Sunday, June 12, 2005

Emotional Concerto.

I don't know what my problem is. I've always had a hard time being happy. Here I am. I'm in a new group, filled with great co-workers. My new advisor is fantastic. I'm conducting research that I love. I'm headed to a world class graduate program in a fantastic city. I'm married to a wonderful person. I have a great family. I'm blessed with caring friends. Everything is going my way. Still, the malaise persists.

I have absolutely no reason to be unhappy.


People are like pianos. Once tuned, they fall out of key quickly, only to require another tune up. That being said, I've been out of tune for a while. I've mentioned before how I deal with sadness. That's helped tremendously. I wonder, why is sadness my default setting? Is sadness your default setting? If not, where is your emotional thermostat set?

21 Comments:

Blogger Lady of the House said...

My default setting seems to be one of the anxious pursuit of perfection. Gotta clean, gotta fix, gotta organize. It’s a wonder that I ever made it down to Dana Point in the first place.

12:14 PM  
Blogger Moose said...

It was either a foreword in The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, or in An Open Heart that the Dali Lama commented on this. His question was where the good mood goes from one day to the next. It's all about expectations. I too have my thermostat normally set on the melancholy side.

12:37 PM  
Blogger thc said...

V: I think you should turn off the computer and get outside. It's a beautiful day in the Bay and you need some sun. Me too. Later.

1:39 PM  
Blogger Vavoom said...

thc: I'm in lab, working. No sun for me today.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Jamie Dawn said...

I am an eternal optimist, but I have some reasons not to be. I'm looking for and striving for the silver lining. I'm a very determined person and I don't give up.

2:35 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I think I'm set at happy. Although, that's not the case. It's very rare for me to express sadness and/or madness around others. So when I do, it's pretty shocking. I keep it to myself.

So I guess I'm set at happy for everyone else, but I'm set at "I don't know" for me. I'm not always sad, but I do have lots of stress. Is that the same? Stress is sad. BOO!

3:08 PM  
Blogger Jenn said...

I just re-read that, I don't make sense. Nice, Jenn. Nice.

3:08 PM  
Blogger RT said...

I go through phases myself, my mood goes from extreme highs to extreme lows every couple of months or so. Went to the doctor about it once, but he just wanted to put me on meds. I never went back.

I guess I'd rather deal my emotions whatever they be, than have them taken away.

3:17 PM  
Blogger Andrew said...

My default setting is "wonder".

I refuse to wallow in the mire of that which is entirely human; adding to it the uplifting element of "the joy of the Lord" brings me strength to both enjoy and endure--as the circumstances of daily life may require of me.

7:22 PM  
Blogger An80sNut said...

I do think that you create your own mood but might have to hit switches to do so. My father has a charisma switch. He turns it on when he is at work or meeting people but you can see a definite difference when he is at home. I also see it as forcing yourself to look happy and be exciting brings the opposite side out more. Balance is necessary.

8:40 PM  
Anonymous penzance said...

Glad things are smug for awhile.
Except for the little shit with the ipod. I like the bagpiping idea. LOL Mebbe you can do bagpiping and then throw in some of that whiney Arab ballad crapola.
LOL

9:29 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:30 PM  
Blogger Raine said...

I have various "default settings" depending on the time of the month, lol.

I went on a long hike after church today, got lots of vitamin D, worked my glutes, and now I feel ready to sleep. I strongly recommend this for you, V!

10:31 PM  
Blogger Teri said...

I haven't ever thought about a default setting. I think I am too stressed out most of the time to even realize what setting I am on. I do not think there is anything wrong with being on the sadness setting, it is just like being an optimist or pessimist. Oh wait, I did read somewhere that optimists live longer.. Oh screw them :)

11:01 PM  
Blogger James d. said...

I think, speaking generally, you are in a long line of people who weren't always gee-whiz happy but managed to make quite a life for themselves. Most people would say despite that, but I think in many ways it is because of that.
If you're totally happy all the time, you'll never want to change anything, or try something new, or work to improve yourself or something/someone else.
So don't despair -- if this malaise drives you to work through it (not literally, necessarily), then you're working on your happiness through very productive (and I'd think, ultimately fulfilling) means.

2:07 AM  
Blogger actonbell said...

You have an interesting blog--I really liked the entry about the singing ipoder.hehee.
I've gone through some long melancholy periods, but the thermostat is probably set in the middle, with periods of lows. I'm rarely ecstatic(is that the spelling?). I get the blahs a lot. I think I need a new hobby, or something to get passionate about, but don't know where to start...exercise helps me, too.
Have a happier day!

5:24 AM  
Anonymous Daniel Berczik said...

Maybe the problem (I confess to having it, too) is the expectation that we are made to be happy, and that in not being happy, we are somehow deficient. Maybe it's Thomas Jefferson's fault with all that talk of pursuit of happiness. Then again, the act of pursuing is not the same as achieving, is it?

I used to wish happiness for my child. I was wrong to because then the next step is "what are you going to do about it?" When I realized that I was helpless in insuring her happiness, I instead turned to wishing her inquiry, good work and self-acceptance.

I once had a women in my life who cried "I'm not happy!" too often. My standard response became, "Take a number." We don't talk much anymore.

9:41 AM  
Anonymous Daniel Berczik said...

Uhh, woman.

9:43 AM  
Blogger Megan said...

My default mode is anxiety...but here's the thing: Life is hard, we can't always be happy, and we can't force ourselves to be happy. I don't even think we are meant to always be happy. I learned my most valuable lessons in the sad times, even the sad times of just general depression with no traumatic event attached.

Sometimes it feels like the harder I try to feel happy the worse I feel. So I quit trying. I quit saying I will not be sad, I will be happy, and I just let myself be. That generally gives me some feeling of comfort, if not happiness.

10:40 AM  
Blogger BarbaraFromCalifornia said...

I am an optomist, and always look to a glass as being almost full. That being said, I know how dangerous it can be for me if I begin to think too much! My mind can be my own worse enemy. When I accept life as it is, and not as I want it to be, an entire world opens up before my very eyes.

7:47 PM  
Blogger European said...

I think it has to do with brain chemistry. If we were happy all the time, the gray matter would explode (I read that in a tennybopper girl magazine years ago. I'm sorry it came out now, because it means that I remember useless crap rather than the stuff I should rememeber to make it through college).
Anyhow, I'm usually set in the happy side of the spectrum, but just barely above neutral. Often when I veer into sad (angry, annoyed...) territory, I'm just hungry. Have a chalupa or something.

Just tell yourself: "I'm good enough, I'm smart enough, and doggone it, people like me."

11:10 AM  

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