Being

28 Sep 2019
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I was at a dinner party years ago, way back when I used to get invited to dinner parties, does anybody actually hold (or attend) them anymore? The guy sitting next to me said "I just want to be happy" and I retorted, "I just want to be".

Wow, I did not know this about myself until I heard myself say the words out loud and realised it was both true and profound.

I'm reminded of the glass half full/half empty debate which always drove me mad. It's neither and both I'd say. Why does it have to be one thing or another, why is it not just what it is? And if we really want to debate it we need more information. Was it full and now it's less full, so we might conclude it's on it's way down, or was it empty, and therefore on it's way up?

Why do we need all this labelling, does it serve any purpose? Optimistic or pessimistic - are we really one thing or another? I would suggest not. It may be that I'm optimistic of getting an interview for a recent job application, but I may be pessimistic about the commute (with all good reason).

I may be optimistic about finishing the 10K run, but pessimistic about doing so within the hour.

I do not want to be labelled as one thing or another, I am what I am in that moment and without a doubt, it will change. I do not want to have to be anything, I just want to be.

Millie

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

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Comments

Molly

Sept. 28, 2019, 11:25 p.m.

So true Millie. It seems to be the way we live now. Many jump on the bandwagon. I was thinking this about names earlier. Totally irrelevant, but I was playing a quiz game and it asked the most popular boys names in a certain year, think it was 2018. It made me wonder why people would want to name their children with the most popular name, just because it was in fashion or something. I find that odd. A bit like clothes. People follow the crowd. I have done my best not to. If I like something, I will get it when it’s out of fashion. Lol. Anyway, I’ve gone off the subject, to which I totally agree with you. There are many grey areas, it’s not all black and white. Thank you. Molly xx

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Roshini

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:19 a.m.

I think being satisfied is better than a constant strive to achieve the elusive "happy" and I am content and grateful if I can achieve this.

The Gardener

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:36 a.m.

Molly, on clothes - never followed fashion -very busy life, often short of money, hate shopping - so black/white/red - eases decisions on packing, and if, as often, I've been in front of an audience, one can stay 'smart', and in fashion every 10 years!

Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 12:57 p.m.

Yes Rossini, I agree, I’ve given up with trying to be happy. As Millie said “let’s just be” xx

Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 1:08 p.m.

Ha ha yes Gardener, I’m with you on that xx

Oli

Sept. 29, 2019, 12:58 a.m.

Why do we need all this labelling? That is such a great question. I believe the answer is something like without labelling we can’t do language. Labelling is a way of distinguishing one thing from another. I am different to You. Here is not There. Now is not Then. Why is the glass half-full or half-empty? Because Opposition is a way of framing things. So is Sameness. That half-full glass is the same as that other half-full glass. Here’s a good one: Conditionally: If you give me one more half-empty glass instead of the half-full glass I want then I’ll have to get angry. [I won’t really!] And lastly, for the time being, all of the glasses are types of utensil. I.e. they exist in a relationship of Hierarchy. And that’s why we need all this labelling. Because without it we don’t know how do language. Those relationships above seem to be the basic building blocks. I was going to finish with what I hoped would be quite a profound thought but it went to way too many words. Been a long night, a long gig. But thank you Millie, this is probably my favourite thought topic ever for the last couple of years.

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:25 a.m.

Hi Oli, I’m intrigued about what you were going to say at the end! Yes, naming and describing things is important for communication and maybe sometimes it’s less helpful than at others. Hope you get a good rest. LP

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:27 a.m.

Hey LP! Waving Bear paws at you :)* good to see you here.

LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 12:30 p.m.

Smiley waves back Lovely Bear,hugs xx :)

Leah

Sept. 29, 2019, 1:25 a.m.

Millie , very thoughtful blog. One of my firsts blogs I write was about to label or not to label but was more about medical labels than adjectives. To me adjectives, happy , sad, pessimistic optimistic, full or empty are just words that describe and have no power. Indeed by saying I just want to be, I am saying I don't want a label , and adjective , but that is still a description, I am just someone who wants to be, I am sure I sound totally confused. I suppose we cant get away from labels, every noun is label that labels an object. Maybe it is not the label that is the problem it is when it gets a meaning that we don't want like your example of optimistic. The same with medical labels they can be useful to help us get the help we need but not helpful we people buy you in a box because of your label and only see your label. This is maybe one of the longest replies I have made on moodscope. Sorry another label. thanks for getting me to think. Leah

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:19 a.m.

Hi Leah, I didn’t find your post too long or confusing at all. I liked what you said about the meaning that is attached to labels. LP

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:28 a.m.

Here, here, Leah! Great response and I understand what you are trying to say xx

Rosie

Sept. 29, 2019, 4:47 a.m.

My thoughts with regards to the full/empty scenario has always been ' Did someone give out glasses?' Why did I not get one?.' Much truth in your blog Millie I think.

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Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:30 a.m.

I think your glass is with mine, in a box with no label!! Bear x

Orangeblossom

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:12 a.m.

Hi Millie, thanks for your brilliant blog. I have a friend/colleague who is totally obsessed by labelling people with disabilities. Your blog is a powerful antidote.

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:15 a.m.

Your post made me smile Rosie. I like your name label btw. :) LP

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Rosie

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:48 a.m.

Thank you.Hope your day is a good one. x

Hopeful One

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:20 a.m.

Hi Millie- a great blog and how true! I think it was Shakespeare who wrote somewhere “ nothing is good or bad but it is our mind that makes it so”. If one practices meditation daily ,as I do ,and appreciates, understands , sees and experiences the difference between “thinking “ and “ being aware” and applies it to their day one realises how many judgements we make . And shockingly most are negative. So I play “just a minute “ in my mind dismissing each judgement with mostly “repetition” or “deviation “but rarely “hesitation” because the mind is so quick to judge. In time the mind starts to appreciate that things are just as they are which is similar but not the same as your “ I just want to be” A laugh of course wins the game . Life is a tragedy for those who feel and a comedy for those who think. If I may mix metaphors. An elderly priest became sick of all the people in his parish who kept confessing to adultery. One Sunday sermon he said, "If I hear one more person confess to adultery, I'll leave the priesthood!" Everyone liked him, so they came up with a code for adultery they would say they had "fallen". This seemed to satisfy the old priest and things went well, until he passed Away. A new priest arrived, and visited visited the town Mayor . The priest told him , "You have to do something about the sidewalks in this town. When people come into the confessional, they keep talking about having fallen." The Mayor laughed , realizing that no-one had told the new priest knew nothing about the code word. Before the mayor could explain, the priest shook an accusing finger at the mayor and said, "I don't know what you're laughing about, Your wife fell twice this week."

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:33 a.m.

Ha ha! Nice one Hopeful One! Good point for me to remember there’s a lot that just is. Does that mean that the rest just isn’t! :)) Thanks for the dose of vitamin L! LP :)

Hopeful One

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:42 a.m.

Hi LP - glad you enjoyed the laugh. The rest just isn’t until it becomes just is. A good point though.

Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:33 a.m.

A funny funny, HO... x

The librarian

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:33 a.m.

Excellently put, Millie! I’be never understood this polarisation of the world into positive and negative - I was going to write a blog about it but I haven’t quite been able to put it into words.

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 12:37 p.m.

You could go for it TL! It’s a great idea! Just start, just for you and once you get started it might flow. Then if you want to, you can share! I know what you mean. When I was doing psychology as a youngster it seemed that the pattern was, there’s this school of thought and that school of thought and the conclusion is somewhere in the middle! :)

The librarian

Oct. 3, 2019, 6:17 a.m.

You’Re absolutely right, LP - just start! It’s possible I did so I’ll have a trawl through my files... And I’m glad it’s not just me who has noticed the psychological schools of thought... Good to hear from you, LP - hope all’a well.

LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:20 a.m.

Hi Millie, I agree! Sometimes it’s the generalisation, or when ideas are taken to the extreme that isn’t helpful, certain aspects might be positive and others negative, so both. Or may be the case sometimes but not others. Really good point. It’s like “No one is all good or all bad” Now there’s a debate! The glass is it’s neither full nor empty, the drink is at the half way point if we’re talking literally. I guess the “glass” phrase illustrates a useful point though, that what we’re thinking can affect how we feel and our mood, so observing that and being aware of when it’s happening can be helpful if we notice a pattern that if we could begin to adjust, would help us to feel a bit better. I loved your blog too! I enjoy unpicking language. Timely too because I’ve been struggling with my worrying and “trying not too” and “being mindful” has been a struggle too. A great distraction. For me today some fresh air and distractions, while I do the essentials and maybe a bit of unpicking the language of my thoughts. Thank you Millie! LP :)

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Roshini

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:20 a.m.

Being satisfied is fine and I am content and grateful if I can achieve this

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Maggie May

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:57 a.m.

Hi Millie, my first reaction was to recall that my husband labelled me as a half empty person or even less flattering a lamppost pi.....er. I always predicted the worst and was never spontaneous as a result . Worse than that , my half empty attitude stopped me from doing things.’ I won’t try to start that project , it will probably fail’ . I have realised the damaging effect of this and now I try to ‘plan for the worse but hope for the best’ . If my project fails I can learn from it and move on. If I don’t get the job offer, the interview is good practice. I know I have deviated from the main thrust of the language analysis which I found interesting , but was spontaneous and posted my reaction!

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Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:36 a.m.

That’s a great reaction to have had MM, so it’s sometimes best to just write it down either before you forget what you were going to say or before you read the other responses and it pulls you off-track! I have done the latter and will have to re-read the blog as I’ve forgotten what I was going to say! Lol! Bear xx

Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 2:34 p.m.

Maggie and Bear, I deviated too, doesn’t matter. It depends what pops in your head. I re read the blog too, and wondered how I started talking about children’s names and fashion! Lol xx

The Gardener

Sept. 29, 2019, 9:42 a.m.

Thanks Millie, confused by your blog, but only because I keep thinking of the extraordinary film with Peter Sellers, Being There? Where a simple gardener is metamorphosed into a 'sage' whose advice is taken by presidents. A parrallel with Forrest Gump. All I want is to 'accept' that I don't HAVE to strive and achieve anymore - look after what I have got (just checked all three floors of house before going to UK) - keep the house to standards which please ME, and stop panicking about health, brexit and scary literature from the NHS. Relevant to 'Being', think not. xx

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Jul

Sept. 29, 2019, noon

Hi Millie. The guy at the dinner party ( I think they do exist still but I hate them and would try to avoid going to one) sounded nice! Saying he just wanted to be happy doesn't sound like typical dinner party conversation which I just cannot relate to. I'd find it such a relief if I was sitting next to someone who talked about feelings. One label never fits a person totally. I think this might be why I don't like talking about my low moods/ depression/ insomnia. I know myself it's all there and I deal with it on a daily basis. However once you say you suffer with any one of these things, many people would label you and forever associate you with say Insomnia. I am not defined by insomnia although I do have problems sleeping. I can also sleep well some nights (admittedly not many). I actually am guilty or do myself a disservice by thinking of myself as a problem sleeper as it some days does define me even though I know I'm much more than that. My apologies if I have repeated anyone above. I am writing this before I have read other comments. Jul xx

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LP

Sept. 29, 2019, 12:50 p.m.

Hi Jul! I think it’s fine not to have read them all, sometimes there isn’t the time :) I love your response. It rings true, “It’s just there and I deal with it on a daily basis”. Nothing about me is perfect and a lot about me changes. A lot about is good enough most of the time, (as in fine as opposed to being “good”). People can associate other people with one factor about them and yes, we can do it to ourselves to. Very reassuring, thanks Jul LP :)

Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 2:24 p.m.

So true Jul and LP xx

The Gardener

Sept. 29, 2019, 4:26 p.m.

Millie, back to the blog and dinner parties. Used to give and go to loads in UK, usually enjoyed them, giving and given. The French were more given to lunch than dinner, we gave huge parties. We had two breakfast parties - went down exceedingly well - novelty element as well. Our circle of friends here are mostly elderly, and for various reasons have their main meal at mi-day. The younger generations do not seem to have regular, or organised meals at all. The schoolchildren are firmly fed 'properly' with published menus, even for the 3 year-olds!

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Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 4:53 p.m.

Got me thinking about dinner parties as well. I wonder if they have also been given a label. I mean how do we define what a dinner party is. It kind of comes to mind that it’s rather a posh gathering, with starter, main, dessert, coffee, mints, and fine wine, whilst people make small talk. If you invite a couple round for a meal, is that considered as a dinner party? Or do you need to invite more for it to become a ‘party’? Can you just offer one course, or do you need to offer five? Can you make a joke and everyone laughs, or do they look not too amused? Can you spill your drink and be told “don’t worry about it” or are you frowned upon? Do you have to take part in after dinner games to make yourself look like a complete prat, or can you just be you? The pressure, can just take away the enjoyment. Once I had to sing a song as a forfeit. I did it, quickly, only to be told by the hostess “now stand up and do it”. I won’t be going there again. Molly xx

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The Gardener

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:32 p.m.

Molly, in the sixties, when people began to travel and get a taste for 'exotic' foods we were in a 'round' of show off, competitive dinner parties. For me, you have to eat anyway. If once in a while you invite convivial friends, sit them round a beautiful table (with panache and little money you can make an 'atmosphere'. People dress better, sit up, and, to me, the more noise, the more successful the party. NEVER go to games and forfeits, heaven forbid. In the past, now, stopping my guests talking before 1.30 a.m was the challenge. x

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The Gardener

Sept. 29, 2019, 5:37 p.m.

In my very young days, I seemed to have guests who were slow starters. The men got on to business, golf, not dirt stories too early - the women, I am sure, were nervous. I did not do things on the GRAND scale. If things had not thawed after two G & T's or sherry, I resorted to outrageous stories, the shock seemed to start their engines, then food and wine got them going thoroughly. In France, Mr G and I used to stand in the kitchen, forgotten, saying 'When WILL they go?'

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Molly

Sept. 29, 2019, 6:39 p.m.

Lol Gardener, I have experienced the type that outstay their welcome, they don’t take the slightest hint :-) but hey if they don’t want to leave, then we have done a great job! I held a New Year’s Eve party many moons ago, it was just warming up, when midnight arrived, and everyone then subsequently left. I was left dancing to Jason Donovan on my own in the living room xx

Steve

Sept. 30, 2019, 6:36 a.m.

My first thought was for the poor bloke who just wanted to be happy. What impact did your 'retort' have on him? Or doesn't that matter? PS people do still have dinner parties...

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Bearofliddlebrain

Sept. 30, 2019, 9:04 a.m.

Steve, I still give dinner parties! Also do 'suppers' ....but my next whatever is either going to be a fish one for charity, an afternoon tea or maybe a breakfast! I’m loving the sound of a breakfast....nom, nom! I wonder what happened to chap who just wanted to be happy. What made him say it for a start? Sounds so sad. Bear x

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M

Oct. 2, 2019, 10:26 a.m.

I loved your responses, such a fabulous mixture - I was sorry I couldn't take part at the time - I was preparing dinner for friends later in the day - LOL :-). Not a dinner party, no planning ahead, no seating plan, no complicated dishes to impress, just an impromptu text the evening before to see if a couple of friends were free to share Sunday dinner. Next blog will be on spontaneity! I feel I need to comment on the guy who wanted to be happy! I'm now wondering if there more to his comment that meets the eye. I never much liked his indiscreet, overt flirtatiousness towards me - particularly in front his wife! I found it insulting to both of us. Now I'm wondering if there was a "hidden" message - was he telling me he his life was unhappy and seeing if I'd take the bait? Was he looking for happiness in a new woman perhaps - well we all know no-one else can make us happy - that is something we can only do for ourselves - or we can just be! Wonder where he is now and is he happy? He certainly gave us food for thought. -

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M

Oct. 2, 2019, 10:26 a.m.

:-) X Thank you all for taking part!

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