03 January 2007

The enemy within the gates

Imagine that you have an enemy who wants to destroy you. (For many of us, this is true, in one sense or another.) That enemy may or may not be able to defeat you. But sometimes it can find a powerful ally against you, an ally inside your own psyche, in fact.

This enemy within the gates is the tendency, which we all have, to dwell on the negative, to wallow in gloom and doom. Everyone's situation includes both good and bad. Even if you were the most fortunate person on Earth, it would be quite possible for you to make yourself utterly miserable if you insisted on contemplating only the unpleasant aspects of your situation (for there would still be some) while dismissing or ignoring the positive.

The reason this matters is that the way we perceive our situation can affect how we deal with our situation. Wallowing in doom and gloom leads to pessimism. Pessimism leads to despair. Despair leads to paralysis. And paralysis leads to defeat even when defeat was not inevitable. If you convince yourself that everything is hopeless, you will not take action, because you will have trapped yourself in a state of mind where you believe that taking action is futile or will even be counterproductive, regardless of the actual track record of such action in the real world. This is why the enemy within the mental gates is so dangerous.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you posted this to simply state facts. Maybe you posted it because of something going on in your life. But you have done far more here, for anyone who reads it. And I personally thank you. It's exactly what I needed to hear. I mean, see. :)

03 January, 2007 23:07  
Blogger Infidel753 said...

I think there are many people who need to hear this, both as individuals and as a civilization. And, yes, one of them is me.

04 January, 2007 04:39  
Blogger Hrafnkell Haraldsson said...

Good post, Infidel, and well said. I am sure your words will strike a chord with a great many. In the past, I had experiences like that, but when I suddenly found myself homeless (it burned down) and jobless, I had no choice but to get past that. To be frozen like that meant to die, and I couldn't do that. In a perverse way, it seemed to cure me of my depression. It is not a cure I'd recommend and I went through three very difficult years putting my life back together. My only advice to people would be to soldier on. The dawn may not come, but it will certainly not come if you do not doggedly persevere.

05 January, 2007 04:48  

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