[Applied Psychology] You’ll Be Fine

Through many thousands of words on self-improvement, “you’ll be fine[1]” should be the overarching mantra that glues it all together. We must now endure an unprecedented amount of stress, from work and others, in this modern reality. Wasn’t the future suppose to be easier? More stress-free? Instead we must find coping mechanisms in inebriation, toys, and escapism to cope. “What happened? We never used to need to worry like this.” “It’s stress. It affects everything [2,3].”

I woke up to some burdensome negative memory.

Why do these thoughts creep in, while others of being someone’s rockstar or resolving moral shortcomings, sit quietly in the background? I was told “you’re her hero[3]” this week. I was a little embarrassing and I downplayed it slightly. Humility is good. Except when humility comes at the expense of ignoring any positive thoughts, where we instead linger on that negativity, that’s when it’s harmful. To know that I’ve positively affected the lives of others should be what I should wake up to, not some embarrassing faux pas from over 6 years ago.

“You’ll be fine.”

Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just that for those who hide it better than others, we often see how they act and admire their actions. They suppress their emotions. They succeed where we’ve failed. They are heroically moral rockstars. We aren’t. We know the truth. We know that we, the true self within ourselves, are more often willing to act in cowardice and fear. Or maybe that’s the mind game we play with ourselves? Because I think deeper down, where our moral compasses lie, we do things for the right reasons. We don’t want the attention of success. We just want better.

“You’ll be fine.”

I don’t feel comfortable with doing things to get recognition from others. I would often rather do something and let someone else receive the credit. They can enjoy that fame. I’ll be on to the next thing. Is receiving positive recognition stress? To be put in the spotlight for something that we’ve done – to have our skills highlighted, to be potentially exposed as not being as good as we appear – is that stressful? Is that why so many everyday heroes prefer to live humble lives?

“You’ll be fine.”

Is it because in this modern society, it’s so often easy to be the target of something? Everyone is hypercritical of each other. There’s no sense of understanding anymore. We’ve forgotten, as a society, to be critical of the skills of a person while still retaining respect toward the person. The person is disrespected first, dragged through the mud, to the point of seeing no way to redeem themselves. Is that the future we should accept? Is this world, where people are driven to kill themselves at alarming rates because they’ve been embarrassed, acceptable? Is this our utopia?

“You’ll be fine.”

It’s the stress of performing the work of three or four people. If we don’t put in 80 hours of work per week, either physically at work, in our dreams, or in our imaginations as we’re meeting with friends of family, then we’ll be the next on the chopping block to be fired without notice. If we say the wrong thing, raise our voice, or otherwise act anything other than good little boys and girls, our reputation will be on the line. We have no more breathing room to make mistakes at our jobs. We are encouraged to be robots. No emotion, no opinions, no humanity.

“You’ll be fine.”

We are animals in suits and dresses. We weren’t designed to sit around all day, crunching numbers, analyzing data, and composing emails. In my opinion, that’s why we’ve seen a rise in cardiovascular issues. If the numbers tweak out, if the data doesn’t make sense, and if we receive stressful emails, that builds stress. What ways are we encouraged to expel that stress? Buying some inebriation sensations? Did you get the latest toys? Have you watched or played the latest escapist activity that’s popular in your social group? If not, you’re ostracized.

“You’ll be fine.”

Why not ignore all that? After all, “we suffer more often in imagination than in reality[5].” It’s just easy to get rolled up in the stresses of others. Negativity is easier to express than positivity. Maybe we complain because we have a problem we’re working through and secretly want an answer, only, we’re not actively looking for it when we express our stresses. We don’t want a structured, logical, solution. We’re still sorting through our emotionally raw states. We’re still trying to chase those stress demons out of our insecured mind palaces.

“You’ll be fine.”

Even though I’ve found coping mechanisms for handling stress once it infects me, like rowing and writing, I’m not great at blocking the stress in the first place. Is there a way to really block stress out completely? Maybe by hiding away. If you don’t go outside, live in seclusion, without doing anything that could possibly interact with anyone else, then maybe, but then you’ll still have to fight against yourself. Your negative memories will seep in, like embarrassing memories, in your most vulnerable states, like something appearing while soaking in the tub.

“You’ll be fine.”

What can we do to accept our shortcomings? Why do we let moments of guilt shout out louder than moments of accomplishment? I’ve professionally helped out thousands of people, some just as little as getting them squared away with something minor all the way up to having in-depth conversations about encouragement and enabling their perception to work with something in a more positive, and yet my focus every Saturday is helping myself. There are days and moments where I feel like I can’t help myself, that I’m a victim of circumstance and reality.

“You’ll be fine.”

We all deal with these fears in different ways. Our coping mechanisms to disengage from stress is what makes or breaks us. When I go to thrift stores, any sort of current stress overwhelming me about something stupid fades as I look at random things, with the occasional background structure reminding me of when I didn’t have the self-confidence to pull myself out of a rut and felt that working at a thrift store was my best option. When I row, sometimes, I’ll fully envision my current stressor – the demon infecting me the most – and just row it out.

“You’ll be fine.”

When I write, most of the time it’s with a clear goal in mind. When I can let it rip like this and just let my thoughts run uncensored, other than hitting the Backspace key to delete a typo, I can arrive at a surprising thought. When we allow our minds to linger through our best and worst memories, we’ll often figure out why these were so pivotal. I don’t often recall my everyday successes because that’s my default behavior. How about when I do something outside of the norm?

“You’ll be fine.”

We don’t hear that enough. Or maybe we do, but we choose to hear these statements like “don’t worry,” “no worries,” “take it easy, “and other platitudes while continuing down our paths of stressful self-destruction. Why do we, then, focus on negativity so much more? Perhaps it’s a survival mechanism. After all, if we only plan for the best, then what happens if it goes wrong? Why not plan for the worst, let all options related to the worst case scenarios breathe, and then fight each and every anxietor until we can find ways to cope with those overwhelming stressors?

“You’ll be fine.”

When we’re stuck in emotion, we’re not comfortable with structure. We’re hurting, not physically like getting a cut, but deeper. It’s the hurt we can’t show. At least with a cut, there’s an external sign that something is wrong, and we can get some help. This future we live in is currently not structured around having an emotional or physiological first aid kit, complete with positive vibrations, non-destructive destressors, and encouraging words. In this future of 2018, it’s all about the exciting sound bites, controversial statements, and events without solutions.

“You’ll be fine.”

Why do most people work jobs they hate? Why does it seem like everyone expresses ‘Thank God It’s Friday’ and seem more upbeat on Friday? Do they not have any other options? I mean, sure, it’s difficult looking around for other work. Do we just accept our current spots as the best possible spot we can be in? Why accept what we don’t enjoy? Because we don’t want to rock the boat? Because there are the debts we need to pay for the toys we bought with the money we didn’t have to entertain us through the times we didn’t enjoy? Because we’ve run out of options?

“You’ll be fine.”

What happens when we gamble on ourselves and lose? One job interview didn’t turn out well? Is that enough of a trend to give up? In the real life version of that fictional situation, I didn’t get that job because they just wanted to fill the chair with the first viable candidate. Should I give up? No more job interviews? No way! I was bitter, sure, but then I got better. I even used that as writing fodder. Eject all that emotion on something, so the worst of it doesn’t linger in my mind, and then move on. Even if it comes up again, it’ll just be a minor stressor to express.

“You’ll be fine.”

Why can’t we have more open discourse about our stresses? Is it because it’s easier to consider it just having a bad day or just some kind of emotional outburst? Lack of maturity? Is maturity really just about not expressing our stress to others? Isn’t it better to let stress rise and fall, like some kind of wave that might wash over us, except we’ve set up the tools to shield us from any of that? To remain dry through the splashes of a stress wave might be the ideal approach. More often, we’re caught soaking wet from something we hadn’t anticipated or even conceptualized.

“You’ll be fine.”

Why does it seem like such a negative to want a stress-free life? To have a nice, relaxing life, where we go through the motions at an easy job, come home to enjoy our polite hobbies, and sleep peacefully? Why is it that any fighting against stress, as they come up throughout the day, seem negative? Why can’t we just enjoy a little bit of the utopia that we were promised in our childhoods? Why do we have to fight through life? Is it because that’s what we’ve always done? Generations before us suffered, so therefore, we must suffer? Where’s the humanity in that?

“You’ll be fine.”

Why can’t we strive for more? More than just two days to decompress after five days of stress? Why can’t we actually have vacations from work? Why does everything crumble the day after we’ve turned on our “out of office” reminder? Why do companies insist on moving toward such environments, where they reduce the non-essential staff, put more pressure on the lucky remaining staff, then wonder why projects fail and people leave? Or is it just a veil? Do we perpetuate this notion that we must work and endure work like this in order to receive our meager livelihood?

“You’ll be fine.”

Why do people work with chronic illnesses induced by work? Stress affects me directly in the form of headaches. Any time I’m feeling too stressed out from work, my brain or my body tweak out just enough, where I notice I’m not writing or rowing up to my normal level. If I push myself through that, it only gets worse. I’ve been better at recognizing it and addressing it over the past year, but how about those who have not endured a year’s worth of constant self-reflection and self-analysis? Those who have not considered themselves to be an important part of their life’s equation?

“You’ll be fine.”

Why do we forget ourselves when we do things? Do we subconsciously hate who we are and what we’ve done? If so, why? Is it just because of peer pressure and societal pressure that we can’t quite look ourselves in the eye in the mirror and say ‘you’ll be fine’ through some kind of stressful event? Do we just want to assume the worst because it’s easier to say ‘told ya so!’ than any sort of ‘good on you!’ that might come from succeeding through some minor hardship? Did we buy into this mindset that to be an adult means you have to be serious? No more childish actions?

“You’ll be fine.”

I reject such notions. The 10-year old that collected action figures, played videogames, wanted to escape a reality of being bullied, and write a little bit on the side is still inside of me. The 20-year old that collected skills, played by the rules, wanted to escape a reality of being ostracized, and write a bit more on the side is still inside of me. Now in my 30s, I see that there’s no point to impress those who want to change me. I am the only one that should want to change elements about myself. I can be informed of things to change and then decide if they should change.

“You’ll be fine.”

This may lead to being bitten by reality more than those taking the approach of accepting the whips of reality, but either way, we are being hurt by a future that isn’t quite what we were promised. We were suppose to have more leisure time, not less. We were suppose to have more happiness, not less. We were suppose to do what whatever we wanted, not stuck in roles that just pay enough to let us afford food, rent, occasional recreation, and the sense that we are honored to be working for our esteemed overlords. We should be living in utopia, not this digitized dystopia.

“You’ll be fine.”

Why do we believe we will not be fine when we do things? What’s the worst that will happen? Even if you don’t get the job, the promotion, and the good vibrations of some other sort of professional or personal achievement, will that really be the end? Is it pride? Or ego? Are we so embarrassed by faux pax, minor deviations from the norm, and this growing sense that we must be perfect at all times, that we can’t risk even a single hour toward helping ourselves out of ruts? Are our inebriations, toys, and escapist activities so much more coping than potential success?

“You’ll be fine.”

Get out there and do the things you need to do. Embarrass yourself. Let those stress demons come at you. Fight them. Get them out of your mind palace, for one, and as soon as you identity a lingering one that’d stowed itself away for six years, instead of trying to ignore it, figure out why it’s still there. If it’s something that you could do again, don’t do it. If it’s something that won’t happen again, what’s the point of worrying about it? Yeah, it’s a dumb mistake. You’re the first person in the history of humanity to have ever made a dumb mistake? Get over yourself.

“You’ll be fine.”

Perhaps it’s because we currently live with this erroneous notion that we’re better than we actually are and that our egos are these precious little things. Get out there and fail. Laugh at yourself. Don’t take yourself so seriously. Let yourself be the butt of a joke. Sure, it almost seems counter-intuitive, almost like inviting those stress demons inside your mind palace, but often times what happens is as you invite them in the door, they’ll be wacked by your subconscious. It’s not such a big deal. Here’s what’s actually important: doing what’s best for yourself and others.

“You’ll be fine.”

Maybe you’ll get bit. Maybe it’ll be more serious than that. Maybe there’ll be times in which your failure will actually cause a ripple effect through the rest of your life, and you’ll find yourself in a worse situation than when you started. That’s when calculated risk comes in to play. Plan. Strategize. Figure out whether or not you should reveal your plans to others or just keep them quiet. You spend all day and every day with yourself. Don’t hide your plans from yourself. Let yourself in on the secrets of your everyday successes and shortcomings. Allow a mutual collaboration.

“You’ll be fine.”

When you really take a look at where you’ve been, where you are, and where you might go, you can decide if you like where you’re going or not. Maybe you’re happy with exactly where you’re at in life. Good, no self-improvement needed. Maybe you’re not. Then look at what you can change that’s the easiest and the most beneficial. I’ve been lucky to have mentors that have truly been in it for my best interests. They’re friends I still value to this day because while others have come and gone, they’ve remained both in my memory and in active conversations.

“You’ll be fine.”

There is no more lonely a path than one where you are fighting against yourself. When you don’t trust yourself, and you don’t consider yourself a trustworthy individual, then you may start to worry more about the opinions of others. Take the opinions of others as not even beacons out on the waters of your subconscious, but as little blips on the radar of your self-confidence. If there are a bunch of blips in one location, from trusted allies and maybe even strangers, then maybe focus your sights on that location. It might be uncomfortable, especially with that ego thing.

“You’ll be fine.”

Accept a little rust, scars, or damage along the way. Egos recover, wounds heal, and anything that remains builds character. If you get bit really badly along the way, then hopefully you didn’t burn enough bridges along the way to prevent you from asking for help. That’s where pride kicks in, too, in asking for help. You don’t have to do it all yourself. If you need to delegate your stress, make sure in those conversations where everyone complains, that everyone leaves with tools for resolving their stresses, rather than just complaining to complain.

“You’ll be fine.”

After all, why complain the first place unless to seek solutions? Is it enjoyable to tell everyone about situation in which you were the victim? Does that make you feel good? Why not tell people about how you saved the day? Oh, maybe that’s because we’re led to believe that any sense of pride in ourselves or our accomplishments should be squandered. No, it’s alright. It was nothing. Anyone could have done it. No! You did it, it’s something cool, lift the mood of everyone within earshot by focusing on something positive. That should make everyone feel good.

“You’ll be fine.”

I’ve noticed over the past ten years that as I’ve gravitated toward a sense of self-respect, more people gravitate toward me as well. That’s because at the root of respecting one’s self is respecting other people and where they’re at in life. The janitor, bus driver, and waiter/waitress has just as much of a life with just as many successes or failures as the CEO, executive, and lawyer. Maybe the person with more financial wealth has less emotional wealth. Even if one has more than the other, who cares? Does the fancy car really express the value of a person?

“You’ll be fine.”

Does being able to afford going out to eat every day equate a good life? How about affording enough of a disposable income to go out to concerts? What happens when we can’t afford either or hundreds of other examples? Does this mean we’re less of people than we were before? Why can’t we just accept ourselves as we are? Why can’t we accept others as they are? This journey of mine of self-improvement isn’t rooted in some sort of self-loathing. I’m not striving for change because I hate how I am, what I am, or what I’ve done. I just clearly know where I want to be.

“You’ll be fine.”

I believe enough in myself to know that my actions are not rooted in negativity or hatred. I know that if I make a mistake, it’s not malicious. Why would these mistakes linger? What power do these mistakes have when they’re within a threshold tolerance of mistakes? Wrong verb choice? Mixed up words? Is it really such a big deal? On a small scale, no. On a larger scale, perhaps, but not to the degree to which I, or any writer, or any person, should be completely embarrassed and without a feeling of recovery. We are imperfect beings in this reality, after all.

“You’ll be fine.”

What compels us to toward perfection? That perverse notion that we should act in robotic ways by having the perfect comeback to any situation, the perfect answer to any question, said in the most perfect way possible. Is this propelled by popular culture? Education? Technology? Sure, we have seemingly perfect systems, but they’re all made by humans, so there is some inherent flaw within them, and even as robots create robots, the seeds of their creation is still within the hands and minds of some human beings generations back. There is no perfection.

“You’ll be fine.”

Don’t worry about perfection. Just do it good enough. Put in a mediocre exercise set. Write something stupid. Don’t get the high score in a videogame. Allow yourself the space of a mistake in a conversation. Admit to yourself or someone else when you don’t understand something. Don’t be afraid to be human. We aren’t robots, even though we can occasionally operate with a level of precision that might surprise computers. There is no such thing as a perfectly straight line so let’s not try to strive for that, because then we’ll tweak out when we don’t achieve it.

“You’ll be fine.”

Instead, let’s strive for better and strive for good enough. Just be content with who you’ve been, who you are, and consider how you can be the happiest in who you’ll become. If that means no forward momentum, then that’s the best possible outcome. If that means training or studying, then build in the time daily or weekly for that self-improvement. The work doesn’t do itself. There will be good days, bad days, and ugly days. Just don’t let the ugly days overwhelm you, even years into it, and you should do fine. After all, there are no perfect days in our implied utopia.

“You’ll be fine.”

Instead, we’re just driven to escape into worlds where there is no pain, suffering, or friction. Maybe that’s why we’re so ready to complain? Because our expectations of certain situations dictate that we should have experienced something positive, but instead, we’ve experienced something negative? Why operate with any expectations? Just roll into any situation and see it for how it is, unfiltered by preconceived notions of how it should be, to quickly address the stress when it goes wrong, and doesn’t act in the way that works best for your supposed life’s plans.

“You’ll be fine.”

Press on until you can’t press any further. Apply that stress that would have consumed you in a positive way. Use those stress demons as fuel to propel you past the point where they could affect you anymore. There will be stress as soon as you leave your home. The trick is to let those stresses roll off you, like rain off a rain jacket, rather than seep into your being. The cool thing about it, too, is that the more you go out, the more endurance your jacket and by extension you will gain. It’s like any skill, that of self-confidence, of self-improvement, of self-worth.

“You’ll be fine.”

Time to go out and face the day.

Sources: None

Quotes: [1] This was mainly about the imminent snowfall, but perhaps it could apply to life? [2,3] Conversation between another person, then me. [4] A compliment from a supervisor. [5] Seneca the Younger

Inspirations: Perhaps conversations or perhaps battling through another week of work?

Related: Everything here.

My big goal is to write. My important goal is to write "The Story." My proudest moment is the most recent time I overcame a fear, which should have been today. I'm a better zombie than I was yesterday. Let's strive to be better everyday. (Avatar)