

Regarding the victimisation, I used to be like that too. I live with PTSD and it was so easy for me to just blame the guy who abused me for every single little thing that went wrong in my life. I got all these ailments and I was stuck.

The day I decided I would change my life around, I met my husband, I started healing, even if it got worse before it could get better, I found happiness. When I tell people that I healed depression, they look at me like I committed a crime. How dare I heal depression, without medication on top of that, how can I find happiness, while still living with some of the ailments I have. How can I have a burnout and still be happy and do things that I love to do, how can I work from home and sleep when I want and write all night and be the creative person I am.

By the way, I LOVE the Eminem rapping all random there. I'm a huge fan of the guy.

I meet with friends who are mothers and they complain about all the responsibilities they have. I talk about my step-kids, my closest friends aren't like this but other people dismiss it, it's not real motherhood according to them. I don't have my own kids yet, I haven't gone through a pregnancy and how painful it can be. Well, my mother and both grandmothers had excellent births and my mother felt no pain at all, barely was in labour and claims it was even orgasmic. So I highly doubt that giving birth to my future child (whenever that may be) will be a bad experience.

It's a competition of who is worse off, who has it the worst. Well, I'll tell you something, I once had it bad, so bad I wanted to self harm, so bad I felt disgusted with myself, ashamed of myself, and it made me realise that I did NOT want to be there, in the victim mode. I got out of there, unprogrammed myself from all that narcissistic bs brainwashing, still healing, still reprogramming my mind, and I am happy. And people think I've changed too. But I'm happy. They'Re not happy to see me happy and those people, are no longer in my life. The people I surround myself with are happy to see me happy.

The society is programmed in such a way that happiness is viewed as a priviledge and if you are happy, you are undeserving. Well you know what, we are all deserving of happiness and poopoo on those other people who try to put us down for finding meaning in our lives. They are so unhappy and seem so unwilling to work on themselves to get themselves where they want to be. Some of them will do it, and be happy some day too. Others will remain where they are. It's not our problem. It's not our fault. We need to focus on our happiness and hopefully that will inspire others to focus on theirs and to find it as we have.

thanks for some great insights

I could not agree more!!
Well im not taking pride in being a slave!!
Have a nice day!!

Well geez, as a musician this is very relevant. People kill themselves practicing, rehearsing, studying, it's easy to fall behind on other important things in life. I sacrificed my health when I went to music school, got sick every few months because of lack of sleep and relatively poor nutrition.

Hey! That's a global agenda, don't be outsider xD

@jerrybanfield - AWESOME post! I cannot agree more, in fact just a few days ago I have switched to a vegan diet since i've heard so many things about how it can help you feel better and be happier.

I'm very new to SteemIt and you are one of the first people I have followed and I really love your posts, and also your commitment to help newbies like me. I'm planning on investing some of my bitcoin into Steem Power and when I do you will get my witness vote!

If you have some time and are interested I made my first blog post yesterday (aside from my intro post) and would love your comments / feedback!


I consider this "Butt in the chair" mentality and I never stood for it. But it goes on almost everywhere.
Your own family members would rather moan to you about their attitudes than ask you for advice; well that's a fine thing.. or simply saying they admire all you have accomplished lately.

Yr follower no facebook youtube that how hard u work to get this much of follower

I offer a simple alternative Jerry. To be grumpy and happy about it! If they can't do that they are faking it.

Very interesting article Jerry! People sometimes take pride in things that they should not. But such a person's nature - he wants to constantly be in the center of attention and sometimes for him it does not matter how it looks from the outside.

What a thoughtful post. We should never take any pride in our misery or try to magnify them to make ourselves feel better. @jerry you can check out my new post https://steemit.com/peace/@tochi/embracing-unity-in-our-diversity-the-solution-to-hate-crimes-in-our-society.

Jerry you nailed it.


hey Jerry, that is actually a thought that might be way to overlooked in todays society. I am not sure about your take on christianity, but I feel a lot comes from the tortured Jesus picture and your body being just a vessel of the holy spirit. A lot of cultures and religions proclaim a much more healthy relation to their bodies, treasuring them as the gift of god that it is.

We Germans are also very proud in just criticizing everything around us while living a simple life or even worse full of sacrifice. (Mecker-Deutsche, anständiges Leben uns Selbstaufopferung)

There is are also flip side to the coin, sometimes I think it would be good if people ie dont selfvote thus I dont selfvote. This is different I believe, there is not much suffer in missing the 50 cent per day I could generate with selfvoting and I see that the suffer would be greater for someone who is invested with a couple of thousands or even millions into Steem.

On the ego thing: I do not think you have a big ego, you try to break down things with simple language and I like that.

I retracted my witness vote because I only vote for a handful of witnesses, that I had some political talks with and I don't want to vote for people just because they seem like nice guys, I also got a little hyped by your witness campaign before - I have to admit.

Many times we take pride in being busy because we think it makes us feel more important. That everybody wants us.

It's the ego and unconscious mind. That's why I love writing about it-great post @jerrybanfield

More dog walks please.

So conditioned to see misery as normal.

Its lazyness thats make us to do so

@jerrybanfield in some cases yes, like when you are busy for your family, so that they can get some good rest..but not miseable
I think being busy is good and there is nothing to take pride SERIOUSLY!!!

loads of Debbie downers out there

I believe this happens because of our patterns we were brought up in. Also people defend being sick because these are there beliefs and don't want anyone to challenge them.

Although we learn from daily experiences of our own life but we learn from other's life experiences too .I am getting a lot of knowledge from steemit .Sometimes we are telling not others but ourselves about our miseries,sickness and being so much busy just for providing excuses about not doing something because we are not willing to do that actually .We can't deny the fact that desire of sharing exists among humanbeings and they want to share everything they have with others like Happiness , material, knowledge and ,even feelings like miseries sometimes but we should be careful that this may not become an addiction to talk about sickness , miseries and being very busy .

Misery desires company. It is easier to roll down hill.

An excellent post... and really good questions.

Let's turn the whole thing upside down, for a moment: Why is it considered almost taboo or "bad form" to be happy and content? How did we get to a place where we are almost shamed for NOT wanting to be part of the "misery loves company" crowd?

I realize the societal cues are strong... as humans we seem drawn to bad news; even the newsmedia knows this and runs on the basic publishing premise "If it BLEEDS it LEADS."

I'd much rather be happy and be around positive people... yet that often exposes me ("us") to being labeled a "Polyanna" or even "irritating." It's almost like "doing well" and "being happy" leads us to feeling a sort of survivor's guilt... instead of feeling happy and celebrating the promotion we get, we feel subtle pressure to downplay it and find ways to feel sorry for those who did NOT get a promotion.

I don't point to these as a lament/complaint... simply as an observation; as well as for further discussion of how to best "derail" this core tendency within to many people's beings. How do we build a better world, in the face of these patterns?

What a thoughtful post. We should never take any pride in our misery or try to magnify them to make ourselves feel better. @jerry you can check out my new post https://steemit.com/peace/@tochi/embracing-unity-in-our-diversity-the-solution-to-hate-crimes-in-our-society.

Hey sir i love your blog,and you are very creative,upvoted you sir.

Good post. I'm not sure about other places, but in the US a lot of society is based on the fable of "The protestant work ethic". Max Weber wrote a book on it and it seems this idea of hard work as a virtue in of itself, comes from religion. Since the catholics relied on the church, protestants had to come up with some dogma to find meaning and drive in life.

You're so handsome Mr @jerrybanfield

well written..you made to question myself about my standards and my opinion..great one :) thanks..keep on writing..we love them


good post

Two words...self worth. People are trying to find meaning in their lives. If that means working yourself to death then so be it.


@alao I do agree that work gives one self-worth; however, to death is quite an exaggeration. Your post was one of many that inspired my blog of the day.

Here’s a link if you’re interested in reading:



Hi @jerrybanfield i do agree with you that most of us do enjoy been miserable in our lives since we believe that's how life was meant to be for us,we seem to forget that the same live is so perfect and glamorous to other people and yet we are the same human beings,as on my perspective live is all about how you shape it to be either bad or good,lastly we can all have a perfect live if we all want to have it perfectly well thank you Jerry for your time to shoot this video and uploading it on Steemit indeed it was very educative and informative,keep up the good work you are doing on Steemit mr Jerry.

Every one is entitled to their opinion.
I don't know why others would like to be more miserable than the other person...
For me, I maybe miserable but it's okay.. I just try to improve whatever is making me miserable to make it better.

It's a very interesting observation Jerry. I think there is a general jealousy toward people that don't have to go do things that they don't want to do everyday.

And it seems like everyone has a back story of pain no matter how short that pain ways. I see these gurus always talking about how they were eating dirt sandwiches and living in a 5 gallon bucket. It is like everyone buys into these stories.

There is something that is compelling about a rags to riches story no matter how vague and ridiculous it is that people really like.

Nice post
I like your post

Thanks Jerry for posting this amazing video, I think some people make a miserable contest. Why cant we be happy about what we have in our life?

LOL...great video...glad to hear you talk about something other than finance.

One of your many pals said that you aren't really the super-hyper persona you portray in your videos 24/7; and, that you are a down-to-earth calm-natured guy for the most part.

So glad you shared this side of your personality.

Btw, up voting this video would cost you money, as it would devalue your pot :+)
Thanks for sharing. And, more of these videos would be welcomed considering the nearly 600 votes.

I suppose the bottom-line on the misery complex is that some people fail to glean positive energy from the joys and successes of others. They love the whine of, 'easy for you to say...blah, blah, blah'...


nice photo capture,great photography

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@jerrybanfield I find this very interesting. Although I didn't read the entire blog the title alone sparked a thought which is ..... "You'll have whatever you say." A lot of time we take ownership of things that don't belong to us
i.e. "My cold is killing me" The sickness is not yours because you didn't go out and buy it. So don't take ownership to what's not yours !

Bit late to make a comment, but I guess it's all rooted on how life is for most people historically speaking. If you think about it, the simple fact of having food in a consistent manner might be a privilege for a great number of people around the world, and in the past, the beginning of civilization it certainly was. Farming and being subject to gain or lose if the weather "decided so" was the general rule. Having a simpler life than the rest looked not only rare but reserved for the Elite of the time. I think that's where any kind of criticism from all the ones living the rat race comes from.
In the end, you live and let live, but people have a serious disdain and confusion for any one who might have it in any way less stressful than the rest.

because they crazy and they don't know any better lol

Congratulations @jerrybanfield!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

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  ·  2 years ago (edited)

I like your new pictures and video. They seem to be different and better. And you look even more relaxed.

I think the causes of suffering in our life have often the origin in wrong reception of the world due wrong teachers, even if they are your parents, good friends.. i think to find fulfilment in life you must reach the point where don't care anymore what others think or say about you or your actions. Because my experience is, if i wanna be successfull i must be different. Difference means often you look odd to others, because now i'm doing things that others never do or not comfortable with. There are strong forces who want pull you back in your reference group, but with a strong foundation and clear goals it don't matter how often you were ridiculed, blamed, insulted because you know it works, but not for others.

You reached a great state of life, that's only my perception. It makes fun to watch your progress and your curation activities and i think it motivates many to stay on STEEMIT! Thank you!

Taking pride of it because we want an attention and excuse. I like this post and it's new to me. We didn't notice that we are unconsciously doing it an eye opener somehow.

I deal with miserable people everyday. I certainly do not compete to be the most miserable. I try to find ways to encourage those individuals in spite of their misery, pain, jealousy or negativity. At times, I succeed. Other times, I do not. When the person is simply a lost cause, I keep my distance. Do I accept misery in my life... HELL NO! Do I have bad days... sure. We all do now and then. It's how we choose to deal with it that can make all the difference.

@jerrybanfield thanks for sharing!

I am an export manager, and I work in an industry that can be very stressful for some people and very time consuming. However, I worked out a system that works for me and frees up a lot of my time. Some people in the office were offended because I wasn't allowing myself to be used/abused. But, that isn't my problem... it's theirs.

Hmm, you make a good point, sir! People do seem to aim for misery, but I guess that's an easy state to find. Most people don't enjoy the job their doing, or atleast not enough to feel truly happy there. Most of the time, it takes a lot of work, stress and some gambles(misery) to get to a happy place. Sometimes, it's easy to think that's how we're supposed to feel. I kind of have that idea myself aswell!

I don't know where I'm going with this comment really, so I'll just repeat myself: Good point, sir!

Great insight man.

I think there's a difference between being miserable and uncomfortable. I tend to use those in the same context..

Being uncomfortable is definitely a good thing in my opinion. You need to be uncomfortable to grow.

But misery? Having pride in misery? Hell no!

That is something I definitely agree with you.

It's just a choice. Just be happy :) Well said man.

I've learnt to ignore those people...if you don't you end up being exactly like them. It takes strength of character.

True! We tend to be so addicted to our pain and misery! One thing I learned on the topic is that we all have certain moments when we feel most alive. For many of us, those are moments of anxiety or stress or pain - it is when we are most intense. Because life encourages intensity (intensity is very closely related to being alive, awake), it gives us more and more of those same moments. Even we ourselves, maybe on an unconscious level, seek to repeat those moments when we feel most alive. It's like the thrill of riding a roller coaster.
So where does that leave us? We need to find out what the moments are where we experience the most intensity. And if that involves pain, suffering, anger - than we need to get a better understanding. Of how that kind of intensity also adds a lot of destruction (flush of the wrong kind of hormones and chemicals in our systems). And what we can de to change what we feel most alive and intense about.
I really like it when you touch on these topics. It's the kind of insights we like to share about too, as well as the tools that are most easy to use to bring change and add awareness to our lives.