Where to find strength

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    Hi People. Happy 2021.

    I haven’t been here in ages, but I think it’s appropriate to post since I am not feeling well.

    What would you do if you were in my shoes?

    In the last 3 years I lost my wife to divorce, had to file for bankruptcy, lost my job, found an amazing job, then lost the job due to company closing because of Covid, and then found out a few days after that I had cancer. I am cured now, btw.

    I am working hard right now to get back to some state of normalcy. I live super healthy, I do cardio 5 days a week, ride my road bike 2 times during the week and 1 long ride on the weekend. I am looking for work now that I am able to get out after my radiation. I study daily. I eat very healthy. No junk. No weed. No alcohol. No soda. No porn. I am trying hard. I am sure I could do better, but I am improving daily. I am almost in a robotic mode because my whole day is scheduled in advance and is basically the same. I know that working hard on myself is the only way to get ahead. I am trying, far from perfect, but I am trying.

    My problem is the baggage I carry. I am punishing myself for all my past mistakes and I feel like sh%t because of it. I get overwhelming anxiety because I feel like I screwed up so badly that my life is over. I don’t know how to cope with that feeling and nothing is working. Nothing. There are so many problems, but none of them are end of the world. The ONLY way I can move forward is to continue doing what I am doing for a long time, but it won’t work if I feel sick and I do feel sick, almost to the point of being nauseous from the overwhelming worry.


    Thank you!


    Dear Felix:

    I am glad that you no longer suffer from cancer and that you eat healthy, exercise regularly and take good care of yourself otherwise. I am sorry to read that you suffer from so much anxiety and worry.

    “I am punishing myself for all my past mistakes and I feel like sh** because of it”- to understand better I ask: (1) How are you punishing yourself, in what ways? (2) Can you list your ten worst mistakes for which you’ve been punishing yourself?



    Hi Anita. Happy 2021.  I hope you are staying safe.

    1. I punish myself because only recently did I realize how badly I screwed up in the past (Career, family, other stuff). I’ve forgiven myself and I am trying hard to do what must be done to salvage what is left of my life. I was “reborn” over the last few years and changed everything about my life. Worked on improve what is virtuous and gave up most of my vices.

    2. Didn’t study enough so I got stuck mid career working in IT for less money than I could make. Could have been making high six figures by now. Instead I am at 43 starting from almost scratch. Ate away my pain, gained 80 lbs, which I mostly lost, but still have a way to go. Lost my wife because I was weak and broke down during hard times. Just wasted last 15 years on doing nothing at all. Work > TV > Smoke weed > Sleep > repeat. I don’t do that anymore, but the anger and the shame won’t allow me to accomplish my goals now. I will still do what I have to and what I must, but I can’t let go of being angry at myself for what I did and that I cannot turn back the clock.

    PS. My family is pretty awful. Good people, but they treat me badly and have emotionally destroyed me. I cut contact with them, but we are Jewish so can’t really cut off your family. I just try to limit my interaction with them and when they try to belittle me, I simply block them and make them disappear from my life until they retreated. Last, but not least, I am not afraid of anything or anyone ( except losing my dog ), but I am all alone and have no support network. Friends are friends, but I am doing everything now on my own. I am envious of people who can share their love and pain with their loved ones. I am always alone no matter what I do. It’s beyond painful. I miss intimacy, I miss closeness, I miss my best friend (exwife), I miss my social life and being able to relax. Life is a balance of good and bad. I don’t mean that things are either good or bad, but I there are good things that happen and bad things that happens. It’s just that it’s been bad for such a long time that I feel like a gazelle that can no longer run away from the lion chasing it. I am tired. I just want some good news, something good or fun to happen. It’s been a long time since I felt anything, but pain.

    Happy Friday btw.


    Dear Felix:

    Happy Friday and Happy 2021 to you too, thank you for wishing me safety and I wish you the same. I want to read your recent post attentively when I am more focused, and that will be in a few hours, or at the latest, in about 17 hours from now. If there is anything you would like to add before I return, please do.



    Dear Felix:

    Back sooner than I thought I would be. In this post,  I will quote you and comment. You are welcome to respond and we can communicate further.

    “I punish myself.. I’ve forgiven myself”- You didn’t forgive yourself yet. If you forgave yourself, you wouldn’t be punishing yourself.

    “Lost my wife because I was weak and broke down during hard times… I miss my best friend (ex wife)”- if she left you because you were weak and broken down (and not because, let’s say, you were angry and abusive)- then she was not your friend, was she?

    “Ate away my pain, gained 80 lbs, which I mostly lost”- congrats, there are lots and lots and lots of people who would love to be able to say: I mostly lost 80 pounds!

    “Could have been making high six figures by now”- there are lots of people making mid five figures who are content in life and lots of people who have made high six and even seven figures income and yet felt life was not worth living.

    “I am 43 starting from almost scratch”- you don’t have to follow a timeline. The only real start line and finish line are birth and death. You don’t have to achieve X by the time you are 20, and Y by the time you are 30, etc. Society is not that preplanned and organized in practice.

    “Just wasted last 15 years on doing nothing at all. Work-> TV->Smoke weed-> Sleep-> Repeat.. the anger and the shame won’t allow me to accomplish my goals now”- I am thinking that anger (and anxiety) and shame caused you to live that way for 15 years, before regret set in.

    “I cannot turn back the clock”- imagine a person who had the best life imaginable.. and coming to old age, sick and unable, he can’t turn the clock back. It must hurt a lot  to not be able to turn the clock back on a good life!

    “PS. My family is pretty awful. Good people, but they treat me badly”- can’t have it both way, they cant be good people and be people who treat you badly.

    “we are Jewish so can’t really cut off your family”- yes, you can. I know someone who did just that, Jewish and all.

    “I just try to limit my interaction with them”- if your family is poison to you, a little poison is enough to get you sick.

    “I am always alone no matter what I do”- that’s a problem, we humans are not able to be alone for too long without getting sick, it’s in our genetic makeup to be social, we are born that way.

    “it’s been bad for such a long time that I feel like a gazelle that can no longer run away from the lion chasing it”- a lion chases a gazelle because it wants to eat it. Who is chasing you and for what purpose?

    “I am tired. I just want some good news”- I want you to find some good news, and soon. I wonder what it might be.



    HI Felix

    You have proved that you will face and deal with life as it shows up so it is likely that you will continue to do so. Not only do you deal with life as it shows up but endeavor to learn from the experiences and do better as you can.  Well done!

    When I think of the ask that we love our neighbor as ourselves this is how I feel we love ourselves – Be accountable,  set healthy boundaries, do our best, learn from our experiences, do better when we can and grow. What more can we ask of ourselves and hope for others?

    “The most painful state of being is remembering the future, particularly the one you’ll never have.” ― Søren Kierkegaard

    I wonder if when your are punishing yourself for your past if not much of your pain isn’t coming from  imagining how life might have been, if only, if only, if only? It isn’t the past that your punishing yourself for but a imagined future that cannot be. I suspect this is what Buddhism suggests that we be present. The past and future shaped my memory, and memory is a trickster more often then creating illusion.

    No matter how many times life has knocked you down you have gotten up. This in my opinion redeems much that you might now in hindsight label failures, disappointments… I suspect most the things your beating yourself up about are things you would not do again today and at the time of those incidents your were doing your best with the skills and awareness you had at the time.

    Love yourself as I suspect you love others, by giving yourself the benefit of the doubt.

    Their is a Buddhist practice I read about that suggests that whenever you meet someone one first give them a gift. The gift may be something physical or it may be a silent blessing. The intention is that doing so you will be more likely to start the engagement with a starting place of compassion. I found that the best gift I could give was acknowledging their humanness. How difficult it is to be a reasonable good human being even to those we care about the most. What I found helpful was to also reflect the gift back onto myself.

    Be kind to yourself




    • This reply was modified 1 year, 8 months ago by Peter.

    Thank you for the replies!

    I’ve read over everything a few times and I wish I was able to be more glass half full than what I am feeling now.

    I am trying to forgive myself, to be more precise, I am talking to myself about moving on, but like a sadomasochist I am continuing to punish myself because of time wasted and because of where I am in life right now. I might get professional help for this because I am stuck in one or more of the grieving stages. I don’t want to be, but I am because of the total number of problems I am dealing with at the same time, interviewing for new job, healthy living (weight loss through diet and exercise), personal development through leaning about Stoicism and Buddhism, trying to meet a woman for a relationship. All these “projects” are causing great anxiety and stress. I am honestly trying hard now. All day, from 7 am until 7 pm, I look for work\interview, exercise, study, walk, and try to do the best I can. And I still feel like crap. I feel like I should be doing more and more, and that it should be done 24/7. That’s obviously not realistic and I am not a spring chicken any more. I am 43 and while I do feel young, I get tired and need to time to relax and regain my psychological, emotional, and physical strength. I meditate and it helps a lot, but the anxiety and stress levels are through the rood and I don’t have any outlets to unwind or get some help. Family is not helpful.

    I am trying to be patient, accepting, and loving of myself. I realize how important it is to love myself and be fair (from learning about Buddhism), but this alter-ego inside of me continues to punish me for effing up. It’s not about the money, it’s not about comparing my life to others, it’s not about pleasing my parents or anyone else. I just feel like I effed up badly and wasted so much time that catching up now is a monumental task and I am not sure if I am up to the task. I am not giving up, but I haven’t had any good or positive news in a very long time. Some say that no news or no bad news is good news, and I agree 100%, but I am just so tired of it all that I would do anything for something good, fun, exiting to happen. There has to be a balance in life otherwise what’s the point? I am obsessed with road biking and hiking, but it’s not enough. I just feel overwhelmed and out of control. I’ve cut out toxic people from my life. My family is being kept at a distance. Friends are there, but they are busy with their own lives, their own families. I am not complaining because things can much much worse and in this crazy time so many people are suffering and I try to send out love into the universe, but I am running on empty.


    Anyway, thank you !


    PS. I like the idea of grieving not about the wasted past, but the imagined future that never came. The only problem with that is that I didn’t plan for the future back then. It’s like that movie inception, I am going deeper and deeper into analyzing this. I am punishing myself for the future that didn’t come because of the past which I didn’t plan and execute to have that future which I should have been thinking about. I am not dumb, but I am far from being smart. West Wing (TV Show) had this scene where a man is having a drink at the bar and talks to Toby and Josh (who work at the White House), and he is trying to get his daughter into a fancy University (Notre Dame I think), and he doesn’t know how he is going to pay for it. He says “I like it that it’s hard, a man should be able to provide for his family” or something like that. And then he says, “I don’t want it to be easy, but I wish it was a little bit less hard, just a little bit”. That’s all I want, just a little bit less insanity, just a little bit more luck. I had cancer and survived. I filed for Bankruptcy, which delayed my going back to working, I had so many awful things happen over the last few years, that I feel empty. I am trying hard, but I feel empty.


    Hello Felix,

    I hope you are keeping safe and well.

    I have read your posts and it seems to me that you need to change your mindset.  There is not one second of your life that has been wasted.  That’s just how you are choosing to see it.  Life is a journey of learning.  You have been through those experiences for a reason.  Some of the things you have described are nothing more than coping mechanisms.  They may have kept you alive.  Give them one almighty thank you.  Show gratitude for this day.  You have arrived.  You have this day to live, breathe, think, exist, plan, create, feel.  Make today the day you give up worrying.  Make today the day you forgive yourself for all your ‘perceived’ mistakes.  Make today the day you exchange anger for courage.  These are goals to accomplish.  Begin today.

    The good news is you are alive, you have today and you have choices.  You have the rest of your life to live and the choices you make today are what creates tomorrow and all other tomorrows.  Ease up on yourself.  Fill that empty space with love.  Fun happens when we do what we love doing.  Find your passion.  These are goals to accomplish.  Begin today.

    Love and light to you Felix.




    Dear Felix:

    “I am tired. I just want.. something good or fun to happen. It’s been a long time since I felt anything but pain… I am just so tired.. I would do anything for something good, fun, exciting to happen”-

    – I wonder what that “something good, fun, exciting” could be for you. Maybe you can make it happen today, or tomorrow?



    Thank you Peggy. That’s my mindset as well and that’s how I try to see it, but it’s not as easy in practice as it is in the thoughts. Guilt is still hurting me. Regret is still punishing me. Believe me, I am trying to let go, but I might need some professional help for this as I can’t seem to move on from the past no matter how much I try. And believe me, I have been trying harder than ever.


    Anita, thank you as well. I don’t know what that something good might be. I create my own happiness and my experiences, but the way life worked before is that doing these things that interested me (biking, hiking, etc.) usually led to meeting new people, new girls, new networks, and new something. It’s just been so stale lately that I don’t remember what it feels like when something cool or interesting comes my way because of a coincidence. I am trying to send out positive thoughts into the Universe and I really hope to get some feed back. I am not asking for help from anyone or the universe. I can do it all myself, but I would be nice to get a break here and there.


    It sounds like your struggling.  Their is a time for everything including reflection, sadness, uncertainty even the dark night of the soul. Perhaps this is a time of waiting and embracing uncertainty, life mystery?

    “Life is a mystery to be lived, not a problem to be solved.” —Soren Kierkegaard.

    “It seems a movement from certitude to doubt and through doubt to acceptance of life’s mystery is necessary in all encounters, intellectual breakthroughs, and relationships.”  “To hold the full mystery of life is always to endure its other half, which is the equal mystery of death and doubt. To know anything fully is always to hold that part of it which is still mysterious and unknowable. In our youth certainty elevates most anxiety on the conscious level, which may be why we cling to it so.”  -CAC

    Growth always involves a dying

    Sue Monk Kidd talks about the power of waiting.

    What has happened to our ability to dwell in unknowing, to live inside a question and coexist with the tensions of uncertainty? Where is our willingness to incubate pain and let it birth something new? What has happened to patient unfolding, to endurance? These things are what form the ground of waiting. And if you look carefully, you’ll see that they’re also the seedbed of creativity and growth—what allows us to do the daring and to break through to newness. . . .

    Creativity flourishes not in certainty but in questions. Growth germinates not in tent dwelling but in upheaval. Yet the seduction is always security rather than venturing, instant knowing rather than deliberate waiting.

    Perhaps this is a time of waiting. A waiting which isn’t passive as it requires calm intention and open engagement with life as it shows up. No need for answers, the questions may be enough.

    I said to my soul, be still, and wait without hope
    For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love,
    For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
    But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
    Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought:
    So the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.
    Whisper of running streams, and winter lightning.
    The wild thyme unseen and the wild strawberry,
    The laughter in the garden, echoed ecstasy
    Not lost, but requiring, pointing to the agony
    Of death and birth.</p>
    T. S. Eliot


    Dear Felix:

    You are welcome. “I might need some professional help”- a good idea, help from a competent professional therapist who is empathetic and who will work hard to help you.

    “I am always alone.. I feel empty”- as the social animals that we are, alone- we feel empty, together- we feel content. We need meaningful interactions with other people so to heal and to maintain our physical/ emotional health.

    “the way life worked before is.. meeting new people”- yes, you are one of the people who needs people, as the song says.



    Hello Felix,

    You are a survivor.  You have come through so much.  Your post is a message to the Universe that you need some help.  It’s OK to ask the Universe to help you.  Call upon your guardian angel.  Ask for help in releasing your negative feelings (guilt, regrets).  As well as sending love out to the Universe, send some back to yourself.  Love yourself exactly as you are today.  Love yourself for just ‘being’.

    Love and Light



    Dear Felix, do you have some people around you that you can communicate deeply? I feel like only way to feel better and take care of that emotional baggage (not getting rid of it but minimizing the affect of it) is only possible with deep bonding with people, and additionally with animals as well if possible. At least that’s what I feel about myself and also your post.


    Dear Felix; Maybe you can get back your confidence and the love for yourself, which will then let you have true forgiveness of the things that happened in the past.  Since the past is past and you cannot change it, you need to stay in the present and try to let those things go.  Have you heard of “The 4 Agreements”?   Be impeccable with your word. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t make assumptions. Always do your best.  don Miguel Ruiz.  Take some time to study things like this and you will find tools to lead you forward and it might even lead you to the path that you are seeking.  True Love, Faith in yourself, and Forgiveness or just the letting go of the things that cause you pain.  You a child of god, you deserve to be here.


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