Misery Loves Company

Who hasn’t heard the saying, “misery loves company?” I’m not sure if its true meaning, but I’ve heard it often during my lifetime. I think what gets the most is does misery love the company, or is it the other way around? It’s a question that I’ve asked myself time and again. When I looked it up in the dictionary, it states that it’s people who are unhappy and want to share their troubles.  Other definitions were that because people are unhappy, they like to share their troubles with others. For years, there’s been this thinking that we are drawn to people who are equally miserable as ourselves. Although wouldn’t that be the same as saying that we are all miserable to some level? It’s a saying that makes me wonder if we are depressed together because another person’s mood affects our own.

Let’s face it, people do gravitate to other people. It’s who we are, we look for others with the same traits. From the very beginning of our relationships, the emotional tone is already set. The longer that we interact with someone, the more likely our moods, our thinking, and emotional state start to mirror each other. There isn’t much change. The company that we keep remains with us over weeks, months, even years.  It may have been an age-old proverb, but the sentiment gives us comfort in the fact that others are suffering with them. This doesn’t mean that we want other people to be suffering along with us, but there is comfort in knowing that we aren’t alone, that there is a feeling of togetherness. For example, people who complain more often feel comfort from telling everyone about their problems. This is because when others hear the complaints, they feel a sense of empathy for them, and their mood ends up getting disturbed.  It makes sense to how telling others about your misery helps people to feel better. It’s one of the most sincere ways to respect another is by listening to what someone else has to say. I know it’s not easy to hear someone else’s complaints, especially if it happens often. Think about how that person would respond and feel if they had no one to talk to about what was angering them, what was making them afraid, and the list can go on and on. In a way, listening to even just one person could mean that you’re helping someone to feel better about themselves and their situation.

Neighbors, friends, or strangers, we support each other and spend time with those around us. We all don’t have the luxury of having people live with us. We are built to behave in a way that works for us, and the most unnatural thing to do, especially if you’re afraid, is to avoid others. Yet for years, that’s exactly what society has told us to do. Instead of seeking out others in a time of need, we are told to avoid others. We isolate ourselves. That goes against the very core instinct that we need as people. People need people and when misery comes out, we no longer feel isolated in our emotions. It’s what is meant to be in life, social, and if that social includes telling others what gives us misery could very well be the key to helping someone to feel better in life. There is age-old thinking that is true, happy people seek out other happy people, and those who are down and out may seek the same.

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