March 6th, 2019


Wanting to get stronger / towards an emotional strength movement

Sometimes I reach a state where I feel I've given up. It's not an ultimate act of giving up on life, but it has a smaller yet similar feeling of being trapped, with nothing to look forward to. No hope, no inspiration. So sense of worth in the past, present, or future. Just muddling through, endlessly. Why strive anymore?

I think the clear answer to that is: when I think of it, if I saw someone else in this position, I would want them to strive. I wouldn't want them to give up on getting better. Because I know it's possible to face similar challenges, similar constraints, but still be able to find joy. It's possible to have a sense of self worth, even with the world going wrong.

If I had someone in my life who was in that bad place, I wouldn't want them to give up. I wouldn't want them to accept that there was nothing else left but moping, muddling, and suffering simply because they couldn't imagine good things in the future.

There really are cases where people's health probably won't improve. Where there isn't much hope left. But I know for someone in my precise position, as downtrodden as I feel, I can get better.

So when I want to sink down into nothingness to hide from the world, to hide from my own feelings of hollowness, I know it's important to affirm: "I want to get better."

I want to feel happier more of the time, in spite of these challenges. I want to have a continued sense of purpose and self worth, in the face of disappointment and even crisis.

It doesn't feel like it, and it's not worth shit to larger society, but I know I still have a lot right now. I have my health. I have some time. I have knowledge.

Maybe I can't reach certain kinds of success. Maybe I'll be facing setbacks for years to come. But maybe even more so, I want to become a stronger person who can find joy, inspiration, and purpose even in that turmoil. Even if no one gives me a gram of respect.

I have some ideas for this, which I'll write about later. I think Guy Winch's work helped connect a lot of different threads. Emotional hygene and emotional first aid are actions we can take to improve our emotional health. I think there's room for becoming more emotionally fit and resilient overall, just how we use exercise and nutrition to help our bodies stay healthy. We learn physical skills systematically, through sometimes just through perseverance. There's got to be a way to train our emotional-behavioral skills as well.