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I Want to be Happy, But I’m Stuck In The Past.

HomeForumsEmotional MasteryI Want to be Happy, But I’m Stuck In The Past.

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  • This topic has 11 replies, 6 voices, and was last updated 1 year ago by Tee.
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  • #417738
    Jamie
    Participant

    Hello everyone. I am new here and this is my first day on the forums. It is not my very first time stepping foot inside of this website, though. I would visit and browse anonymously for the better part of at least six months or so before gathering the courage to sign up and let all of my inner secret thoughts loose here. I don’t want to give out too much personal details about myself or my life. I just need someplace to get this off my chest, because it has made me a deeply unhappy person now for quite a while now.

    For nearly a year now, or perhaps that’s how it feels like to me, I keep waking up in the morning with the same reel of thoughts and mental images of all the bad things that have happened to me in the past, as well as how unhappy and lonely I feel as a whole now versus back then. I keep replaying my mistakes and actions I never should have taken over and over again, and it hurts waking up from a pleasant dream only to immediately chastise myself with how my life has turned out because I let other people get the best of me back then. If only I was more careful in trusting other people back then. If only I dated people who actually has proven themselves to actually like me for who I am rather than what I can do for them. If only I surrounded myself with friends who really care for me rather than going after people who could care less about me. If only. If only. If only.

    Now I am plagued with memories of being abandoned by others, being verbally or mentally abused by others because I had the nerve to want to be their friend, of being bullied or left behind or kicked out of a group over misunderstandings, and so on. One of my biggest regrets was being swept away by a social group and not having as much time to keep in close contact with two previous very dear friends of mine. When we inevitably drifted apart, I was in that friends group for maybe a couple of years before they decided to let me know what they really thought about me. I am the type of person who always appreciate people telling me what I can do better next time, and I really don’t like how nowadays it seems so commonplace to just block, ghost, or push people away from you instead.

    Because of all that’s happened to me, I feel very low about myself. I hide this well from other people, and try to stay busy with work and school to achieve as much as I possibly can. But inside, I really don’t like myself at all. I wish I was more charming and well received by others. I wish I could make and keep friends easily like many other people can. I am open to try and get better at this, and see where I went wrong. But truthfully, all I could remember was being there for other people as much as I can and trying to be kind to them. But maybe I went about it the wrong way or I was too intense about it, and it pushes people away from me rather than attracting them to me…

    I don’t know how to be happy anymore. I keep thinking about the past and it wounds me deeply. I want to feel free and lighthearted again, like when I was younger and innocent. I want to be able to trust and be able to relate and bond with others again, but I can’t anymore. I don’t think I even have the ability to fall in love anymore, and that part does scare me a lot. I just feel broken and no longer human.

    I don’t know what to do. I’m thankful if you’ve read this far by now, because I enjoy writing a lot and I can get a bit carried away with it. I just want to know how I can finally make peace with the past, when so much of it has been tinted because of my own bad decisions. I’m more angry with myself than with the past people, it seems.

    Thank you for reading. I hope to learn a lot on this forum.

    #417743
    JeanClaire
    Participant

    <p style=”text-align: left;”>Oh my word! I am you! I mean, this is me to a T! I too would like help with the answer to this dilemma!</p>

    #417749
    Roberta
    Participant

    Dear Jamie & Jean Claire

    I am sorry that you both have had a rough time.   Friendship is a gift, one which most of us forget to cherish & nurture.

    The first thing is to become aware that you have fallen into the trap of negative rumination as soon as possible, then smile and congratulate yourself for spotting that you are in that train of thought, name it ie past, this breaks the chain of thought and gives you the chance to resync yourself in the present. There are many quick techniques to bring you back to the present, breathing, yoga, tai chi, name 5 things that you can see are just a few and they only take moments to do and cost nothing but are immensely valuable.

    To uproot any deep seated long held beliefs about yourselves may need professional help.

    Buddhism helps us let go of the past and walk courageously & compassionately with wisdom on lifes journey through all its ups & downs.

    #417758
    Jamie
    Participant

    [quote quote=417743]Oh my word! I am you! I mean, this is me to a T! I too would like help with the answer to this dilemma![/quote]

    Hello Jean, I’m really sorry you’re going through this as well. Looks like I’m not alone in this situation after all, which does grant me a bit of comfort if it means anything to you. Thank you for your response.

    [quote quote=417749]Dear Jamie & Jean Claire I am sorry that you both have had a rough time. Friendship is a gift, one which most of us forget to cherish & nurture. The first thing is to become aware that you have fallen into the trap of negative rumination as soon as possible, then smile and congratulate yourself for spotting that you are in that train of thought, name it ie past, this breaks the chain of thought and gives you the chance to resync yourself in the present. There are many quick techniques to bring you back to the present, breathing, yoga, tai chi, name 5 things that you can see are just a few and they only take moments to do and cost nothing but are immensely valuable. To uproot any deep seated long held beliefs about yourselves may need professional help. Buddhism helps us let go of the past and walk courageously & compassionately with wisdom on lifes journey through all its ups & downs.[/quote]

    Hello Roberta.

    Thank you for this nugget of wisdom. I’ve had another rough day today with someone and I broke down crying afterwards. But I’m learning to take deep breaths and talk to myself soothingly to get past such difficult endeavors. It seems to be working very well.

    I really like what you had to say about really labeling this as the past, and to have it create weight to it so that I can leave it behind me physically. I have been doing meditation but not as often as I should; I’ll repeat the exercise tonight when things quiet down in this house.

    Yes, I think professional help would be most appropriate perhaps for this situation. I’ll have to check in with my insurance company to see which therapists are available near me.

    I’ll admit, this is my first time dipping my toes into the world of Buddhism, so forgive me if I seem quite the novice. I really appreciate that Buddhism is a lot about letting go and trying to detach oneself from the material world, and I feel like a lot of my emotions seems deeply tied to things and people that might actually be superficial rather than anything of importance. If that makes sense?

    I am thankful and grateful for your reply.

    #417759
    Brandy
    Participant

    Hi Jamie,

    I keep waking up in the morning with the same reel of thoughts and mental images of all the bad things that have happened to me in the past

    I like that you used the word “reel” because I think of it as a movie reel that keeps playing in my head over and over again. I like Roberta’s advice that the first step to breaking free is to become aware of what’s happening: Your own personal horror movie just keeps playing in your mind. It’s not real; it’s only a story your mind keeps telling you. Make the decision to step outside the movie and become an objective observer to it, almost like you’re not the leading character in it anymore. In other words, stop identifying with the story. It’s over. Those things that happened are over. When you wake up tomorrow and you have a regret, don’t get pulled in. Just observe it and let it pass. Make a decision to keep doing this as many times as you need to throughout the day. At first it will be hard and you’ll be lucky to get a minute or two of freedom because these darn thoughts are persistent, but after some time it gets easier, becomes a healthy habit, and life becomes an adventure again.

    All of us make a lot of mistakes throughout our lives because we’re human and humans make mistakes. I’ve made way too many, trust me. I forgave myself, and I’ll continue to do so because I’ll keep making mistakes, no doubt about that.¯\_()_/¯ It’s time for you to forgive yourself too.

    Our suffering is optional because we have the option to not get swept away by our thoughts. Just observe them…here comes those massive regrets again, no big deal, yawn, ho-hum, what am I gonna do for fun after work today?…and let them go.

    B 😊

    #417784
    Jamie
    Participant

    Brandy,

    Thank you for your wise words! Yes, I think it’s best that I try to make it a habit to observe my thoughts and let them pass by without getting emotionally sucked into them. I’m journaling these days and it’s been very helpful in keeping myself balanced as well.

    #417785
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Jamie and JeanClaire,

    Jamie, it seems to me you very much wanted to be liked by others, and perhaps in that desire, you became somewhat a people pleaser? I am saying this because you say you dated selfish people, who only cared what you can do for them and didn’t care about you:

    If only I was more careful in trusting other people back then. If only I dated people who actually has proven themselves to actually like me for who I am rather than what I can do for them

    The people you thought were your friends were similar (“they could care less about you”). I assume they were people in the social group you were swept away by, and who later turned against you:

    If only I surrounded myself with friends who really care for me rather than going after people who could care less about me.

    One of my biggest regrets was being swept away by a social group and not having as much time to keep in close contact with two previous very dear friends of mine. When we inevitably drifted apart, I was in that friends group for maybe a couple of years before they decided to let me know what they really thought about me.

    It seems to me you wanted to be liked, and you tried everything in your power to get their approval. You were open to self-improvement and wanted to know what you can do better next time:

    I wish I was more charming and well received by others

    I am the type of person who always appreciate people telling me what I can do better next time,

    All I could remember was being there for other people as much as I can and trying to be kind to them.

    All the above tells me that you might have fallen into the trap of people pleasing. You wanted to be liked by this social group, who might actually be quite superficial people:

    I feel like a lot of my emotions seems deeply tied to things and people that might actually be superficial rather than anything of importance

    I don’t know if I am guessing right here?

    If so, there is a way out, Jamie. You can learn how to love and respect yourself, so you’re not longing for other people’s approval. You can forge new friendships, from a healthier place: from your true self, not from the people pleasing part of you.

    What do you say? Does this ring true?

     

    #417798
    Jamie
    Participant

    Dear Tee,

    Jamie, it seems to me you very much wanted to be liked by others, and perhaps in that desire, you became somewhat a people pleaser? I am saying this because you say you dated selfish people, who only cared what you can do for them and didn’t care about you.

    You caught me. My previous therapist also pointed this out about me when she heard about my woes regarding other people. She, like yourself, realized that I behaved the way I did out of wanting to please rather than from an authentic place inside of me to deeply connect with others instead. She even told me that it is possible that other people might have found me a bit clingy back then, which is true.

    So, I thank you for reminding this. To like myself is to then be able to learn how to be intimate with others in a way that is healthy, rather than trying to force something out of nothing, if that makes sense.

    All the above tells me that you might have fallen into the trap of people pleasing. You wanted to be liked by this social group, who might actually be quite superficial people.

    You know, I absolutely agree and hear you. It is not so important to be liked by a group of otherwise superficial people who are also, based on my recollections of them, quite unhappy with themselves and a desire to gossip about other people behind their backs. I learned a very hard lesson with this one; The social group in question was formed because we were all disappointed with a social community that we were all a part of changing for the worst. Again, I don’t want to go into too much details, but essentially, we huddled up only because the one source of us being able to connect with people online, is gone.

    They would gossip meanly about the people who “ruined” the community, and that they wished the old days would return. Ironic, isn’t it? But to them, the community we used to be a part of was perhaps the only way we were able to be ourselves, express our thoughts and opinions, and finding new connections. So, losing the community felt like a huge loss to us at the time.

    Now that I’m writing this all out… I can’t help but think the way they behaved towards me seemed to have come from a place of powerlessness on their end. If losing the community was really that important to them, they would have figured out a way to create a new space for the old community to migrate to. But instead, they chose not to do it, and created a private place that invited me and only several others into it, while excluding everyone else we used to know. It’s something I understand superficially, but deep down, is now something I’m quite perplexed by. They’re not stupid people, they could have figured out a way to return to the good old days…

    They simply chose not to.

    And that, to me, is probably yet another huge reason why we could not worked out as a group. They were more attached to the identity of being helpless victims to circumstances, rather than doing something productive and positive. Maybe I’m being really harsh against them right now, but I honestly can’t think of any other way to decipher this situation except that. So, perhaps it’s a good thing that I no longer communicate with them. I don’t want to be like them.

    I don’t know if I am guessing right here? If so, there is a way out, Jamie. You can learn how to love and respect yourself, so you’re not longing for other people’s approval. You can forge new friendships, from a healthier place: from your true self, not from the people pleasing part of you. What do you say? Does this ring true?

    You guessed right. My issue, then, is split into two new issues now: How do I learn to like myself? And secondly, how do I reconcile with squishing the part of me that wants to people please, in a world that has become increasingly individualist and only caring about people who can be of use to others?

    Namaste and hope to hear from you soon.

    #417825
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Jamie,

    So, I thank you for reminding this. To like myself is to then be able to learn how to be intimate with others in a way that is healthy, rather than trying to force something out of nothing, if that makes sense.

    you’re welcome. It’s good that you’re aware of your people pleasing tendencies and are working on reducing them. Yes, we cannot really be intimate with others and have healthy friendships if we’re not authentic, if we try to mold ourselves into something we believe others want us to be.

    The basis for healthy friendship is authenticity – showing up as you are, even if some people don’t like it. And the truth is that we can never be liked by everybody. Even the greatest people are hated by someone… and it’s not their fault, but the fault of those who are judging them unfairly.

    It seems you ended up in this group of “friends” who were quite toxic. In the beginning you bonded over the common sentiment about the changes in the online community you belonged to. You shared that sentiment and joined the “rebel” group, so to speak. But as you say, this rebel group was all about gossiping and criticizing the people in the main group.

    You said they didn’t have any interest in creating another online community that would meet their needs. And so all their energy went into criticism and crying about the “good old days” instead of creating something productive:

    If losing the community was really that important to them, they would have figured out a way to create a new space for the old community to migrate to.

    They’re not stupid people, they could have figured out a way to return to the good old days… They simply chose not to.

    They were more attached to the identity of being helpless victims to circumstances, rather than doing something productive and positive.

    There are people who are very good at criticizing and blaming others, but are not willing to take responsibility for their own happiness. As you say, this group behaved like helpless victims and focused all their energy on criticism and blame. Eventually, you became their target too… it reminds me of sorority groups or high-school groups, where they like to gossip the people outside of their clique. But as soon as a clique member leaves the room, they start gossiping them too. No one is spared (apart of maybe the group leader), because that’s the kind of vibe there…

    I don’t know if that was the atmosphere in your group, but it does seem very toxic.

    So, perhaps it’s a good thing that I no longer communicate with them. I don’t want to be like them.

    Yes, definitely! You don’t need to be liked by that kind of people. You can never please bitter, criticizing people. You don’t need them in your life.

    My issue, then, is split into two new issues now: How do I learn to like myself?

    Maybe your lack of self-love stems from your childhood, so you’d need to heal those wounds. Healing the inner child who feels unlovable or unworthy might be necessary. If you want more pointers on this, or you’d like to share a little bit about your childhood, I’ll be happy to talk about it.

    And secondly, how do I reconcile with squishing the part of me that wants to people please, in a world that has become increasingly individualist and only caring about people who can be of use to others?

    Our true self is loving and kind. And naturally, we want to be loving and kind to people. But not at the expense of our true, authentic self. We don’t need to be kind and loving to toxic people, to people who abuse us and put us down. Instead, we need to set boundaries with them. Likewise, we don’t need to be kind to selfish, self-centered people, who only care about themselves.

    You can be kind and loving, but wisely, with boundaries. Because there are people out there who will appreciate your kindness, and so, you can open up to them. But at the same time, you need to protect yourself from those who want to take advantage of you.

    Happy to talk to you more about all this… and Namaste to you too!

     

    #418035
    Jamie
    Participant

    Dear Tee,

    Thank you so, so much for your advice and kind words. I am sorry to not been able to respond these past couple of days, as life got in the way and I wasn’t able to respond until now. But I’ve read your post and I am absorbing its wisdom.

    It seems you ended up in this group of “friends” who were quite toxic. In the beginning you bonded over the common sentiment about the changes in the online community you belonged to. You shared that sentiment and joined the “rebel” group, so to speak. But as you say, this rebel group was all about gossiping and criticizing the people in the main group.

    It honestly amazes me that they did not stopped at criticizing the other people from the destroyed online community, but pretty much everybody else in their lives, too. Now that I’ve actually stop and thought about it over these past couple of days, I realize that they were the type to complain about their own family members, neighbors, people they work or go to school with, and so on. To them, if you’re not also this moody badmouther who hates anything peaceful or joyful, then you’re someone worth criticizing, and… honestly, you’re right. It was toxic. It is toxic.

    As you say, this group behaved like helpless victims and focused all their energy on criticism and blame. Eventually, you became their target too…

    You’re definitely right on the nose with this and to be honest, they did not liked it when I became happier and happier in general. Again, I don’t want to put out too many details, but as time went on and I slowly found my self-esteem rising as a result of personal healing… It was like a switch went off and I found myself being attacked by them at least multiple times before we stopped talking. I know that it’s always better to walk away the first or the second time someone disrespects you, but at that time, I thought it my fault somehow and that I just needed to try and see where they were coming from. Was it something I did?

    But again, I’m happy we did not worked out ultimately because I don’t want to be as unhappy as they are. One in particular definitely had it out for me because I suppose there were certain things in my life that I was blessed with, and they felt they had nothing to have gratitude over. So of course naturally, I became the bad person.

    Maybe your lack of self-love stems from your childhood, so you’d need to heal those wounds. Healing the inner child who feels unlovable or unworthy might be necessary. If you want more pointers on this, or you’d like to share a little bit about your childhood, I’ll be happy to talk about it.

    The topic of healing the inner child was something I’ve explored with a therapist once before not too long ago. But I am happy to hear new ideas. The thing that helped me most was visualizing myself being able to talk to my younger versions and being like a mother figure to them, since I essentially grew up without one around me (emotionally speaking). It really does help tremendously, but I’m still lost on new ways to heal the inner child. If you don’t mind helping me, I’m all ears.

    Our true self is loving and kind. And naturally, we want to be loving and kind to people. But not at the expense of our true, authentic self. We don’t need to be kind and loving to toxic people, to people who abuse us and put us down. Instead, we need to set boundaries with them. Likewise, we don’t need to be kind to selfish, self-centered people, who only care about themselves. You can be kind and loving, but wisely, with boundaries. Because there are people out there who will appreciate your kindness, and so, you can open up to them. But at the same time, you need to protect yourself from those who want to take advantage of you.

    I suppose this is going to be harder for me to understand while I’m at this stage in my life. I wish I could have figured everything out by now, but sadly life is never that simple or always goes according to my personal timetable. I was once the fool one too many times with people who pretended to be wounded just so I could help them, and all so they could take advantage of me in other ways. I’m still not sure on how to look out for predators like that, though I feel more protective of myself naturally now than back then, thankfully.

    I am super grateful for your help. If we don’t speak again, please, have a wonderful rest of your week.

     

    – J

    #418142
    Peter
    Participant

    Hi Jamie

    Your posts are well written and articulate. It seems to me that within your writing are also your answers? “I enjoy writing” that could be a great place to explore?

    Happiness, one of those words with so many associations, something we so badly want to grasp and cling to, where the grasping and clink transforms it into something else… usually not happiness.   The word certainly comes with a lot of baggage let alone when we add the word ‘BUT’.  I want to be happy, but….

    I’ve often used that phrase in the past. I want to be happy… but… but I’m afraid to be… but I don’t think I deserve to… but life isn’t how it should be, could be, if only (ego, control)… but I don’t want to be disappointed when the moment of happiness passes….. Have you ever wondered about this one?  I want to be happy… but what if I’m happiest when I’m unhappy?

    We are complex simple creatures.  Of course all these notions are stories, perhaps at some level illusions of our own creation. Stories we tell because at some time they are/were useful to us but perhaps now are habit. (A practice of meditation and contemplation can help detach from our habit of thought.)

    The task, as you are engaged in, is to look past the stories and words to get to a place where you are (you are never not thier), and from that place find a way to say YES. Yes to yourself, your situation, your emotions, your thoughts, non of which are you. Those are just things you get to experience. The good and the bad, experiences with labels that don’t exist in a world that is non-dual and everything is connected.

    If I may a comment on your statement: ” We don’t need to be kind and loving to toxic people, to people who abuse us and put us down. Instead, we need to set boundaries with them. Likewise, we don’t need to be kind to selfish, self-centered people, who only care about themselves. You can be kind and loving, but wisely, with boundaries.”

    Just something I noticed  with your conclusion “You can be kind and loving, but wisely, with boundaries”.  Implies that creating healthy (wise) boundaries is a act of love and kindness for oneself and the other even those that have hurt us (the other is also ourselves) to which I agree and suggest a path  to become unstuck from your question? To set healthy boundaries with your thoughts, your past, your hopes… is a loving act you can gift yourself? ( Boundaries that don’t require labeling, if only’s , should of, could of… toxic, selfish…. One can set healthy boundaries without labeling)

    Happiness I think, like Joy, isn’t something we create but a  something in a moment we get to sometimes experience and if we are wise express our gratitude for, breath in, breath out…

    Happiness not something we want (desire) but create space for, no but’s… a extra place setting at the table if you will.

    I hope you keep writing

     

    #418175
    Tee
    Participant

    Dear Jamie,

    you are most welcome, glad I could help.

    It honestly amazes me that they did not stopped at criticizing the other people from the destroyed online community, but pretty much everybody else in their lives, too. Now that I’ve actually stop and thought about it over these past couple of days, I realize that they were the type to complain about their own family members, neighbors, people they work or go to school with, and so on. To them, if you’re not also this moody badmouther who hates anything peaceful or joyful, then you’re someone worth criticizing, and… honestly, you’re right. It was toxic. It is toxic.

    Yes, it does seem toxic. Because it seems the only thing these people ever did was criticize. They were chronic complainers.

    And so no wonder that when you started feeling better about yourself (when I became happier and happier in general… as time went on and I slowly found my self-esteem rising as a result of personal healing), they started attacking you and criticizing you.

    Because they didn’t want to do what you did: take responsibility for your own life and healing. They didn’t want that – they wanted to keep blaming the world and outer circumstances. You were a reminder to them that things could be different – if they make an effort. But they didn’t want to, and so they started blaming you.

    You said one of them specially resented you because she felt you were more privileged, and so she was jealous of you. That’s really bad when people focus only on what they don’t have, instead of being grateful for what they do have (they felt they had nothing to have gratitude over).

    But again, I’m happy we did not worked out ultimately because I don’t want to be as unhappy as they are.

    Great! I am happy too that you didn’t make amends with them and agree to follow the “poor me” narrative and blame everyone else…

    The thing that helped me most was visualizing myself being able to talk to my younger versions and being like a mother figure to them, since I essentially grew up without one around me (emotionally speaking).

    Being a good, loving mother to your inner child is a great practice! If you’re doing that already, I don’t have anything special to recommend. I too grew up without an emotionally supportive mother, so giving my inner child the love and appreciation was what helped me a lot…

    I wish I could have figured everything out by now, but sadly life is never that simple or always goes according to my personal timetable.

    I get the feeling that you’re still quite young, so you couldn’t have possibly figured out everything by now 🙂 In fact, we learn till we’re alive, so…

    I was once the fool one too many times with people who pretended to be wounded just so I could help them, and all so they could take advantage of me in other ways.

    I see… you wanted to help people, and then they took advantage of you? Perhaps you were attracted to this toxic group too, because you felt sorry for them and wanted to help them (since they were complaining so much), but then they turned against you?

    I’m still not sure on how to look out for predators like that, though I feel more protective of myself naturally now than back then, thankfully.

    If you find yourself only giving and not receiving anything, or receiving just breadcrumbs in a relationship – that’s one of the red flags. We can talk more about it, if you’d like to. I am glad that you feel a bit more protective of yourself nowadays…

     

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