I prefer a very nuanced approach to the dictum of "choosing how we feel or react". I was glad to see a lot of clarification and discussion about it @Darcy and @Determined
I see "choice" thrown around a lot as an attack and hope that one day it has less sway.
I dont buy it.
To me a person blown apart by a bomb has genuine reason for their feelings and so yes feelings do need to be validated @Faith-and-Hope I guess I have seen far too many people effected by too much long term trauma.
All my life.
Taking responsibility for our lives is different from taking responsibility for our feelings.
When people talk too much about their feelings when they do not have significant life experiences I tend to turn off. It is a balance of coming to terms with one's feelings and taking responsibility for life that matter (feelings and cognitions ... heart and mind need to work together). Most of my life I have tried to take responsibility. I still dont think my feelings are all my choice ... I know it ... For the last 19 years I have been single and have been fortunate to be able to work a lot with therapuetic ideas and a range of modes of expression. So yes I have chosen to work with my feeling as responsibly as I can, but I would not wish my life on anyone. I generally find statements about choosing our feelings insulting or ignorant.
Neuroscience has been important for me to understand the limits of free will and choice ...
Just got around to reading the first post in this thread @Darcy, great share. Saw this one online earlier today and thought it was also a good visual reminder that each step we're on isn't that much of a leap to the next step, and it's the accumulation of the steps that gets us where we want to go
@Faith-and-Hope : "why do we feel ...." and following this "What can I do about it" "need to validate our emotions"
@Determined, @starflame@Appleblossom@Darcy : the term "choosing how we feel" is belittling/negating/insulting. There was a consensus that it is our response to these emotions that we need to come to terms with/work on. It was noted that we often can not do this on our own, professional help can be of benefit.
@Shaz51: our responses can vary, how we responded in the past might be different to how we respond at present acknowledging that the circumstances would be different too.
@Sasha_86 : holding on to some feelings can prevent us from moving forward.
Optimistic people accept the current situation and still be confident about their future.
People who are optimistic tend to see the challenging times as temporary.
None of us are immune from life’s difficulties but at times it is hard to see the wood for the trees and if things can or will get better. Using the words “never” or “always” can be an indication that we are not being optimistic. For us as carers I think being optimistic means that we engage in healthier behaviours irrespective of the clinical status of our loved ones
At a stage when things were grim and Mr Darcy’s condition was life threatening, I could not say that I was optimistic. During the course of his last hospitalisation I was so very grateful that I came across a resource that spoke of living well in spite of a mental health diagnosis and this was the key that unlocked hope and optimism in me. There were a number of things that happened around that time but for the first time since Mr Darcy became unwell, I began to face the reality of our situation, acknowledge my emotions and take responsibility for them. Following this I started to make some healthy choices that helped me become more resilient. Being optimistic often means we are solution oriented and we believe that things can get better. In a practical way for me this meant:
Finding the silver linings
understanding the treatment plan and when to act on it
Seeing the potential benefit of getting professional help
Being an encourager
It is often hard to see the challenging times as being temporary, we do need to be realistic, after all most of us carers are here on the forum as our loved ones are dealing with chronic forms of mental illness. I think I found that the hope and optimism that I acquired meant that I started to understand that there are things we can do to make life more manageable and that there is still so much we can do that can bring us meaning and joy.
Maintaining optimism in the face of a lack of diagnosis has been hard @Darcy - and I want to reiterate that I don’t at any level believe that a diagnosis will bring immediate solutions or resolutions - but what it will do it return some integrity to our situation that is, at the moment, somewhat lacking.
Optimism is where my faith comes in, staunchly believing that this can and will get better, and will give me / us new skills in the process.
I can also see in hindsight that we are living in trauma-affected bloodlines, so if we can stop those balls rolling forward in this generation, it can result in a healing of the generations moving forward, but “teeth need to be pulled” first. In that sense it is a blessing that the problems are surfacing, being diagnosed in some, throwing a spotlight onto the behaviours of others, and can be recognised, talked about, processed, and lived-well-in-spite-of ...... as you have so beautifulily said.
Perhaps the biggest challenge I have faced so far is having one highly-held value compete with another such highly-held value, on my own personal level, and having to choose which one is to take precedence over the other, causing the other to seemingly fall down or be surrendered in the process. This is definitely where it helps me to place a “For Now” label over the decision.
One example is speaking out here about my family, and even venting about anecdotal issues. It goes against the grain for me, but the alternative was losing my own mental health balance to situational depression, and my physical health to the effects of beyond-manageable stress. Or taking on my husband’s illness directly, forcing him to try to choose something that he cannot choose, and witness a far more immediate distraction of my family as a result ...... where amongst the ashes a diagnosis would very clearly emerge ..... too little, too late.
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