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‘Misery’ was my middle name

Home ‘Misery’ was my middle name
By: Kogi Naidoo / January 29, 2024

“Misery loves company.”

Napoleon Hill 

Interesting I think now as I remember the many moments when I just sat there, feeling sorry for myself. I was having my own pity parties. It was happening so often that I tended to enjoy them. What a waste, I think now! Why? When I think back, surely I could have been using my energy and my time doing so many other things, and more importantly, that would draw me away from my own preoccupation with me and my misery. I was certainly not good company. Even I didn’t like me and certainly I didn’t want to spend time with me. I did not enjoy my own company. So how could I enjoy other people’s company. I was withdrawing into myself. I didn’t want to share my sorrows. I was too scared to put myself out there. I was afraid I would be let down. I soon realised that I didn’t have any friends. 

I could not go on in this way. So what did I do? I had to let it go. I had to get over myself. I had to have the courage to face my current emotional state, or I would wither away into nothing. How did I cope? I remember that it was a long process, a journey that lasted many years, in fact. I developed several coping strategies and defense mechanisms that would protect me from getting hurt, shift me in any direction, but not one towards self-pity and humiliation. I knew deep down in my gut that I could feel differently if I allowed myself feel anything else. I was determined to change. I was changing. It was slow at the beginning. It was so difficult. It took courage. I had the courage. I was not going to be miserable, regardless of my life circumstances. 

That moment was the moment, a tipping point in my life. I remember it so vividly. I now had people smile back at me, when I gave them a half-smile. The more I tried the easier it became. It did not take much more than a smile, a shy greeting, and muttering something inconsequential that made it happen. I now had ‘friends’. I was no longer keeping company with my own misery. I was now determined never to go back there. 

How do I ensure and know I am no more miserable? I no longer keep the company of those who will press my buttons and bring me down. I know from my experiences with friends and family that it is so easy to go back into oneself and get into that spiral, a spiral that goes only in one direction, down! I now recognise the feelings I get, that sixth sense almost when I am with those draining types, you know the type I mean, those that are always complaining, never happy with what they have; those who will not help themselves, regardless of the helping hands that are extended. I simply avoid them! I focus on my dreams and goals. I focus on the confident and inspiring friends, colleagues and family members; I am so blessed to have in my life. I focus on being positively happy and grateful for my life, including the times when I was wallowing in self-pity and misery. 

Can you relate to my experience? Do you find that you get miserable from time to time? What do you do? Do you wallow in your misery? What do you do to snap out of it? Think about the company you keep? Are they contributing to the way you feel? Do they join you in your pity parties? Do you all take turns sharing your misery? Think about it, perhaps it is the company you keep, that is keeping you stuck. Like me, perhaps it is time to go on that journey, making that commitment never to turn back. You may lose some of your friends, but what does it matter; you will make new ones on the way. I know it is scary, but trust me, I have been there too! It is a much better place to be anywhere other than in the land of misery, the one I created when I had so many other choices I could have made. 

With infinite love and gratitude 


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