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Constantly irritated, unhappy, and confused.

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryConstantly irritated, unhappy, and confused.

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  • #91240
    DonnyD
    Participant

    For about a year now I’ve been on my journey to happiness. Initially I set a lot of goals for myself. I would like to be more understanding of others, more dedicated, less socially anxious, ready to leave my comfort zone, etc. I actually have done very well through what I suppose is sheer power of will. But despite all of this I wasn’t happy.
    I began to realize that endless self-improvement isn’t the key to happiness. At least not the mindset. And so I began keeping a gratitude journal, began meditating every day, began exercising, began affirmations, and began a few great hobbies, and I truly do practice them all with all of my heart. I believe in each of them. But here’s the thing– I’m even more frustrated than I used to be. When I do these practices I feel nothing. No clarity or calmness. No joy in having done them. No pride that I have included them in my routine. No sense that I am on a path towards happiness. My mind feels cloudy and muddled with all of these rules and advice and contradictions. I feel as though in trying to learn to be happy I’ve just irrevocably ruined my brain.
    I guess to explain, I’ll run through a typical thought process for me.

    “Hey. I hear a sound. That’s me being mindful. Do I feel good about that? Not really. I just feel kinda off. Well I know I shouldn’t judge how I feel. So why am I? How do I stop judging how I feel? This is all just making me more stressed. I should just breathe and accept these feelings. But that isn’t working. I’m still resisting. Why can’t I move past this?”

    And that type of thing runs through my head constantly. For months it’s been this way. I’d really like some help. How can I find any peace if I can’t even get my brain to do the things that I know it should be doing?

    #91277
    jock
    Participant

    “Hey. I hear a sound. That’s me being mindful. Do I feel good about that? Not really. I just feel kinda off. Well I know I shouldn’t judge how I feel. So why am I? How do I stop judging how I feel? This is all just making me more stressed. I should just breathe and accept these feelings. But that isn’t working. I’m still resisting. Why can’t I move past this?”

    Sounds like you are resisting your resistance. Evaluating your evaluations. Judging your judgements. I do this and I’m sure a lot of people do too. There is no such thing as a perfect meditation session. Learn to love and accept your imperfect meditation sessions. Just as you learn to love and accept yourself.I think the pay off, the reward for trying, just hanging in there, is not noticeable for a while, a long while. Better not to have expectations. We are not aiming for perfection. We are aiming for acceptance of self and the present moment.

    #91293
    anita
    Participant

    Dear DonnyD:

    Things that need to be seen, is my first thought as I type this. Emotions long ago were pushed down, split from your awareness, but they are not gone. They are still there and they will continue to vibrate distress, lack of contentment until you SEE them, until you bring them back to awareness. Emotions have valid messages and yours are still waiting to deliver those.

    If you look back to your childhood, you will find there the child that you were, at first open and loving, then the child got hurt, badly, scared, he dissociated, put away the bad feelings…. then, more recently, you want to feel better, so you do these self improvement tasks… only before your self can… improve, it needs to be SEEN by you.

    Good enough psychotherapy will help go back and re-claim what you left there, what keeps living in you underneath your awareness, waiting to be seen.

    Would you like to share about your experience in childhood here? I will read and respond.

    anita

    #91315
    DonnyD
    Participant

    Thanks so much for the replies. What you’re saying is so obvious but hearing it from somebody else really does help it sink in. Thank you, Juanita.

    Anita, I’m going to reflect for a little bit before talking too much about my childhood. I’d like to process what you’re saying. But thank you so much.

    #91316
    anita
    Participant

    dear JonnyD:

    You are welcome. If you would like, do get back to me whenever you are ready and willing.
    anita

    #91317
    Captain Codfish
    Participant

    Hey Donny, I have had a similar experience.
    I realized that I was spending a lot of time thinking about my thoughts and feelings and making myself more confused than I had to be. I want to incorporate mindfulness and meditation into my life, but only so far as what is simple and easy for my brain. Sometimes it is difficult to get myself to do it but it isn’t necessarily a complicated or difficult thing.
    I also realize that when I use mindfulness to escape unpleasant feelings and thoughts, I can get myself confused and make myself more unhappy than I previously was. I am now trying to honor my unpleasant feelings and move on when it is time. I try to incorporate simple meditation and mindfulness practices, with focus on improving my life overall. I do seek happiness, but I realize that it is easier to pursue activities that make me happy than it is to pursue an ephemeral feeling.
    I try to incorporate things in my life that make my life better overall like:
    -daily, simple 20-minute meditation
    -some daily form of physical activity
    -reading articles
    -writing my feelings
    -being creative
    -discussing life with someone I trust
    I know that if I keep a consistent practice of these things in my life, I am taking steps in the right direction, no matter what happens.
    When I get confused, I try to bring myself back to what is real and to what is obvious. It helps me to recognize that I spend a lot of time arguing with myself in my head about things that may or may not happen, but most of the time those things aren’t even real.
    Also, it seems to me like a lot of people try to make meditation more than what it is and in turn, make it kinda confusing. I keep it simple by making it a success by simply doing it for 20 min, no matter how it goes. I recognize that it is just a time for me to see what kinda things are going on in my head, and if focusing on my breath helps, then I will do that. But I definitely don’t spend most of my time focused on my breath. It just doesn’t work that well for me. Instead, I focus on understanding myself, listening to myself, clearing my head, and doing whatever fits in that moment. But I try to keep it simple and not very confusing. Sometimes I have music, sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I hold my breath, sometimes I use earplugs, sometimes I fall asleep right after. I don’t think it is something that someone can tell you the “right way” to do it. Find out what works for you in that moment.
    Hopefully something I said can be of use to you.
    -Bret

    #91318
    Captain Codfish
    Participant

    How can I find any peace if I can’t even get my brain to do the things that I know it should be doing?

    This is interesting and something I do all of the time. I don’t know if we should be getting too involved with our thoughts or our brain processes. It just seems to get me confused. I try to focus my energy on things that I know produce results like writing, reading, talking, etc. When I talk too much to myself, I really muck things up. When I try to get my brain to think a certain way, I usually get frustrated. That is like thinking about thinking something in order to get yourself to think something. It just gets messy. I say try to spend less time in your mind. If meditation and mindfulness are taking you into your mind too much, maybe lay off for a while.
    -Bret

    #91320
    Saiisha
    Participant

    Hi DonnyD, I wonder if you’re trying to do too much, all at once, and looking for some sort of results? If the only result you’re looking for is happiness, then why try so hard with the self-improvement activities? Or is the result you’re looking for a self-improved person?

    Long term happiness is an illusion – life always hands us ups and downs, and our journey of self-improvement is to react better to these ups and downs – you can’t get away from them!

    However, you can follow joy. Joy is fleeting, in-the-moment, found in the tiniest of pauses, wonder in the wildest of things, magical in the simplest of incidents. You can practice following joy, looking for it in your everyday going around, and not try too hard. If you try too hard, it might slip away 🙂

    Reminds me of an Anne Morrow Lindbergh quote – “For happiness one needs security, but joy can spring like a flower even from the cliffs of despair.”

    I hope this helps!
    -Saiisha

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