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Is there a way to recapture the hope and positive mindset of your youth?


Kenneth8825

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Life takes a toll on us in every way.  We damage ourselves physically by not exercising, over eating, and working ourselves to death. We damage ourselves mentally by stressing out over every little thing.  We constantly stress about the mistakes we’ve made and the state of our world. Every failed relationship, every heartbreak, every person that uses us and disregards our feelings does leave an emotional scar to the point where you can end up hating the opposite sex.   To summarize, life takes a toll on us in every way. At 18 I thought I could do anything, so I went forth and gave maximum effort, confidence led to results at least for a while. But I recently had a birthday where I turned 32, and I know I can’t do anything because I have failed. I've disappointed myself and others, I’ve failed in basically every area of my life to the point where I just don’t want to try anymore.  I really wish there were some way to regain the positive confidence of my youth where I thought I could do anything. I wish there were some way to have a positive can do attitude despite all my failures. If I could somehow create a positive attitude and coupled with the wisdom I have now, I could become successful and achieve my life goals. But every time I want to study for the GRE, all I can think about is how I flunked out of med school, everytime I plan to diet I just think about all the times I lost weight and gained it all back. My failures keep me complacent.  How? How is anyone positive after constant failure?

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Hi @Kenneth8825,  sorry for your suffering.  Yes our past can way heavily on us and we could be fearful for the future especially in these unusual times.  That leaves us with the present in which to change our perspective.

Looking at younger members of family I can see they play happily for the moment, free of burdens of past and future.  Maybe the answer to your question might lie there?

I'm a good bit older than you and have had maybe a similar journey to you in some ways.  I hope you can get a little relief from your suffering.

 

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This is a very good question. Sadly I haven’t an answer.

I’m pretty much the same as you, @Kenneth8825. Only 20 years or so older. I feel like a failure too. I never managed to get myself into university. I just couldn’t wrap my head around exams. I was complete rubbish in that respect. 

I have never amounted to anything in life. Nothing really interests me and I am mediocre in anything I do at best. 

I have never felt particularly confident about anything at any time of my life. I have been a “glass half empty”kind of guy since I was a kid. Prone to anxiety and negative thinking. Could be  thanks to my dad who, though loving me to bits, was also prone to anxiety and thinking in terms of worst case scenarios.

Apparently we can learn to be negative, but there is also proof that some of us are just wired that way.

Back in the days of us being hunter-gatherers people like me/us were needed so that the more optimistically driven wouldn’t get caught under mammoths/snakes and volcanoes  or something. Insomniacs were the ones watching out for the rest of us sleeping.

The problem is of course that we are in essence, still the same as we were 20000 years ago. Or our bodies are. We are still gatherer-hunters with our out-of-place flight or flight reflexes and whatnot. But I digress.

Some of us need tactile, in-your-face proof to be positive. Others CAN just think themselves into a positive mindset (because that is what they genetically are/have had positive feedback in their respective formative years). But the rest of us need PROOF that  things can indeed be better. 

This is my take on the matter anyhow.

I’m sorry you feel this way too. I hope you find answers soon. I think I gave up the fight a long time ago.

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I think this is very personal. You are going to have this pull and back, but you are going to need to still doing things, maybe in short ways, not feeling totally perfect all days, but knowing you still have to do things to feel good, and sometimes still feel bad. Try to do what you can, and feel ok with that. Things cannot be change, try to feel good this days. 

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7 minutes ago, mmd said:

I think this is very personal. You are going to have this pull and back, but you are going to need to still doing things, maybe in short ways, not feeling totally perfect all days, but knowing you still have to do things to feel good, and sometimes still feel bad. Try to do what you can, and feel ok with that. Things cannot be change, try to feel good this days. 

Well, said but you can have a determine spirit like your youth to succeed in whatever you put your mind to do.  And that is very similar to recapturing your youth mind set.  No, fear just a strong will to be successful 

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Kenneth -- I've tried so many ways to feel good about myself and my life, and ascribed to many so faith based philosophies that it gives me a headache to think of them.  At best, my feeling "good" about myself has been cyclical and tapering off to nothing now.  I've been in therapy many times; been on antidepressants for the last 25 years, and I think that feeling good about ones self all the time (my words, not yours) is a tall order for everyone.  Maybe we're given glimpses of our best selves and then have to live up to those images going forward. 

I think, though, that any one thing tried or done every day can be a way through.  Maybe make a list of 3 or 4 things you'd like to accomplish every day.  Print or write the document in large letters and post that list where you'll see it every day.  Mine is just above my computer and of the 6 things I have written down, I only do two regularly--and of those two, only one every day.  It keeps me from complete inertia, because depression feeds inertia and vice versa, so its a revolving door I have to make a conscious effort to step out of (and that's HARD).

So, no, you will never get back what you lost in any area of your life, and it will be up to you to create it anew again and again.  BUT, when you see how far you've come, you'll look back and see -- for example -- "I NEVER would have done that when I was young.  I didn't know how to speak up for myself back then." 

Experience changes us for the better and for the worse.  To address those changes for the better and build upon them is the biggest challenge of my life.

Thinking of you and wishing you courage and hope.

WOTL (womanofthelight)

Edited by womanofthelight
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1 hour ago, sober4life said:

I can never feel like I used to feel when I was young.  The older I get the more I learn about the world so to be like I was when I was young again I would have to get total amnesia.

You must of had a good childhood then. I wouldn't want to go back to that time either.

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6 hours ago, watalife said:

You must of had a good childhood then. I wouldn't want to go back to that time either.

I never said I had a good childhood.  I haven't enjoyed anything so far.  I've had an angry bitter look on my face from the moment I was born.  I think for some of us like me god if there is one makes us as big of a freak as possible.  He sits around with his friends and laughs and says watch what I can do with this person.  If every person is created as they are intended to be created then god means for some of us to never have a chance at a good life in this world.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 3 months later...
On 4/3/2020 at 1:17 AM, Deep_joy said:

HOPE, Kenneth, HOPE.

That alone has the power!

I'm very short on hope nowadays,  coming back to this thread after months because I feel really low, lower than I have felt in a long time.  I don't think I'll ever have a career that I enjoy, I don't think I'll ever lose weight, I don't think I'll ever have a good relationship with my family, I don't think there will ever be a woman that loves me. I have effectively given up.     Once you get to the point where I am now, where you are just living as a shell of your former self,  you might as well be dead.   I was a med student, I was going to make something of my life after living in poverty. I guess not. I'll never forgive myself for letting an opportunity like that slip through my fingers.  I have never had suicidal thoughts before,  but if my life keeps going like this, I can see it as a very real option. 

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Well, I have heard of inner child work, and one doesn’t need a happy childhood for this. It involves going back to childhood memories and giving yourself the love as well as perspective you couldn’t allow yourself then. Someone may even write down letters to your younger self all kinds of advice, guidance and words of affirmation to help make peace with your past. It also involves trying things you enjoyed as a kid in the present, such as coloring or watching a certain childhood show. Maybe one’s childhood is mostly full of the bad, but I doubt you’d get this far without the slightest happiness, or comfort from anything. There are lots of articles with instructions around inner child work online if you are curious. It seems to be a subset of psychotherapy — therapy making sense of your situation growing up — and personally it didn’t solve everything in my life, but it did manage to help a lot. 

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