“Most of the challenges that we have in our personal lives come from a short-term focus”
The Stanford marshmallow experiment was a series of studies conducted by psychologist Walter Mischel in the late 1960s and early 1970s. In these studies, a child had to choose between receiving a small reward immediately or two small rewards if they waited for a short period, during which the tester left the room and then returned.
“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” — Carl Rogers
Every night is a dark night of the soul; fear and loathing overwhelm you whenever you stare in a mirror or think about your actions. You fail at everything you do. You struggle with low self-esteem, high-functioning depression, and social anxiety.
How do you change that?
Because you’re not going to change by spending all the time wishing you didn’t feel like that; you’re not going to change by writing down a bunch of positive affirmations and reading them aloud in front of the mirror every morning.
The paradox of changing oneself is that the more you want to change a negative trait you have, the more you become it.
When it comes to getting what we want, desire is an important element. Set a goal, go all in, and achieve it. The beach body, the business, or the book you want to write, all require that you genuinely want to do them.
But when it comes to changing the inner reality of who we are, it doesn’t work that way.
“the free soul is rare, but you know it when you see it — basically because you feel good, very good, when you are near or with them.” ― Charles Bukowski
Even as a child, Muhammad Ali took great pleasure in being different than the rest of his peers. He did so not because he was a rebel without a cause, but he certainly did it for the applause.
His defiance of the rules became most apparent when he began to train as a boxer. He refused to fight in the usual way, instead developing a style that would compliment his speed and agility. It was frustrating to try to punch Ali, as he kept dancing around the ring.
A few years later, he’d both irritate and confuse his opponents with his bold statements. After all, what could a fellow boxer expect from a man who claimed he was so fast that he could turn off the light switch in his room and be in bed before the room would be covered in darkness?
As children, we are often taught by our teachers and elders that there’s a certain way of doing things. There are rules and laws and norms that must be obeyed, unless we want to be ridiculed or even marginalized by others.
What we aren’t told, however, is the fact that a strong sense of self is the by-product of doing things our own way, the side-effect of ignoring the rules and venturing within ourselves for our own definitions of who we are and what we’re capable of.
The price of conformity is often a life of predictable boredom.
The price of independence is a life of introspection, constant struggle, and backbreaking work towards self-growth.
“It wasn’t only wickedness and scheming that made people unhappy, it was confusion and misunderstanding; above all, it was the failure to grasp the simple truth that other people are as real as you.” –Ian McEwan
They say the biggest distance between two people is misunderstanding. It creates this gap between people. Or is it a wall? And it’s frustrating, isn’t it? It does make you feel as if you’re alone, the only one who thinks and says and acts in a certain way.
And by feeling so don’t we diminish others as well? Don’t we fail to understand that even though they are different, they’re still inherently the same as us? And they deserve to be treated the same way we’d like to be treated.
I don’t know, it’s a difficult question to answer.
But could you hate someone if you knew why they do what they do? If you could truly understand them? Their thoughts? Their feelings? Know their past? Their struggles? What they want? What they have lost?
“You say you’re ‘depressed’ – all I see is resilience. You are allowed to feel messed up and inside out. It doesn’t mean you’re defective – it just means you’re human.” – David Mitchel
Loneliness. It’s painful. It’s a disease. It’s as if there’s a wall between you and everyone else. It’s just you and the silence. Just you and yourself. It forces you to think. To remember. To feel. To remember what you’d never want to feel again.
Depression. Feels like drowning. With the added difference that you see everyone else breathing. It’s standing at edge of an abyss, staring down at the void, contemplating the idea of oblivion.
We often feel broken beyond repair. Hopeless. We see ourselves as unworthy of redemption.
I want to tell you that we are here to feel.
That is all.
Everything that makes you feel alive is worth experiencing at least once. Sometimes even twice.
It’s all so we develop a certain perspective. It’s so that we grow and become what we’re supposed to become.
So feel. Just feel. Just let it be. Just accept what is.
This video presents a number of interesting concepts about virtual interaction, social networks, and loneliness, but what I found really interesting was the idea that in a virtual environment we get to edit who we are.
In a way, I agree. In a social media world such as ours, we can delete and change who we want the world to believe we are. Information is a couple of seconds from our reach, so we can appear to be smarter, but given enough time I believe you can’t appear to be someone you’re not. Continue reading →
The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling. – David Foster Wallace
Written by someone who ended up hanging himself, I think he knew what he was talking about.
Deciding to end one’s life needs quite a lot of contemplating on the subject. And, truth of the matter, we could debate the accuracy of such a description and all aspects of depression and suicide until the end of time, without arriving at a certain conclusion.
Maybe it’s got to do with emotional resilience. Maybe it’s got to do with neurological damage, with hormones and stuff. Continue reading →
Success is this: the ability to play the hand you’re dealt like it’s the hand you wanted.
Life is kind of unpredictable. Roller-coaster from hell gone mad kind of unpredictable. Lots and lots of ups and downs, of stress, of pain and suffering and obstacles. Also, our minds play tricks on us and it seems that it is far easier to focus on the bad, on what we have yet to have, on faults and flaws, on the bad memories. Continue reading →
“The mind is its own place, and in itself can make a heaven of hell, a hell of heaven…” – John Milton, Paradise Lost
Have you ever met someone who, objectively speaking, has it all, yet they are miserable, depressed, anxious? Have you ever met someone who is constantly seeking out problems, creating issues where they don’t exist, overreacting, overthinking, and spending most of their time trying to identify what exactly is wrong with their lives?
Have you ever met someone who could be happy and fulfilled if only they’d give up on a bad habit or addiction? Yet, even though they ask for help and always talk about changing their ways, they never do so. Continue reading →