Why can't we just be happy?


AuthorTopic: Why can't we just be happy?
Nuke and Pave
Member # 24
Profile Homepage #50
Originally written by Diprosopus:

... And while depression among those not subject to tragedy is sad, "change your attitude" or "others have it worse" without any qualifiers are generally unhelpful because the former asks the impossible out of people and depression is based off of a sincerely-held, committed belief that one's situation actually is bad.
Actually, asking people to change their view on life is the basis for CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), a method of treating mild and moderate depression that proved to be just as effective as medication. (Yes, CBT involves more than just saying "cheer up", but my main point is that it is possible for depressed people to change their mood by changing their view on life.)

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Posts: 2649 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
By Committee
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Originally written by We Didn't Shard of Fire:

Of course, there are people who take risk and hardship in stride. They may be the ones who do crazy stunts (like this) because they've accepted that risks exist. I think most of those "Xtreme sport"-type people are very content with life and mentally sound.
That's a different sort of risk than I'm talking about. Not to say that isn't necessarily a life of meaning, though it seems a little myopic.
Posts: 2242 | Registered: Saturday, April 10 2004 07:00
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I believe, sir, that CBT's success (even if it was simply due to the variants on "cheer up" you describe) can still be reasonably explained as '"cheer up" with qualifier(s)', which I didn't commit myself to condemning. I was also more interested in addressing a general attitude that assigning a responsibility to someone who doesn't see it as a privilege as well is a poor strategy to address depression, since it's typically incoherent to the person. Even if I see reason to accept responsibility myself, I'm hardly reasonable to demand responsibility in others.
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
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Originally written by Nemesis.:

That's actually a very good reason to do something like community service, where you might feed the homeless for a day, or maybe a missions trip to a less wealthy country. It'd really fix the perspective of how decent we actually have it in our own situations.

Always remember: it could be worse. ;)

I hate poor people. If they're miserable they remind me that I have no right to be happy, and if they're happy they remind me that I have no right to be miserable.

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Posts: 9973 | Registered: Saturday, March 30 2002 08:00
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Or, to translate: It's absurd to use others as a standard to determine your own feelings.
Posts: 134 | Registered: Sunday, February 3 2008 08:00
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Originally written by Thuryl:

I hate poor people. If they're miserable they remind me that I have no right to be happy, and if they're happy they remind me that I have no right to be miserable.
For the former issue, they don't have the right to do that.

For the latter, that's kind of my point, except you do have the right to be miserable. You'd just be happier if you're, uh… not miserable. So look at your life next to theirs and realize that there are people that have it worse than you.

Then again, if you like being miserable, that's your prerogative. It is your life, after all.

Originally written by Diprosopus:

Or, to translate: It's absurd to use others as a standard to determine your own feelings.
I might be mistaken, but I don't think that's what Thuryl meant at all. And I'm not saying you should base your feelings entirely on what everyone else is going though. I'm just saying that it sometimes helps to realize that it could be worse, and it is for other people.

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Posts: 743 | Registered: Friday, September 29 2006 07:00
Raven v. Writing Desk
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The several definitions of CBT given here have been more than a bit off. Wikipedia provides a pretty even-handed summary:

"A Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) is a psychotherapy based on modifying cognitions, assumptions, beliefs and behaviors, with the aim of influencing disturbed emotions. The general approach, developed out of behavior modification, Cognitive Therapy and Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy, has become widely used to treat various kinds of neuroses and psychopathology, including mood disorders and anxiety disorders. The particular therapeutic techniques vary according to the particular kind of client or issue, but commonly include keeping a diary of significant events and associated feelings, thoughts and behaviors; questioning and testing cognitions, assumptions, evaluations and beliefs that might be unhelpful and unrealistic; gradually facing activities which may have been avoided; and trying out new ways of behaving and reacting. Relaxation and distraction techniques are also commonly included. CBT is widely accepted as an evidence- and empiricism-based, cost-effective psychotherapy for many disorders and psychological problems. It is sometimes used with groups of people as well as individuals, and the techniques are also commonly adapted for self-help manuals and, increasingly, for self-help software packages."

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Posts: 3560 | Registered: Wednesday, November 7 2001 08:00
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I've been noticing how unhappy all the people around me seem to be(both strangers and people I know). I see so many people walking down the street or driving their cars and just glowering. And then in my school when I listen to people's conversations most of them are insulting each other or an absent third party.
So my question is, why can't people be nice to each other? At the very least we could smile at someone we pass on the street. And I wish people could be nice to each other, even if they don't like each other.
I know there's not really an answer to the question "Why can't people be nice and get along" and asking isn't going to change anything, but watching the world like this makes me sad and I don't know what I can do to try and change it.
As nice a sentiment as it may seem, people will never be unconditionally kindhearted and considerate. It is a flaw of human nature, but it is also arguably a trait that makes humans interesting. Don't fear, I’m not going to give you an obscure, philosophical observation and then offer no real answer. Clearly, this question is going to have many different answers depending on the personal characteristics of the writer. I will try to answer as best I can from my perspective. As far as seeing strangers and passerbys glowering or brooding amongst themselves, be understanding and consider multiple possibilities. You really don't know if they are angry, you only base the knowledge on an assumption. At school I continuously face similar assumptions that people just blindly accept as fact. As long as I can remember, people have always been asking if I was sad or angry(although, they were really making a statement of fact rather than a question as they had already made up their minds of what I was and was not). Teachers would constantly talk among themselves, declaring that I may be depressive or have a behavioral problem simply because I did not like to talk. I still don’t like to talk. I’m not shy or timid and I don’t live in an emotional shell, I just do not like to talk. I’ve always been a thinker rather than a speaker. I speak when I feel I can contribute to conversation. Would I be angry? Of course, everyone becomes upset on occasions, some more than others. As a result of people automatically assuming me to be an angry or snobbish person, I never obtained any real human friends during my high school career. I am currently a senior, less than two months from my graduation, and I still have very poor relationships with my classmates. People have thawed over the years, but I’m still the person people will ask for help on assignments, but never asked out to participate in recreational activities. When I am invited, it tends to be because people feel an obligation to invite me, as I have a sibling in the same grade as me who is far more personable. I don’t mind it when a person doesn’t like me. I most certainly do not like everyone I meet. What I do not appreciate is when the reason people stray from me is because of an assumption that became a rumor, a rumor that became idle gossip, and finally a fact of life.

When it comes to students gossiping and putting others down, what can I really write? It’s one of the many ugly and repugnant masks of high school life. Students demean each other because of personal insecurities, un-resolved issues, rumors, and general hate. In my four years of observations, most of those situations are a result of a persons insecurities. If a girl A affronts girl B for being physically unattractive, there is a good chance(at least in my educational environment) that girl A is insecure in her appearance. So, in order to make herself seem prettier by comparison, girl A says, “at least I’m not as (insert derogatory term here) as girl B”.
In other circumstances, girl A could just be a miserable excuse for a living creature. With some, the reason behind the hate and the aversion is more obvious than it is in others. Contrariwise, girl A could have a poor home life and no mature way to vent her anger at her current situation.

Ultimately, what I have been trying to display in these past two hundred words or so is to be understanding. People become angry for different situations. People become cruel for many different reasons as well. Sometimes, the person in question really is a moron. Sometimes, the angry person really is just angry for a reason he or she may not even know. What can you do to try and change the situation? Time for another philosophical thought:

You’ll never be able to change everyone you meet. It is a good thing, a tender and empathic heart. It is not weak, but rather strong and determined. The tender heart, feeling continuous benevolence and worry for it’s fellow hearts, is always seeking an answer. But an answer is not always there to be found.

What you need to do is keep the values you want to instill in others. Smile if you think it will help. Don’t talk poorly of others in attempt to think more highly of yourself. And very importantly, do not base anything purely on assumption. We assume what we don’t know, and we should keep that assumption only until we find the fact.

"Hurt gives way to bitterness, bitterness gives way to anger. Travel too far down that road and the way is lost."-Terry Brooks, The Elfstones of Shannara, pg.155
Posts: 5 | Registered: Saturday, April 5 2008 07:00