Why do people please? They are in pain.
I keep thinking about the effects of being “healthy” and how some of those people tend to be the worst people. Social pain lights up the same receptors in the brain as physical pain. The only people who tend to be the most callous, don’t feel pain or shame.
You spend time around the disabled or mental health communities and you get to see how much empathy these people have for the world.
A healthy society is society where disabled people are respected, and this explains a lot about why we have such uphill battles getting our needs taken seriously. A better world is possible.
I’d like to point out the mistreatment of disabled people is largely a result of colonial mindset, conquering the world. Winning at the expense of connection. Indigenous people celebrate differences.
I think this is why I hated the one anti-depressant that seemed to take the edge of depression, I was numb. Numb. As in not in pain. I felt unable to feel anything.
Competition, the just world fallacy, all these tools that people who are not hurting use to avoid the reality of the world as it exists. Minimising the uncomfortable feeling that we live in an unjust world. They use a fictional view of the world to avoid having to feel.
Our fear of discomfort as a society is making us more distant maybe the things we’ve been taught are unhelpful due to their effects on productivity are the things we need to unify us…
This is why I think ‘Lost Connections’ by Johann Hari spoke to my soul. It reframed depression and anxiety in terms as essential parts of the human experience. I think a lot about the paradox of trauma.
Maybe my life was awful to allow me to reason. I am not saying that it should be for everyone, but my pain and suffering seemed to rein me in when I started trying to live for things other than the goals of self-determination (autonomy, competence, relatedness). A hypersensitivity to living a life of connection.
My Crohn’s disease pain largely went away at the same time as I dedicated most of my time to sharing and alleviating pain, living with true authenticity and by the Stoic virtues. Wisdom, Courage, Temperance & Virtue.
I spent so long trying to work on me alone. Trying to be the ideal version of me at the neglect of the person I was. When I destroyed my ego, gave into the things I was “shameful” over and expressed them honestly it was like all the baggage I had had it’s contents poured out.
I carry my experiences with me, but they are no longer heavy. I like leaning into the pain of my past, it gives me hope for the future, and being honest, it makes me feel human.
If you think about how “PC”, “Woke”, “Cancel Culture” are used by people who use them maliciously you can see it’s a way of never having to feel connected to others because they are terrified of being in pain. Cowards. Actually cowards. The strength is leaning into discomfort.
This is why anti-racist work is so hard. It hurts to know we perpetuate an unfair society by being afforded privilege. Being wrong and realising how systems uphold the things we don’t want is painful. Also why justice sensitivity is high in populations that are stigmatised.
“And it's strange, all the things that I've run from
Are the things that completeness could come from“
This lyric is one of the most important ones in my life.
If you think about passion in love maybe people use the vulnerability of feeling like the other person could leave at any moment as a way to ensure there is passion. The start of a relationship tends to be the most passionate because we live with the fear of pain if we are left.
“Don’t let your disability define you” this message sucked because it denied the pain of being disabled. When I tried to hide my pain or pretend it doesn’t exist. I “hurt” myself the most.
I was so scared of being honest about hurting.
Empathy involves pain implicitly. Empathy requires you to feel discomfort of others and share in it. This explains why people minimise the pain of others, they are scared of pain themselves.
‘Crazy but good in bed’. Empathetic. You mean empathetic.
Non-judgement also requires you to be ok with people hurting other people and understanding that it’s not always a sign of people being awful, the people who hurt me most had “good intentions”.
This is why I’m an abolitionist, why it made sense to me at my core. Isolation and ostracism can push people past the limit of pain till they take steps to limit interoception, it can make the shame of mistakes so powerful they stop interocepting that too. Callousness = a lack of shame and pain.
The dichotomy of thinking there is good and bad people is something people rely on as broken distortion of the truth in order to believe that the world is just, then when we create the circumstances that ensure that is true we say “look we were right”.
The worst atrocities are usually caused by people who had such shame or pain they stopped the interoception of feeling those things. You can develop empathy, it’s been shown in brain scans consistently, but you must believe you can change.
Once you see pain and shame as enemies or unfair, you start literally thinking in ways that bypass the brain mechanisms that are developed specifically for this purpose. Hate leads to suffering.
Think now about how toxic masculinity works – pain or shame is seen as weakness, the misrepresentation of being “stoic” as denying the feelings you have is one of the distortions that makes me livid. Now I know why.
Entitlement comes from a lack of shame.
Suicide rates are high in the men who realise they can’t actually turn off the things they’ve been gaslight into believing. This mask is one that too many wear.
When we mock people who appear to feel pain for the first time, what are we doing? How can we allow people to get better unless we allow them to hurt too?
The society we have built is so utterly toxic for progress. We need to see everything as a spectrum as it actually is. Binaries never allow nuance. There is black and white, but there is always more gray. 99.99% is more ambiguous than we believe.
I can quite easily see now I’ve some self-esteem, self-worth how the idea of “not being around people who bring you down” is encouraged. A core of badly delivered CBT is to never allow yourself to stop believing in a just world. It does have a protective effect but it makes you a worse person.
When we protect ourselves from objective truth through self-gaslighting we give up our humanity in the process.