Original video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWnk3uR4SXk
One of my videos that got the most responses is about being in a mental hole.
This feeling that there’s nothing to look forward to in life, I’m just in a hole.
And my point that I was trying to make was that there’s always something outside the hole.
When you’re in the hole, it feels like that’s the entire universe, that’s the entire range of possibility of your life.
But then when you’re outside the hole, then you see, well, there’s other things that when I was in the hole I didn’t realize they were there.
So it seems like a something that I like to remind myself if I get into a bad mental state, that there’s always more outside that state.
A lot of the comments that I got were people saying “I’m in a hole my entire life and I’ll never get out.”
What can I say in that situation?
I mean, I don’t believe it.
I don’t believe that anybody can really know that they’re going to be in a mental hole forever.
How do you know?
But at the same time what kind of things that can I say that will not just sound like a platitude?
These kind of positive-thinking platitudes, I don’t think they’re entirely without value, because even if we have to fake it a little bit and force it a little bit, to interpret our situation with more of a positive view can have good effects.
Even if it seems like you barely believe it, just by the practice of making yourself have…
at least imagining a more positive interpretation, then maybe that can help to improve our state of mind.
But only to a limit.
Because if you’re in a really bad mental state, and you’re trying to force yourself to be positive about it, and “Oh, the future is sunny, and I just need to look at the the bright side of the picture, and everything’s going to be fine”, and you keep telling yourself these platitudes, these statements of positivity, and eventually they just ring so hollow that the words themselves lose all meaning, and they almost become the opposite of what they’re trying to do, because they become this sort of mocking…
because they become so hollow and fake that they actually can just make you feel worse.
If you’ve been feeling horrible for years, and somebody says “Just look on the bright side”, it just feels so empty.
So I think these attempts that we make to cheer people up that are in a bad mental state, they become so standard, predictable, and ultimately feel so hollow that they end up just almost sounding like like an insult, really.
It’s just like “Go fix yourself.”
They they lose their value.
So I don’t know what to say.
Of course, we hear somebody having a bad mental state, being very negative, have a very negative appraisal of their lives, and their hope for the future, just expressing this feeling of despondency and hopelessness, and what do we say in that situation?
So the best that I can come up with is what I call the minimalist platitude.
So it’s a platitude, but I don’t want to have any kind of fake message of “Things will get better.”
Because I don’t know if they’ll get better.
“Just look on the bright side.”
Well, maybe you can’t find any bright side.
So I don’t want to give any kind of imagined false hope when I really don’t know the situation.
Even though I believe that there is always hope in any situation.
And the most minimal thing I can say is that your chances are non-zero.
The chances of your life getting better are non-zero.
Your chances of improving your situation: non-zero.
That’s all I can say.
I’m pretty sure that’s true.
I don’t know how far above zero.
In some extreme cases, they may even be down there near zero.
But I can say with complete honesty that I believe the chances of your life improving are non-zero.
So it’s a very minimal, limited statement that I can honestly stand behind, that I believe it, no matter how extreme the situation.
And that’s what I would suggest to anybody in that dark mental state, in the mental hole, that the chances of it getting better are not zero.
You don’t need to necessarily appraise the situation and decide whether you’re above 50% chance or whatever.
I don’t know what’s going to happen, but there is a real chance that things will get better.
I don’t know.
But it is always possible and that I consider to be the minimalist platitude.
#platitude #mentalhole #minimalistplatitude