It seems the world is becoming more and more unhappy. Just consider the sheer amount of angry posts, hate-speech, aggression, tribalism and divisions in the world. Do you ever feel like you’ve been left behind? Are you sometimes a little bit happy but can’t work out why? Well, fret no more because here are 10 top tips* to make sure you don’t miss out on all the unhappiness you could possibly want:
1. Compare yourself to everyone else, all the time. Don’t forget they are all in control of their lives, they have no dark side, they have all the answers and, it goes without saying, they are all much happier than you.
2. Remember: unhappiness is a sin. God wants you to be happy, doesn’t he? So, it must be a sin. And if it’s not a sin, it’s a punishment. Either way, it’s your fault.
3. Pay no attention to your relationships. They don’t matter. Try not to meet with people who make you happy. Never acknowledge that you are unhappy. Tell no-one how you’re feeling. When someone asks how you are, tell them, “Fine,” or, “Never better!”
4. Don’t forget that God is really only interested in how often you read the Bible (which is not enough) and your prayer life (which is, of course, pitiful).
5. Repeat after me, “I have nothing to be thankful for.” Don’t listen to any of that count-your-blessings tripe.
6. Use your creativity and imagination to catastrophise everything. You have a headache? It’s probably something requiring surgery. The phone rings? It’s bound to be bad news. You have the power to turn even the happiest of occasions to your advantage simply by saying something like, “Yeah, but it might rain later.”
7. Read the news. Especially about Brexit. Re-read the news. Refresh the page and read it all over again.
8. This is counter-intuitive, but pursue happiness. Really chase after it. Pay no heed to those who consider happiness to be a mere by-product of living a productive and useful life. Excess is key here. Buy lots of stuff in the expectation that it will maker you happy. Eat like you will never eat again. Keep busy – especially with stuff you don’t like doing. Keep checking social media – make a habit of doing so first thing in the morning and last thing at night. Then feel guilty about all the time you’re devoting to this compared with the amount of time you pray (see No. 4).
9. Recall all the bad things you have done and sort them into a playlist that you can loop again and again in your head. A particularly good time to do this is at about 3.00am.
10. Keep to the forefront of your mind the notion that you are not good enough.
In fact, any one of these tips will keep happiness from your door if you are really disciplined in practising it. But if you choose, say, your favourite three or four you will always have something to fall back on if your defences are breached by, you know, someone praying for you or taking you out for a nice walk or something.
*These tips are unashamedly stolen from Episode 60 of the Mid-Faith Crisis podcast.