Tuesday, August 19, 2014

S/He's Problems

I’ve been writing down my thoughts my whole life, although they were never very organized until recently. I get so many random thoughts and they fly out once a minute passes and they usually return after the validity period has elapsed or they return and I don’t find them profound.

As I jot down these disparaging wondering thoughts and epiphanies in my head; I am always afraid of people finding them, I guess because I think they are going to judge and question my sharpness. So I’d put them in quotes, and attribute them to a fake name, a fake date. If anyone found it at least it would look like it wasn’t my thought. If an entry struck me as especially profound I might attribute it to a real person who was known for being smart.
This secretiveness was a persistent theme all the way through childhood and into my twenties. It gave me a sense of control over how others saw me. I was embarrassed to want certain things. I was embarrassed for other people’s desires for certain things, like whenever I’d see old men checking out young women, or overweight people ordering coffee with four sugars and four creams. I felt like people’s wants should be extremely private because they reveal so much, and so I didn’t want to let other people in on mine. I didn’t want other people to know what I was. I have always guarded my wants and likes especially to those I don’t wanna let in. Mean beach Yo.

This is a theme I keep noticing in life. My problems are always simpler in the eyes of others, just like other people’s problems seem simpler to me than they make them out to be. If a friend came to me today with a dilemma and she didn’t know what to do, I’d have no problem telling her “What I’d do.”
Strangely, it’s almost always obvious what others should do, and less obvious what we should do ourselves. I’ve become increasingly aware of this phenomenon, both on the giving end and receiving end of advice.
The question is who’s mistaken? Is it that others are always oversimplifying your problems, or is it that you’re always over-complicating them?

I think there is, almost always, at least a bit of both going on. But I know that in my case, I’m normally the one with the more distorted view of my problem and I’d bet most people are that way too. It’s easier to be rational about other people’s problems than your own, because you’re much less emotionally invested in other people’s problems, so you can stay more rational about it.When you go to another person to help you with a problem you’re having, often you’re not putting two heads together towards addressing the same issue. The other person is trying to come up with a way to solve the problem, and you’re trying to come up with a way of protecting yourself from your fears surrounding that problem. Often this means your solution is more comfortable for you in the short term, yet it prolongs the problem, and overall, creates a worse experience for you.
The most effective solution usually resembles a straight line between where you are and where you want to be, and this path necessarily ignores the emotional landscape that path must cross. If the straight line brings me to a steep slope overgrown with brambles, then so be it — it might hurt a bit but the directness of the route ensures that it will be over soon.
When I think of my own problems, I tend to look for the easiest path from here, emotionally speaking, which almost always makes for a more circuitous route, and often that route doesn’t even go to where I’m trying to get.

I think this is a normal human tendency. We make problems harder and more complex when they are ours.
I don’t think I’ve ever met someone that claimed they didn’t know what to do who wasn’t butt up against the most obvious solution, staring them right in the face the whole time. They claim ignorance in order to prevent themselves from having to face that solution, which is often quite clear to everyone around them. They think that other people are actually buying their excuse, but the reality is that there’s a whole
There is a paradox to beware when it comes to rationality. We often feel more conviction about our actions when we’re riled up emotionally, but that’s when we’re least capable of being rational. In other words, we often feel more headstrong about a bad approach than we do a good approach. While you’re being swept away by something, other people are standing on the banks, where they can see where you are and where you’re trying to get to — something you can’t often see from your position — and if you ask them what to do they can tell you.

Try with a little help from your friends.