R is for Reading…

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Awesome books from the past year, mostly self-help.

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It annoys a lot of people, and it’s very…if you liked “Fight Club”, you’ll like this. However, if you’re easily distracted and tend to get too involved in unimportant nonsense and what are essentially the concerns of other people, it’s a good read. Really would recommend this to a lot of women, actually! What some other dumbass does is not your concern, results are.

Takes a while to incorporate these things….*muttering* Back in the day, I was the most fuck giving motherfucker – I’d chase grown ass people around, wipe noses, it was horrifying, really…Much tears and misery ensued, and nothing got done. Then I started to focus on my own problems a little bit more, and realized they were legion. Happy ending eventualy?

The key to a good life is not giving a fuck about more; it’s giving a fuck about less, giving a fuck about only what is true and immediate and important.

The desire for more positive experience is itself a negative experience. And, paradoxically, the acceptance of one’s negative experience is itself a positive experience.

It’s what the philosopher Alan Watts used to refer to as “the backwards law”—the idea that the more you pursue feeling better all the time, the less satisfied you become, as pursuing something only reinforces the fact that you lack it in the first place. The more you desperately want to be rich, the more poor and unworthy you feel, regardless of how much money you actually make. The more you desperately want to be sexy and desired, the uglier you come to see yourself, regardless of your actual physical appearance. The more you desperately want to be happy and loved, the lonelier and more afraid you become, regardless of those who surround you. The more you want to be spiritually enlightened, the more self-centered and shallow you become in trying to get there.

Everything worthwhile in life is won through surmounting the associated negative experience. Any attempt to escape the negative, to avoid it or quash it or silence it, only backfires. The avoidance of suffering is a form of suffering. The avoidance of struggle is a struggle. The denial of failure is a failure. Hiding what is shameful is itself a form of shame.

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Alice Miller’s lifework is helping adults overcome the negative effects of dysfunctional families-primarily personality reintegration, while promoting growth and (re)union if possible. Haven’t read a lot of her work, but this books focuses on over-coming negative emotional patterns, and physical illness as a result of denied emotion. She does tend to wander off into theoreticals (something involving Hitler’s upbringing?), but over-all a good work.

 

The real tragedy of people never given the chance to express their needs in childhood is that, without knowing it, they are leading a double life. As I made clear in The Drama of the Gifted Child, they have constructed a false self in childhood and do not know that they have another one where their suppressed feelings and needs are hidden away as effectively as if under lock and key. The reason for this is that they have never encountered anyone who could help them understand their distress, identify the prison in which their feelings are confined, break out of that confinement, and articulate their true feelings and genuine needs.

Later, in therapy, she found an answer to these questions. She gradually realized that she had been forced, perhaps since birth, to develop a strategy to protect herself from the pain of a child never perceived by her parents as a person in her own right, merely used to gratify their own needs. To evade that pain, Isabelle had learned to banish her own needs and feelings, to hide them from herself and others, to be absent, nonexistent. Today, she says that it was as if she had killed herself. She now believes that in childhood she actually split her own personality.

She herself had no right to her own identity. As a child she had been refused that right, and she went on denying it to herself for fifty years. The merciless abdominal pains ravaging Isabelle’s body after her reunion with John confronted her with questions: Who am I really? Why am I not really there in all my relationships? I suffer when others fail to see me as I am, but how can they see me if I don’t show myself, if I conceal my true nature from them? And what makes me do that?

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A classic, for a reason.

Forces beyond your control can take away everything you possess except one thing, your freedom to choose how you will respond to the situation. You cannot control what happens to you in life, but you can always control what you will feel and do about what happens to you

 

We have come to know Man as he really is. After all, man is that being who invented the gas chambers of Auschwitz; however, he is also that being who entered those gas chambers upright, with the Lord’s Prayer or the Shema Yisrael on his lips. HAROLD S. KUSHNER

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Betrayal of the self is a betrayal of nature

Inner certainty is hard to come by if one’s own truth, one’s very being, is constantly denied. As adults we are usually most affected and influenced by assaults to our psychic boundary when they are couched in an attitude of righteousness, blame, or caring by our mate or a family member. Unless we know that people are pretending to know our inner reality when they define us, other people’s definitions of us can shroud the truth, cloud perception, dim the light of awareness. If we accept them, we may come to believe that what is so is not so, and that what is not so is so. Most significant, we may then base our choices upon false beliefs about ourselves and find ourselves under someone else’s control

The consequences of disconnection are many and profound. They are pertinent to our problems — our daily struggles to live in a world of justice and freedom. They are problematic for a person who, after being disconnected from his or her self, wants to connect with another person.
Awareness and freedom are intrinsically linked. Without freedom awareness fades. Without awareness freedom fades. If our freedom of choice is lost, life itself loses meaning. Despair fills the void of lost meaning.

When people unwittingly form their identity out of one imposed on them by others, how they appear to others becomes an all-important barometer by which to validate their existence. In a backwards construction of self, there is no three-dimensionality, no depth, no space for future evolution and integration with the world. Human empathy, warmth, allowance for error — all that is considered to be humanity itself — may find no niche, no accommodation.

From “The Immoralist”…

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The only help I wish for is this — to talk to you. For I have reached a point in my life beyond which I cannot go. Not from weariness though. But I can no longer understand things. I want … I want to talk, I tell you. To know how to free oneself is nothing; the arduous thing is to know what to do with one’s freedom. Let me speak of myself; I am going to tell you my life simply, without modesty and without pride, more simply than if I were talking to myself. Listen:

“The Immoralist”, Andre Gide