I was sitting in psych class the other day, when the subject of happiness came up. Now for those of you who don't know me, the only thing I hate more than cute people is happy people, and I naturally felt the urge to chuck my metal clipboard at the Prof. However, as I was removing my papers from it in preparation for this, he mentioned a theory called the Relative Deprivation Principle. The idea is that our sense of happiness (or sadness for that matter) depends on how we see our condition relative to those with whom we compare ourselves. It then dawned on me that the reason I'm about as happy as lab rat being raised to test cancer medicine is that I always compare myself to those damned happy people. You know, those annoying people who always smile, who "have friends", who "do well in school", who are "sexually active", who are "optimistic" and "satisfied"., who in general make you want to vomit? The secret, then, if you want to be happy, is to compare yourself with miserable people. If you search hard enough, you're bound to find someone in a worse condition than your own. So, in the interest of your happiness, I compiled a little something to cheer you people up:
- A 12-year old girl was recently arrested, handcuffed, and "brought downtown" for eating French fries in a metro station in Washington DC. She was sentenced to community service and counseling.
- 35.8% of adults in Botswana are HIV-positive
- In Afghanistan, laughing in public is a punishable crime
- Former Canadian heavyweight boxing champion George Chuvalo has lost a wife and a son to suicide, and two other sons to heroin overdoses.
- In Russia you can be arrested, and then not told the charges because "They're secret"
- Some girl in my psych textbook was kept locked in a room from birth to the age of 13
- Think about any person with a horrible disease - Leprosy, for example. Bet you're not as miserable as them!
So see people, things really aren't that bad after all. Although it is fun to feel sorry for yourself (hell, it's my main hobby), you're probably better off than at least 50% of people. So what if some people have money, friendship, love, and all that other crap? You've got yourself, and at least that's a start, however pathetic that may sound...