“gotta get good…

at feeling bad.” – mark manson (kinda)

oh jules,
tonight the coyotes
are wild and
verbose.

their call and
response echoes
across the fields,
carried by this clear sky.

it is getting colder,
but not yet too cold.

i’m addicted to these
cloudless nights.
these slow sunrise
mornings.
(even though today i
had to get dressed by
lantern-light…
the gloomy sky did not
reveal any hint of
sun)

anyway, i was listening
to mark manson as i drove to
work, and he spoke about
resilience (adult language warning)

i laughed out loud, as one
tends to do when reading
or hearing his work.

but he was contrasting
self-help positive affirmations
with what really builds resilience.
and one of the things
he said really stuck
(as many of the things
he says tend to do)…

“You don’t build psychological resilience by feeling good all the time.
You build psychological resilience by getting better at feeling bad.”

Manson outlines some ways to do this…

  1. Care About Something Other Than Yourself (For Once)
    “The easiest way to overcome that anxiety is not to get rid of risk, it’s simply to make the risks worth something. Find some cause, some mission, some deeper purpose to your actions.”
  2. Focus On What You Can Control
    …. think Serenity Prayer…
  3. Inward Optimism; Outward Pessimism
    “‘This is a very important lesson. You must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end — which you can never afford to lose — with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality. (Admiral James Stockdale)’ Those who are prepared for pain are the most resilient in the face of pain. Those who expect challenges are the most ready to face challenges. Therefore, an optimal mindset towards life is a dual-sided approach: an outward pessimist — ‘Life is fucking hard and the world is shit’ — but internal optimist — ‘yet I can handle it, and I’ll be better for it.’”
  1. Find Your Inner Masochist
    “ … the process of overcoming pain and struggle makes us feel as though we have lived meaningfully.” How do you challenge yourself and actually like it? Find a way to harness this when things get tough.
  2. Never Suffer Alone
    “You want a strong network of relationships because when life comes along and knocks you on your ass — and trust me, it will knock you on your ass — you want an emotional safety net of people who can step in and share a bit of the emotional burden with you.”

…….

okay, well, i don’t really even have a commentary on this…

just pondering.

number 3 really hit me.
i’ve got the pessimism thing down,
but maybe need to work on the
inner optimism.

i don’t think he was saying
anything at all in regards to joy…

but, it made me think of
all the moments when things
were really hard and i
felt joyful.

a friend shared writing with me
about running with her dog
when they got stuck in a
lightning storm –
and the grin on her face.

and i can think of all
the kinds of type 2 fun
that i enjoy…

the last kms of a long hike.

walking to work when it is -40 and
your eyelashes are frozen together

sleeping without a mattress,
just to learn how to do it.

this winter feels like it will
be challenging.

it already feels like a challenge,
and i can hear people’s dread.
i hear it and i feel it.

and i wonder how we
can turn some of this
into a challenge.

like, how many days can
i go without leaving home?

or how many different
recipes can i try before
having to buy more groceries?

basically,
turning the challenge
that is facing us,
into a game.

into something to
be survived.

and somehow
thriving on the
challenge of it.

on the sheer novelty
that we’ve never lived
through a winter like
this before.

(and hopefully won’t
again).

somehow –
i think i sound more
optimistic than i feel

maybe i have it backwards,
inner pessimist,
outer optimist.

regardless.

there can be joy in
suffering.

sometimes.

anyway… all of this is just
some muddled
thought that hasn’t
formed yet.

but thanks for trudging
with me….

xo

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