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What do you think? Tuesday April 4, 2017

"I think the saddest people always try their hardest to make people happy because they know what its like to feel absolutely worthless and they don't want anyone else to feel like that." Robin Williams

I am not trying to make people happy, I never have and never will but I relate to the latter part of the quotation. I will never hurt someone who has hurt me as I know what it feels like. I never want someone feel they amount to nothing and have no value.

I think you can try never to make someone feel worthless without having to make them happy.

"The loneliest people are the kindest. The saddest people smile the brightest. The most damaged people are the wisest. All because they do not wish to see anyone else suffer the way they do." Anon.

What does this mean? Do you have to be lonely to be the kindest? I know many very kind people who are not lonely. Do you have to be the saddest to smile the brightest?

I suppose I feel this quotation by anon goes further than Robin Williams one. After looking at both are they over romanticising what it is like to be the saddest, the loneliest, the most damaged?

I feel when you have experienced extreme sadness or loneliness you may have some empathy but sometimes you are so exhausted and fragile to think about others.

In a way I think these quotations put extra pressure on people who are at their lowest that they should be smiling and kind and wise.

Do you think by portraying sad, lonely and or damaged as being the brightest the wisest or the kindest it puts more pressure on people who are already struggling?

Do generalisations take away people's individuality?

Can you relate to either or both quotations?

Do you find them helpful?

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

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Smudge Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 6:52am

Yes I relate to both hose quotes. Of course it doesn't apply to everyone but often the people who have experienced something are the ones to empathise and understand.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 7:13am

Thanks for your comment.
Yes experience can help one empathise and understand .
Sometimes I have found that because everyone experiences something in a different way , it doesn't mean that a person can understand what you are going through. Thanks for taking the time to reply.

Smudge Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 7:07am

I agree that people not only experience things a different way but are able to deal with it differently but just the experience of feeing something similar makes people aware of what the dreadful feelings of loneliness or any emotion come to that, makes people more able to respond in a kind way. Those who have to all extent and purpose sailed through the life with only a few small blips of problems are completely unable to understand.

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 9:06am

SMudge I agree but how experience helps one understand but I know people who have cared for a loved one with depression and have an understanding of the suffering of their loved one. Thanks SMudge for continuing the conversation.

Sally Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 7:30am

Yes, I too can relate to both those quotes. I have known what it was like to feel absolutely worthless , and so, in my work with children and adults over a forty year period, never wanted them to ever feel like that. I worked hard at trying to empower them.
I don't really think about empowering other people when I am in the grips of a low mood because then, it's all about my survival. I know that I have felt lonely, and that it stays with you, but that I am not lonely now, so the empathy I feel, and kindness I hope to show towards people must come from the memory of the abject fear of abandonment.
As Maya Angelou said " People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they will never forget how you made them feel". It is the feeling of what others mean or have meant to me that carries me through and I therefore hate other people to feel unhappy or sad.
A lovely, thought provoking blog, Leah. Thank you very much for raising this today. Virtual hugs to you!

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:20am

Sally I have used that Maya Anegkou for a blog I have sent in! Great minds think alike. Thanks for your thoughts.I agree that some feelings stay for a long time and it helps you empathise with others. Thanks for the kind words.

Jul Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:22am

Love the Mary Angelou quote Sally. Thank you. Jul xx

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 10:37pm

Jul and Sally Have you read any of Maya Angelou's autobiographies?

LP Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:01am

Hi Leah,
I can relate to them. I am definitely kind to people and driven to helping, because I have known what it is like to suffer emotional pain.
I am considerate and understanding because It is how I would prefer to be treated having experienced the opposite.
I found the second paragraph interesting and re read it a couple of times. In the heat of the moment I have "lashed back" at someone if they have hurt me, but I find that I stop myself from getting involved in vengeful thoughts, not for their sakes but for mine! It's mainly because of what that would do to my self image and self esteem. I don't want to be that person. I'm no angel and the ill will doesnt completely disappear, I usually soothe myself by " eaving it to the universe to deal with that".
I don't feel any external pressure or expectaion to be kind, it's a way of helping myself. I'm interested to read comments from anyone who does.

I certainly have made sure that my children feel happy and loved because I experienced the opposite from who should have been my primary carer and attachment figure. That in itself goes some way towards healing.
I'm sure that's why I'm passionate about positive approaches to education.

Thank you for another thought provoking blog Leah.
Kind wishes to you and all. LPxx

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:25am

LP Thanks for taking time to consider in detail my blog. I felt that the quote was romanticising people who are sad lonely etc and giving an expectation tat if one is so low and lonely one is also kind etc. This may be true for some but sometimes people have only energy to look after themselves and survive.

LP Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 10:42pm

That's true Leah. X

Orangeblossom Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:18am

Thanks Leah I love the quotes and have noted down the second one in my journal. In the middle of the pain & distress it is difficult to feel anything positive or creative like empathy. This is especially the case when resentment fills the gaps or if we allow the root of bitterness to grow & propgate it's poisonous barbs. However, it has helped me to think of the positive outcomes of difficult or negative experiences & emotions.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:51am

Orangeblossom Thanks for the comment it has given me a lot to think about. Resentment and bitterness are hard to battle when one feels so low.

Jul Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:20am

Interesting blog Leah. I find that I assume others are as low as me or see things the same way as me.Or that I bring them down. I worry that others may be feeling like I am and I do try to make sure they are happy. I also know that being genuinely happy is infectious so no effort is required then. It's all very frustrating and energy sapping being depressed! I like both quotes;there is much truth in them. I have never felt worthless, well not often, so feel Robin Williams' quote is perhaps too dramatic for me. But his sentiments are true. Obviously we are each of us different but I know from reading these pages for a few years now, that most of us can relate to each other in a very genuine way and express much or all of how we all feel. I do smile quite a bit and make an effort to overcome how I feel by appearing happy. It's not genuine and probably very see through. Julxx

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 8:53am

Jul Thanks for your interesting comment. I am always intrigued by how people relate to quotes and the wisdom they bring to it. I am sure by making an effort to smile to make others feel better would be appreciated.

The Gardener Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:08am

Thanks Leah, thought provoking as usual. I am between extreme emotions - my husband is in a state of extreme anxiety, whilst, at the same time seemingly letting the anger and frustration of years out on me. It is too late to 'get inside his head', He had a normal childhood, despite the war, having never been in danger, or short of food. When it came to life choice he wanted to be a farmer. His mother was the most awful snob - eldest son become a noted scientist - his brother, my husband, was 'just a farmer'. The fact that he succeeded very well in his chosen field, introducing new ideas etc did not count with his mother. Did it do permanent harm? Certainly, I have spent a lifetime bolstering Mr G's confidence - now, all the time. Then our youngest child, fifth, adopted, will be 50 this year, and we have been, sadly, estranged for 6 years - she never really came to grips with being adopted. So, husband and daughter 'scarred' by their childhood. Nobody can 'choose' their childhood, and I find myself, now, having had a grim childhood myself, losing any patience with people who blame their childhood for failure (real or perceived) in life. More and more I believe ('fey' again) that there is a trigger somewhere for those who have been sad and lonely - they either 'sink' under the load or say (as I have, and not always been popular) 'I won't be beaten'. It used to be a belligerent 'me against the world', now, it's me and as much help as I can muster against this terrible world of dementia.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:20am

Gardener I am not sure where to begin. Your posts as usual are full of anecdotes and emotion. You may not be able to choose your childhood but i know people who have reinvented their childhood.

Smudge Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 7:10am

Hi gardener. I had a horrible childhood but didn't realise how bad it had been till I was in my 60's and came to understand

Smudge Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 7:14am

Hi gardener. I had a horrible childhood but didn't realise the extent of how bad it had been till I was in my 60's and allowed myself to analyse it. This meant I didn't blame my chlldhood on anything but soon came to understand that a smiling face is all anyone wants to see so that's what they see.having said that, in retrospect I can see how ones childhood is the bedrock of ones life and a bad one can and does affect all ones life.

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 9:08am

SMudge THanks for sharing your interesting story and insights.

The Gardener Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:15am

Re: the actual quotations! Difficult to empathise with them because people, through upbringing or pride will put a 'brave' or 'smiling' face to hide their emotions

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:22am

So true. Gardener. I was interested in the romanticising of sad emotions.

Smudge Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 7:15am

Yes we put on a brave face but those with understanding will see behind the fake smile.

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 9:09am

SMudge yes but there is so much effort in pretending and using fake smiles.

Smudge Thu, Apr 6th 2017 @ 6:31am

Oh I agree with that. The effort is exhausting and it makes one feel worse in the end, to think everyone thinks we are ok.

Leah Thu, Apr 6th 2017 @ 7:05am

I had a friend who knew I could see through her mask so she would avoid seeing me when she was down as she didn't want to cry. I would phone and text to keep in touch. I wish we lived in a world where we weren't afraid of our emotions. Thanks for your contributions.

The librarian Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:28am

Good blog, Leah - thank you. I think there is a lot of pressure to do something 'great' or 'meaningful' with suffering when sometimes staying in work, managing to eat and walk and see/speak to people and live a quiet, unspectacular life is enough.

And perhaps meaning and greatness come later, not as a direct consequence.

I think generalisations do take away people's individuality and when kindness is more about the person being kind that what the recepient needs or wants, is it really kindness?

What about recognition of people's uniquness and finding out about their own experience, really listening and responding to them as an individual?

I find it difficult to think/feel/care beyond myself at times of suffering. Does this make me a 'bad' person or just a struggling person who is trying to get by?

All the best, Leah.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 12:52pm

Librarian Thanks for your response. Do you think meaning and greatness comes from suffering? I think managing oneself is a full time job when one is very low so that doesn't not make one lazy or selfish just self caring.

The librarian Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 2:07pm

Hello again Leah. I don't think meaning and greatness comes from suffering - or not necessarily. But I do think there is a lot of preassure to make menaing and greatness out of suffering, which isn't always possible - especially not when in the midst of it. And I agree with you about managing oneself - I think it is kinder to care for oneself so one can be kind to others. Oh, gosh - now I'm starting to confuse myself and tie myself up in knots!

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 10:42pm

Librarian I hope I did not contribute to your confusion. I have this habit of confusing others because of my convoluted way of expressing myself!! I like your name because long ago in a previous life I was studying to be a teacher librarian but due to my moods and the lack of support back then I dropped the librarian part. Now I have a bookshop so I feel it has come full circle. Thanks again fo your thoughts to this discussion.

The librarian Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 9:24am

You didn't confuse me, Leah - my mind can get very convoluted at times! It's interesting, the path our lives take us on... Librarianship is great, but it's sadly getting less and less about the thing I love most - the books. I started out on a career in theatre and ended up in a library, via a bookshop, and writing a novel with lots of theatre in it! Keep writing your blogs - they're great and thought-provoking, which is excellent.

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 10:34am

The librarian You career path interests me. Did you publish the novel? When my children were young I loved taking them to the library every week and in school holidays. Thanks for your kind words.

Mary Wednesday Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 1:16pm

Such an interesting and thought-provoking post, Leah. I quite take your point that these quotes can be seen as romanticizing negative emotions. At the same time, I think of Viktor E Frankl's words in Man's Search for Meaning, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one's own way.”

While in the midst of depression, it is difficult to do anything except hang on and survive; empathy and contribution to others is impossible. When depression lifts however, we then have a choice: we can be resentful or we can use our experiences to help and empower others.

I do not think it romanticizes my own experiences with bi-polar to say that it has made me more compassionate, less judgemental and more driven to contribute to the world, especially to contribute to the way people see themselves; enabling them to express themselves more fully - so they, in turn, give more of themselves to the world. We do not give ourselves to the world if we feel that gift is worthless, so if someone can help us see that we are valuable, we can be more generous with ourselves.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 1:51pm

Mary Thanks for your detailed reply. I think you have invidualised your experience so that it has given meaning to you. When we generalise like the second quote that all people who are sad.lonely and damaged have special qualities I feel he puts pressure on people. I think when people have come out of their suffering they may have found they have special qualities. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts.

Mary Wednesday Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 2:54pm

Mmmm - I think what I have done rather, is to have individualised my experience so it is not judgemental. I think my thoughts reflect more nearly The Gardener's below: while suffering may not automatically confer wisdom, it certainly does not give one the right to opt out and "use" that suffering. When I read that second quote again, I did scoff and go "Like Heck it does!" (I didn't use the word "Heck"). Sometimes the lonely aren't kind: they are vicious. Rarely do those in sorrow smile. Sometimes the damaged stay ignorant. I do not necessarily believe that suffering is visited upon us on purpose by some sadistic god, but that we do all have a duty to use our suffering in a positive way. To do less is to abdicate from the world. If that is putting pressure on people then, my apologies. I don't expect the suffering to grin cheesily and act as if everything is peachy (see next blog but one), but the role of victim has a very definite life-span. And that lifespan is short. Otherwise, you know what? Those lonely people are going to stay lonely, the damaged will not heal and the sad will continue to drown in their sorrow. This is not mere nastiness, but stating some of the realities of life.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 10:57pm

Mary This is what I like about moodscope that people can express different views and a detailed discussion develops. You write that "we do all have a duty to use our suffering in a positive way". I wonder to whom do we have a duty? Ourselves, others, a higher being? Are people who suffer horrific abuse, trauma, in peacetime and war, 'abdicating' from the world, if they are too damaged to make a positive use of their suffering? For many just existing is enough and for some it is sadly too much. Yes there are those who do stay bitter and sad all their lives and I feel for good reason. People are all different and not all have the strength to move on from suffering. Thanks Mary for your robust contribution to this discussion.

The Gardener Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 2:22pm

Leah, I'm so muddled today, and exhausted, just slept for nearly 2 hours, now feel more muddled! People 'coming out of their suffering and finding new qualities' is, I think, what I was trying to get at. Some people 'draw on' their sufferings, others 'use' them to avoid more effort. I am sitting looking at a beautiful picture by a local artist. She'd had an 'easy' upbringing with a delightful artist father (who had been a POW). Her husband was a near alcoholic, then she nursed him through particularly bad cancer. One of her daughters gave her a lot of sadness - then, her paintings took on only what I can call a 'new' dimension, one of depth. She also caught me on the bench outside the church, obviously in distress - she came straight in and read to Mr G. She is two years younger than me, slim, attractive, a darling and has five cats.

Mary Wednesday Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 2:55pm

It's the cats that help her be the darling she is. Cats are great therapists! (that was a light-hearted and somewhat facetious comment BTW!)

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:05pm

Gardener, An 'easy' upbringing that contributed to her art. It is interesting how circumstances affect different people,. Do you think if she hadn't had all the sadness that her art would not have been as good. I think that is another topic the relations between suffering an art. I used to think to be a famous writer or painter or musician you need some suffering in one's life. I think that while some can come out of their suffering and find new qualities not everyone can and compassion and understanding is needed for those who can't . Thanks Gardener for your contributions.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:09pm

Mary I think animals are good listeners. I like the way Tg uses the word darling.

Hettie Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 4:46pm

First I just wanted to say Maya Angelou's name because she can always, always lift me. There is no one piece of inauthenticity in her and yes, she had been sad, she had suffered, she had been traumatized. About the quotes... yes, they can put pressure on you to become wise and understanding, yes they idealise depression and suffering. But they also give hope that one day you and I can be people we want to be. You choose which you want to hear. I want to be like Maya Angelou.

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:14pm

Thanks Hettie for your comment. I like Maya Angelou's writing very much. I have read her books, sell them in my shop and have used a quote for one of my future blogs. I have also quoted her in comments in the past. I am glad that the quotes give you hope. I would like to write like Maya Angelou. Her simplicity and honesty always touches me too. Take care

Jane SG Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 9:24pm

Thanks for today's blog Leah. Robin Williams' quote saddens me. So many of his films made me laugh out loud. Xxx

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:15pm

Thanks Jane. I think Robin's legacy in films and interviews and quotes will live on for a long time.

Molly Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:26pm

Blimey Leah, after reading your blog, and all the comments, I feel like I need to lie down and recover. I totally agree that quotes that generalise are not real. Of course everyone is different. We might see a quote that we can relate to, but people need to be more open minded. "The mind should be like a parachute, open at all times" is one quote I like. I have to disagree with some comments made, that past experiences are an excuse, as they affect everyone differently. Well done to those that turn bad experiences into good ones. Some people can do that, some people can't ! Depends on the personality of each individual. Also depends on what kind of mental illness they are dealing with. Mostly I will be the kindest person ever, but mainly don't get any thanks for it. And yes I do want thanks for it ! Absolutely agree that on a bad day, I'm no use to anyone. I don't agree that the saddest people smile the most. I don't smile much but if I find something funny (usually my own jokes) I will roll around laughing for about an hour,..,,doesn't happen very often, my jokes are not that good ! But sometimes you can tell from someone's eyes, they tell so much. A smiley face maybe, but sad eyes. Sorry for the ramble. Thanks Leah xx

Leah Tue, Apr 4th 2017 @ 11:50pm

Blimey Molly I dont think Have heard that expression for years- not heard much in the colonies!!! So wonderful to read it. Ok down to business. Thanks for your honest post. I like the parachute quote but what happens if you have a faulty one?? I agree that some people can turn adversity into apsotive but many can't. Your reply made me smile. I knew an old family friend who said dont laught at your own jokes which would make me laugh more!! Never be sorry for your replies they are so refreshing. Actually I was hoping you would reply and you did. I hope you have recovered now!!

Molly Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 12:25am

I'm feeling better than I did thanks Leah. Or do you mean have I picked myself up from the floor yet from laughing :-) good point about the parachute !! I guess some people to get a faulty one :-) :-) xx

Molly Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 12:27am

*do not to !!

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 3:25am

Molly I was enquiring about general health, needing to recover from my blog and comments. If I corrected all my typos I would not have time be annoying!! Are you up late because you are a night owl? cheers xx

Molly Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 6:08pm

I am a night owl, but also cannot sleep these days. I did realise that my quote was incorrect (whilst trying to sleep) you see, that is why I cannot sleep !! The quote was (and it might have even come from someone on here originally) that "the mind is like a parachute, it does not work if it is not open". That makes more sense doesn't it. Thank you for saying that you hoped to hear from me, that really means alot xx

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 11:46pm

Molly, Yesterday while I was looking at books I had just bought, I was flicking through one that had quotes for businesses and just happened to see the parachute one- they attributed it to Robert Durrah and it that version of the quote said ,,,minds were like parachutes because they were dangerous if they did not open. I may have paraphrased a little as I have forgotten where I put the book!!! Thanks for your kind words. I can relate to the not sleeping, I wake up so many times and then can't get back to sleep .xx

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 3:49am

Thanks to everyone who read and or contributed to this lively discussion. Feel free to comment or disagree on any of my comments. I like having to think and to really analyse what I have said. So if you have never commented before or you are late to this blog please feel free to add your thoughts. Especially if I have written something that annoys you, let me know. Cheers Leah

Eva Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 7:25am

Hi Leah, I don't tend to worry about quotes, or feel pressure from them, at the end of the day they are just words from one person or another and the one thing I have learned is that communication is too complicated to get stressed about. I can say something with one intent, you can hear it with your own interpretation and I may never be able to make you understand my intent because our life experience is different.

I take what I can from them and if the sentiment doesn't work for me I move on.

I loved Robin Williams and from my scant knowledge of his personal life, his quote seems to sum up his life experience which seems not to have been the happiest despite bringing joy to so many.

I do feel that having been through the mill I am in a better position to understand some aspects of other people's anxiety, grief and some blues, better than if I had not experienced these issues and I'm generally always willing to lend an ear and help out where I can, but I also know folk who have also experienced these things and are intolerant of other peoples suffering. So personally I think it comes down to your temperament and nature rather than just your life experience.

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 9:14am

EVa THanks for your post. I am glad your experience has helped to understand others in some aspects. I agree as I said before we all know people who have experienced. Illnesses yet have no tolerance for others. 8 think temperament and nature and personality does affect one.s ability to turn ones experience into compassion.

Molly Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 6:23pm

I agree with Eva as well. We all deal with things in different ways. My sister and I for instance, we went through a similar life in our childhood, yet we dealt with it so differently. We are SO different that we have now finally fallen out. We have never got on with eachother. Her coping mechanism was to get married and have kids. My coping mechanism was to avoid all that like the plague. But I may well be going completely off the subject now !! However I am very caring, too caring at times, and I don't believe she is (glad she is not reading this) but I truly believe it is down to personality and nature, as you rightly say Leah. One thing that stays with me, is that if I expect (or hope) that people will understand my mental health and issues, then I should try and understand their issues and I really do when it comes to mental health, but if there is no mental health involved, then I will struggle to understand some people's actions xx

Leah Wed, Apr 5th 2017 @ 11:52pm

Molly I also think siblings can experience the same up bringing but have totally different recollections. We see this in famous people where one child writes a best seller warts and all book and the others say it wasn't like that at all but no publishers or directors are going to be interested in a happy childhood memory. I think it is on topic whatever that is because it is about how people's experiences affect how they see themselves and how they behave. Sometimes we may not be aware of the motives behind people's behaviour especially if they have kept it hidden for years. Take care x

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