It’s Not My Fault: Self-help before you despair. On 02/10/2018 I had this post The Parting of the Ways (Below) in which I hinted that not only may there be a small group of themes which inform our lives but that there may be a small group of delusions which drag them down. As an example of that, let me suggest the delusion, ‘It’s not my fault’. I am a child. It is the world that is wicked and unfair. I am helpless in a world I can’t control, and it is depressing and terrifying. I can’t express just how much I must terribilise it so that I can justify continuing to do nothing…you know how it prattles on and on.
The sane reply? ‘I can do it’. ‘Can do’. The motto of the 15th Infantry Regiment of the United States Army, a ‘parent’ regiment which dates back to the American Civil War – and beyond. They endured the most terrible battles of two world wars and more. ‘Can. Do.’
One of the reasons for the ‘success’ of Christianity (for example) is that its principal tenet helps to focus troubled spirits outwards. If they can ‘love’ their neighbours (others), they can stop obsessing about themselves – and their woes. This is a good strategy.
So too is Buddha’s advice that we are only unhappy because we ‘want’ things. If we conquer desire, we conquer unhappiness, he teaches.
‘Happiness’ is not some external thing (no more than misery is). Happiness is an internal thing. You might start with the adage, ‘Smile and the world smiles with you. Cry, and you cry alone.’ A primer for such sufferers is to do just that: ‘Smile’.
Smiling actually causes the associated feeling, happiness. Even if you feel that you are going through the day with a rictus. Try this. It will help to banish those internal gyrations where you circle and circle, coming back to the same scab to pick each time.
There is nothing at all you can do about the past. You must learn to pass on. To let ‘it’ go, whatever ‘it’ is. Tell yourself over and over ‘Let it pass’. Move on – and focus on the external world, not as the source of your misery. Not as something to blame. But as an adventure to be had. Something to work with.
You are not alone in having ‘lost your mind’. You are in good company, though many of us are loth to admit it. I am well today (in mind), though my back is broken. I have ‘moved on’ You must move on too. Believe me, it is not as hard as dragging this back around my afternoon walk, having to lie down and do my exercises against the exquisite pain every few hundred metres – but it takes the same determination: ‘Can do’.
Today perhaps is the time to fix that tap, plant that vegetable, service the car, sort your camping gear, plan for that long hike you will begin tomorrow…It is your fault if you are unhappy. No-one else is the slightest bit interested, or to blame. And the only person who can lift you out of that unhappiness is yourself. You cannot have happiness delivered like a milkshake. It was always within yourself.
Think back to a time when you felt happy. There is always some time. For me, I go back to a time when I was sitting quietly under a bridge watching the deep waters of a river roll past. Try to capture the emotion you felt in just two words. For me they were, ‘Quiet. Calm.’ Say those two words over and over to yourself slowly whilst thinking of nothing else at all. Do that for a few minutes, then,
Smile right now. That is the beginning of sanity – and happiness. Have a happy day!
May I repeat the advice I gave in the post Cure Back Pain: Regret Nothing. Smile along with the music:
The Parting of the Ways: Perhaps it is true and there are just a limited number of themes which inform life. The Journey is certainly one such. Re-reading ‘The Odyssey’ or “Robinson Crusoe’ ever regenerates that thrill of the eternal journey, echoed so brilliantly in Tennyson’s wonderful poem, ‘Ulysses’: ‘To sail beyond the sunset, and the baths Of all the western stars, until I die.… To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.’ Another recurring theme is ‘the parting of the ways.’ How often have we traveled with comrades on some distant adventure, or held a dying friend’s hand for comfort till we come to that penultimate end when we must part, perhaps be sundered forever. I’m sure everyone’s heart rings to Robert Frost’s lines from ‘A Road Not Taken’ ‘Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both… I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference’. How many themes inform one’s life? I’m sure it is far from infinite – it may be less than a dozen even. I will try to work it out. It may be the same with madness: that there is a small number of types of delusion which inform all mental illness…(See above)
PS: The reference is to my non-hiking blog. Do not go there if you are sensitive to diverse opinions.