When existential pain reaches a threshold no longer bearable, and if you’re equipped with sufficient will-to-curiosity, the adequate intellectual humility to seek what’s necessary, you have created a chance for a meaningful, justifiable existence to transmutes the pain into a worthwhile facet of your journey:
“If we affirm one single moment, we thus affirm not only ourselves but all existence. For nothing is self-sufficient, neither in us ourselves nor in things; and if our soul has trembled with happiness and sounded like a harp string just once, all eternity was needed to produce this one event—and in this single moment of affirmation all eternity was called good, redeemed, justified, and affirmed.”
— Friedrich Nietzsche, The Will to Power
When it comes to solving patterns of dysfunction, if you’re unable to break out of cognitive rigidity, or with an ego too bloated to look at, you’re screwed. One particularly frustrating vision of hell is a pitiful drunkard eternally searching under a streetlight for his wallet when it lies just outside, in the darkness. Another is the insulating blanket of hedonistic apathy as a means to escape living up to your true standards until they erode into nothing.
This habit of resentful rumination, the focus on the scrutiny of others’ flaws and mishandlings, the finger-pointing and blaming as a means to shirk off the dreadful reality behind it all: that it’s in your power to be better but that you haven’t, seems to involve an animalistic addiction to the stress hormones produced by this negativistic “creativity” (Engert, et al., 2014). The generation of inner drama provides an adequate distraction, a way of self-forgetting (even though all the complaining revolves around you, is projected from you, you can constantly conjure up reasons why [he], [she], and [circumstance] are what’s really the problem, and not you.) An addiction to adrenaline and cortisol is behind destruction behaviors, and this is no different, although the psychological explanation is far more disturbing (Lane, et al., 1991).
“Learned helplessness blinds us to reality, because we assume obstacles that don’t really exist.” — Raymond Peat
A deep-seated commitment to finding illusory problems in every new opportunity seems to arise as a kind of avoidance- or histrionic-behavior that pathologizes over a lifetime into what can be described behaviorally as a negativistic dementia, and sometimes quite literally becomes clinical dementia (Islamoska, et al., 2019).
If things in our lives become aligned so that the right mindsets are accessible, the proper information found, and the willingness to apply it all, then learned helplessness can be conquered. Combining the right attitudes, activities, nutrition, environment, people, and sensory-input into a “lifestyle diet” can shift withering hopelessness into blossoming expansion.
Engert, Veronika, et al. “Mind Your Thoughts: Associations between Self-Generated Thoughts and Stress-Induced and Baseline Levels of Cortisol and Alpha-Amylase.” Biological Psychology, vol. 103, 2014, pp. 283–291., doi:10.1016/j.biopsycho.2014.10.004.
Islamoska, Sabrina, et al. “Vital Exhaustion and Incidence of Dementia: Results from the Copenhagen City Heart Study.” Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, vol. 67, no. 1, 2019, pp. 369–379., doi:10.3233/jad-180478.
Lane RC, Hull JW, Foehrenbach LM. The addiction to negativity. Psychoanal Rev.1991;78(3):391-410.
Puig-Perez, S., et al. “Being an Optimist or a Pessimist and Its Relationship with Morning Cortisol Release and Past Life Review in Healthy Older People.” Psychology & Health, vol. 33, no. 6, 2017, pp. 783–799., doi:10.1080/08870446.2017.1408807.