Monday, 30 October 2006

Whaddaya know...

In a comments discussion on my previous post about depression (causes and fixes -still open to suggestions here...) my dear blogging veteran friend WDKY got me onto the following thought: Is our relentless search for "truth" about ourselves actually undermining rather than contributing to our happiness?

When we were in Brighton the inadequacy
was "lack of Best Man abilities"
Originally uploaded by unkle_sam.

Or is it just that knowing the truth also has to come with some kind of "couldn't care less"-ness?

It is a strange yet proven fact that depressives have a more accurate image of how other people perceive them than do normals (see ancient Psychology Today article on the topic here).

It appears that it's not good for us to know exactly how smart/stupid or liked/resented we are.

Obviously depression also comes from wanting 10/10 people to love you when actually 1 maybe will and at least 7 could not give a fuck. And from wanting to perform every single task 100% perfect (impossible even for a self-confessed superwoman like me).

To cope with life one has to focus one's efforts and not be bothered that there are limitations (for instance I focus on giving good blowjobs and being in a good mood at work; I don't care so much about putting on make-up every morning).

I am not saying that to be happy one has to swan around in complete self-unawareness, but I guess the awareness has to be coupled with a certain degree of couldn't give a fuck. Why is this? What psychological or evolutionary advantage does the apparent survival tool of optimism serve (J would of course describe it as unrealistic-ness)?

Is it because only the curios, chance-taking cavemen survived when they were forced to adapt to changing environments and coming and going ice ages?

Whereas the pessimistic "it won't go down well anyway, so I might as well not migrate south and stay where I am" cavemen froze to death in their comfortable cave, 7 out of 10 optimistic cavemen (and women) froze to death uncomfortably on their way south.

But three of them made it.

And I guess most of us descend from those three.

I guess it also serves a sociological function to be optimistic of own abilities and to what extent one is liked by other people.

If everyone went around focussing on the fact that, on average, we have only a 1 or 2 in 10 chance of being liked by others, walking into rooms of strangers and speaking in front of crowds might seem more daunting and we wouldn't do it, which would make existing as a society nigh on impossible.

Maybe that's also why we're so fascinated by celebrities; we get the impression that at least 8 out of 10 people adore them, and even the two that don't at least give them the privelege of being actively hated rather than largely ignored. So we like them because they help us ignore the truth that most people sadly don't like us.

But the fact of the matter is that 2/10 is enough for all of us. I surround myself with a group of close friends, my loving family, my (possibly) loving J. That's enough for me. I don't need every single one of my collagues to think I'm clever; I know how clever I am and I'm clever enough for me. Etc. Not only do we not achieve having a positive image in the eyes of everyone else, we practically speaking don't need it.

But maybe it's good not to focus too much on that.

J is on his way home for a lovely baked potato with home-made ratatouille (made by himself, I'm hoping); I hope in time being liked by me and his friends and family will be adequate for him, and the fact that there are things he could have done that he didn't may not matter so acutely anymore.


  1. That was an interesting post... and thanks for the honourary mention. And I don't know the answer to that rather profound question, but I think I'll keep on searching for the truth regardless.

    Now... tell me about these blow jobs of yours...

  2. The BJs: J has in the past confessed that sometimes he wishes "I would stop showing off and just get to the point". I thought that was called "teasing". How wrong was I... Mwhahaha :o)

  3. hello. here via wdky. sounds like hard work with the boyfriend, i hope he starts appreciating what he does have. q x

  4. I enjoyed reading this post. (BTW--I found you on Technorati--you had a link to my A LITTLE BENT blog somewhere. Thanks!)

    In my experience, depression is caused by the karmic threads that have woven their way into our lives. By this, I mean that I believe there are certain things that we must experience and work through in order to make it to a much freer state. This line of thinking itself frees you up a bit because it (hopefully) gets you to realize that it is not what you think is depressing you that you need to focus on, but your feelings, in general, that should be your main concern.

    Rather than stressing over why someone doesn't like you, or what people think about you, you could look at the situation from a different light and contemplate the feelings that well up from inside when you think about why someone doesn't like you, or when you think about how people perceive you. Are you following me?

    I have learned, through battling depression and anxiety over the years, that it's NEVER what other people think, say, or do to us that creates our anger, sorrow, or happiness--it truly is our reaction to what they think, say, or do. I'm serious.

    The next time someone or something makes you angry, forget about what we call in the meditation world (and the psychology world, I'm sure) the 'trigger'; that is, forget about what made you angry. Just sit with the anger that you feel. Sit with the feeling. Explore it. See what part of your body is constricted. Where are you tensing your muscles? Once you do these things you will be able to begin to free yourself. You can relax your muscles. You can realize that maybe you weren't breathing deeply enough--perhaps you were hyperventalating and you didn't know it.

    You can do this exercise with any feeling that comes over you. I particularly find it helpful when I wake up with a feeling of heaviness over my entire chest area. I'm a very visual person, so I can actually 'see' a darkness over my chest. I sit on the floor, or on my meditation cushion and I let myself feel the feeling of anxiety 100%. I think you'll find that as soon as you focus on the feeling of depression or anxiety that it will start to disipate--even if just a little at a time.

    Again, it is my experience that once you give the 'negative' feelings some attention, once you even name them (for example, you could say, "I feel angry." "I feel depressed."), I believe you will find that they no longer have such a tight grip on you and your life.

    Sometimes depression just wants to be noticed. After you've explored what it the feelings actually feel like and you've worked with them for a while, then you can begin to make strides to change your life so that you don't get the depressive feelings as often.

    The worst thing to do when you are depressed is run from the feelings. I'm sure you know that the more you run from your fears, the worse they get. Meet your depression head on; I've found that strong emotions don't like to be 'stared at'. So, please try the exercise of sitting and looking at the emotion. Stare at it in the face. It will begin to disappear.

    Much love to you.
    I hope that my words help you in some way.

    (a.k.a. Marcy_Peanut)


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