Anna Bradfield Writes

Discovering the extraordinary in everyday life

How to be Miserable

In my escape-from-reality novel-writing world, which I don’t get to explore nearly often enough, I’m trying to get to know one of my new characters. I know that sounds weird, but sometime it takes awhile for me to know a character well enough to anticipate what she’s going to say or how she’s going to react within the story. One thing I know about her…okay two things:

  • She’s drop-dead gorgeous
  • She’s self-centered

Okay, so what do I know about people who are self-centered?

No, stop laughing…I’m serious.

I see myself and lots of folks around me as generous and others-focused.

Since I couldn’t possibly imagine the traits describing a self-centered person, I did what every good writer does. I hit the internet. This is what us writers call research.

I stumbled upon a Joyce Meyer two-part series about the self-centered life. Of the many great things she said, she divulged my coveted list of traits, which she titled “How to be Miserable.”

Yea! Lists! Love them!

I began to record her list, for research of course. But the more I wrote, the more I felt like Joyce was describing me, not the self-centered character I sought to know better. Here’s the list — how does it sit with you?

Think about yourself constantly.

Use “I” as often as possible.

Mirror yourself continually by the opinions of others.

Listen greedily to what people say about you; if it’s not what you want to hear, get angry.

Expect to be appreciated by everyone.

Be suspicious.

Be jealous and envious.

Be sensitive and easily offended.

Never forgive a criticism.

Trust no one but yourself.

Insist on consideration and respect at all times.

Demand agreement with your own views on everything.

Sulk and feel sorry for yourself if people are not grateful to you for what you do for them.

Never forget how much you’ve done for others; think about it at all times. Always remember what they have failed to do for you.

Shirk your duty.

Seek at all times to entertain yourself.

Do as little as you possibly can for other people.

Oo-ha-ha-ha-ouch! My spirit is smarting here! Please tell me I’m not the only one.

You know what? We come by it honestly. We’re born selfish, for heaven’s sake. From the moment we emerge from the womb.

Don’t believe me?

Have you ever watched a baby nurse? He goes at it with a vengeance, as if he’ll never eat again. He’s desperate for the milk. And if you dare to stop him before he’s ready, he communicates his objective with an ear-splitting wail.

So what do we do? We turn it over to God. We let him mold us into His image. I don’t know if we’ll ever be perfectly formed this side of heaven, but I love another comment that Joyce made that kind of sums everything up.

The greatest thing that God has set me free from is me.

Your Inspiration Prompt: Until next time, tell us how you relate to Joyce’s Miserable list.

Share your thoughts in the Comments section.

photo credit: <a href=”″>Mirrors</a> via <a href=””>photopin</a> <a href=””>(license)</a>

About Anna Bradfield

Anna Bradfield has been spinning tales, exaggerating the truth, and flat-out lying almost as long as she could talk. Nowadays, though, she calls it fiction. Buy her ebooks, Hey Grampa! or Barnyard Babies today. Join the online community and receive a free copy of her ebook, Boy Crazy.

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