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Old 06-14-2023, 02:58 PM
 
Location: Middle of the valley
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I feel social media has done a lot in support of "problems" like mental health, ADHD, etc., and the ability to find your tribe. It brings a lot of things to the forefront, with positive acceptance, and lets people know they are not the only ones in whatever situation.
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Old 06-18-2023, 07:54 AM
 
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Enjoyed this excerpt from New York Times interview about "the tyranny of positivity":

One of my favorite regular Times features is Talk, the interview column in our Sunday Magazine by David Marchese. So I’m thrilled to tell you that The Morning will now be including excerpts from those interviews (sometimes longer, sometimes shorter), most Sundays. Today, David talks with the comedian Samantha Irby. — David Leonhardt


By David Marchese
Good morning. I think of Samantha Irby as akin to our poet laureate of peevishness.
The struggle of success
I spend a lot of time — maybe you do, too — thinking about happiness. What is it? How can I get more of it? But there are other times — and maybe this also applies to you — when I just think, forget all that: Life is hard, and who says lasting happiness is even within reach? It’s in those moments that Samantha Irby’s work feels so valuable and refreshing. I spoke to Irby, the best-selling humorist who recently published her fifth book of essays, “Quietly Hostile,” and who is a contributing producer on the new season of “And Just Like That,” the “Sex and the City” revival, about the tyranny of positivity.

A running theme in your work is that you’re a mess and you don’t understand how to make life go smoothly. But do you think other people are walking around thinking, I’ve got everything under control? I know people who have it together, which, when I look at them, I feel even worse. My wife is very put together. She knows where her stuff is and she has routines. I see this in other people and then I don’t know where my glasses are or where I put my shoes and I’m like, how am I getting through the same life they’re getting through?

But from afar, you’re successful. Are you just locked into a certain idea of yourself? That could be true. But, OK, I don’t know that I’ve ever said this to anyone before, so we’re about to get into it.

Please. I think there is a part of me that because I’m in this fat body that doesn’t work right — I saw somebody say that straight white men are the only group you can still joke about. There are fat jokes everywhere. I’ll always feel a little less-than because of my size and, secondarily, my Crohn’s disease. That is why I will never view anything I do as extremely successful because there’s always, yeah, but you look like that. I don’t mean this as Feel Bad for My Fat Struggle, it’s just real! David, people hate fat people so much. I don’t think there is a way — at least I haven’t figured it out yet — to both feel successful and exist in a world that’s like, I don’t want to sit by you.

What do you think of happiness as a goal that we should all be striving toward? I think that leaves a lot of people out. It feels dismissive or unrealistic to tell people who are suffering, “Hey, you just got to be happy,” because it’s like, well, are you going to put me somewhere that makes me happy? Are you going to give me something that makes me happy? This is the perfect example: I don’t take beach vacations, but you see people posting about their beach vacation on social media, and they’re like, “Black people don’t travel enough. We got to get out there and travel!” What if I’m disabled? Or too poor? The thing where whatever you aspire to is a thing we all should aspire to — I hate it. That kind of messaging just exists to make people feel bad. When you flatten everything into “be happy,” it’s like, what does that mean? It means a different thing for you than it does for me, and can you ever get there? For most people, the answer is no. The dishonesty behind positivity grates on my nerves.

For more:

Read my full interview with Irby here. https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/...4cf97fffb2f67b
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Old 06-18-2023, 11:27 AM
 
Location: Southern MN
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I like that article and it brings out an important point. That is honesty.

People who discount your feelings by telling you you should feel differently are annoying. On the other hand people who reinforce your most negative feelings aren't doing you any favors and may, over time do you harm, keep you in that unpleasant spot.

Once all your bad feelings about yourself are reinforced and affirmed where do you go from there? I'd be ready for something better.

Most all of us have some distortion about the amount of misery in our lives and a good friend with sensitivity can help with a more balanced and comfortable view of ourselves.
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Old 06-19-2023, 07:19 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
That is very well said. They are like partial people, how can one be complete without acknowledging the whole life experience.

Bad things in life are normal, not some alien evil force. We learn and grow from them if we are willing to face whatever it is. You know those people who have bad relationships over and over for the same reasons? They never absorbed or examined what was going on, never talked to anyone about it, at least anyone who would be real with them. You cannot have balance in life without the light and the dark. Ignore the dark at your own peril.

Sometimes I have even been able to see patterns in negative things that would seem unavoidable but found ways to avoid such patterns in the future. It's just problem solving. It's really interesting stuff too when you learn intricate ways to problem solve, but involves a lot of introspection about things considered "negative". So some of us bring this into our lives and communications and see it as challenging and liberating. To me a lot of negatives can also be neutral or positive, they can be valuable learning experiences.

Try getting your average facebooker to understand that though.

**And no one is saying don't have fun too!**

But why is FB or other SM "the vehicle" for expressing these feelings? It seems like you want to make SM your "default" way of interacting with your friends and family (you noted your channels are private for the people close to you).



What happens when you discuss problems with people close to you in person, on the phone or through email or text?



Quote:
Originally Posted by Sonic_Spork View Post
I don't think that the typical person who only shares light hearted or positive things on Facebook, is refusing to feel or experience or think about, or even talk about, negative things. I don't think that they are an incomplete person, emotionally, because of that.

I think that they probably just choose their audience better.

Because really...it may be that you feel entitled to information that you aren't entitled to. Because maybe it's just none of your business. No one has an obligation to splash their personal stuff all over the internet. The fun stuff...often not very personal. But the hard things, the painful things... I tell ya, when I need to talk about some of that stuff, especially anything I'm actually upset about? I only talk to the few people I trust who actually care about me. Not hundreds of acquaintances on Facebook. And even if I only had a relatively small number of friends and family as friends there, I still would be more selective than that. I mean, do you know for a fact that whoever you might be thinking of here, does not have someone like a coworker as a Facebook friend? I don't want my coworkers knowing all of my personal business. Or any family member who is prone to gossiping it around.

Now anyone who remembers anything about my posting history here might be scoffing and thinking of the many times I shared personal and even very negative life experiences and things here...but I learned (the hard way) to wait until the emotional rawness was gone. The last time I shared about really bad, really hard things I was going through here, it was blood in the water for some pretty nasty sharks. Now, well. Now I know better. No matter how serious the subject I'm talking about here, now, I'm not hugely emotionally invested in it, even if it may seem otherwise. Some posters can go so far as to annoy me, but they don't get me holding my chest cavity open after handing them a spear to stab into it.

Doesn't mean I don't feel stuff, go through stuff, think about stuff...just because I don't put it all on blast online, though.

And I don't think that's "toxic" at all.

Mind you, when a friend is suffering, I sure as hell don't pop up and tell them to just smile or pull a "Life of Brian"...always look on the bright side of life...*whistling*... (Monty Python reference if anyone doesn't know)... No, I can be sympathetic and supportive. I would agree if someone is dismissive of another person's problems and tries to tell them to just stop feeling bad and feel good instead, yeah, that's garbage behavior.

But I don't feel like that's what you're getting at here.

At least it doesn't sound that way.

It sounds like a demand that everyone on Facebook share an equal balance of positive and negative things, at the risk of being accused of "toxic positivity." Which is...weird, to me.

A lot of this is what I was trying to say.


Also, on SM people are often judged on how others respond. No one is going to say anything but " "you are going to beat this!" and "sending positive vibes!" publicly to a woman diagnosed with late stage breast cancer.



In fact Im on a women's career forum and a woman said she was reluctant to take a promotion because it meant a lot more work, and she has kids under age 10 and already feel s like she is shortchanging them as it is. All the responses were "you got this!" as if she is wo der woman. One person responded that "well, yes, it's a tough choice and the reality is you can't put your all into a job like that and your children. It's okay to go put the brakes on your career for now." That lone voice was absolutely BERATED by the rest of the group (although she got a lot of likes."). I suspect that the original poster was looking for social permission to put her career track on hold, hence her question. But you see what I mean...it's not just about you, it's about how responders are perceived and many won't take the risk of saying anything "wrong" because of how it looks to everyone.


It used to be well understood that people have their own ways of dealing with negative situations, and that was always ok. Some people need to stay positive as a coping mechanism. Now it's considered "toxic" and "controlling." How did we get here?

Last edited by wasel; 06-19-2023 at 07:27 AM..
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Old 06-19-2023, 11:08 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
I like that article and it brings out an important point. That is honesty.

People who discount your feelings by telling you you should feel differently are annoying. On the other hand people who reinforce your most negative feelings aren't doing you any favors and may, over time do you harm, keep you in that unpleasant spot.

Once all your bad feelings about yourself are reinforced and affirmed where do you go from there? I'd be ready for something better.

Most all of us have some distortion about the amount of misery in our lives and a good friend with sensitivity can help with a more balanced and comfortable view of ourselves.
I love this take on the topic, thank you.
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Old 06-19-2023, 11:22 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasel View Post
But why is FB or other SM "the vehicle" for expressing these feelings? It seems like you want to make SM your "default" way of interacting with your friends and family (you noted your channels are private for the people close to you).

What happens when you discuss problems with people close to you in person, on the phone or through email or text?

A lot of this is what I was trying to say.

Also, on SM people are often judged on how others respond. No one is going to say anything but " "you are going to beat this!" and "sending positive vibes!" publicly to a woman diagnosed with late stage breast cancer.

In fact Im on a women's career forum and a woman said she was reluctant to take a promotion because it meant a lot more work, and she has kids under age 10 and already feel s like she is shortchanging them as it is. All the responses were "you got this!" as if she is wo der woman. One person responded that "well, yes, it's a tough choice and the reality is you can't put your all into a job like that and your children. It's okay to go put the brakes on your career for now." That lone voice was absolutely BERATED by the rest of the group (although she got a lot of likes."). I suspect that the original poster was looking for social permission to put her career track on hold, hence her question. But you see what I mean...it's not just about you, it's about how responders are perceived and many won't take the risk of saying anything "wrong" because of how it looks to everyone.

It used to be well understood that people have their own ways of dealing with negative situations, and that was always ok. Some people need to stay positive as a coping mechanism. Now it's considered "toxic" and "controlling." How did we get here?
The only thing I can think of is that people are not interacting with others in person enough. Because there is (and arguably should be) a difference between close, intimate (not sexual intimate, but like...personal) in-person interactions, and what we put online.

What you put on the internet is PUBLIC. It is out there, it is forever. You should not expect privacy, semi-privacy, or that you can take it back. You might think that your intended audience is your personal friends and family, but you'd better not bet the farm on that, at least in my opinion and experience.

So I can kinda get the notion of positivity being "toxic" in a close relationship in person.

My ex is the most "toxic" relationship I've ever had, and while he was not an overly positive person, he could not handle anyone else having problems that required focus and attention. He got uncomfortable when things were not about him. So if I was in pain, even for like really legit reasons, either he'd suddenly be sick or hurt or need the focus shifted onto him because he had a worse problem...or he would clown. "Just tryin' to make ya smile!" Dude. I'm giving birth. Pardon me for not stopping to appreciate your comedy hour, guy. Like, my expression of pain or suffering was so uncomfortable, if he could just force me to make a different expression with my face, he could relieve his discomfort and everything would be all better. Zero empathy.

When he was joking and clowning, trying to force me to stop expressing pain or a need of some kind, yes, that was toxic. If he or anyone were just a super-dee-duper positive happy person who could not be there in sympathy for a suffering friend, that would be toxic, too. Certainly!

But the internet...like... That's more, to me, like the office where I work. We might CHOOSE to share personal things if we feel comfortable enough, or negative things, but no one should feel like they have to. And some people prefer to compartmentalize that environment and put on a happy, cordial but impersonal, "professional" demeanor and that is FINE. Does not mean that they are only part a person just because they decided not to share the whole of themselves with me, with the whole office, with the whole internet, etc.

Do I make fun of the occasional woman I work with (or celebrity, or person online) who is just over the top perky and bubbly? Oh, sure, a bit. But at the end of the day, that's just not a very compatible personality for my own, that's all. My thoughts would be in the tone of, "Look at little Miss Sunshine over here...ugh...I am not anywhere near caffeinated enough for this upspeak right now. You're killin me." Not some kind of serious judgment that she is "toxic."
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Old 06-22-2023, 12:23 PM
 
19,364 posts, read 12,014,526 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wasel View Post
But why is FB or other SM "the vehicle" for expressing these feelings? It seems like you want to make SM your "default" way of interacting with your friends and family (you noted your channels are private for the people close to you).



What happens when you discuss problems with people close to you in person, on the phone or through email or text?






A lot of this is what I was trying to say.


Also, on SM people are often judged on how others respond. No one is going to say anything but " "you are going to beat this!" and "sending positive vibes!" publicly to a woman diagnosed with late stage breast cancer.



In fact Im on a women's career forum and a woman said she was reluctant to take a promotion because it meant a lot more work, and she has kids under age 10 and already feel s like she is shortchanging them as it is. All the responses were "you got this!" as if she is wo der woman. One person responded that "well, yes, it's a tough choice and the reality is you can't put your all into a job like that and your children. It's okay to go put the brakes on your career for now." That lone voice was absolutely BERATED by the rest of the group (although she got a lot of likes."). I suspect that the original poster was looking for social permission to put her career track on hold, hence her question. But you see what I mean...it's not just about you, it's about how responders are perceived and many won't take the risk of saying anything "wrong" because of how it looks to everyone.


It used to be well understood that people have their own ways of dealing with negative situations, and that was always ok. Some people need to stay positive as a coping mechanism. Now it's considered "toxic" and "controlling." How did we get here?
This is massive misinterpretation. Maybe ASK the person how they feel if you're not sure. If they WANT false hope and rainbows let them have it or stay out of it. But don't force it on others because it makes you feel better.

I have no personal social media accounts. This idea applies very well to in-person interactions too. Social media magnifies it. It's really just about shutting down what one perceives as negativity (even if it's normal life stuff) and telling them everything is sunshine.

I would not tell someone with late stage breast cancer that they would be cured or "beat this". That is a lie. I would send them my best, prayers if they like, or whatever they prefer. I would let them talk about their experience if they wanted and just listen. Because I've done it, most of us know or have known people with terminal illness. One guy on a forum had advanced melanoma, and others started up with that nonsense of cures, and taking some kind of natural substances and supplements. He told them please stop that nonsense, the cancer had taken over and he was at peace. And they did stop and the discussion became something that was actually beneficial to him, a respectful and welcome tribute to the man, no fake false hope like he's a fool or unable to handle the truth.

Yes of course people do this fake positivity stuff offline too.
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Old 06-22-2023, 08:34 PM
 
Location: Southern MN
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And remember, not all of us are deep thinkers/feelers. Some people have simple needs and probably shouldn't be pressed to feel and communicate more deeply. Everyone has to have a certain level of denial with the more difficult parts of life or none of us could tolerate it.

I think it's important to respect that boundary even if, to us, it doesn't look right. Sometimes a casual remark can open a breach that a person isn't able to handle and if you're well-meaning you don't want to do that to anyone.

There are people who function nearly all the time by thought and would scarcely know a feeling if it bopped them over the head. True. They know the basic mad, sad, glad but beyond that are unable to identify what they are feeling. It doesn't necessarily mean they are dysfunctional. It's their coping style.
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Old 06-23-2023, 07:48 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
And remember, not all of us are deep thinkers/feelers. Some people have simple needs and probably shouldn't be pressed to feel and communicate more deeply. Everyone has to have a certain level of denial with the more difficult parts of life or none of us could tolerate it.

I think it's important to respect that boundary even if, to us, it doesn't look right. Sometimes a casual remark can open a breach that a person isn't able to handle and if you're well-meaning you don't want to do that to anyone.

There are people who function nearly all the time by thought and would scarcely know a feeling if it bopped them over the head. True. They know the basic mad, sad, glad but beyond that are unable to identify what they are feeling. It doesn't necessarily mean they are dysfunctional. It's their coping style.
Could you expand on this? I don't see how you could survive in the adult world living in such denial or ignorance. Relationships would be difficult to impossible without the ability to identify and express feelings.

What kind of thing might one say that would trigger someone like this?
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Old 06-23-2023, 11:28 AM
 
Location: Phoenix, AZ
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lodestar View Post
And remember, not all of us are deep thinkers/feelers. Some people have simple needs and probably shouldn't be pressed to feel and communicate more deeply. Everyone has to have a certain level of denial with the more difficult parts of life or none of us could tolerate it.

I think it's important to respect that boundary even if, to us, it doesn't look right. Sometimes a casual remark can open a breach that a person isn't able to handle and if you're well-meaning you don't want to do that to anyone.

There are people who function nearly all the time by thought and would scarcely know a feeling if it bopped them over the head. True. They know the basic mad, sad, glad but beyond that are unable to identify what they are feeling. It doesn't necessarily mean they are dysfunctional. It's their coping style.
I have known a lot of men who were like this, more or less. Though I would not so much say that they don't know a feeling if it bopped them over the head...it's more that the feeling itself is terrifyingly big and if they engage with it, it might devour them. Some are afraid that if they engage with the feeling and express it too honestly, they might behave badly towards the ones that they love or sink into a depression that could become destructive. I get that because I've felt that way myself sometimes, and sometimes the best answer has been to deliberately distract myself until the emotional intensity mellows out.

But the example I was thinking of, where I've seen it in men... Veterans. The old, "we don't talk about the war" men. They come home to a loving family and they want more than anything to forget the horror they have seen. And they may never be able to truly forget, but if they engage more with the love and beauty of their families and try to shift their thinking to the good things in their lives, they might be able to cope until the rawness fades in time to something more manageable. But if they engage with it, feed it, think about it, talk about it...those are the ones who end up only able to escape the sheer overwhelming awfulness of it all by drinking or something. The ones whose relationships come apart.

We all act like talking about our painful stuff lances the boil in our minds and makes things all better. I don't think that's true. Talking about things has not had a purging or cathartic effect in my experience. And thinking too much, talking too much, about big negative emotional matters actually makes me feel mired in a tar pit that I can't get out of. It can help to just be around people who shared a certain experience and who understand, sometimes...but I do not want to live my life in a psychological hell, and I've seen others do that and it has not been good. My own hardships do not compare to the horrors of warfare, but they can be enough to send me into a spiral if I indulge them. And once I am there, I dump on other people in ways that bring them down and that they may not feel OK with, and I have a hard time climbing out. There's not much to be gained from it. It does not make bad memories go away. It grows the miserable feelings, it does not relieve them. So unless there is an active problem to be solved by discussing something with, say, my husband (or someone who is doing something that I'm not OK with for instance)...unless I can articulate my needs to them and expect them to care and take them seriously... Well, it can be better for me to just cope by pushing the negative thinking off to the side and playing some rockabilly music or something. Pushing the happy button. Once I've processed something to a certain extent, I've wrung all of the learning and wisdom out of the experience that I suspect I'm gonna, then there just isn't any point in having a deep wallow in the emotional muck.

Oh, and making sure that my physical needs are met is a big part of it, too. I forget to eat sometimes, so that's the first question to ask if I'm in a funk and the brain gremlins are chattering. Have I eaten enough, hydrated enough, slept enough?

To the point, I think that I have the capacity to experience deep bouts of serious depression, but it's mild enough for me that I am able, if I catch it in time, to grab the wheel and steer myself away from them. And I think that it is a very, very good idea to do that if I'm able, because there is peril in that state of mind that is better avoided, and no good to be gained ultimately from falling down that well. Keeping myself well away from it, does not harm my relationships, quite the opposite really.

But that's just me. I only get to speak for my brain and how it works, because I've lived in it for 44 years. I would never tell someone who either cannot steer away from a depressive episode (as an example) or who needs to purge and process, or who copes differently than how I do, or whatever...that they should just try to be more like me or do as I do.

I really don't think that it's very fair at all to call someone toxic just because they manage their own mind in a different way than you do. The relationship may just not be a good fit for you, it may not be healthy for you to engage in. But people can be different without throwing that kind of shade at one another, I think.
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