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By Victoria Braverman

My ex certainly knew the feeling but his default mode was not the same as mine. For 14 years, I bombarded him with all the tools I knew. How to enjoy the moment, to appreciate the little things – stopping to register a blue sky, the texture of a creamy cappuccino, a casual complement – but he never learned to spot those moments without my prompting. The further away from that relationship I get, the more I can see that he used his misery as a way of getting attention. On the tour bus, he would use it as a sort of comedy routine, pulling a grotesque face as he moaned endlessly about something absurd.

My belief is that he had in fact taught himself to be miserable, maybe as a middle child, vying for attention from his beloved parents. Those around him, myself included, only encouraged that behaviour whenever we ran around trying to cheer him up, or told him how funny he was.

The further away from that relationship I get, the more I can see that he used his misery as a way of getting attention

When we’re very young we smile and laugh, just because. Mind you, we also cry for the same non-reason. The big question is whether as adults we can train ourselves to feel happy, or at least drag ourselves out of a cycle of negative thoughts.

What I’d like from you, dear reader, is to further my research on the subject. There’s a great little app which helps you monitor your emotions. Use it for a month, say, and let me know if you start to experience more frequent fleeting moments of happiness. I’ll report back to you with the results ASAP.