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Old 11-04-2013, 12:21 AM
 
Location: rural USA
124 posts, read 219,271 times
Reputation: 130

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What do you all think? How does one go on from strong emotional experiences? Do people generally just get more thick skinned, hardened with age? Do those who stay soft get beaten down, or keep their heads up?

When I was young I felt that it was probably worth it to go through life experiences that involved strong highs and lows emotionally. Even if it hurt, it was worth trying, as we only have a limited time on Earth to experience things.

But now, I'm not even 30 and yet I feel so weighed down emotionally. I'm significantly more emotional than I used to be. Close connections have made me more sensitive and softer. The experience of strong love, care, connections, etc can become so overpowering in a sad way when thinking about what has been lost, and will be lost. Because of this I find it difficult to go on carefree, open, excited to experience the world.

Thinking about those lost is so painful, even if I was lucky to have had experienced such souls and bonds in the first place.

And even when presently connected to other soul(s), with them showing reciprocating love, I find it hard. If they're suffering, I find it impossible to be happy. Thinking about their futures, if there is pain likely ahead for them, it's hard for me to think positively about my own future. Even if there are positives in the future, my fear and dispear about mortality is strong, because I don't want them to ever die, and I don't want to die and be without them. In the more solitary and youthful times of my past, I could feel a little more comfortable with mortality and motivated in a positive way to make the best of life.

Maybe part of it is just (somewhat unrelated) depression? I used to be happier and have better attitudes towards loss.

And yet I'm a fairly cold person in many ways. Many people are far more kind and sensitive than I am. I don't know how people go on and stay strong. Contrary to my own feelings, in my experience it seems like the elderly are generally more content than all other age groups, at least in the USA.

Am just curious to hear others opinions and personal views/feelings on these things.
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Old 11-04-2013, 12:28 AM
 
Location: Texas
43,555 posts, read 52,658,619 times
Reputation: 70808
You've developed empathy through emotional maturity.

That's not a bad thing.

Don't take it too personally and don't let it bog you down.
Find the happy medium.

Use your empathy to remind yoursel to treat others kindly.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Northeastern US
14,195 posts, read 9,082,614 times
Reputation: 6079
For me the simple answer to the title question is "no". The problem is that you can never be sure of the answer unless you give it a try.

Love seems like a very simple proposition. How hard could it possibly be to love and be loved in an uncomplicated and reliable way and then based on attaining that, move on to focus on mutual goals and dreams? It doesn't seem like rocket science. And yet you only have to look at the endless body of art driven by the lovelorn and despairing to see that it is illusory, at least for the vast majority of people and for the sort of stable, sustainable, lifelong basis we all hope for. The pain and misery of divorce is a reality for at least half the people in the US and most western countries. How many of the "surviving" marriages have any vitality and joy in them? The best objective numbers I've been able to ascertain are in the single digit percentages. And yet most of us take the cr_p shoot and quite a lot of us multiple times. I'm on #3 currently.

The key to me is to let go of rigid idealism and settle for something doable. I wish my wife were more open and affectionate but she is for a variety of reasons not capable of it so I have ceased to infringe on "her space". She wishes I were more of a chest-thumper and had more of a bad-boy side to me but I'm not capable of it and so she has ceased to look to me for an archetype that has, historically, ill-served her anyway. I wish this were "our time" but we now have not one but two "boomerang kids" to deal with, so we adapt. It's what we do. Sometimes I think I am adapting myself out of existence -- heck, I am -- but that is just what life is. It falls to us to adapt; life refuses for the most part to yield to our pathetic attempts to change it. It's far larger than any one of us.

As for growing cold and hard ... everyone's different. People cope in various ways, some better adapted than others. I have seen people grow cold, resigned, laughably optimistic, and everything in between. I personally lean towards resigned, but I don't really recommend it to anyone else.

I would suggest that you work hard to deal with your fear of mortality. The sooner you accept the temporary and impermanent nature of yourself and of life itself, the more you'll be able to make the most of what transient benefits there are. And the more you get a grip on the fact that there's an endpoint to all this, the less endless it will all seem. The paradox is that you can enjoy it better if you know it has a beginning, middle and especially an end. You rationalize your past suffering as a sunk cost (something we are well wired to do anyway) and then you do what we software developers would call a "peephole optimization" where you just look at what is in the present moment and spin it in the best way and let the rest go.

That's the best I can offer. It's not too bad at all, especially when you keep it in perspective. I am incredibly disappointed and disillusioned with important aspects of my life, but I am also incredibly lucky and appreciative of other aspects. I try to focus on the latter, savor them, and just take the other in a one-foot-in-front-of-the-other way so that I'm not overwhelmed.

Your mileage, of course, may vary.
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Old 11-04-2013, 09:42 AM
 
20,558 posts, read 16,625,375 times
Reputation: 38590
Quote:
Originally Posted by choo_choo_train_lol View Post
What do you all think? How does one go on from strong emotional experiences? Do people generally just get more thick skinned, hardened with age? Do those who stay soft get beaten down, or keep their heads up?

When I was young I felt that it was probably worth it to go through life experiences that involved strong highs and lows emotionally. Even if it hurt, it was worth trying, as we only have a limited time on Earth to experience things.

But now, I'm not even 30 and yet I feel so weighed down emotionally. I'm significantly more emotional than I used to be. Close connections have made me more sensitive and softer. The experience of strong love, care, connections, etc can become so overpowering in a sad way when thinking about what has been lost, and will be lost. Because of this I find it difficult to go on carefree, open, excited to experience the world.

Thinking about those lost is so painful, even if I was lucky to have had experienced such souls and bonds in the first place.

And even when presently connected to other soul(s), with them showing reciprocating love, I find it hard. If they're suffering, I find it impossible to be happy. Thinking about their futures, if there is pain likely ahead for them, it's hard for me to think positively about my own future. Even if there are positives in the future, my fear and dispear about mortality is strong, because I don't want them to ever die, and I don't want to die and be without them. In the more solitary and youthful times of my past, I could feel a little more comfortable with mortality and motivated in a positive way to make the best of life.

Maybe part of it is just (somewhat unrelated) depression? I used to be happier and have better attitudes towards loss.

And yet I'm a fairly cold person in many ways. Many people are far more kind and sensitive than I am. I don't know how people go on and stay strong. Contrary to my own feelings, in my experience it seems like the elderly are generally more content than all other age groups, at least in the USA.

Am just curious to hear others opinions and personal views/feelings on these things.
In terms of being hardened, for me it's not about being bitter. I know there was a purpose for every relationship I've ever had, and a purpose for them ending when they did as well. I believe each person we have a relationship with is meant to teach us something, so I am grateful to all my experiences as they made me who I am today.

The above sounds like you are actually enmeshed with the person you are in a relationship with, which is not healthy. If you become weak when I am weak, if you become hopeless and scared when I feel hopeless and scared, who am I to lean on in those times? A healthy relationship requires 2 healthy people who stand apart as well as together, so that when one is weak the other can be strong for them, and vice versa.

It sounds like your main issues are that you are driven by fears and anxieties. Until you manage them it will be difficult for you to have fulfilling and long-lasting romantic relationships.
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Old 11-04-2013, 04:58 PM
 
Location: TOVCCA
8,452 posts, read 11,437,888 times
Reputation: 12307
I would answer yes. Having a love relationship, even if it's over, validates a person as being worthy of love, and having value in the relationship marketplace (unfortunate that it exists, but it does).

And as for the comment about the elderly being more happy, the men and women I know who have never been in love and and are now in their 60's are a bit f'd up about it, feeling rejected before they "ever had a chance," or so they have told me.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:05 PM
 
Location: earth?
7,288 posts, read 10,855,099 times
Reputation: 8956
I don't think it's naturally "better," but I do believe it promotes growth.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:19 PM
 
Location: Pueblo - Colorado's Second City
12,177 posts, read 21,020,142 times
Reputation: 4258
I would say most of the time yes however I am sure everyone has been in a relationship or two where it was not better to have known that person. I have been in one and since I am 40 I think that is pretty good.
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Old 11-04-2013, 05:47 PM
 
Location: USA
7,778 posts, read 10,139,902 times
Reputation: 11715
There's a story going around that it's better to've had an std than never to've loved at all....
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Old 11-05-2013, 07:32 PM
 
Location: rural USA
124 posts, read 219,271 times
Reputation: 130
I don't have anything to add right now (have a cold, can't think) but just wanted to say thank you all for your replies!

ocnjgirl, I wish we both could stand strong and healthy on our own but that's just not the reality right now, and I have to sacrifice a lot to keep us afloat. My partner is loving and considerate, and in a lot of ways we fit really well with each other. Almost all strain is rooted from various medical problems that we both have and the consequences of those problems... emotionally, financially, etc..

I had a really simple, solitary, happy, though not so fulfilling life going on 5 years ago, but changes forced (not by a person but rather luck) and chosen both gradually have made my life a lot more complicated and overwhelming. Time in peaceful solitude was great to repair pains of times before that, so maybe part of my problem is my mind sees running away and hiding in a cave as the answer to all life's problems. But times outside of solitude have had moments of richness of companionship and love. (from family, pets, and my SO) The intensity of feeling can be scary for me at times, and overwhelming in difficult times. Difficult to put it to words.
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Old 11-05-2013, 11:19 PM
 
Location: Victoria TX
42,663 posts, read 74,251,141 times
Reputation: 36087
There is a correlative to that:

"Is it better to have won ten million dollars in the lottery and lost it, than to have never won it at all?" You got to use the money while you had it, but now you're broke.

Roger Angell, writing "The Boys of Summer", went and interviewed the old Brooklyn Dodgers. He found Carl Furillo working as a riveter wearing a hard hat on high steel. Do you think he'd have rather never played in the World Series?

I'm 75 years old. I wouldn't trade my past for a chance to start over.

Last edited by jtur88; 11-05-2013 at 11:28 PM..
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