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Ceased caring...

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by BMC77, Feb 19, 2019.

  1. Nickw

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    Well. I won't get into too much of an argument here. But, we can't find anyone to take over my wife's practice because the pay is just not good enough in the rural area where we live.

    I hope you consider Psychiatry as a specialty. The shortages are becoming a serious issue in many parts of the country. But, don't do it because it is "laid back". My wife almost lived at the hospital for the first twenty years of our marriage. A good shrink is there for her patients 24/7 and I cannot tell you how many nights I was awakened by my wife talking a patient through a crisis.
     
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  2. greatwhale

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    Nerdbrain is actually on to something...

    There is a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck - A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life, by Mark Manson. He starts the book by referring to what is written on the tombstone of the poet, Charles Bukowski: "Don't Try". The author immediately goes on to say that Bukowski was "an alcoholic, a womanizer, a chronic gambler, a lout, a cheapskate, a deadbeat, and on his worst days, a poet." In other words, not someone from whom to take life advice. Bukowski eventually succeeded in becoming a famous author and poet, around age 50, but this was not because he had some transformation that led to this success, he was as loutish after as he was before. From the book:

    "See, despite the book sales and the fame, Bukowski was a loser. He knew it. And his success stemmed not from some determination to be a winner, but from the fact that he knew he was a loser, accepted it, and then wrote honestly about it. He never tried to be anything other than what he was. The genius in Bukowski's work was not in overcoming unbelievable odds or developing himself into a shining literary light. It was the opposite, It was his simple ability to be completely, unflinchingly honest with himself-especially the worst parts of himself-and to share his failings without hesitation or doubt."
    Bukowski's success was his comfort with himself as a failure, he didn't give a damn about success. He didn't become a better person because of it, he remained who he was.

    I would want to banish the words "loser" and "failure", because, in the US especially, where everyone's identity is so completely wrapped up in what one has; these words sting. It is so important to sometimes just state the facts without judging whether or not they are a problem.

    As the author states: "self-improvement and success often occur together. But that doesn't necessarily mean they are the same thing...Our culture today is obsessively focused on the unrealistically positive expectations: Be happier. Be healthier. Be the best, better than the rest..." etc. But the point this book makes is that conventional life advice "all the positive and happy self-help stuff we hear all the time---is actually fixating on what you lack. It lasers in on what you perceive your personal shortcomings and failures to already be, and then emphasizes them for you.

    Hence the idea that actually giving a fuck...is bad for one's mental health!

    We live in a culture where having negative feelings is totally not OK. Social media, with the selective images that people present (of their wonderful vacations, beautiful homes, etc.) is no help either..."Meanwhile you're stuck at home flossing your cat. And you can't help but think your life sucks even more than you thought."

    The author emphasizes this very important point (his bold):

    "The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one's negative experience is itself a positive experience."
    The author in his rather raunchy style goes on to state: "This is a total mind-fuck". It is similar to what Alan Watts would have called "the backwards law", or "the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, a pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make."

    So, what to make of all this? The book goes on to state that it is precisely those who don't give a fuck, about the pain of numerous rejections, or failures, or the pain of honest confrontation, or being open about one's insecurities, they are the ones who seem to have the perverse effect of getting to a better place. As the author states: "The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame."

    I agree with Nerdbrain, you are indeed suffering, and by all means, you need to deal with it, and with help if need be, but "not caring" could be seen, in light of the above, as something ultimately more fruitful...

    Many of us here have followed you over the years, and all of the advice and caring from your friends here on EC comes from a place of love, which is what it is. You need not see yourself as a black hole where the advice pours in without effect, you could see yourself simply as having a great depth of feeling and perception that can contain this love, and whose effect, hopefully, will be that you realize that your station in life has very little to do with who you are.

     
    #22 greatwhale, Feb 25, 2019
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
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  3. nerdbrain

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    Greatwhale, so good to see you on here! It’s been awhile.

    I was indeed thinking about the Manson book when I wrote that, but I’m really glad you wrote about it instead — too much typing for me :slight_smile:
     
  4. Nickw

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    Interesting perspective. I think there is a balance. Isn't it an AA motto...to recognize what we can change and accept what we cannot?

    Where I think we need to be careful is when we feel we are "unworthy" of love and we just give up and accept this. We may not find that person...some of us don't...but, it is not because we don't deserve it.

    Sadly, I think this feeling we are somehow less often comes with the territory of growing up non-straight for many of us.
     
  5. greatwhale

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    Very true, hence the importance of abstaining from reaching any conclusions around self-worth. It is not the situation that makes us suffer, but how we think about them...
     
  6. Nickw

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    YES! We cannot base our self worth on our success in finding love or any other "goal". It is easy to fall into the trap of requiring validation to assess our self worth. Because we are taught that results matter.

    It can be a slippery slope. Some of us (me) failed enough that we begin to lose the fear of failure. So, my take is that continuing to try and not care, or more accurately worry, about failing is, perhaps, more fruitful than just not caring at all. For some of us.

    My concern is that we can apply this to almost all aspects of life except for a basic human need to love and be loved. To care and be cared for.

    Some of the happiest people I know are not in "relationships". They, instead, give with no expectation of getting by doing volunteer work or are in professions where they help and care for other people.
     
  7. BMC77

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    Thanks for sharing that information from that book! I now have a request for a copy placed with my library.
     
  8. mattblack

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    One thing I’ve learned is that there’s someone for everyone.
    If you’re being true to yourself and putting in the effort to live a decent life, I’m sure you’ll get the things you want.