Page 1 of 3 [ 34 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3  Next

badRobot
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 824

22 Oct 2021, 11:48 am

If you believe you can't be happy because you can't find love, you are wrong. It's the other way around. Being depressed prevents you from finding love and having a happy relationship.

Let's address some common fallacies.

Fallacy #1: Being single makes you depressed

Truth: Neglecting your basic needs is what makes you depressed on a biochemical level. Depression on biochemical level leads to negative core affect of misery in subconscious part of our brain. Then part of our brain responsible for conscious awareness receives this affect and your current experience as inputs and by picking experience or memory matching this core affect is constructs a complex emotion of “desperately lonely and depressed about being single” as output.

Our consciousness constructs complex emotions using completely irrelevant inputs all the time: e.g. when we watch a horror movie, low frequency audio effects we barely hear trigger affect of “fear” in subconscious part of our brain, then our consciousness receives this affect and visual input of events on the screen and constructs a complex emotion of being scared by the events of the movie. The same applies to sad or happy score, composition, color grading. Absolutely identical events presented with different score, visual composition, audio effects and color grading can instill very different emotional responses. This is a common knowledge in entertainment industry.

Fallacy #2: Being in a relationship would make you happy.

Truth: When you are single being happy is what would attract a potential partner.

Our reward system has evolved to reward beneficial behaviors. The purpose of rewarding beneficial behaviors to direct growth, development of a specimen to maximize chances to survive, find a mate and procreate. It would make no sense to reward only the final step, but not all the steps leading to it. If you feel miserable all the time, it means your current behaviors are not beneficial from evolutionary point of view, depression is a protective mechanism for times when individual is either sick or injured, unable to protect and provide for his potential mate, take care of offspring. It doesn’t make any sense to perceive unhappy individual as attractive, it would be the opposite of natural selection. Happiness is not a reward for scoring a partner, it is one of the most important trait perceived as attractive by potential partners.

If you’ve ever been in an arcade hall, you could see unoccupied arcade machines running in “attract” mode, running animations and preview of gameplay while “insert coin” is blinking. This is what your behavior should be when you are single. It should be obvious you are a happy wholesome person and your future partner would enjoy being in a relationship with you. When you are miserable, you will attract as much positive attention as an unplugged arcade machine.

If you are not enjoying being single your chances to attract someone are as high as of an arcade machine with lights off and “OUT OF ORDER” sign in front of it to attract a player.

What kind of signals are interpreted as beneficial behavior evolved when TV, computers, movies, etc. didn’t exist, there was a strong correlation between audiovisual stimulation and physical activity. Now this connection is lost. Our reward system was not created to reward activities like staring at moving pictures on a glowing screen for hours sitting still. Even if you feel like something like watching movies makes you happy, it doesn’t really make you any happier on deeper level. E.g. doing martial arts is actually beneficial for your brain/body, this activity truly makes you happy. Watching martial arts movies is empty audiovisual stimulation which just feels good without any real benefits for your mental health, it doesn’t make you happy on deeper level.


Fallacy #3: This is nonsense! It is impossible to be happy for no reason!
Fallacy #4: I can’t be happy because I’m broke, not successful professionally, I hate my job, etc.


Truth: You don’t need rational reasons in the realm of our conscious awareness to be happy.
What makes a human being happy on a core affect level are the same simple things that would make a puppy happy - sunlight, physical activity, healthy food, fresh air, being in natural environment. We share pretty much all aspects of our core affects like fear, anger, anxiety, pleasure, joy, fun with animals who don’t have highly developed abstract thinking and conscious awareness. Conscious awareness is the most recent addition to our brain, it doesn’t generate affects of wellbeing, it only interprets them. If you are happy on biochemical level, your conscious awareness will find a reason why and will construct complex emotion of wellbeing for you.
Complex emotion of happiness is deeply subjective. Sociocultural concepts like money, success, popularity are almost irrelevant. There are hundreds examples of celebrities who had it all and still were miserable, some committed suicide, and there are millions examples of dirt poor struggling people enjoying happy moments of life. Relation between success and happiness is pretty much reverse of what we believe, when you are happy on a deeper level, you will feel motivated to achieve something in your life to match this happiness.

Fallacy #4: But I was unhappy and meeting my gf/bf made me happy!

Truth: This is subjective experience, correlation/causation reversal. When our consciousness is preoccupied with negative thoughts it is easy to not notice when your happiness actually improves for whatever underlying reason, but our subconscious behavior changes. When some meaningful events reach our conscious awareness and matched with pre-existing positive affect, we are hardwired to attribute feeling better to these events. There are millions people who could swear watching “Yes Man” cured their depression, but objectively ability to enjoy a movie is sign of recovery from depression, not it’s cause. The same applies to ability to form a meaningful bond with another human and enjoy it.

There is no contradiction here. Our subjective experience and objective reality are not the same by definition, this is fundamental property of our brain/mind. Manipulating our subjective experience through various mechanisms is something that makes the whole concept of entertainment, literature, theatre, magic shows, movies, video games possible.


OK. How can one become happy on underlying level then?


Make sure your answer to these questions consistently is a confident “yes”:

Do you workout regularly?
Do you have enough direct sunlight every day?
Do you eat healthy food?
Do you regularly spend time just breathing fresh air, looking at trees, grass, water, animals?

If your answer to even one of these questions is "no", you supposed to feel miserable, there is no way around it. This is not some self-help system, this is objective conclusions derived from brute facts of human physiology, neuroscience, genetics, affective science, etc. E.g. human brain can’t experience strong social bond without oxytocin, human body can’t synthesize oxytocin without Vitamin C. There is very little room for subjective interpretation, these facts apply to every human being.



Velorum
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Mar 2020
Age: 63
Gender: Male
Posts: 1,270
Location: UK

22 Oct 2021, 12:27 pm

I like this - thank you for posting it.

It took me a long time to grasp the fact that I was making myself and other people unhappy by trying to conform to the accepted norm of having a long term relationship and living with someone.

I am most happy when I live on my own and any intimate or emotional relationship is at a distance and compartmentalised in terms of the time spent on it. I realise that the kind of person that this would appeal to is few and far between.

Many years ago I met a Dutch couple on holiday who had been married for 10 years. They had never moved in together and continued to live in the homes that they had before they met. If a relationship is essential or unavoidable then this would seem the ideal arrangement to me.


_________________
Autistic member of the neurodivergent community


babybird
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 48,612
Location: UK

22 Oct 2021, 12:51 pm

I'm in a long distance relationship at the moment. We meet up every few weeks and spend the week together (in bed). It's fantastic.

I never have been as happy as I am now in any of my so called conventional relationships and for the last 15 years (before I met my boyfriend) I had resigned myself to being single (and completely content) for the rest of my life and for that matter so had my boyfriend.

I do think though that my long distance relationship will become shorter and shorter distance over the course of time.

I completely agree that one can fully enjoy being single.



Lost_dragon
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,063
Location: England

22 Oct 2021, 5:59 pm

I'm living the single life right now. Sometimes I wish I wasn't and I feel disheartened. I wonder if it is ever going to happen. Not knowing for sure can be a horrid feeling. Still, I've never liked the narrative of needing someone to complete you, since I think people are already complete. I don't want someone to complete me, but it would be nice to have that kind of connection with someone.


_________________
23. Possibly B.A.P.


badRobot
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 18 Jan 2011
Age: 41
Gender: Male
Posts: 824

23 Oct 2021, 9:18 am

Yes, moving in together proved to be challenging for me too. Weirdly, I can't even say why I did bother trying, I guess peer pressure and misbelief that it would make me happy. Now I'm confident I would manage much better than decade ago, would be able to make it work, but at the same I ask myself "why?". I'm not going to think of marriage and living together as my ultimate goal until I know for sure this is something both of us genuinely want.

Lost_dragon wrote:
Still, I've never liked the narrative of needing someone to complete you, since I think people are already complete. I don't want someone to complete me, but it would be nice to have that kind of connection with someone.

Yes, exactly. This is something to aspire when you already know you and this particular person can make each other's life better, but not something to seek out of desperation, peer pressure or whatever, especially when such person is hypothetical and doesn't really exist in your life yet.



DuckHairback
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2021
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 828
Location: Dorset

23 Oct 2021, 9:50 am

I was going to comment on how truthful I thought the original post was. Then I thought about my own life and I realised that I've been in a relationship for 18ish years. I can remember wanting to have a girlfriend when I was like 15-16. So that means I have around 7 years of experience of being single vs. 18 years being in a relationship.

I'm also aware that sometimes I have railled against the loss of freedom that comes with being in a relationship, and in the bad times have idealised being single. It's easy to forget what it's actually like.

I think if I'd been single after being in a relationship I'd have appreciated it more, but I do remember it seriously sucking when I'd never had a relationship.

Telling people to enjoy being single when they've never experienced a relationship is a bit like telling kids that their school years are the best years of their life. It's something you don't really learn until it's too late (and may well include a bit of rose-tint in the glasses).



babybird
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 48,612
Location: UK

23 Oct 2021, 9:54 am

DuckHairback wrote:
Telling people to enjoy being single when they've never experienced a relationship is a bit like telling kids that their school years are the best years of their life. It's something you don't really learn until it's too late (and may well include a bit of rose-tint in the glasses).


I like this.



Lost_dragon
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,063
Location: England

23 Oct 2021, 11:59 am

Quote:
Telling people to enjoy being single when they've never experienced a relationship is a bit like telling kids that their school years are the best years of their life. It's something you don't really learn until it's too late (and may well include a bit of rose-tint in the glasses).


I disagree but I can see where you are coming from. Frankly if my school years end up being the best part of my life, then I would find that a tad depressing. I was bullied pretty regularly at school and was fairly miserable back then. The thought of returning back to that time does not appeal. I felt restricted and that I couldn't be myself. Whereas, now that I'm in the early stages of adulthood, I have more freedom to live the kind of life that I want to live and pursue interests which interest me.

This is usually when someone interjects by saying that I'll miss that time when I start having to pay rent. I know that it's not always going to be smooth-sailing. However, I think that it'll be a rather dark time in my life when I start looking back on my school years and missing them. There were good parts, but I'd never want to relive those years because it would mean experiencing all the bad again. It would be like hitting reset on all my progress, and I wouldn't want that.

I've never had a relationship. Nor was it really an option for me as a teenager, since it was an unaccepting environment. Then I started gaining more confidence and coming out to people. I was unfortunate to go to University during a pandemic. Personally I think that the best years of a person's life are greatly situational. I'd like to think that my best years are yet to come. Not necessarily romantically. Just in general.


_________________
23. Possibly B.A.P.


babybird
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 48,612
Location: UK

23 Oct 2021, 12:15 pm

Lost_dragon wrote:
Quote:
Telling people to enjoy being single when they've never experienced a relationship is a bit like telling kids that their school years are the best years of their life. It's something you don't really learn until it's too late (and may well include a bit of rose-tint in the glasses).


I disagree but I can see where you are coming from. Frankly if my school years end up being the best part of my life, then I would find that a tad depressing. I was bullied pretty regularly at school and was fairly miserable back then. The thought of returning back to that time does not appeal. I felt restricted and that I couldn't be myself. Whereas, now that I'm in the early stages of adulthood, I have more freedom to live the kind of life that I want to live and pursue interests which interest me.

This is usually when someone buts in saying that I'll miss that time when I start having to pay rent. I know that it's not always going to be smooth-sailing. However, I think that it'll be a rather dark time in my life when I start looking back on my school years and missing them. There were good parts, but I'd never want to relive those years because it would mean experiencing all the bad again. It would be like hitting reset on all my progress, and I wouldn't want that.

I've never had a relationship. Nor was it really an option for me as a teenager, since it was an unaccepting environment. Then I started gaining more confidence and coming out to people. I was unfortunate to go to University during a pandemic. Personally I think that the best years of a person's life are greatly situational. I'd like to think that my best years are yet to come. Not necessarily romantically. Just in general.


I didn't write that hahahaha

I think sentiment meant in the quote was that you wouldn't know to enjoy being single if you had never experienced what being in a relationship (good or bad) is like. That's what I understood from it anyway.

To be fair I would never want to relive any part of my life.

Rubbish relationships can kind of turn you off. I resigned myself to having casual relationships and not getting emotionally involved with anyone ever again just because I really believed there was no one out there for me. I was wrong.



DuckHairback
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2021
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 828
Location: Dorset

23 Oct 2021, 1:21 pm

Lost_dragon wrote:
I disagree but I can see where you are coming from. Frankly if my school years end up being the best part of my life, then I would find that a tad depressing.


I get it. I hated school too. It's just something adults tend to say. When you get older you tend to forget all the awfulness and idealise youth a bit. We feel that if we were kids again, we'd make a better job of it.

That's all I meant. That if I was single again, I'd make a better job of it than I did when I was because I know that the alternative isn't all good either.



Lost_dragon
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 6 May 2017
Gender: Female
Posts: 2,063
Location: England

23 Oct 2021, 7:18 pm

babybird wrote:
I didn't write that hahahaha


That was unintentional, my bad. I was trying to have it say DuckHairback wrote and then the appropriate quote afterwards but I was rushing a little when I wrote that post, so originally it said that you had written it because I temporarily forgot to edit inside the quote marks. Which is why I went back and set it to just an unnamed quote.

babybird wrote:
I think sentiment meant in the quote was that you wouldn't know to enjoy being single if you had never experienced what being in a relationship (good or bad) is like. That's what I understood from it anyway.

To be fair I would never want to relive any part of my life.

Rubbish relationships can kind of turn you off. I resigned myself to having casual relationships and not getting emotionally involved with anyone ever again just because I really believed there was no one out there for me. I was wrong.


I suppose. I often find myself advising others on their relationships despite my personal lack of experience in that area. So I know to an extent, from second-hand experience, what relationships can be like. I know what it's like to pretend to befriend an abuser to gain his trust, because he was controlling who my friend was allowed to interact with and in order to communicate with her I needed to gain his trust before ultimately reporting him to relevant authorities and I also needed to stall for time to make sure she had somewhere safe to go set up where he couldn't follow without becoming suspicious of our plans. I knew of the public image he used to fake and I understood to an extent the pain she was in despite not having any primary experience with being in an abusive relationship. However, I understood that I couldn't let on that I knew about the situation too soon, otherwise things would've likely gotten worse.

In comparison, I also know friends in happy, healthy relationships. Sometimes I know too many details about those relationships if you catch my drift. 8O I'll admit that I don't know what being in a relationship is like on a primary level. Yet I do have something of an understanding. I know that even in healthy relationships there is turbulence at times.

DuckHairback wrote:
I get it. I hated school too. It's just something adults tend to say. When you get older you tend to forget all the awfulness and idealise youth a bit. We feel that if we were kids again, we'd make a better job of it.

That's all I meant. That if I was single again, I'd make a better job of it than I did when I was because I know that the alternative isn't all good either.


Yeah, that makes sense. I look back sometimes and think that I could've done it better. However, I don't think I could've avoided all of the events. I find it difficult to visualise a time where I might look back on it and idealise it since memories of the past are currently clouded by the bad events. Maybe when I was sixteen and beyond, that wasn't so bad. Anything before that is currently a big ol' nope from me at the moment.

I apologise if I came across as hostile in my post, that wasn't my intention. I wasn't annoyed. Just find it difficult to wrap my head around. My grandma doesn't seem to idealise the past all that much, she's mostly negative about it. Same goes for my parents, they are sometimes positive about it but they also share a lot of the negative. I was never told the whole school years being the best time of your life speech, I actually had the opposite. Being told that school was not gonna be great and you just have to do your best to survive it. Still, I understand that a lot of people are told the speech. That there are people that do in fact idealise the past and that my experiences may perhaps be a little out of the ordinary.


_________________
23. Possibly B.A.P.


babybird
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 11 Nov 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 48,612
Location: UK

24 Oct 2021, 9:02 am

No one ever told me that My school days are the best either but I have heard people say it.

I took it to mean that it is a time where you have little responsibility so it's a time to enjoy. This isn't actually true as many young people have quite a lot of responsibility when they are still at school. Like you said it was a time that you had to survive through so that is not a time that you can look back at with any kind of good memory.

The same with relationships really. I was in an extremely abusive relationship (on both sides) for about 15 years. When I got out of it I swore I would never get into another relationship. Mainly because I didn't trust myself not to end up with someone who was abusive. So I resigned myself to a single life. This was fine and I was quite content for probably the next 15 years....



DuckHairback
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 Jan 2021
Age: 43
Gender: Male
Posts: 828
Location: Dorset

24 Oct 2021, 9:21 am

Lost_dragon wrote:
I apologise if I came across as hostile in my post, that wasn't my intention. I wasn't annoyed. J


I didn't think you came across as hostile or annoyed. You just disagreed with me and explained why. That's cool. Thankyou for engaging with it.

babybird wrote:
I took it to mean that it is a time where you have little responsibility so it's a time to enjoy. This isn't actually true as many young people have quite a lot of responsibility when they are still at school. Like you said it was a time that you had to survive through so that is not a time that you can look back at with any kind of good memory.


I think there's also an element to it that you let a lot of the bad stuff go and hold on to the good. Also, that the bad stuff you do hang on to gets put into perspective and seems less bad. Like, if it was happening to you now, it wouldn't be as distressing because you have all these years of experience and maybe you've developed a bit of an emotional rind that offers some protection. I don't think, when people say they wish they were young again, they mean emotionally and mentally young. They mean physically young with the advantages of their age and experience intact.



The Grand Inquisitor
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 9 Aug 2015
Age: 26
Gender: Male
Posts: 2,558
Location: Australia

26 Oct 2021, 7:25 am

Question for OP: Do you think the only thing that can lead an individual to experience persistent misery is not eating well, exercising, getting sunlight, etc?

Do you think that there is nothing else in life that can lead someone to experience a persistently low mood over a long period of time?



PunkShrink
Butterfly
Butterfly

Joined: 26 Oct 2021
Age: 22
Gender: Female
Posts: 9

28 Oct 2021, 7:39 pm

Terminology like "core affect" and "complex emotion" seems to used less than perfectly, I would mention hedonic treadmill and add sleep to the list, but overall this article is fairly accurate and useful for what it is!



hurtloam
Veteran
Veteran

User avatar

Joined: 27 Mar 2011
Gender: Female
Posts: 8,574
Location: Eyjafjallajökull

30 Oct 2021, 5:42 am

The Grand Inquisitor wrote:
Question for OP: Do you think the only thing that can lead an individual to experience persistent misery is not eating well, exercising, getting sunlight, etc?

Do you think that there is nothing else in life that can lead someone to experience a persistently low mood over a long period of time?


Oooh snap.

I was trying to put my finger on why this advice didn't sit right, but you've got it.

Just pull yourself up by your bootstraps dammit! Is essentially what this is saying.

Getting really hurt is the thing that kicked me to get over feeling lonely. I suddenly realised I didn't want that crap again. It wasn't exercise, fresh air helped, being financially stable has helped, pets have helped, good friends have helped, but they weren't the keys to getting better.

Someone said, the not knowing is a horrible feeling. I agree. When I decided, nope, this is not for me I felt freer. I couldn't have decided that when I was younger, but now I know I'm not going to meet anyone, there's nothing hanging over my head. I've planned my future with just me in it. I have a plan now. I like that.