My life, and most other peoples' lives, have seasons, and those seasons can add meaning in very strange ways that are difficult to replicate without enduring a dark storm every now and then. (Sorry for the metaphors, I'm not a great writer.)
This really resonated with me, going through it right now and I've always had difficulty expressing it adequately to the people around me when they ask.
You touch a burning stove. It hurts. You learn this action -> undesirable outcome and avoid doing it. (Sometimes it can take a few times though!)
Just that with negative emotions, sometimes it's less obvious the cause or it's an interplay between a few. And sometimes, there's a time delay between an action and the negative emotion. That's why self-awareness and introspection helps a lot in learning from your experiences.
I think the "you can choose to be happy all the time" movement maligns negative emotions too much - it can be an important warning "hey something is wrong" system in life. Also, I believe the use of the word 'happiness' often leads to misunderstandings.
You cannot be happy, the emotion, all the time. Hour to hour, day to day, we all go through different emotions.
You can however be more consistently happy, as a perspective on life and approach to life.
That I believe is what people really mean when they talk about 'being more happy'.
But a lot of people misunderstand that, thinking if you aren't feeling weeeee most of the day, you aren't really 'happy'.
Negavive emotions (and physical pain) may be a warning, but I strongly wish I'd have more control over them. It reminds me of a typical scene from a naval or sci-fi movie, when something happens and there's an alarm siren blaring. The captain comes to bridge and asks some crewman to shut off the alarm sound. Because such a warning is useful until it's heard and understood, and then it's only seriously distracting. Much like negative emotions and physical pain.
The hard part is forcing yourself, after some time in the dumps, to say "OK, no what am I going to DO about this?"
For some people, it's not really surprising that they're depressed. Low opportunity, low-income, poor surroundings, poor education, stressful paycheck to paycheck existence. Of course they're miserable.
Of course, adversely comparing yourself to peers is also a strategy for misery.
For those of us to be lucky enough to be in reasonable shape, the knack to avoiding self-pity and depression is to accept yourself, and work through or around your own limitations and count your blessings.
"I tell you, we were put here to have fun and fart around, and don't let anyone tell you different." (with apologies to) Kurt Vonnegut.
Healthy companies don't avoid thinking about problems, don't subsist solely on interpersonal praise, and don't succeed based on "if we do our best, then we're doing a good job."
I imagine too many young startups and companies fall into this trap of always wanting to feel like they are doing a good job, both in self scrutiny and scrutiny of employees.
That's not to say I think managers should constantly harp on employees to spur them along, or that founders should constantly berate themselves. But it's harder than it seems to dole out negative feedback, for some people at least. We like to talk about being results oriented and merit based, but it's easier just to say everyone is doing great and trying, which can kill a company before it starts. And maybe only in the post mortem do we take time to analyze if we were doing the right things and doing them enough.
I recall being struck at how the parents of the addicts presented in the documentary (who were all young) talked about how all of their kids were always so happy as children.
Then, when interviewing the addicts, there was a clear recurring theme that they wanted to do drugs because they could not handle the pain of being off drugs.
I did not feel these things to be unrelated.
I usually assume that the parents are pretty poor historians
Or that people aren't very good at figuring out when little kids aren't happy
I have trouble believing that happy childhood are correlated with later life problems
I told by the Therapist, "I didn't have a bad childhood."
I was basically tired of talking, and just wanted a drug to calm my brain down.
She told me patients whom had bad childhoods, actually had bad/subpar childhoods, in many cases."
That's about all I got out of the sessions. She just got her MFCC, and was very honest, and seemed to care. She was pregnant, and in some sessions we would be both crying together. She was actually the only Therapist I liked. I think because she was young, and took her job seriously.
I look back, and I don't think I had a bad childhood. I had typical Irish American/Mexican parents. I was the oldest, and was expected to do things differently, but my chilhood wasn't terrible.
Anyhow, I did look it up, and supposedly children from tough backrounds tend to think they had great childhoods, with all the usual exceptions that accompany Psychology.
I will honestly never know in my case. I refused to blame my parents. My father was a piece of work though.
When I got older, I basically didn't want to turn into him, and I haven't yet.
B) 'The pain of being off drugs' - for opioids is a deeply physical thing as well. Once they are 'hardcore' it's no longer a matter of 'getting high' it's 'getting back to normal' - i.e. they need heroin to operate normally. The body adjusts to having opioids, and when it doesn't get them it 'feels' miserable. That's the trap, apparently.
They were talking about well after the physical addiction aspects would have subsided. Their issue was that they could not stay off of the drugs, beyond just the issues immediately following quitting.
I just believe that most parents, looking back at their children when they were young, would say 'they were such happy children'.
I do not believe that 'a happy childhood' in any way correlates with individuals likelihood of using/getting hooked on drugs - or their difficulty in 'getting off drugs'.
Opioid addicts in particular commonly indicate that once they are 'fully hooked' - that the drug stops become a thing of aspiration, rather, they need to take it to 'just feel normal' - and that without it, it's painful. This is the body's reaction to the drug. Being addicted to heroin sets a 'new baseline' for your bodies production of serotonin, dopamine etc. etc. which is unpleasant, and to feel normal, one needs ever more heroin uptake.
In a much smaller way - a similar thing happens with nicotine: the 'mini high' from smoking goes away after a while, at which point, without a nicotine hit - you feel uncomfortable. Getting the 'hit' reverts you merely to a relatively normal state.
Meant to say: "I don't think parents are disingenuous or deluded."
The other thing is heroin withdrawal causes intense physical pain. Heroin is a potent painkiller. It numbs both physical and emotional pain. Withdrawal goes in the opposite direction. I've heard the pain described as "deep within the joints and bones".
Any recollection of the title?
My google-fu is failing me.
I worked in an F50 and for political reasons ... emotions are just not allowed.
I personally don't mind a little bit here and there. Someone gets angry, argues, whatever. It's life. As long as it's not personal.
I worked at startups and we used to debate, hardcore, all the time. No harm done. At the F50, it was too politically costly - everyone is trying to 'one up' one another, so it's about making as 'few social mistakes as possible' - and getting the occasional 'win' and making sure you kiss your boss's butt.
When I get upset at things now, I compare whatever's bothering me to "being a slave, being whipped for teaching fellow slaves how to read the bible" - and i realize how unimportant the thing was.
This ability - to compare our experiences to those of others - is why i think christianity has something to it. I ignore all the talk about God, and just think of the story of Jesus - a guy who went around telling everyone, "hey lets be nice", and got tortured for it. Being able to forgive someone who'd do that to you is a tall order - but if you have that ability and truly follow that pattern, you'll be much happier and contented.
I don't see the guy as divine - i see him as a helpful calibration point. Forgiveness is a path out of anger. There's a lot to be angry about in our modern world, but that doesn't make it helpful for us.
While on one hand it trivializes what it actually means to go through starvation, or having suicidal thoughts, or what it's like to actually be a slave, I think it also trivializes your own feelings as well.
Like the article points out, this mentality suppresses your feelings. "Oh, I'm not allowed to feel this way. Look at all the wealth and happiness I am surrounded with and non-extreme situations I don't have to face!"
Admitting my feelings and writing them down in my journal in the heat of the moment, no matter how pathetic they made me seem, gave me a chance to reflect on what I had written. It gave me a snapshot to come back to later and say "Is this really what I am like? Have I exaggerated or downplayed my emotions?"
And from there, I was able to come to two types of conclusions:
1) Accept that sometimes for a given situation I would feel blue no matter what. Something I realized after 8 years of heartbreak, things not working out, or rejection in dating is that while I got better at being functional, the pain itself never dulled. And what a relief! I kept expecting that it would somehow hurt less after all these years, but that's just not how it turned out. And I feel so much better now with that in mind.
2) I can decide to act on the problem. I can act and succeed, or act and fail. And after enough failures, sometimes it's OK to give up for the time being and work on other types of dissatisfaction.
I think the article did a great job of succinctly describing a process I have gone through myself for several years. I highly recommend it.
I used to not associate mourning with everyday events; it was something reserved for people/pets dying. Now, if I can't shake a bad feeling, I try mentally eulogizing whatever I lost.
He did not call people to be nice, he called people to be good and faithful. There is often a big difference between being nice and being good. By contemporary standards, if Jesus had gone around being "nice," he never would have confronted anyone or accused them of sinning.
Jesus certainly did get angry sometimes, but his anger was justified, and he did not lose self-control.
You can't separate Christianity or Christ from God. Think about this: if Jesus was not who he claimed to be--the son of the living God--then he was surely crazy, because he got himself killed for nothing. He could have avoided all that suffering and death by just being nice and non-confrontational, and going to a place where people didn't want to kill him.
> There is often a big difference between being nice and being good.
... made me all giddy as a philosophy major :)
I don't think negative emotions are necessary, however. The benefit comes from learning to process negative events constructively, which people (sometimes) learn to do in order to avoid the pain.
1. Over-compensation/Projection: To overcome my greatest fear that I'm just a programmer making a comfortable living but ultimately making meaningless web apps for BigCo or for startups but afraid of sitting with this feeling for too long; I try to "cultivate" cultural hobbies like playing in a blues band, joined a rec-league, travel, attend book/film clubs to convince myself that I'm different than the other people but find people who are most like me in the book clubs and art galleries openings are just as empty, pretentious and obnoxious. Similarly I project onto others my insecurity, and judge them accordingly to the snobbery by the impact factor (IF) of their "CV" and of their "cultural output".
2. Denial/Ritual for Undoing/Regression: I escape via various social media distractions and comfort food. I go to startup social gatherings, when the caffeine or alcoholic or fun-social distraction buzz kick-in, I convince myself that this is the way things are suppose to go. But the buzz wears off, I realize that my problems are still there and chasing that original high with that good sushi meal, new brew of coffee or dance-party venue feel like eating a diminishing return chocolate cake.
3. Displacement/Identification: I visit a lot of right-wing subreddits like /r/the_donald that rage against the left-wing subreddits to the point that I realize that as much as I hate on the facebook feeds of my enemies on the left, they have also now become my indisposable personal crucible because the outrage inspired has become almost a comforting ally to lean onto to channel my otherwise impotent rage; I visit HN and glow over the triumphs by techies like unveiling of new Tesla model or new VR headsets and startup podcasts and blog posts about the #hustle. I sometimes even Google search pictures of PR pictures of Elon Musk and Elizabeth Holmes (before she became reviled by this forum) while listening to positive YouTube music video's to bask in the positive glow.
4. Acceptance/Humble Identification/Sublimation: I accept that I won't ever be like Elon Musk or Elizabeth Holmes or a mere YC Founder for that matter. I've been trying to find more realistic models to model my behavior like my boss who is very organized, shows up to work on time and is very empathy for people, but someone who is otherwise (gasp) an average person judged by my earlier metric of Personal Impact Factor. I try to find more socially acceptable, stable and support roles like playing Healer heroes in Dota2 or LoL instead of battling it out with my team about who to play to the Carry; my fear of just giving in and becoming just an mediocre everyman like Willie Loman, I just let go and trying to keep score every day cleared up to make room to find simple joys like washing dishes, taking out the trash on time and closing JIRA tickets. Walking by the local hip and edgy co-working space, I cannot help but feel a tinge of poetic sadomasochism that in order to attain peace, I chased the opposite of what I was afraid of becoming only to end up becoming the very thing of this existential guilt by way of being wore down by the daily pressure of unable to run away from this guilt; and realizing that this guilt of unbecoming of the becoming is also the real unbecoming, but the real becoming is also the unbecoming.
She's an integrative psychotherapist! A one-stop wellness shop. And a licensed professional counsellor:
Is that "Ayurvedic Health Coach" stuff qualifies as the substitute for majoring from MIT or Yale in Psychology or Biology?
Translation: "New Research": Having watched Inside Out.
There are a few issues with medication, as I see it. Should we try change a person? Are you the same person if you medicate how your brain responds to certain events? There are risks involved of course, people react differently and increased anxiety levels are often associated with some anti depressants. There is also the problem of dependence and the search for the "perfect pill" to make them feel perfectly at peace.
And finally there is the question of whether or not these negative feelings are actually a key part of who we are, and trying to lock them away, and contain them just prolongs the suffering we endure. I think sometimes you just got to embrace what you feel and go with it.
Let me stress though, I completely accept that for some people medication is absolutely vital to ensure they stay well, and for many others it can be completely life changing in a totally positive way. I just think it shouldn't be the first thing your doctor recommends when you present with depressed or anxious thoughts.