When I find myself battling with a duality it’s helpful to think of yourself as a 3rd entity. You are the handler, the one who feeds your dual nature. It’s easy to be on autopilot and not consider which aspect you are feeding (or starving). Because of the world we live in, I think the default is to feed the wrong persona, and also starve the wrong persona. Being anxious exhausted makes one pliable and, if not mindful, easily manipulated into materialism. This is the direction we are supposed to go in according to a great deal of signals that reach our brain from the outside world. We are supposed to buy things that make us happy. If we discover happiness within, we will no longer be a income resource for others. This is a bleak picture in a sense, but it’s also very freeing for me to look at things this way. I recently saw a bumper sticker that said “Every dollar you spend is a vote,” and I really like that.
Nevertheless, One can be the least materialistic person in the world and still feel that constant attempt to be demoralized. To be shown that happiness is what is depicted on a billboard or commercial. It is always sold the same way: “Happiness: something you don’t have that we can give you.” I hope I have made it clear that you and I and many people aren’t all that materialistic and that is not really the point. The point is that “HEY YOU ARE NOT HAPPY, THIS WILL MAKE YOU HAPPY” is blasted at our faces at every turn.
Mental states that revolve around emotion are not incredibly maintainable and I think it’s because they’re not supposed to be. I’m trying to learn and realize how to accept emotion as a signal or alarm and not a description of who I am. Emotions can really feel like that; who one is. Especially long lasting depression or anxiety. I think of them like indicators. Little flashing lights that are there to simply alert you to things that are happening. There’s actually an emotional model that says that we have a biological reaction first and then our brain produces the emotion based on the assessment of our body-response. It’s not a flawless theory, but it actually solves a lot of questions regarding emotion.
Dual signals? Now that’s where things get confusing. Though, it’s a bit wonderful and fascinating in my opinion. If two opposing alarms are going off, what does that mean? I wish I had a lot of examples to look at. I think yours and mine may or may not be the same. If it’s not the same… I think there might be a metaphor to find in what I’m about to write. Some sort of conceptual common denominator:
My exhaustion comes from being forced to exist within a social framework that I disagree with. The world (the socially constructed one) is not a fair place. It’s not the way I want it to be and I have to do things I don’t want to do. Sometimes it feels so unfair that I feel compelled to just give in/give up. What prevents this is mostly that I’m stubborn about it. I’d rather be a masochist of sorts because of my defiance than a subservient cog in the machine. So I can take comfort in the exhaustion and despair if I’m mindful of it. That is to say, if I realize it is the self inflicted wound that is an outcome of living on the fringe instead of in the fold. To treat bad feelings and thoughts as the battle scars of pursuing robust personal agency in a world that does not want one to have it. The pain is in the numerous roadblocks. When I’m broke but refuse to do anything unfulfilling. I’m accepting the pain and punishment from the system that intentionally inflicts it when people attempt to escape. So far I maintain, for my life, that it’s better than compliance.