i'm a big fan of cognitive psychology and its usefulness in a variety of everyday situations. it has helped me conquer myriad enemies & challenges: getting to sleep, mitigating pain, remaining outwardly calm in sensitive social situations... at some point i even learned how to negate that sudden gut-wrenching feeling of descending too quickly or turning too sharply. it has helped me do away with angers, fears, depressions, and jealousies.
but sometimes changing my inner life via my inner workings fails. then i have to work counter-intuitively (for me), by changing something on the outside and waiting for my insides to catch up.
example: if my mental strategies for getting to sleep don't work, then i try my physical one. slower, deeper breaths. no movement. block any [remaining] light and sound. make certain every facial muscle is completely relaxed. and so on.
i guess if i were to codify the contents of my metaphorical toolbox, i'd put all of these strategies into the 'micro' category. they're very specific, each with only one or two uses, and small enough to retrieve (id est remember) easily.
but i also have 'macro' strategies. these are like broad-spectrum anti-biotics, tools that apply to a wide variety of situations. they are often a mixture of internal and external methods, they usually need to be applied repeatedly, over a longer period of time. and, they tend to be more stringent.. that is, they require somewhat more of a sacrifice than the micro-level strategies do. sometimes a macro-level strategy is actually a set of micro-level strategies, all carried out in a certain way.
going to bed at the same time every night is a macro-level strategy for falling asleep more easily. it can't produce results right away but its efficacy builds incrementally. it can utilize any number of the tinier tools for falling asleep, but gradually it depends on those less and less.
another example: it used to be that every dream which included my mom in it, turned into a nightmare. she would invariably end up antagonizing me in some way. i couldn't use any of my smaller tricks-of-the-trade to combat this, since i was always unconscious when it happened... but, i was able to do things while awake that decreased the frequency of these mom-nightmares: i simply stopped trying to have a close relationship with her. this involved many small decisions, but altogether it was a large effort, especially since i had developed habits that opposed my goal.
phew. now my blog intro is done. today i needwant to write about this macro-level strategy i have, for dealing with situations where i want something more than i should.
it's one of my simpler yet more difficult tools to use: it involves purposely depriving myself of something that is good for me.
"isaiah, that's stupid."
i feel like you say that a lot.
"don't dodge the challenge. why would you do something like that to yourself? i thought you were getting healthier. i thought you were going to be responsible, to take care of yourself (now that you're not leaning on any crutches). i thought you were going to indulge every justifiable desire, so that you could live a full life as you were designed to."
i may still sort of do that... but things have changed since i developed and began implementing my lofty ideals. it's easier to be naive when one is happy. now that my feet are on the ground again, i have learned that pain is a normal part of each day. so i need to work on managing it.
and this is my method: whatever i want too much, i give myself less or none of that.
"what about food?"
if i have a bad habit of eating past the point of fullness (and i do), then i start stopping when i feel 80% full. the hunger is proof to me that i didn't eat too much, and the strict rule keeps me from being tempted by the proximity of 101% (a temptation which increases as you approach it). also, when i deny my stomach something, it helps me establish authority over that craving. it's like telling my physical appetite who's boss around here.
"does that mumbo jumbo actually work?"
in my experience, yes.
"what else does it work on?"
everything. it even works on things that i probably shouldn't deprive myself of, like alone time. whenever i overextend myself socially, it burns me out for a day or two, sometimes even longer. i have on a few occasions done this apurpose, perhaps to punish myself, or maybe because i thought the martyrdom was worth it. i don't remember, actually. anyway, the point is that i'm capable of using this tool for evil. against myself.
that's how awesomely effective it is!
it isn't ever the first tool for which i reach. i guess i recognize how dangerous it can be, when not used wisely. but, i get desperate every once in awhile, and this thing delivers. i mean, wow. side effects? sure, sometimes. but results? every time.
~ ~ ~
what i want more than anything is to feel as content and complete with whatever i have, as i felt before marriage. back then i needed things without being desperate for them; back then i didn't even want to date anyone! do you realize i have never pursued a girl romantically in my entire life? ever? yet i've dated multiple times and all of those relationships lasted over a year.
crap... tangent. whatever; it's relevant. this is the worst thing marriage did to me: it made me discontent without essencia. it fragmented my core, so that now i am always automatically, subconsciously looking for something to fill the web-work of fissures, the narrow, cavernous voids that lie between all of the satisfying elements of my life. it's like someone glued my pieces back together imperfectly; i'm leaking vitality, surety, and elan like a sieve.
so: back on track. the only thing to do is not give me what i want.
"so that you want it less."
yes. i find that eating less than my stomach wants, has changed the amount of food that i want. nowadays i will quite often be extremely hungry for a small amount. my friends- even the ones who know me well!- give me weird looks when i express this aloud.
it makes sense, i promise. and, it's what i need, in order to find balance again. will i be truly content? likely not. essencia and food aren't exactly a perfect comparison. but i have tor try anyway, and any degree of success will be helpful.
i want to stop wanting so badly. if i had an on-off switch for this... drive, i would fucking rip it out. i hate it. earlier in this post i listed some negative emotions... well, this problem produces all of those, and i can't keep living this way.
there's one more component to this macro-level strategy. unlike the food example, where i would, say, scrape the uneaten remainder into the trash can (thereby forcing temptation to flee me), in this case i am going to surround myself with reminders of it, things to evoke my passion, and all the shit that comes along with being passionate.
"that's the worst idea ever. do you know what would happen if addicts did that?"
you forget that addicts have access to the objects of their addiction.
i am going to not only starve myself, but also provoke myself to heights of desire, intentionally, using images and memories and conversations and what basically amounts to shock therapy. shock therapy is when you go wingsuit-gliding because you're afraid of heights. normally you use it when you have a fear, but i've found that it works for other stuff, too.
there's a threshold, a natural limit to how much needwanting i can take. if i exceed that limit, something will break.
huh. now that i think about it, maybe i am ripping out the switch.
~ ~ ~
i will inure myself. no... not strong enough. something stronger...
whatever part of my consciousness i cannot cognitively control, i will condition instead. i will flay myself into submission. i will torture the unwanted part of my self to death.