/ Can you fundamentally change who you are?

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Taurig - on 22 Apr 2013
Bit of a vague question, I know, but what do you think?

I don't mean things like changing job, deciding you're going to get to bed earlier, eat more fruit etc. I mean at a fundamental, deep level, deciding that you are unwilling to continue your life with the same attitudes, habits, values, mental processes and basic interaction with reality that you have done during your life so far.

If it helps to see what I mean, I'm asking this question as a late twenty-something who is really just exhausted and fed up with living with the same neurotic thoughts, personal habits, fears and deep sense of unease that arise on a day to day basis. We all have out burdens to bear, I know mine is overthinking, overanalysing and taking negative thoughts from my own mind as truth. When I say fed up with living, don't think I'm going to end it all, life is too short already and I don't see the point in making it shorter, I just want to get the most out of it!

So what do you think? If you have lived your entire life with deeply ingrained mental habits, is it too late or just too hard to change? Do you need to go 'find yourself' on a rainforest trek, or can you make a conscious effort here and now to ignore the aspects of your psyche that you hate, and foster new, positive processes? Or am I just going through the somewhat documented quarter-life crisis, and I should just shut up, realise everyone goes through the same sh*t time at some point, and get on with it?

Very interested to hear your thoughts and experiences. Sorry for getting a bit deep on a Monday, but no time like the present eh?
Andrew Mallinson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Hi Taurig,

As a starting point, ask yourself two questions:

1. Who is the person I was born to be?
2. What is the life I was born to lead?

In finding the answers for myself to these two questions some time ago, it changed my life...and we DO all know the answers to these two questions within ourselves, trust me!
If you want to know more, email me...
ANdy
Dauphin - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Don't you feel maybe that wanting to change who you are is all part of that neurotic thinking process?

I'm with the Buddhists on this one, spiritual pain comes from trying to tie up all the contradictory parts of our chaotic monkey natures. There is no me.

D
shark - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:


Give buddhism a whirl. Much cooler than scientology.
Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

'So what do you think? If you have lived your entire life with deeply ingrained mental habits, is it too late or just too hard to change? Do you need to go 'find yourself' on a rainforest trek, or can you make a conscious effort here and now to ignore the aspects of your psyche that you hate, and foster new, positive processes? Or am I just going through the somewhat documented quarter-life crisis, and I should just shut up, realise everyone goes through the same sh*t time at some point, and get on with it?'

I don't know how much notice to take of you telling yourself to shut up, but it's not generally healthy to be hard on one's self, unless that's just a turn of phrase, and you don't beat yourself up.

I've found that being negative about myself and about the possibilites of the future and my own life can (though possibily not always) go hand in hand, which is why I mention it.


Other than that, yes it is possible to change how you think about things,

i used to think negatively a lot of the time, and through wanting to feel happer, started to think to myself that with the future being unknowable, something good could be as likely to happen as something bad, and thought things through a bit like that, and I seem to have become more optimistic.

I don't know how much this is down to me having some optimisim in my nature or not, but that's what seems to have worked for me. It is something which can take a while to change, and it might be work in progress for X months or years, but that's not something to be too bothered about, essentially it is possible to change how you think about things, which can affect how you feel.

Good Luck. (:-))

Tim

Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Dauphin:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> Don't you feel maybe that wanting to change who you are is all part of that neurotic thinking process?

It needn't have to be, it could just be the OP realising that it's possible to be happier.

redsonja - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig: yes, you can definitely change yourself- sometimes the process starts without you actually realising it
Taurig - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Dauphin:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> I'm with the Buddhists on this one, spiritual pain comes from trying to tie up all the contradictory parts of our chaotic monkey natures. There is no me.
>

The Buddhist concept of no self is an appealing one, and in some aspects I have found it to be true. However, in other respects, when your mind reacts with the same, negative response to certain situations over and over again, it is hard to ignore the continuity of your self through time.

Taurig - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> I don't know how much notice to take of you telling yourself to shut up, but it's not generally healthy to be hard on one's self, unless that's just a turn of phrase, and you don't beat yourself up.
>

Really struggle not to be hard on myself. Anything of value I do, even if it is highly commended by others, is always tainted by an automatic response from my mind to see the tiny little flaw and make that the centre of attention, so I never feel truly happy with any achievement. I'm quite sure there is a textbook psychology reason for this somewhere, guilt about something or other.

AlisonSmiles - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Bad news for you. I'm 44 and it feels like constantly re-evaluating and changing. I will never ever ever be "perfect" mostly because I don't really know what that might feel like.

Never too late to change. As someone else has put the "I belong to ..." and "I was made for ... " exercise is good for focusing you on the things which are really fundamentally you. With those in mind you can discard the things which really aren't you and don't fit.

Have you tried checking out mindfulness? That's really good to stop the over thinking and over analysing when you realise you're looping through things you can learn to recognise that you're doing it, and visualise them instead floating away down a river (or whatever imagery works for you).

I kind of like the approach where you need to look at what you're going towards not what you're avoiding. Chasing the Happy Cheese rather than avoiding the evil cat. If you're a mouse of course.
Tall Clare - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

I tend to do this too. It's not particularly helpful, as ways to be go. It all links with low self esteem and overthinking. When I'm busy/productive this sort of thing shuffles to the back of my mind as I don't have so much time to ponder over it.
no_more_scotch_eggs - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

yes. up to a point

but...

its not straightforward. and what works for one person may not work for another. though hearing other peoples suggestions and experiences is definitely useful

from personal experience: it may involve moving. people you have known for a long time have a default mode of reacting to you, and that can constrain you. its one thing changing yourself, and another thing getting peoople to notice and react to you differently

by moving to another city, you have the space, literally and metaphorically, to change. and when you see your 'old' friends again, the time passing will help them notice the difference in you

of course, that implies you've already worked out what you want to change, and what's holding that process back. it also requires a big step into the unknown, but if having the courage to see though intimidating decisions is one of the attributes you want to develop, then that can be part of the process of change itself

and as to *fundamentally* changing yourself... well, i'm not sure. but what does that actually mean? do you want to change *every* aspect of yourself- become a totally different person- or are there some attributes or aspects that you want to be different. if the latter, then its a case of working out what these are, and then how you will behave differently.

and: in your late 20s, its possibly the perfect time for it- old enough to have a reservoir of experiences and insights to draw on, but young enough that almost limitless possibilities are still open to you.

good luck, life is an adventure, and times of change can be the most exciting, and creative part of it,

cheers
gregor
Jon Stewart - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

I think people are all very different.

Personally, I've noticed that external circumstances have a great deal of influence over how I feel internally. Here's a climbing analogy: if I go bouldering in the depths of winter and repeatedly fall off the same holds on some arbitrary eliminate traverse with painful finger holds, no footholds and a lake of cowshit underneath*, then I tend to get incredibly frustrated and spend most of the time ruminating about how crap at climbing I am, or even how much I hate my life. But if I go and climb a trad route at the top of my grade on a massive sea cliff or mountain crag, I spend the whole time completely engaged - and possibly terrified - and for days afterwards I'll feel euphoric. Hard bouldering in the freezing cold inches from the ground is just a bad environment for me - it brings out the worst in me, I find it joyless, and even if I climb a hard problem (for me) I get very little pleasure. On the other hand, on the sea cliffs in the sun, climbing a thin wall with not much gear, I'm in my element and I thrive. It brings out the best in me and it makes me happy, gives me confidence, and I take enormous pleasure in the whole process.

So, if you find yourself ruminating about how much you hate yourself, perhaps your external circumstances are just a bit crap, or don't suit you? Sadly, they're not always particularly easy to change, but for me many a dead-end has suddenly opened up into completely unexpected opportunities that have changed everything. I'm talking 'mundane' stuff like taking redundancy, or meeting someone. For me, it's these external things that change how I feel about myself and how I think, not some internal effort to see the same old shit in a different light. But that works for some people.



*any guesses?
Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:
> (In reply to Timmd)
> [...]
>
> Really struggle not to be hard on myself. Anything of value I do, even if it is highly commended by others, is always tainted by an automatic response from my mind to see the tiny little flaw and make that the centre of attention, so I never feel truly happy with any achievement. I'm quite sure there is a textbook psychology reason for this somewhere, guilt about something or other.

I used to be just the same. It might not be the place online to talk about why, that's upto you, but I think that could be worth exploring. I've been much happier since I stopped beating myself up. Bullies and family issues and 'Catholic guilt' were behiend why I did.

I guess trying to change your thoughts about yourself would be somewhere to start, and maybe go and talk to somebody if you don't have any luck?

Can't think of much else to add except good luck, again, if you want to change i'm sure you will do.
Dauphin - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

Armscliffe?

Nice views down wharrrrrrfffffdale though innit me lovelies.

Applies blowtorch to fingers and balls.

D
plyometrics - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Have you considered cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling?
Jon Stewart - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Dauphin:
> (In reply to Jon Stewart)
>
> Armscliffe?

Yes.

> Nice views down wharrrrrrfffffdale though innit me lovelies.
>
> Applies blowtorch to fingers and balls.

Is that where I'm going wrong?

ice.solo - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

yes, you can. its called brain-change.

think of yourself as a series of circuits that engage feedback with the world. you need to change them to get the feedback you want.
lots of ways to do this, but be wary of anyone selling you an off-the-rack reality.
me, id skip buddhism and go straight for the vedanta teachings beyond it. the philosophy/religion is cloaked in hoo hah, but the 'self' stuff behind it has value.

consider also travel. not kon tiki tours shit, but real stuff that confronts your connection to place. sometimes its easier to just change the world around you first, open up new choices and abandon old ones.

be warned tho: deep changes can be traumatic.it takes a lot of upheavel to really reboot. theres a lot you gotta step away from and a lot you gotta step into. its not a spectator sport.

some good stuff in this thread. bon voyage
janiejonesworld - on 22 Apr 2013
Dauphin - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:


One of my best friends lives there, we excitedly trudged up through the ice and cow shit when I stayed there before Christmas; I was ready go after 20 minutes, I would of pissed on my hands to get the feeling back, but couldn't find or feel my pee pee. Nice views though.

D
Andrew Mallinson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Taurig,

It is NEVER too late to BE the person YOU WERE BORN TO BE. Listen to your inner guide and it will show you the way.....I would suggest you are not being the person you know you should be, and that you know you are not living the life you were born to lead...

When I found the answers to the two pertinent questions within myself, my behaviours changed....I became the person I was meant to be and, to put it bluntly, got rid of all the crap in my life and became a much better person...work in progress but now happier than I have been for 20+ years...
Go for it...
ANdy
Andrew Mallinson - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:

Timmd,
Rings a bell with me...I spent 20+ years being angry at anything and everything, but particularly with myself. When I got rid of that anger my life turned a corner.
ANdy
Deviant - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
> (In reply to Timmd)
>
> Timmd,
> Rings a bell with me...I spent 20+ years being angry at anything and everything, but particularly with myself. When I got rid of that anger my life turned a corner.
> ANdy

Well, at least your life had a corner. Without a corner, you would be going round in circles !



Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to plyometrics:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> Have you considered cognitive behavioural therapy or counselling?

http://www.mind.org.uk/

It's probably not exagerating to say Mind changed my life for the better.
Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> I tend to do this too. It's not particularly helpful, as ways to be go. It all links with low self esteem and overthinking. When I'm busy/productive this sort of thing shuffles to the back of my mind as I don't have so much time to ponder over it.

You always seem so full of intelligence and wit to me Clare, and like you think before you speak. (:-))
Taurig - on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:

Ive got a few ideas but no firm grasp on why I'm hard on myself. My parents were (and still are) very supportive of me. Funny you should mention catholic guilt as I was brought up in that way, although for all intents and purposes I am not practicing. I am lapsed, the shame! ;-)

Thanks a lot for all the posts, bedtime for me but feel free to keep posting.
Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:It's a horrible thing, Catholic guilt, if you can get that to go away i'm sure it'll help. It's enough to leave you feeling guilty about simply existing and for not being perfect, which is impossible, to be perfect, so it's no wonder some Catholics feel guilty, in believing that Jesus (who is perfect) died for our sins and that we need to always be saying thanks, and be asking for forgiveness. Enough already.
Timmd on 22 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:I'm lapsed too, and very thankfully so.
tlm - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Yes, you CAN fundamentally change who you ar

Your brain is a plastic neural network - connections are formed by spending time thinking particular thoughts. If you constantly think about how useless you are, that life is scary, that you spend time ruminating, lost in an internal world, then those will be a very easy thoughts for you to think - almost automatic.

You can change these habits, but it is like changing any habit. In order to not smoke, or to stop biting your nails, you have to persevere - it's no good trying for one day and being surprised that you are still addicted to these ways of thinking!

Also - with thoughts, it is no god trying to NOT think about pink elephants. You will just end up thinking about them! It's better to have a thought to pop in there in their place. When I started making an effort to change, I thought of a couple of positive things about myself (it was very hard to come up with anything at all!) and every time I thought "I'm useless" I would then think "but I am a kind person and I DO try my best" (which were the only positive things that I could think up at all!

I found this website quite interesting:
http://www.clinical-depression.co.uk/learning_path.htm

I think that CBT and Buddhism are both ways that people try to explain this process of changing the structure of your own brain using thought.

You can still be you, but you can lessen that unhelpful and tiring way of thinking that leads to that constant state of unease.

And even if you only make a tiny change, each tiny change makes life easier and more enjoyable! :-) It can be a very enjoyable journey! :-)

Good luck
John_Hat - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Yes, you can change yourself. You can also change the way you think.

To a certain extent this happens naturally anyway - you, at 30, will think differently to the way you thought at 20.

What you're talking about is guiding and accelerating the process. CBT is the usual method, but what it comes down to, as tlm said, is reinforcing positive thoughts and undermining negative ones.

At its very simplist its if you think "I'm a pile of shite who never achieved anything" countering with "but I passed these exams, and I did this good thing, etc" - exactly as you said "a conscious effort here and now to ignore the aspects of your psyche that you hate, and foster new, positive processes?"

The heading down a rainforest thing has a use in that it separates you from your everyday life and gives you time to think, but really you can make as much difference to your life and the way you think sitting in your house as in the middle of nowhere.

FWIW, I was in a very similar place to you at the age of 27. Had a bit of a Road to Damascus moment when I wrote down what I had achieved, my opinions on the world, what I liked doing, erc (e.g. everything of "me" apart from the seething internal negativity), and looked at it all and thought "OK, if you met this person, would you think they were an OK person?"

The answer was "yes", so I thought "Well, if you think this person is an OK person, probably others do to. So possibly this person IS an OK person, in which case the seething internal negativity can f*ck off". And it kinda did...
ads.ukclimbing.com
SCrossley on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig: Yes, but it is hard. Everything starts with a thought, and you CAN control your thoughts, but it does take incredible discipline. I find writing aims and goals down everyday is important. It`s a journey, your journey, take control and responsibility.
Cheers sjc
Troy Tempest - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to Taurig)

>
> be warned tho: deep changes can be traumatic.it takes a lot of upheavel to really reboot. theres a lot you gotta step away from and a lot you gotta step into. its not a spectator sport.

That's the best thing I've read on this forum in years

victim of mathematics - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:

>
> It is NEVER too late to BE the person YOU WERE BORN TO BE. Listen to your inner guide and it will show you the way.....

You sound like a bad advert for a self-help manual. Or an enormous hippy. I want some of what you're on.
tlm - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:
> You sound like a bad advert for a self-help manual. Or an enormous hippy. I want some of what you're on.

Heh - that's the hard thing about talking about this sort of stuff - it all comes out a bit that way! The science is all pretty young at the moment - it's been hard in the past to see what sort of structure the brain has and hw it can change...

http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/01/110121144007.htm
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:

Do you know something mate ? I don't care.....

What I am "ON" as you put it, is absolutely free...and it saved my life.

If you want some...i'm sure you can always contact me....
ANdy
RockSteady on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Read 'The Chimp Paradox' by Dr Steve Peters.
http://www.chimpparadox.co.uk/

All about how we have different mental systems we default to and how to change them.

Steve Peters is the mental coach for the British Cycling Team.

Very good book, rings very true - everyone should read it.
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to tlm:

Not a lot to do with science IMHO, The Secret has always been known....
ANdy
victim of mathematics - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
> The Secret has always been known....
> ANdy

Not much of a secret then?
rug - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Warning: Miserable drivelling bollocks alert - please feel free to skip directly to the next post...



Events have lead me to take a long hard look at myself, and (like others) I found that I really didn't like what I saw. I would have been quite happy to end my life, but I have a 9 year old son - which makes things a little harder. So I sought help.

I tried counselling. I became quite good at explaining how I felt, but it didn't make me feel any better. It seemed to me that it was my role in the counselling process to talk, and to feel better. Since I was not feeling better, I was therefore not 'doing my job' in the process. I was failing (again).

I had been struggling at work for a while too, due to the depression brought on by the 'events'. They were very understanding, and had been reducing my workload to enable me to get better. I could see that I was not getting any better, and being paid for doing hardly anything when all my colleagues were very busy was more pressure. So I quit my job.

I had an opportunity to get some CBT. After 3 sessions, I quit that too. I didn't feel that I was working hard enough, and that I was taking sessions away from someone who might gain the benefit that I was to idle to work for.

I read books and articles about negative/positive thinking, and how that effects happiness. It seemed to me to say that you were miserable if you thought negatively, and that this was the wrong way to think - that the negative thoughts were not a true view. That if I thought positively, then I would be happy. But to me it seems that this happiness through positive thinking was just as false as the misery induced by the negative thinking. I also feel that the negative thoughts are true, and that becoming happy through thinking positively would be delusional, and 'cheating'.

So I seem to have reached a compromise of sorts. I don't like me. I don't see why others should either. So I keep pretty much to myself, and do pretty much nothing. It does sort of work for me, though. I have become pretty much accepting of who I am.

So to get to the point (at last); I think that many people may be able to change, but you have to believe that you can change. I don't believe that I can (or that I even deserve to) - so I am settling for acceptance, and trying to be as little inconvenience as I can. It will be great if you can change, but don't feel too bad if you can't.

Rug
tlm - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to rug:

:-)

The thing that I wasn't so keen on when I read up about CBT was all this 'negative' and 'positive' thinking stuff...

Things that helped me was to remember to treat myself with the same kindness that I would extend to others.

If a friend was going to CBT and finding it hard going, would you tell them to give it up because they were taking another person's place?

One thing to notice is what you say to yourself and how you treat yourself when compared to another person - are you harder on yourself? If so why?

There are facts in the world, but also, what you experience in your own head has to be interpreted by you. If it is raining, one person will think their day is ruined and another will think it is good for the garden - both can be equally true.

Here is something I wrote earlier:
Another thing that I learnt to do was to allay my own fears.

My particular bete noir was a feeling of being cut off from other people
- isolation.

Before, my thinking would go something like this:

I'm sitting at home on my own, on a Saturday night. Everyone else is out
with their wonderful friends, having fun. I'm alone, because I don't
have any real friends. Oh yes, of course I do have friends. but Jane
lives miles away, so she doesn't really count, and jim is really just a
climbing buddy, and Helen is just not on the same wavelength as me blah
blah blah...

(I actually had plenty of good friends, but I would go though them all,
and decide that actually, non of them actually really, really did like
me!!!)

I must be a hateful person. I'm doomed to die, eaten by cats, all alone.
In fact, I may as well die right now, and get it over and done with. It
would just save all the pain that I will feel between now and then.

I would see myself as a victim of all the terrible things that I had
experienced in my life, almost as though I was in some sort of swedish
arts film. I would really be very melodramatic about the situation (just
in my own head, you understand) and blow it up into a big tragedy. I
would end up banging my head off walls, crying, feeling sick...

Instead of doing this, taking a very small incident (being at home,
alone, on a Saturday night) and talking it up to myself as proof of just
how terrible everything was and is and will be, I would start to have a
bit of a laugh at myself! What a drama queen!!!!

I would tell myself not to be so daft, to calm down, that I wasn't
actually in any physical pain, that I was just feeling a bit sorry for
myself.

I would list the friends I had, and tell myself that I was ungrateful if
I didn't appreciate them.

I would reassure myself, and minimise my reactions, rather than winding
myself up and maximising my reactions.
Kimono - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:
Yes, i believe that you can change. However, i think trying to change/wanting to change can be part of the problem itself.
Trying to accept yourself on deeper and deeper levels is a better way to approach things imo but if you can find ways to do this, then i believe change will happen; not as a goal, but as a consequence...if that makes sense.

If you're interested, this book written by a friend of mine, is, i believe, one of the best of it's type and well worth the time to read it:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Happiness-How-Happens-Contentment-Mindfulness/dp/1907332936/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UT...

Good luck!
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to victim of mathematics:

Correct....if I was referring to a secret, but I'm not,....I am referring to The Secret...two totally different things...
ANdy
Kimono - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
The Open Secret as it is can be called
Taurig - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to Taurig)

> be warned tho: deep changes can be traumatic.it takes a lot of upheavel to really reboot. theres a lot you gotta step away from and a lot you gotta step into. its not a spectator sport.
>

Absolutely. I believe my negative thinking and anxiety run very, very deep. I remember as a kid being nervous to the point of being sick at things that other kids were excited and happy about. I've overanalysed to the best of my ability for as long as I can remember. I can't deny this hasn't had it's positive side, as I am good at my job in a scientific field. However, as it's so ingrained, it means no quick fix, as you say. I'm genuinely unsure whether the mental upheaval required is better or worse than just coping with myself as best I can. I've certainly got a lot better at doing that, especially in recent years. At the moment I feel like it's cut down the weed every time it grows too tall, or make the effort to kill it at the root.

Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to kieran b:

...if you like....it worked for me...
ANdy
Timmd on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
> [...]
>
> [...]
>
> Absolutely. I believe my negative thinking and anxiety run very, very deep. I remember as a kid being nervous to the point of being sick at things that other kids were excited and happy about. I've overanalysed to the best of my ability for as long as I can remember. I can't deny this hasn't had it's positive side, as I am good at my job in a scientific field. However, as it's so ingrained, it means no quick fix, as you say. I'm genuinely unsure whether the mental upheaval required is better or worse than just coping with myself as best I can. I've certainly got a lot better at doing that, especially in recent years. At the moment I feel like it's cut down the weed every time it grows too tall, or make the effort to kill it at the root.

You possibly can change gradually though? In my councelling i'd comment on still following old habits, and it was pointed out that if something is well ingrained, it can take time to change.

I did sometimes feel rather odd after a session, but for the better i'm quite a different person to who I was a few years ago. Different things work for different people, but from how it's helped me, I think i'd reccomend seeing a Mind therapist or somebody similar.
browndog33 - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson: What religion are you selling mate?
Mark.
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to browndog33:

Absolutely none...I'm agnostic bordering on atheist...and I'm selling nothing...but you can change your life.
ANdy
John_Hat - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:
> (In reply to victim of mathematics)
>
> Correct....if I was referring to a secret, but I'm not,....I am referring to The Secret...two totally different things...
> ANdy

Are you trying to help the OP or trying to come across as a smug git? If the latter, your life is full of achievement. If the former, less so.
waterbaby - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd:

What's a mind therapist and how do you find them?
.
In reply to op I want to change aspects of myself, especially my negativity. I'm reading this thread with interest, as I wasn't brave enough start one myself. I want to quit my cycles of depression, I've had enough of spiralling downwards, I want to be happy. Someone somewhere said, you are responsible for your own happiness. This in itself and talking to a couple of people have really helped but I know I need to change how I react to things.
I hate to admit it but I'm a glass half empty person and it's annoying me and those around me. I feel I have strength now to sort myself out but have no idea where to start.

I suppose I'm just trying to tell you you're not alone and thank you for starting this thread.
Timmd on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to waterbaby:

http://www.mind.org.uk/

It's a therapist who works for this organisation, they have a search facility on thier website, you don't have to pay.

Good luck.
waterbaby - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Timmd: Thanks.
iClimber on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:
way to deep for a monday so here, have a nonsense analagy
I never wanted to be a smoker, its dirty, you are paying to kill yourself, you stink and don't realise it. etc etc. I smoked for about 8 years. Tried to quit many times without success. eventually I was so sick of it I really did.
I would imagine its very hard to change who you are deep down, but seeing as you seem really fed up with how it is and really want to change then I reckon you've got a good chance. The right friends (or not the wrong friends) around you will help immensely.
Good luck!
Tim Chappell - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:


Can you fundamentally change? Yes and no. You have a nature, and that's a good thing, and pretty well impossible to change.

However, you can be out of touch with your own nature. Getting in touch with who you are is the way to become free of all the irrelevances and white noise that infests most of our lives, most of the time. Understanding who you really are, and what that means for what you should do, is the source of most happiness (at least it is for me).

Rather like Andrew's questions, I'd advocate asking yourself "What do I most want in all the world?" and also "Who do I want to be?"

I'd also say this: discovering who you are is a journey best taken with people who love you. Because the way you are in the eyes of the person who knows and loves you best, is the way you really are. We need to look outside ourselves as well as inside.

I think the one person who knows and loves each of us best is the God who made us, and who also has the power to change us.

I don't say that because it fits somebody else's dogma; I say it because it matches my own experience. The most transforming thing I ever do is sit down in some quiet empty place (a church or a field or my own bedroom) and open my mind and heart to him--and lay before him the things I'm happy about and the things I worry about--and listen, as honestly and as quietly as I can, to hear what he has to say to me. Sometimes I hear nothing; but sometimes I do hear something. Either way, the exercise of prayer gets me to shut up for a bit and listen instead.... and that, as you'll no doubt hasten to agree, can only be a good thing :-)
Ben Sharp - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig: Can you? of course. How and why are slightly harder.

But of course it's possible. At the end of the day(!), if you suffered a brain injury, took too many drugs or spent a year getting tortured you would change dramatically. It's just a brain and you can change it as much as you like. Whether that's quitting a bad habit or trying to turn into someone else, it's always going to be possible. It's probably a lot of effort though and it's much easier to just accept who you are. If you're going to die shortly anyway then why not just enjoy the days/weeks/months/years ahead and try not to worry so much.

Do you write/paint etc. Personal pain is always the source of the greatest writing and art!

Two-penneth worth - if you want to change, for heavens sake don't go near any self help books or join any cults. Just do it the British way with a few pints and a notebook.
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to John_Hat:

John,
Not worthy of a response...
ANdy
fairweatherclimber - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

This is a brave and useful question. And some great responses.

As some others have said, there will be some aspects of each of our natures that we can't change. Fundamental personality, tendency towards depression in various forms and more I'm sure. However, we can manage these things - if we understand ourselves. You mention "attitudes, habits, values, mental processes and basic interaction with reality" - I believe all these can change, attitudes and values may take longer...

To avoid repetition and be fairly brief, my thoughts:

- On your self-critical nature, read about Transactional Analysis, Drivers and Scripts.
- Initially the challenge can be to be in a sufficiently resourceful state to actually do something (although your post suggests you are there). This is where the exercise, sleep, good eating and for some Prozac or equivalent come in. It's about managing your body chemistry. Endorphins, serotonin etc. Devise a strategy and stick to it. There will be setbacks, just get back on and keep going.
- Yes travel and a change of environment can help. But be wary of thinking this is the answer in itself. If in doubt read Alain de Botton's "The Art of Travel"; he says "you take yourself with you". Start making changes in your current environment.
- Remember the quote attributed to Goethe: “Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.” Just start. Do something positive right now.
- I'm sure that CBT and other forms of talking therapy can be a help.

Remember that this "advisor", and I expect a few others, are only commenting because they relate to what you say and have experience of it. What you describe is I expect, to various degrees, much much more common than you think.
Andrew Mallinson - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Tim Chappell:

Hi Tim,
Whilst we are clearly at opposite ends of the spectrum with regards to God/religion,(see one of my earlier posts on this thread..), what you have said here makes a lot of sense, much of which I can relate to personally.
Respect Tim.
ANdy
Tim Chappell - on 23 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:

Thank you. I aim to please.

Well, actually that's not quite right; I aim to say what I think is true, which often doesn't please at all :-)

But it's nice to agree about some things.
Taurig - on 23 Apr 2013
I know it gets said a lot in forums, but the replies here are genuinely appreciated. Very encouraging stuff, and it helps to know you are not alone. I made an attempt today to think highly optimistic, happy thoughts. For some reason, my mood quickly changed, for a short period, for the better. I say for some reason because I didn't believe what I was saying deep down, but despite this, it seemed to work! I also found that doing this and blocking out the negativity was mentally very tiring, but it's a first step and shows potential, so I'm happy about that. :-)
ads.ukclimbing.com
Green-Winged Orchid - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to tlm: I've spoken to you before many times about my depression. Yesterday I was really giddy making plans for orchid hunting and I jokingly thought this is where I fall off the cliff. I'd never really stopped myself before and I thought I'd try reigning in my excitement and see if I could "manage" what was coming. So far not so good.

Changing yourself mentally? I don't think it's possible. The vast majority of sane people lie to themselves everyday to excuse their actions. I may have low self esteem because I'm not kidding myself.
ice.solo - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

this and the post above - tho seemingly different i think say the same thing: choose your own reality.
its all one big untruth - but that doesnt make it a lie, just not what it actually is, as what it actually is is a whirl of pulsating chaos.
you have to make up a whole matrix of untruths to yourself in order to piece it all together - confronting the reality of chaos doesnt put food on the table.

seeing it as 'lies' tho doesnt have to be necessary. it implies the intention is for some malevolent gain. is it? the cosmos doesnt care if your brain functions or not, so who is gaining anything?
why lie to yourself when you could be inventing reality instead? how can you upload a better reality when you choose to see it as phoney? you dont have to believe it, but you do need to enjoy it.
think of it like its porn or a copy of alpinist.

the moment you see it as a choice between all sorts of realities (ie faces put on the chaos to make it make sense) you see that its nots your inherant f*ck up, rather you were stuck between channels because you couldnt find the remote (or even knew there was one).

Andrew Mallinson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:

Monkey,
I have replied to your email.
ANdy
Andrew Mallinson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:

Tom,
I have replied to your email.
ANdy
Andrew Mallinson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Taurig,
"Happy thought" is the key in what you say here...think of something that makes you happy, it can be absolutely anything, and create a mental image of it. Whenever you have a negative thought, just focus on your happy mental image. For me, when I started out, my happy mental image was Orion Direct on The Ben...it can be anything that means something to you.
We are all "a work in progress" and so the periods of time that this makes us feel better will be short to start with, but it will get better over time. This gets us heading in the right direction and then we can get down to the fundamental questions - see an earlier post....
ANdy
tlm - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Green-Winged Orchid:
> Changing yourself mentally? I don't think it's possible. The vast majority of sane people lie to themselves everyday to excuse their actions. I may have low self esteem because I'm not kidding myself.

Yeah - I would have agreed with you before I experienced something different myself. I'm not a person who is fond of woo. However, having experienced something different, I was prepared to read around the facts and change my mind.

I guess I don't see people as good or bad. What on earth does 'bad' even mean? Harmful to other people? Some people get feted as great heroes for killing their enemies and are seen as 'good' but they have been pretty harmful to their enemies. There are so few things that don't change depending on the perspective of the person looking.



rug - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> seeing it as 'lies' tho doesn't have to be necessary. it implies the intention is for some malevolent gain. is it? the cosmos doesn't care if your brain functions or not, so who is gaining anything?

I would call it self delusion rather than lies. No malice implied in that case.

> why lie to yourself when you could be inventing reality instead? [...] (i.e. faces put on the chaos to make it make sense) you see that its nots your inherent f*ck up, rather you were stuck between channels because you couldn't find the remote (or even knew there was one).

That's an interesting idea. The existentialist side of me left me feeling like I was in an audience at a magic show, surrounded by people amazed by the magic, while personally seeing it all to be totally artificial. I really wanted to be enjoying the show, but to do so I would need to ignore 'reality'.

If the key to enjoying life is to find the metaphorical TV channel or show which you enjoy, then isn't that just saying that you need to find a delusion that you can believe in ? Is that a solution, or just a way of ignoring the problem, like turning to drugs or religion ? (No offence intended towards religious types - I am just presenting my honest personal view of things. I understand that you see things very differently).

I seem to face the choice between remaining as I am, or somehow believing something that I really don't believe. I can avoid seeing my current state as depressed, as I can at least claim to have integrity :o)

Rug

Dauphin - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

It's Spring. Winters over. Salmon are swimming upstream & the sap is rising. Have a great summer.

D
Jon Stewart - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> this and the post above - tho seemingly different i think say the same thing: choose your own reality.
> its all one big untruth... you were stuck between channels because you couldnt find the remote (or even knew there was one).

Got to say, I don't think life is quite as mystical as this, nor as mystical as there being "The Big Secret" nor a God that one can listen to. As my hero Tim Minchin puts it,

"we're just f^cking monkeys in shoes".

So given that our brain, and our consciousness (with all its sense of identity and likes and don't likes and emotions) is just part of the machinery that evolution has come up with because that's what it does, I think it's useful to ask: how well is that machinery working?

It's perhaps a slightly false distinction between "ill/depressed/no working right" and "the machinery's working fine thanks, this is just my personal reaction to the situation I'm in, because this is my personality". But it's a distinction worth making, because if I came to the conclusion that I was depressed/ill/not working right, I'd be trying to fix it with drugs, CBT, etc. It's just a machine, if it's on the blink, it can most probably be repaired. Personally, I don't think the "are you depressed?" questionnaire used by medics is much good - I've often been diagnosed as depressed, but if I know exactly why I'm suffering the symptoms, I don't consider it an illness that needs to be treated. It's a hard question, but I have often had to ask myself, "is it reasonable and rational that I feel like this, given everything I know about myself and my life" - and I've always come up with the answer "yes" and so not taken treatment when it's been offered (except for counselling which I've personally found entirely useless as it simply did not address my problems).

I've often asked myself: "what does someone like me need in order to feel OK? Do I have those things or is a lack of them making me feel terrible? Can I get those things?". I've found myself in situations where getting the things I need to feel OK has looked absolutely impossible and the future utterly bleak - but you never know what's going to happen and all kinds of things can change. My personality has never been one of the things that has changed, but I have put myself in new situations where my personality fits much better. Once in the right niche, this monkey in shoes can do pretty well.
Kemics - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

I think it's entirely possible to change who you are. We are to a large extent the product of our surroundings. Humans (or myself and many I know) are creatures of habit. We feel safest and secure with routine. Unfortunately, this does not help us grow or develop as a person. But it's safe. It's very easy to just make it to the end of the week, never challenge yourself, and let the rope slip through your fingers. and there's nothing wrong with it. But if you want to make the most of life, it's entirely possible. Mr Shaw puts it better than I ever could -

Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to future generations

anyway.

Step 1: Shock the system. Break the routine. Go teach English in Japan for a year. whatever. Move city. Travel. Quit your job. Terrify yourself with uncertainty and endless possibilities. Whatever your routine is, completely dismantle it.

Step 2: Train martial arts. Not forms or tai chi or esoteric stuff. Legitimate combat/Violence. I think a huge amount of anxiety comes from fear of violence. If you learn boxing, wrestling, muay thai etc. The most important thing it will teach you, is not how to hit people, but how to get hit. You'll learn resolve and character and all that. But to a large degree you'll learn not worry about things not worth worrying about. You'll be able to focus with a greater intensity on the things that do matter.

Basically I think there's a lot of stuff you may consider "you" but is actually crap you're having to deal with. Strip it away and you can build it up differently

However, this is all stuff that's worked for me. I'll have no idea if it's applies to anyone else...but I reckon it might.

p.s the Secret is bullshit (of the same degree those explosive detectors are) :)

Andrew Mallinson - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Andrew Mallinson:

All,
I have had too many emails to reply to individually...
Can I refer you here: www.womenhavevision.com
It's for men as well as women (despite the name)and I have nothing to do with the website at all - merely that the lady who runs it was a great personal help to me in relation to the type of issues being discussed on this thread.
All the best to All,
ANdy
Taurig - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:
> (In reply to Taurig)
>
> this and the post above - tho seemingly different i think say the same thing: choose your own reality.

It took me a few reads of your post until I thought I got what you were saying, which left me with a question. You mentioned Buddhism and related teachings above, and from what I have read of Buddhism, I take it to be seeing things as they are without the filter of our thoughts and emotions. If you would agree with this, it leads, in my opinion, to a contradiction when you say choose your own reality, which to me means applying subjectivity to what you perceive. Do you agree there is a contradiction there, and is this what you meant by seeing the chaos doesn't put food on the table i.e. it is hard to live day to day seeing only the ultimate reality, the absolute, whatever you want to call it?

Taurig - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Green-Winged Orchid:
> (In reply to tlm)
> Changing yourself mentally? I don't think it's possible. The vast majority of sane people lie to themselves everyday to excuse their actions. I may have low self esteem because I'm not kidding myself.

I read somewhere that the happiest people are those that self delude the most and have a higher opinion of themselves and their talents than reality supports. The people who have the most realistic appraisal of their abilities are the unhappiest, borderline depressed. I would put myself firmly in the later category.

As it happens, I had a mind to post another thread a while ago wondering if people thought self confidence was a house of cards? The reason for asking was basically the same as this thread; I wondered whether if I deliberately boosted my confidence and ego it would make me feel 'better' on a day to day basis, but when crunch time came in some form or another, I would come crashing back to reality, perhaps worse off than if I hadn't deluded myself in the first place? However, trying to be optimistic, perhaps the concerted effort to avoid negative thought processes, and starting from a 'higher' state, would mean the dip wouldn't be so low, and recovery faster? I don't know, lots to think about.

Taurig - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Kemics:
> (In reply to Taurig)
> Step 1: Shock the system...
>
> Step 2: Train martial arts...

As it happens I have had a fair bit of upheaval in the past six months to a year; finishing uni, moving home, starting my first big boy job, it has been pretty hectic. I get a feeling this has been a bit of a catalyst for the way I'm just now. I can see already, though, how you could get stuck in a rut, so I do try to keep my week fresh and have one thing I did differently to last week, each week. One of the advantages of having some level of anxiety over just about everything is that you are used to dealing with it, so even though I may be nervous about trying something new it's normal so I generally do it anyway.

Martial arts, interesting, did it as a kid into early teens but moved on to outdoor sports and it fell away. There have been numerous occasions when I have had the urge to get back into, though. I think it's similar to climbing; when you've recently been in a situation where there is a very real possibility of injury or death and come through it, all the small stuff doesn't seem to matter so much.

Timmd on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:I find regarding confidence in one's abilities and things job related, for me at least, i've found it helpfull to think i'm good at having a go, rather than thinking I can't do something before i've tried.

It's quite difficult to undermine what you've actuially done with negative thinking, if you can see you've done okay at something, and/or you get positive feedback.

ice.solo - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

yep, contradiction - or dichotomy. two perspectives can exist at the same time.
choose a reality but be aware you are doing so. dont choose buddhism (or any other) as THE way because its not. its A way. buddhism applies a buddhist template to chaos, LSD applies another.

and yep, thats the chaos. its not what bubble you decide to live in, its how well you live inside that bubble, how good you are at playing along with an illusion you built yourself but without getting bogged down in it.
ice.solo - on 24 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:

i agree jon, nothing mystical about it. just the calibrated functioning of primate circuitry - just that its circuitry capable of projecting quite sophisticated realities.

monkeys in shoes? id say robots in shoes. the process of recalibration or rebooting is quite standardized, we all have the same wiring, even the monkeys.
Tall Clare - on 25 Apr 2013
I'm still pondering this. I think that there's a lot we now 'know' about CBT, ingrained patterns of thinking etc, but that sometimes change can feel too impossible and just finding some sort of bearable equilibrium must suffice.

Various people have suggested throwing everything to the four winds. I think that suits some people but not others - about eighteen months ago I remember asking on here about how much change people could cope with, and got some responses to the effect that change is great, change is vital, change is invigorating. I turned my life upside down in various ways just after that, and am still wrangling some of the aftershock. I'm not a person who copes well with these things, it turns out. Perhaps I didn't heed the words of that great <ahem> businessman Jack Welch, who said (and I think I paraphrase) 'change before you have to'.

Ramble ramble...
ice.solo - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

i think our brains are designed to change but we let the mechanism calcify and so we feel the bubble we live in become tight and limited. we stop seeing options.

to really crank out a new perspective takes the rebooting of a whole new set of values, but like anything, to get it right takes practice. its a bit much to expect to get reality-forming right the firt time round, so best exercised a little to tune in the skills.

theres lots of ways to manipulate your 'choice circuitry' before taking on the full onslaught of a complete reboot, and it seems fear/anxiety is the common indicator for the direction to take. not the nasty type, but the kind of butterflies you get before going overseas, the starting gun at a race or dropping a tab of acid.

maybe, try defining what you want your new reality/lifestyle/perspective/whatever to be then test-pilot some elements of it, attempting to get as much into the role as possible.
standing back and saying 'this all sucks' without an alternative is like waiting for a bus without any destination in mind. approach the processes of change with no defined perspective and no research and theres little chance of what you want just landing in front of you.
its not a matter of having expectations, its a matter of taking responsibility for what goes on in your life.

me, i think youve done the right thing and put your thoughts into collated form and broadcast them seeking input. thats a start, but sooner or later you need to pick/construct a reality to go with and start having a go. you can always change again. the worst possible outcome once youve started is to become one of those henna-dyed, professional acolytes who flits from one change-dogma to another, using 'growth' as an excuse to never grow.
decide on something, take it to a level of resolution, move on.
the smart change-agent plays one reality as a stepping stone to the next. your preferred 'self' may need a few larval 'selves' before bearing fruit. how many pairs of climbing shoes did you go thru to find the ones that fit right??

apologies for all the batty timothy leary-sounding lingo used. insert whatever psychobabble anagrams, eastern esoteric or californian infomercial vocabulary works for you.
Timmd on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> I'm still pondering this. I think that there's a lot we now 'know' about CBT, ingrained patterns of thinking etc, but that sometimes change can feel too impossible and just finding some sort of bearable equilibrium must suffice.
>
> Various people have suggested throwing everything to the four winds. I think that suits some people but not others - about eighteen months ago I remember asking on here about how much change people could cope with, and got some responses to the effect that change is great, change is vital, change is invigorating. I turned my life upside down in various ways just after that, and am still wrangling some of the aftershock. I'm not a person who copes well with these things, it turns out. Perhaps I didn't heed the words of that great <ahem> businessman Jack Welch, who said (and I think I paraphrase) 'change before you have to'.
>
> Ramble ramble...

It's probably down to individual people I think, and thier state of mind at the time. If one is depressed (with nobody in mind) change can be harder to deal with than being in a happier place, and some people just handle change better if it happens more gradually.

I seem to prefer change to happen more gradually, but in the past 3 years life has changed quite a lot for me in a gradual way. If we can know how we tick, regarding pace of change or anything else, that's usefull knowledge towards being happier.
aln - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo: DMT useful?
Jon Stewart - on 25 Apr 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to ice.solo) DMT useful?

Useful if you want to wander off into the land of the smurfy elf people.

Not sure that's terribly useful if you want to get on with your life.
aln - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Jon Stewart:
> (In reply to aln)
> [...]
>
> Useful if you want to wander off into the land of the smurfy elf people.
>
>

Was that your experience of it?

ice.solo - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to ice.solo) DMT useful?

i had a DMT phase, and yeah, if chemicals are your thing DMT is more useful than most others. lets you glimpse the process with minimal peripheral junk that makes most chemicals too steeped in garbage to bother with aside from entertainment. makes you take your brain seriously.

with DMT, whats startlingly apparent is that theres form and pattern to the experience, its not just random mental debris. each time you do it follows the same process to access the same experience level (but not experience). whereas acid etc seem to feed ooff the crap floating about your mind, DMT feels like it bypasses all the cul de sacs that lead nowhere, and goes straight on the highway.

useful too as its too intense to make a lifestyle out of. type 2 fun. sort of self limits itself for developing any habitual use issues.

but not for everyone.
New POD - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

I haven't yet read any responces, because I'm an arogant tw*t who doesn't care for other people's opinions.

So the answer is yes, it must be possible, because if you are given a different financial perspective, you adapt to your new situation. (Good or Bad)

I do think it starts with small changes, like going to bed earlier, eating better food, taking up a hobby, doing a night school course, deciding to go on a walking holiday rather than lie on a beach, through to bog changes like getting a new job, moving to a new area.

I used to hate work, because I was so worried that I couldn't afford to pay the mortgage if I was made redundant, and was too scared to go freelancing which is what I wanted (to see different stuff) and yet now I've paid it off, and am freelancing, I don't give a stuff, about what my hiring manager thinks, because I can afford a few months off if I want. . But because I don't give a stuff what they think, they start to respect my views and experience more. In fact the more I tell people they are wrong and why, the better they treat me. I feel liberated
Neil Williams - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

"We all have out burdens to bear, I know mine is overthinking, overanalysing and taking negative thoughts from my own mind as truth."

Sounds like me. It isn't necessarily a bad thing - there are many jobs e.g. IT where such attributes are very useful.

Neil
Jimbo W on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

Hi Mate,
I have had very similar experiences to you. I am someone with an over rationalising, very anxious, OCD type personality. I fear the future, and spend alot of time ruing perceived mistakes in the past. I view myself very negatively in terms of achievement, even in the teeth of objective evidence to the contrary. I could go on and on. Such behaviour is a double edged sword. On the one hand such self criticism and self doubt has driven constant attempts at self improvement and extremely high standard setting, which has helped me perform academically, but it has never made me happy. I've realised for some time that things have to change, but changing behaviour isn't easy. You have to practise at it. Rationalising the reasons for your behaviour won't necessarily help in changing it, but practising new behaviour does help. The answer is that yes you can change who you fundamentally are, by virtue of practice, but you have to give it time. Mindfulness approaches are a great way to tackle these problems, because it gives the mind something to do which can be done all the time that isn't the sort of analytical thinking that is detrimental. In the past I've deliberately cultured analytical thinking, for example, working from A to B in the hospital can take 5mins, so I'd use that 5mins to tackle a problem/question be it medical, or something that interests me, such as philosophy. Eventually I found I was using every spare minute to do this kind of thinking! And would stay up late thinking about it too. The problem is when the thinking starts becoming self orientated, about what you "should" or "shouldn't" do in the future (or have done in the past), and self critical inviting constant doubt and undermining the possibility for self confidence making you feel increasingly anxious, stressed etc. So this is a pattern of behaviour that has to be stopped by practising it out, and the difficulty comes from the fact that it has been learnt, and learnt because it is to an extent (particularly academically / workwise / school competetively etc) a succesful strategy that our system of education and workplace does nothing to prevent and everything to encourage. Start with mindfulness, and try to practise it everywhere. That's what I'm doing, and I am finding it quite helpful. Good luck. PM me if you want to chat further.
Tall Clare - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

There's a lot here that strikes a chord for me too - the only difference being that for me, the overthinking, neuroses, etc, have meant I *haven't* really achieved anything of note. Some really interesting thoughts on this thread.
AlisonSmiles - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Jimbo W:

Some of this sounds familiar. I have always unconsciously tried to problem solve feelings. Which is desperately crazy, and resulted in my brain looping and looping convinced that it could find a way forward through logic, action, practicalities. Feelings cannot be problem solved. Mindfulness has really helped me, mostly because I can now generally recognise my brain starting to loop at which point I can take a moment to picture my feelings as transient leaves floating down a river, and simply watch them, acknowledge them, accept them and let them exist.
tlm - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to AlisonSmiles:

> Some of this sounds familiar. I have always unconsciously tried to problem solve feelings.

To me, that is one of the crux things. Trying to control things, to think a solution to problems IS the problem.

Letting go of control - allowing the future to look after itself is great.

I'm a very bad car passenger, so I used to carefully watch the road, grip onto the handle on the door as tightly as I could, stamp on my phantom brake and give the driver a stream of instructions! Now, I look out of the side window, relax my body and give up control. I find it quite hard to do, so therefore, I make sure I practice so that I will get better at it! It leaves me much less stressed.
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Kimono - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to aln:
> (In reply to ice.solo) DMT useful?

If we are talking hallucinogenics then i would strongly advise doing some work with ayahuasca, the south american shamanic 'medicine'.
Taken in a ritualised context with an experienced guide or shaman, you can see very deep into your being and work on a lot of 'issues'.

Personally recommended though not, maybe, for everybody

Timmd on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:
> (In reply to Jimbo W)
>
> There's a lot here that strikes a chord for me too - the only difference being that for me, the overthinking, neuroses, etc, have meant I *haven't* really achieved anything of note. Some really interesting thoughts on this thread.

Of note according to who (or whom)? I wonder if other people might think you have, where you don't particularly?

Though it's ourselves we have to live with in the end I guess, so what you think matters more.
Jon Stewart - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to aln:

No, my experience was just generic psychedelic f^cked-upness that seemed profound at the time but looking back is just what happens when your brain is flooded with molecules that are shaped a lot like neurotransmitters and everything's short-circuited.

Fascinating experiences no doubt, but I don't think that they tell you much about anything apart from what it feels like if you completely disrupt the flow of signals between neurones by filling the synapses up with molecules that aren't normally there.
Taurig - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to ice.solo:

Again, lots of interest ice.solo, cheers. I feel like I'm fleetingly getting what you're saying, but fully understanding it may take some time. I've been thinking the last few days about the 'face you put on reality', how two people can stand side by side and the same image hits their eyes but a different experience is generated in each of their brains. I'm starting to realise how the processing is driven so much by habit and staying with what you're comfortable with, but with effort habits can be changed. Maybe it's a superficial change but it's a start.

How to break the habits, well, that's what I have to figure out. Challenging every negative thought is really tiring but nobody said it was going to be easy.
tlm - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:

> How to break the habits, well, that's what I have to figure out. Challenging every negative thought is really tiring but nobody said it was going to be easy.

I found it beneficial, right from the start, energising, rather than tiring! It isn't about challenging every negative thought - if you really believe that negative thought, then you just would think your challenge was false and it wouldn't work.

I personally found a couple of positive slants on the things that I was negative about, so that it was relatively easy to remember these if I caught myself being all doom and gloom.

Also, I tried to stop being quite so melodramatic (this may not apply to you at all if you aren't melodramatic!). Instead of seeing myself in a rather romantic and gritty film noir production, a tragic heroine, I remembered that actually, I was in no pain, I never went hungry, I had people who loved me etc and laughed at my own melodrama....

I also read a LOT and talked to other people a lOT about their ideas, which helped me to form ideas that worked for me...

Jimbo W on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Tall Clare:

> There's a lot here that strikes a chord for me too - the only difference being that for me, the overthinking, neuroses, etc, have meant I *haven't* really achieved anything of note. Some really interesting thoughts on this thread.

Just had a look at your blog. By what standard do you judge that you *haven't* achieved anything? Money, popular recognition, familial recognition, or your own insufferably high standards?? A brief look at your writing and photos provoke me to contemplate, they are interesting, and I like what I see. So on that level alone, you definitely have achieved something!!
ice.solo - on 26 Apr 2013
In reply to Taurig:
> (In reply to ice.solo)
>
>
> How to break the habits, well, that's what I have to figure out. Challenging every negative thought is really tiring but nobody said it was going to be easy.

sounds like youre in the process. nice one.

how you react to what you percieve is a multi-stepped process, starting with what you point your head at to how you react to the feedback of it hitting your brain. several steps in there.
defining those steps may help demonstrate which link it is that blown out. easier to fix a pot hole than resurface the entire road et al.

the pathways between outside reality and inside reality are only wired in by memory. at some point, that pathway worked and got hardwired in.
but you have the tools to rewire. just maybe needs some softening up again to expose new neurons to fix to.

id think too: how much of your happiness is resting on top of NOT feeling the bad shit? in which case you may need new pleasure circuitry installed too.
if you rewire the bad stuff, will the happiness collapse too?
maybe rather than just digging into the shit that makes you feel bad (the #1 problem with buddhist and new age stuff i reckon) dig up what makes you feel good too. maybe that can also be rebooted.

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