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Hugs make me happy! That may not sound like much, but for someone who's
been mildly depressed as long as I can remember, and can't think of
anything I can do that makes me happy, that's a major discovery. Whimsy
makes me smile, too. Snuggle makes me feel loved, and loving, and
I'm gradually learning that even little things that are a little bit
pleasant can raise my mood, bit by bit. I realized, as I was getting
ready for my bath, that I expected it to be pleasant. And it
was. That's new. I'm starting to learn that things that feel
good are good for me even if they don't make me "happy" but only
relaxed and contented.
I realized that things like programming, writing, and performing, where
I'm in a state of flow while I'm doing them, give me a pleasant feeling of
accomplishment afterward. I don't need to think of them as just
a way to escape from my feelings.
... and I spent some time in the afternoon helping a friend understand
herself and her fear better, and reminded her of what courage really is.
I can be eloquent when I'm trying to be convincing: "Both paths are
painfully steep; go with the one that leads up-hill." "Remember, courage
consists of pushing through in spite of your fears. You're
scared, but you're going out shopping this afternoon because you know that
the fear is transient, and the love and happiness will still be there when
I'll have to be very careful, though; words can hurt as well as
heal, and sometimes the word that seems most accurate at the time can
bring up a lot of unwanted associations and cause unintended pain. Deeply
regretting my words is all very well, but it doesn't undo the damage.
I've often tried to explain to Colleen, and occasionally to other people,
that, no, I wasn't making an accusation, I was just trying to describe the
situation. Maybe I need to pay attention, take a couple of deep breaths,
and take the time to choose my words more carefully. I'm a songwriter --
I ought to be able to find words that get the point across without causing
damage in the process.
A good day. Sometimes a little uncomfortable, but worthwhile.
Today's link sausage includes Wikipedia articles on positive
psychology and flow, a program that composes images from sketches, the
FSF's brief explaining why software patents are bad, Sanyo
eneloop rechargeable batteries, and this fascinating
list of possibly pleasant things to do.