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October 30, 2016 at 4:04 pm in reply to: The PUA/Self Imrovement Community is making me depressed #119211
These guys are not offering the “truth” as there is no “truth”. They are offering you their perspectives, the way they do things and think about things. If you don’t like them, if they don’t resonate with you, then go a different way.
And you already know what that way is. A way in which you are a kind person who creates mutually beneficial relationships. Sounds goddamn awesome to me!
As for self esteem … probably part of the reason you’ve probably become depressed is because you’ve been reading self help books that tell you that you need to think positive thoughts about yourself and think you’re great, and it matters what you think.
Do you know what the problem with those books and that philosophy is?
You are NOT your thoughts!
Those books are coming from the mistaken point of view that the content of thoughts is hugely important. But they miss the really important thing: thoughts are not reality. Thoughts do not describe reality, they are just ideas you are creating in your mind. But they’re not “true”. You cannot be “bad” or “good” in reality – “nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – Shakespeare. I recommend you practise mindfulness meditation and check out videos by Eckhart Tolle and Noah Elkrief. You will come to realize that you are not your thoughts, that thoughts are not reality, and so instead of replacing negative thoughts with positive thoughts, how about you just forget about placing importance on thoughts altogether, and tune into something far bigger, far more important, so much more powerful – yourself. Beyond thinking.
BTW, perspective is everything. You sound like you think you’ve failed and wasted time. I read your post and I genuinely thought “awesome! This person has developed so much clarity around how they want their relationships to be, by going down a path that didn’t suit them and seeing how much it didn’t fit them. That is really valuable information they have learned.” As for the self help and self improvement stuff, it probably has been useful, but you need to go beyond it. It’s not that there’s not useful information in those books – there is – but I think you need to take all you’ve learned, practiced and utilized and now discover the importance of going beyond associating thought and thinking with reality. You’ll probably find there’s stuff in those books (and that PUA stuff) that comes in useful later on down the line once you better know how you can use it in a way that suits YOU, and with a broader framework of knowledge, understanding and a quality of being grounded.
Agreed that the world has always been “mad” (if you want to use that frame). It’s always been chaotic.
On the micro level, I perceive this year in particular as being particularly ‘crazy seeming’ politically.
The question is, what is in your control and what isn’t?
Donald Trump’s presidency bid is not in your control. So to be emotionally attached to it is not going to be useful in my opinion.
Furthermore, creating positive change in the world is not going to happen if you feel completely disillusioned and depressed and think everything’s gone up shit creek.
There’s a little bit of push / pull between looking out into the world to understand what’s happening, and keeping your own headspace. I think you can do both if you simply differentiate between what is in your control and what isn’t – a Stoic perspective.
Also worth challenging your opinions. “Nothing is good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – Shakespeare. Trump “seems” crazy and dangerous and part of a ridiculous rhetoric to me, but I know that’s judgements I’m imposing onto him, not inherent qualities.
So, you’ve recognized that meditation has been useful for you when you’ve done it, but you’re not currently doing it, and you’re asking how to quieten your mind?
(Note that meditation is less about trying to quieten the mind, and more about observing what is happening, and as a byproduct of that people often find their mind quietens. Actually there’s an interesting point – do you need to quieten the mind? If you had these thoughts but knew they were just THOUGHTS (not reality), would you even need a quiet mind?)
Sounds pretty insane. You might find learning about and practising Stoicism useful.
Nope, it’s not too late. While you are alive it is not too late to drastically change who you are being.
It sounds like you are making lots of judgements about who other people are and who you are. These judgements are not reality, they are thoughts. If you are associated with your thinking then you will believe your thoughts about the world are “reality” as opposed to just thoughts. If you understand the nature of thought (judgements about reality, NOT facts) then a lot of your problems will become clearer. For example, “they’re too young and toxic” is thought, not reality.
It may be that you’re very intelligent (my judgement – that I’ll own, but I’m aware this is not reality, only a way of seeing things that I am choosing to adopt right now) when it comes to being creative with poems and so on, but you lack social intelligence. Which is something you can absolutely learn. Improv comedy classes would probably serve you, as would making the decision to engage with the people around you. There’s a pretty good chance I think (though I’m “willing to be wrong about this”) that you are actually scared of the people around you, rather than feeling superior to them. I wonder if they treat you differently and you actually feel out of place and lost in a feeling-inferior kinda way. I don’t know. Or maybe you actually think you’re better than everyone else (which is THOUGHT, not reality – you can’t really be better or worse than anybody else, because good and bad are concepts, judgements, that you are imposing ONTO people in your mind, not inherent facts of the universe). Either way, some professional help would be really useful IMO. When I was your age I had social anxieties and felt very out of place too, looking back I just wish I had helped myself by telling more people how I felt, by organizing some kind of therapy or coaching for myself. What I DID do and what was really useful was reading a ton of self development and self help, psychology, philosophy books, and immersing myself in all of that. Also I started doing other activities like tai chi and yoga and stuff, that would help.
BTW, one last thing. There’s this myth that we form a personality that then stays consistent as an adult. NOPE. Just not true at all. Some adults change d-r-a-s-t-i-c-a-l-l-y throughout the course of their lives. Look up neuroplasticity. Your brain has the ability to change, change, change. You are kind of in flux, your “personality” a made up concept that you cling on to to tell yourself stories about yourself, these are all thoughts. Checking out Eckhart Tolle and people of his ilk would be a good idea to get your head round that a bit more. Mindfulness meditation would fit into that nicely alongside everything else.
Good luck, is it too late? Haha, it’s not too late to change at 60, let alone 13. If you get into self development and self change now, you couldn’t be much more ahead of the game. Not that there is a game, or a competition, because you’re doing it for you and for the greater good and relationships with the people around you, not because you’re trying to be better than anybody else. Which you can never be anyway. You can think you are, though. Donald Trump thinks he’s better than other people. Interesting guy but I’d never want to be much like him.
I’ll just add one last thing here: you are absolutely fine. There is nothing you need to change about yourself in order to be OK. You are OK now. Your worth is the same as any other human being on this planet. You are not ‘broken’, you are working perfectly as an organism – you are living, breathing, I assume your body is holding up nicely. Yes you are caught in a cycle of negative thinking that you are believing to be true, and you have made a few habits and models of reality that are not currently serving you, but none of that is “who you are”. You are not any of your thoughts, habits, behaviours etc. I know, crazy :O I don’t know what your relationships with other people are like but you are absolutely loveable. There is nothing “wrong” with you. There can’t be because that’s a judgement that exists in the mind rather than an inherent feature of reality (have you noticed a recurring theme here? If more people understood this there would be a lot less suffering in the world, for a start). Just relax a little and take it easy. Don’t make any brash decisions because in 10 or 20 years when this is in the distant past and you are living a totally different life you will quite possibly be all the stronger for it and have your stories to tell, your art to produce, for the greater good.
- This reply was modified 6 years, 11 months ago by Rock Banana.
The anxiety you are creating can absolutely be overcome, changed, eliminated. The number of people who have been creating severe anxieties only for them to create totally different behaviours, thoughts and habits is high.
I wouldn’t say the path is ‘easy’ in the sense of clicking your fingers, but nor would I say it’s ‘hard’ in the sense of nigh-on impossible like Anita suggested.
Professional help could indeed help but I would personally favour some kind of life coach who does a lot of work helping people to shift the way they use their minds and bodies, as opposed to a therapist who may want to discuss your past and go on about it, although you may find either / both useful.
I would say I used to have pretty bad social anxiety though I never labelled it like that at the time, I got myself out of the rut by pushing myself out of my comfort zone, by reading philosophy and psychology and self-help books, by doing a lot of work on myself (self development), by doing some improv comedy – this I recommend hugely, though it may seem like a bizarre thing to suggest, but I recommend it because the people that tend to do it are very kind, supportive and it’s excellent for learning how to break out of low-status and nervous patterns – and so on and so on. I’m still not fearless by any means, but I’ve lost a large amount of the fear and relate very differently to myself, other people and the world now. I’m still on the journey.
Yeah it might take years, but if you enjoy the process then it’s not drudgery, it’s fun. Luckily I enjoy the process. If you’re going to change this then the most important thing IMO is to choose to do so, how you are going to do it can be figured out as you go along. There’s no one size fits all path. All you need to know is that your brain is extremely flexible, neuroplasticity and the fact that you are in constant flux and your personality is kind of a constructed story you tell yourself about an ever-changing organism means that you have a hell of a lot of leeway. Yeah you have a large number of habits, but habits can be changed with conscious attention and will. Your relationship to your thoughts can be changed through mindfulness meditation and so on. You are not being affected by anybody else. You are only being affected by YOUR OWN THOUGHTS. Nobody is making you feel scared. They don’t and can’t have that power. Your THOUGHTS (in the broadest sense) are leading to fear within you. Work on it over time, you will make progress. Look for small changes and small progress, filter for change instead of the stuff that seems similar. That way you are telling your mind and body to keep changing and rewarding it for doing so, instead of thinking “oh no, I still felt tons of fear, even though it wasn’t as bad as it has been in the past”, which is just going to impede your progress.
Good luck, it’s a well trodden path but it’s a different one for everybody. You are not alone at all in experiencing anxiety, and you are not alone at all if you go from experiencing anxiety to becoming the creator of your reality and choosing to act, think and feel completely differently across time, so that you look back and barely recognize yourself. But I think it’s a very noble path, personally.
EDIT: Actually, if you are feeling really alone, then get yourself into some communities if you feel able. If you’re religious go to a church or something, go to a few clubs. Unless the fear is so paralyzing that you wouldn’t dream of doing that right now, if there’s any chance of you doing that no matter how nervous you feel you might be, just do it because nobody minds if you’re nervous and it’ll be good for you to do so. You probably think that people judge you for being anxious but I reckon this is all part of the thinking that is creating anxiety for you. It’s all thoughts, “they don’t like me”, “they think I’m stupid”, whatever. It’s all thoughts thoughts and thoughts. The reality is probably so different – and unknowable anyway – that you would be pretty surprised if you could just see outside of those thoughts and have a very different experience. Professional support is probably a fantastic idea for you if it is totally crippling and you feel lost in other ways, but I would supplement this with a hell of a lot of reading and watching videos, consuming self help and philosophy and psychology, doing practices like tai chi, yoga, meditation, if any of that stuff is up your street. It’ll all help.
Of course marriage isn’t for everyone. The people you are coming across have rules in their mind telling them that this is how reality “should” operate. But these “shoulds” are out of whack with reality itself because you are living your life and making the choices you want to make, which you have every right to do. If they get offended about that they are offending themselves. I don’t know where you live but I think you’re not seeing the bigger picture of what is acceptable in the world, just because these few people have a problem with the way you want to live your life doesn’t mean that would be generally frowned upon in the wider world. BTW, if it were frowned upon in the wider world, so what. You are not hurting anybody. You are living your life and they are working themselves up about it due to rules which are not anything to do with you (they probably had these rules about marriage before they ever met you, it’s not personal).
Your feelings are created by your thinking. I mean ‘thinking’ in a broad sense (all of the impressions you make of “reality”, which you can’t experience directly). Nobody can make you feel anything or share feelings with you, and what you feel is entirely a result of what you are creating in your mind and your body.
I guess there’s also such things as mirror neurons, and theories around the fact that we may see other people’s behaviour and trigger certain emotions in ourselves in response to what we perceive. However, I imagine that if this plays a role, it is a pretty fleeting one, and certainly wouldn’t lead to prolonged sadness away from the person – it would be something happening fleetingly in the moment of interaction with them.
Here’s how it works: Reality is really complex and you can’t understand it. So you take all the raw information and stimuli, a huge, vast amount of information. You then filter it and create a simple model in your mind of certain aspects of it all. You then perceive this mind-made created experience as though it is “reality” (which it isn’t). You then JUDGE these perceptions, and these judgements are also mind-made, they are formed of thoughts and thinking / impressions in general. Some of these are in the English language, others are more elusive and perhaps even unconscious. If these judgements are negative in nature you will make yourself feel bad. For example, if you judge your partner’s life situation to be bad, and for it to be bad that he is upset, you can make yourself sad in response.
This way of seeing things may be a little alien to you at the moment. The point is, it can be bloody empowering when you take it on board, because it quite rightly places you as the creator of your experience. If you believe your moods are directly influenced by your boyfriend, you are a victim to your boyfriend’s moods. Transcend that and you can be more autonomous and less affected. But this is a different way of being, and it may very well not be one that appeals to you. That’s fine. But know that with self-development and time, the option is there.
Mindfulness meditation. Hearing your tinnitus does not “heighten anxiety”. Well it does, but it’s not quite that simple. Let’s have a look:
You hear the sound -> You make sense of the sound -> You judge the sound to be “scary” (this is just thought) -> You start getting anxious.
Underneath that feeling of anxiety, there’s probably beliefs and ideas about what it means to have that sound too.
But here’s the thing … you’ve got this health condition. it’s chronic. and you’ve got tinnitus. You either deny that and battle against reality, get anxious and do everything you can to run away from what is really happening, or you come to accept it, you listen without judgement and become relaxed in the face of it.
Primary suffering is the pain or symptoms or whatever in and of themselves, secondary suffering is all the additional pain and anxiety you are throwing on top of this with thought, making the experience so much more unpleasant (perhaps even making it unpleasant at all) than it needs to be.
There are lots of ways of changing this, meditating is one. Mindfulness meditation. You could actually do this with music on or something like that to begin with to learn the practise so the sound of your tinnitus is less loud, or in a relatively noisy environment. Then start to do it in quieter and quieter environments until you do it in silence (and listen to the sound of the tinnitus). Or if you’re feeling a little bolder, just sit in a silent room and be there with the sound, however you feel, for ages. But you will need to bring a very mindful awareness to it for this to be particularly useful – looking at the thoughts, beliefs and anxieties from a distance instead of being consumed inside them. And that’s an awareness that requires some learning, perhaps by meditation, perhaps by other means (cognitive behavioural therapy and so on).
A lot of people have tinnitus and are not bothered in this way, it’s time to take responsibility for the anxiety you are CREATING, accept the way things are now and then opt to creating something different, however long that takes and whatever that entails. To be honest the commitment to change your response is more important than the “how to” as you will figure that out later on down the path.
And….remember, it’s an old cliche, but it could always be so much worse. You have tinnitus, which I’m sure isn’t what you’d choose and you’ll probably never absolutely love it (although who knows?), but you could have much worse. That’s not to underplay what you’re experiencing now, but as somebody who also has an illness I like to remind myself of that a lot. Helps me be grateful for just how good things actually can be seen.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Rock Banana.
Get out of there, however you do it. I’m imagining that’s not the sort of experience you’re wanting to be having every day. If you feel current circumstance really forces you to be in this situation, then you’re not seeing all the options that really exist since they’re probably moreorless infinite. But even if you do unnecessarily restrict yourself to this one possibility, another thing you could do is change a lot of your beliefs around it and not take it personally etc. In other words if you feel you have to stay in this environment, you could use it to teach you how to deal with this kind of shit without it bothering you, a self-development project as it were. Every time you feel bad about something she says that shows you are taking it personally and processing it as a threat etc., you could work on that. Apart from that learning experience this just sounds like an unhelpful situation, so I recommend detaching and going your own way.
Well I’m not sure these things are necessarily final, there’s probably places you could move there. The real question is what kind of relationship you want to have with this person, there’s not really a “rule” in the social world about these sorts of things. Your intent was great (making “the healthier choice”). As for being emotionally turbulent, what could you do to be more happy? Maybe focus on that for a while.
First off, I’m guessing that this is coming from a place of neediness here. You feel you need this to work out and that you need him to love you, and so on.
Neediness is a common thing, it’s also not very helpful for creating relationships that are enjoyable, have space and so on.
When you know that you are enough all by yourself, and that you don’t need this relationship, and that you don’t need people to love you, a lot of these problems melt away all on their own.
Another thing that I’m seeing here is worrying thinking. As is usual, it’s “awfulizing” about the future, the thoughts don’t really make logical sense, they’re just typical worried thinking. If we have a look here we see things like “I’m worried that I’ve messed up and he’ll never trust me again” and all of this stuff, these are just thoughts not facts, and they are only one way of seeing things. If you believe these thoughts you will end up doing a few things, including being worried, and also, slightly ironically (but not if you realize how undermining neediness and worry are) messing up the relationship you’ve been trying so hard to keep working.
Just back off this whole thing and relax a little. Understand that you are enough as you are now, that different outcomes are fine and that you can deal with them (like you moved on from your last relationship and let go – so it is possible). Wanting this to work out is one thing, being needy and attached to the outcome and worried about what if it doesn’t work out is another, far less useful thing.
As for “what to do” – what’s funny is that in a way, it’s so simple. Just listen. Relax, create space, and just listen to what’s up and what’s going on. You don’t need to contribute much. Notice how you think he’s a great listener and you feel better after talking to him. Perhaps you already know what you could do to help?
I don’t disagree with anything anyone is saying but what about the placebo effect? That is a recognized effect where someone’s belief in something can effects the outcome. So much so that all drugs trials have to be double blind to make sure it doesn’t affect the data….
Right. I’m not dismissing the power of the human mind, at all. We virtually create our entire experience of reality. The sense we make of reality totally changes where we stand in relation to it. But we don’t have complete control. Noel Edmonds recently said to a cancer sufferer that she should have just done more positive thinking or something like that, and it hit the news. Now, I’m not arguing that having relaxing, positive and powerful ways of looking at the world and making sense of reality don’t have an influence. They have a very, very large influence. They’re just not the be all and end all, we can’t choose everything that happens, because we are surfing the waves of life and those waves are complex and go far beyond each individual. There’s way too many variables involved to think we can just control everything and choose every outcome. We seriously can’t. As for illness, maybe it’s just in the genes, or environmental or what we ate, or whatever. Complex biological factors. And that’s why Noel Edmonds comes across to me as being so insensitive … and he may have a shock if he comes across a serious illness himself, one that does not appear to have its origin in, or even a relationship to, any “negative thinking”.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Rock Banana.
Great post and you’re absolutely hitting the nail on the head. But I’m a bit surprised you’re making this post. Does anybody really believe that simply by believing something will happen, it will happen? If so how strong must their confirmation bias and denial of reality actually be? 😀
Life is chaotic and there are so many variables, you’ll never control it. What you can do is influence, choose, create, have power, etc. You can influence what happens and where you stand in relation to it. You can choose how your live your life and even ‘who you are’. You can create different stuff, thoughts, behaviours, lifestyles. You can have power to shape the unfolding of your life and the lives of others. In fact, forget “can”, you already do all of that, and so do I, and so does everybody else. We have enormous influence and the more we recognize that and embrace it, the more influential we become still.
But it’s influence, it’s not control, and shit will always happen. Strange things will happen. Coincidences will occur. The world is actually very chaotic and random. Personally I found it such a huge relief to stop asking “Why is this happening?”. A better question is “What have I done to contribute to this, so that I can learn for the future?”. But the thing is, sometimes you haven’t contributed anything. Sometimes shit has just happened. Somebody has gotten ill … for no reason other than their body developed an autoimmune disorder – maybe it was in the genes or something. Somebody has won the lottery … simply because they happened to buy a ticket that had the same numbers on it as the draw did.
However, one thing I always like to think you choose is what happens next. You’ve gotten ill … and what happens next? Because mindset WILL make a huge, huge difference to where you go from there. (And the mind does actually have an influence over the development of wellbeing and illness … an ENORMOUS influence. Just not a control – so stuff can still happen!) You’ve won the lottery … and what happens next? Do you spend it all in one go ‘believing’ you’ll win it again next year, or are you going to spend it wisely and focus on creating a life you’ll love living? Another way of asking this is, where do you CHOOSE to go from here? How do you choose to respond to this situation and how are you going to use the possibly random occurings to create awesome stuff in your life and be the person you want to be?
Forget about the law of attraction, it’s passive and it’s about sitting around hoping that your life works out. MAKE your life work out by applying consistent action.
- This reply was modified 7 years, 3 months ago by Rock Banana.
What I REALLY want more than anything is for it not to bother me.
The big clarity you have around how you want to be around this is an awesome start!
It’s almost always about them not responding to my email/text/phone call fast enough. I end up feeling like I don’t really matter.
There are quite a few interesting things here. For one, how fast is “fast enough”? Is there a set time that elapses for their response to be “fast enough” for you? It’s interesting you’ve been attaching a very specific and narrow meaning to this behaviour you are seeing in others. Can you think of any other reasons why they might not be replying “fast enough”? How many different reasons can you think of?
Who would you be if it didn’t matter how long it took somebody to respond to your email/text/phone call? If it didn’t bother you? How would you feel? How would you act? What would that be like for you and for the people around you?
It’s worth asking yourself those questions and really imagining it, as it’s funny how imagining things like that can influence the present.
For me personally, if I send somebody a text and they don’t reply, I don’t think anything of it. I might wait a few days … then send it again. If they still don’t reply, they don’t reply. There’s no reason why anybody “should” be replying to anything you send at all, let alone within a certain time period that you have created in your mind as meaning “acceptable”.
Also … why do you need to matter to other people? Do you matter to yourself? 🙂