"If you don't like it - change it"

Discussion in 'I Have a Question...' started by Freya, Jun 25, 2013.

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  1. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN SF Author

    But what if the thing you don't like - is you? What if the problem is you?
  2. SadBk

    SadBk Well-Known Member

    Yeah it's not so easy to change when it's such a huge thing like YOUR WHOLE SELF. I agree!

    I feel like my shrink thinks it's so simple. "You're unhappy? Just be happy then!" and it's just so EASY! (at least the therapist doesn't look at it that way... heh)
  3. panoply

    panoply Banned Member

    I get phrases like this spouted at me all the time. "If you don't like something, then change it!" People often say it with a stupid smile lined with presumption and an air of unwarranted self-importance.

    Also known as its variations,
    "Man up."
    "Grow a pair."
    and "Stop being a little bitch."

    Clearly, mindlessly chanting such mantras must work. Look where I am today!
  4. Syn

    Syn Well-Known Member

    People change all the time, so I don't see any reason why you couldn't change who you are. Just ask yourself who you want to be, and start trying to be that person.
  5. Witty_Sarcasm

    Witty_Sarcasm Eccentric writer, general weirdo, heedless heathen

    I know how you feel, since I hate myself...and I figure how can I change anything when I screwed up my life badly enough? But I don't think you're a bad person at all, even if you see it differently...and you can find things you can enjoy in life, even if it seems impossible right now. If I liked literally nothing about life, I wouldn't still be here trying to fight on, and I know you can do it too :hug:
  6. panoply

    panoply Banned Member

    This takes effort, which requires will, which many people suffering from chronic depression simply do not have.
  7. panoply

    panoply Banned Member

    The only things I enjoy in life are distractions from the things I truly want but can't have.
  8. Petal

    Petal SF dreamer Staff Member Safety & Support SF Supporter

    Seems like self acceptance issues. Personally if I was in that situation I would try cognitive behavoural therapy to change the way you are thinking, :hug:
  9. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    I have to disagree though... Sorry. :redface: Cognitive behavioral therapy is just "positive thinking" to me. You can change all the thoughts you want inside the mind, to try to look at it from a positive side... The question remains if you try to change yourself in such a way, by thinking, thinking and more thinking, does the feeling inside change at all?

    And acceptance can be quite a cruel thing to say to an individual.

    The only change acceptance brings is lowering your standards pretty much. But the nagging feeling inside of you wanting to have things go back to the way they were will still remain.

    Example: I remember feeling better without having anti-anxiety/depressiva medication in my blood all the time. But that was already after I became severely ill and have been ill for a period of time. Meaning, I actually wanted to have things return to my previous standards. Let's say that if I became ill in 2007, and kept on feeling worse every year up until now. Then when I say, feeling better without certain medication means: I want things to go back to 2011, when I was still ill mentally and physically, but I remember feeling better than the way I do now in 2013 half-way through the year.

    So I have lowered my standards, but still in order to change who I am inside... I have to give up on who I once was in life: Happy, content, vitally engaged in life and it's activities.

    To: Way less happy, strong emotional pain still most of the time, existential crisis and so on.

    I have learned to finding it okay: "Way less happy", is not an issue anymore. If it was an issue, I would not be here on this earth anymore. And the other two less stimulating/productive obsessions has become something that is now mine. It's part of me, of who I am and so on....

    Sorry for talking too much about myself in this thread. I'm just trying to see things for what they really are and not just from one "positive" side.

    Some things in life are really supposed to hurt us emotionally. :( I feel...
  10. Citizen Insane

    Citizen Insane Staff Member Safety & Support SF Author SF Supporter

    That's fine for the most part, but we should not tell lies to ourselves though. In the past, before we got ill (unless you were born with a mental illness), we were under the impression that we could change our emotions by just thinking about what we would like to feel inside. And abra-cadabra, you felt different, better even.

    The game changes with mental illness. Different rules apply now to the mind and body working together. No longer can we just tell ourselves that things aren't as bad as they may seem, putting it into perspective. The feeling remains the same no matter what thoughts you decide to think of. Even if you did some of this affirmation for a year long: Trying to become the person that you want, planting it in your head. Hoping it will grow like a seed in the garden of your mind. If you're mentally ill... then, no... affirmation is a tough nut to crack.

    As someone said a while back, not sure where I read it: "The functions of your body including the brain are not designed to make you happy at all." It's usually going to take a factor from the environment around you in order to change inside as well. And the outside world... doesn't always cooperate.

    In order for me to be happy I would say that... I would require both changes on the inside and outside. Not just thinking, thinking and more thinking.

    We can always find something we dislike, no matter how positive of a person you are inside and outside.

    There is easy to say... just a lot of bad things in this life. And besides being happy all the time, which is impossible as we know... Having bad feelings at this point is...beyond our control.

    Now as I'm trying to offer a solution to this... I'll be right back. :) No need to give an answer to this just by thinking about it for a few seconds/minutes.

    The best thoughts are usually conceived by taking a longer time to think, and allowing your environment to change alongside with you while you think.
  11. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    I agree that Cognitive Behavioral Therapy can sometimes seem as if it's just to lower our expectations. (I had a therapist try to talk me out of the fact that a co-worker was sabotaging my work. The co-worker was holding on to invoices and then putting them through after I did my monthly budget inputting - so my budgets were ALWAYS wrong and the boss was getting pissed off at me. There is nothing that CBT can do to "change" a reality. It can only help us change our attitude about a reality.)

    If the things we don't like are things about ourselves, maybe we need to evaluate the "validity" and "meaning" of those assessments of ourselves.

    CBT asks us to look at our negative perceptions/feelings, evaluate what they mean to us, assess the validity of the perceptions/feelings and meanings and see if there's a way to "improve" (if that is what we want to do), or "accept" that we all have some things we don't like about ourselves - physical and personality wise, or see the benefits in how we are.

    Here goes a very plausible session about myself:

    I'm short (and I'm not going to grow taller). I'm a little overweight. I tend to be quiet as opposed to outgoing. I feel old and useless.

    Wow. That list makes me feel pretty badly about myself.

    I'm short. True. I'm in my fifties, so I'm more likely to "shrink" than to grow taller. Does it mean people don't like me? No. Many people talk to me, and it's not because I'm short or tall. Hmmm, in fact, we talk about things that are not related to my height. It does not mean I wouldn't mind being taller, but perhaps I don't have to worry so much about being short.

    I'm a little overweight. True. I've put on weight as I've gotten older. It's something I'm not happy about. If I ate less junk and exercised more, I could probably lose some weight. That is something to think about. However, my height and weight are not who I am inside. Sure, some people judge me by my physical appearance, but I have more to offer that non-superficial people do appreciate. The group yesterday were happy to chat as we picked strawberries together.

    I tend to be quiet and serious. This is true. But I also tend to be reliable because when I make commitments, I am not just "talking." I am a thoughtful person who can "do" small talk, but who prefers a deeper conversation. These qualities are different not better or worse than being chatty and outgoing. It's just a question of style. Being quiet allows me to observe/listen to others. This is a valued trait. I have developed empathy and am a good listener. Other quiet people are drawn to me. As an empathetic observer, I notice those who are left out or talked over by more outgoing people and I make an effort to include those people. Being quiet by nature has helped me to draw people into a group.

    If this is old and useless, what was I doing out picking strawberries for a community group? Why would they even have included me? Why did one of the ladies tell me it was nice to get to know me? And no one mentioned my height, weight or quietness.

    Maybe just maybe, I'm not so bad after all.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 27, 2013
  12. Syn

    Syn Well-Known Member

    It's not that those of us who are chronically depressed don't have that will, it's just buried a little bit deeper is all.
  13. Freya

    Freya Loves SF Staff Member ADMIN SF Author

    If I list the things that are "wrong" with me - I want to find a dark corner and cry with exhaustion and hopelessness. I wonder sometimes if I would dislike myself with quite the same intensity if other people seemed to like me, or I did not drive people away with some impressive consistency. I suppose before CBT or positive thinking or anything can affect change, I need to conclusively decide what it is that I want to be 'like'.

    Acy - that CBT cannot change a reality, only our perception of a reality, is something that has always been my issue with therapy in general. Talking about something changes nothing unless you happen to be talking with someone who can give advice or perspective that you have not previously had (or listened to perhaps). I had a therapist once tell me that I should focus on appreciating small things such as my favourite breakfast cereal. I remember thinking that a) If my favourite breakfast cereal was to be the highlight of my life, I had more serious problems than I had imagined and b) Focussing on appreciating a 'small thing' does not actually change the enormous thing that is causing the problem.

    Filling my life with delicious cereal does not alter the fact that I do... something... that makes everyone who cares about me just... stop. Nor does it make up for the ache or the emptiness.

    I need first to identify the things I want to change. Many of them I know. Unfortunately some of them I have been trying to identify for more than a decade with no success. It seems nobody is willing to sit you down and tell you exactly what is wrong with you.

    I can feel postit notes and highlighters coming on.
  14. Acy

    Acy Mama Bear - TLC, Common Sense Staff Member Safety & Support

    Freya, I agree that CBT doesn't change a situation itself; it is meant to help us review how we see things. And you're right, therapy in general has some limitations. It won't give us a job, or make us money, or stop an abusive partner...It can help us to be stronger in general, and when we are stronger, maybe we can apply for the job, expect or ask for better pay, get more respect from people, feel strong enough to walk away from abuse...and so forth.

    I think maybe I've been especially fortunate in having a good therapist. No, he can't change the situations, but when he and I discuss things, he directs or even "provokes" me to learn, think about and respond to things in new ways. Therapy, for me, has not been a fast process, and while there have been "aha moments," learning to apply the "aha" is a longer process of trial and error. My therapist has been there as "support" as I try out the new things.

    I'm really hoping, Freya, and everyone, that given time and the right support and/or therapy, we can all progress. (I know for me, there's lots of room for improvement. lol) :grouphug:
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