How do I battle the capitalist mindset?
October 22, 2019 4:52 AM   Subscribe

I am in my mid-thirties and feel the constant pressure to be more, do more, strive further, be better and big better. Capitalism and perfectionism all in one! What will remind me that my lot in life is more than fine?

Let's be frank I'm doing well. I own my modest apartment, bought by myself without any external help, not everyone does that. I now have a stable job situation that will pay the bills (and is not mind numbing). I have two post-graduate qualifications. I save as much as I can. I know I've got it made... But sometimes it's still not enough and I get really anxious. Ugh. How can I cure this ill on a personal level?

example: I'm surrounded by people who are lawyers, doctors, and other high-income earners. I recently met a couple for the first time, friends of my partner, who are both attorneys (partner is also an attorney).
I'm ashamed to say some parts of the conversations completely threw my mood for a week - such as talking about how much their property had appreciated, how busy they all are. I was between contracts and I make maybe half of what they do a year. Damnit why couldn't I have all that too.

I wish I could be totally grateful for all I DO have! But this exposure made me feel very small and invaluable to the world. I know it's the completely wrong perspective - but I'd love some inspiration on how to stay more grounded and aligned to my own ideals - which does not involve buying every new toy, or gunning to upgrade/optimise everything. Books, podcasts, quotes - I'm all ears!
posted by anonymous to Human Relations (43 answers total) 54 users marked this as a favorite
 
Alain de botton is a contemporary philosopher whose work has made me more at peace with my life. He has a website but I’m having trouble finding it right now. I will keep looking. He’s also given podcast interviews, I really don’t like Tim Ferriss but I liked his interview with Alain de botton.
posted by pintapicasso at 5:00 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


This episode of Akimbo by Seth Godin might be what you're looking for.

Maybe some stuff by Ryan Holiday.
posted by pyro979 at 5:02 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


looking at my own experience living in capitalist Denmark rather than, say, capitalist US my "happiness" is measured in different ways. "Do I have enough time for myself?", "Have I had a good (read: hyggelige) weekend?". Maybe look at how to look at "happiness" in different ways from other cultures? Here are a couple of articles, in a light tone, talking about the danish experience with happiness:

* http://theconversation.com/why-denmark-dominates-the-world-happiness-report-rankings-year-after-year-93542
* https://www.thelocal.dk/20190328/is-denmark-really-a-happy-country-your-views-on-danish-happiness
posted by alchemist at 5:03 AM on October 22, 2019 [10 favorites]


Capitalism is about using your control of capital to extract value from the labour of others. It doesn't sound like you're doing that. Don't start doing that.

Perfectionism and anxiety? Perhaps see a medical professional.
posted by pompomtom at 5:07 AM on October 22, 2019 [7 favorites]


It may be bitter grapes, but I figure that if the main topic on someone’s mind is the hypothetical price of their landholdings...then their inner life must be pretty bare.

Refocus on what you want, not on what other people want you to know about them. I know it’s easy to get sucked in.
posted by executive_dysfuncti0n at 5:11 AM on October 22, 2019 [22 favorites]


What will remind me that my lot in life is more than fine?

Have you travelled outside the US (guessing at this by the word 'attorney') at all? Volunteered for the less-fortunate? Perhaps you need some re-calibration of your experience of the human condition if everyone you talk to is a rich lawyer. Go meet some happy people who don't earn six figures, but get along OK.
posted by pompomtom at 5:12 AM on October 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


This rule has worked for me:

In everything in life not financial, do whatever comes at the greatest cost.
posted by dobbs at 5:29 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I recently read How to Do Nothing and I think you might like it. I was expecting a bullet-pointed how-to guide, but it was more like a meander down a garden path with someone who knows a lot about art and birds. I gather that was sort of the point.

There is surprisingly little overlap between what is interesting and what earns money and prestige, and “interesting” doesn’t have any sort of hierarchy. Sure, big shot lawyers might look at you funny if your favorite thing to do is stay home and watch squirrels in the yard, but the squirrels don’t judge.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:36 AM on October 22, 2019 [12 favorites]


Practical:
Unsubscribe from all retail emails and social media accounts
Avoid design and fashion publications in print and online- they constantly push “refreshing” your decor or “investing” in jeans
Unfollow “influencers”
Never set foot into a mall!

Mental:
Say something you’re grateful for before every meal and before bed (where a religious person might say grace or evening prayers). “I’m grateful my body is healthy.” “I’m grateful my job pays well.” “I’m grateful for this beautiful apartment that keeps me warm and dry.” “I’m grateful for the great movie I watched today.”
It actually really feels wonderful to do this.
posted by nouvelle-personne at 5:43 AM on October 22, 2019 [29 favorites]


Can you make friends with other people from your class/economic background rather than making friends with rich professionals? When I started to make more friends in my union it really helped re-set my norms. It does a lot of harm to spend all your time around wealthy people who are concerned with wealthy-people stuff and have "high-achieving" values.

For that matter, you can be friends with attorneys who aren't rich - there are plenty out there. Ask yourself how you got into this social world where you're only around people richer than you whose values you don't want to share.

Also, can you do some political work that will take you into more class-diverse circles and help you focus on social values rather than property and achievement? Meeting people you admire because they help others, are gifted organizers or aren't afraid to speak up in the face of injustice will help you reset your values.

As you notice, what you spend your time doing is what shapes your character. You're not happy with your character at the moment. What can you seek out that will help you build new habits of thought and a new social world?
posted by Frowner at 5:46 AM on October 22, 2019 [21 favorites]


(Additionally - I love fashion and don't love how easily I fall into the "stuff" mindset. I've found that I can follow fashion that I categorically don't wear and that scratches a lot of the itch - I wear vaguely arty men's clothes but I only really read a couple of fashion blogs by retired women who are really into jewelry and France. They update a lot, I think about clothes and styles...and I am never going to buy any of it.)
posted by Frowner at 5:50 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm surrounded by people who are lawyers, doctors, and other high-income earners. I recently met a couple for the first time, friends of my partner, who are both attorneys (partner is also an attorney).
I'm ashamed to say some parts of the conversations completely threw my mood for a week - such as talking about how much their property had appreciated, how busy they all are. I was between contracts and I make maybe half of what they do a year.


This jumped out at me right here - it sounds like you are comparing yourself to others and finding yourself wanting, but that may be more because you are comparing yourself only to people in a very specific and narrow group.

And that suggests that you need to meet people not of that group while you're learning how not to compare yourself to others (which ultimately is going to be the best thing to do, but it will take time). So for every instance of "ugh, I'm not doing as well as Tom and Dick who just made partner, what's wrong with me" you'll also have "but I'm doing way better than Harry and Sid who are still trying to find jobs or who just had their house burn down" or whatever.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:06 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Things that have helped me:
- physical hobbies where I can point to something and say "I made that," for example, gardening and pottery
- keeping a gratitude journal
- The Nap Ministry's Instagram
- volunteering (I've worked with animals and done citizen science/ urban nature work, and interned at a domestic violence shelter)
- regular donations to organizations I support (such as The Sato Project, LGBT Books to Prisoners)

It also helps to have friends who are unlike me in terms of socioeconomic status, countries of birth, languages spoken, family configurations, etc.
posted by wicked_sassy at 6:09 AM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


I think this is largely a social/class question rather than one of capitalism, as comparing oneself to the richer people in the room is pretty consistent across various human cultures (although how you get rich changes.)

I would recommend a few things:
- check in with yourself about your own life goals...the idea that people talking about how busy they are makes you feel bad makes me wonder about your own time. Not because you need to be more busy (I am busy and longing to find ways to tone it down, while being unwilling to give up the things that make me busy....sigh) but just to be sure that's not coming from something you are missing.
- have some conversation topics ready to ask that will move the talk away from things. Like other people have commented, I find it a bit sad that real estate appreciation was even a topic. What are these people reading, seeing, doing...
- if this is a long-term feeling for you, I truly believe nothing gives perspective more than volunteering meaningfully, whether that's with people suffering poverty, the elderly, shelter dogs, etc.

For books for me I actually find reading about meaningful tasks or people who have just wildly different perspectives helps. Some that I have enjoyed in the past are:

Becoming Human
Bearing Witness

But also biographies of people who weren't so materially successful but successful in other ways - Edna St. Vincent Millay is one person for me, but you might have your tribes based on your interests.
posted by warriorqueen at 6:11 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Put that drive into making the world a better place. Fight against capitalism; get involved in politics. You'll find people with different goals and a wildly different milieu
posted by Mistress at 6:36 AM on October 22, 2019


If I asked you to rate the happiness levels of the three medal winners on an Olympics podium, which do think you would be most to least happy? Of course, it isn't the bronze medalist who is the least happy, it's the silver. They're in agony. It destroys a lot of people. They legitimately die years earlier after the experience.

Why? Humans are really good at simulating events in our mind. When you're so close to "greatness", you simulate all the things you could've done that might have put you there. It's all how awesome it would feel, it's never the downsides. Whereas the bronze people aren't too close to usually to where the agony of WHAT IF crushes them. That's what you're doing here.

Did you know a lot of lawyers and doctors have substance abuse problems due to the extreme stress and very long hours? Or that many lawyers end up leaving the profession because it's not a very satisfying job? I doubt that crossed your mind when you were unconsciously simulating having a brunch talking about how much your assets have appreciated. It's what we all do, we're good at AVOIDING DANGER and WANTING MORE because that's what made us so freakin' good at living and thriving. The key is to recognize and retrain this part of yourself because it is now destructive.

I can't recommend The Happiness Lab podcast enough for actual science on how our brains have no idea what a happy, not miserable life is and how it's right in front of us in a not woo, not stupid way. A Silver Lining is ep 3, it will talk about what is going on with you after that conversation with people and why you felt bad.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 6:40 AM on October 22, 2019 [11 favorites]


it isn't the bronze medalist who is the least happy, it's the silver. They're in agony. It destroys a lot of people. They legitimately die years earlier after the experience.

A common belief, but the evidence is mixed, at best. A review concluded that "no meaningful difference exists in happiness levels between silver and bronze medallists."

But the advice still stands: Try to focus on gratitude for what you have, not for what could have been (easier said than done, of course).
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 7:03 AM on October 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


Whenever I have had some sort of personal project or creative outlet in the past (writing film reviews for an online magazine; keeping a blog where I write one haiku every day for a year; working my way through a challenging cookbook; identifying and photographing wild mushrooms) the sense of accomplishment and growth I feel makes it easy to forget about how much monetary wealth I do or do not possess. Find a personal project that means a lot to you and let that become your world for a bit.
posted by nightrecordings at 7:05 AM on October 22, 2019 [5 favorites]


"if the main topic on someone’s mind is the hypothetical price of their landholdings...then their inner life must be pretty bare"

"Ask yourself how you got into this social world where you're only around people richer than you whose values you don't want to share"

These are spot on. The problem isn't necessarily capitalism; it's that your friends are vapid people.

Personally, my solution is to do things that are either creative or intellectual. That sounds pretty high-minded, but in practice, it can be as mundane as you'd like it to be. For example, one of my hobbies is diagramming football plays. It's how I doodle during meetings. Nothing earth-shattering, and it'll never have any practical use, but it takes up the space in my mind where I could be thinking about materialist crap. Likewise cooking. I'm not a good cook, but I'm an experimenter, and so I spend a lot of my time thinking about ways to improve the things I cook. Photography has done this in the past for me as well.

Basically, the problem is that these people's lives are empty, and you want to have something in yours to prevent that emptiness.
posted by kevinbelt at 7:08 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


+1 having friends who don't make a ton of money, so you can say "well they're great and happy and not making a ton of money, so that's possible for me, too." Hobbies and just generally noticing folks who are worse off helps, too. Check the census income data for your area and see how you actually stack up, if you think it'll help.

I don't think we have to call the rich lawyers names or assume things about how sad their lives are. They run their own lives how they see fit, they're not who we're worried about here.
posted by momus_window at 7:18 AM on October 22, 2019 [4 favorites]


[[Won't derail/cross-chat, just want to clarify as I think there's a bit of interpretation open here.]]

That review Mr.Know-it-some linked is interesting because what I take away from it is that silver medalists are doing a hell of a lot more ruminating, as is our question asker, so I think it's relevant for them to consider.

They found that silver medallists engaged more frequently in counterfactual thinking than bronze medallists, and that this was likely to be directed towards how the event could have gone better. Interestingly, both silver and bronze medallists primarily focused on their own performance, but silver medallists more often than bronze medallists also spent time talking about how their opponents had performed.

This study provides updated evidence that suggests that gold medallists are happiest on the podium and that no meaningful difference exists in happiness levels between silver and bronze medallists. However, the thought process and reflections between second and third-placed athletes do seem to vary, with silver medallists being more preoccupied by thoughts of how things could have been better and what would have happened if their opponents had behaved differently.


I really disagree with the start of the second paragraph, but if anyone has the mental fortitude to proceed in the face of disappointment, it's an elite athlete who needs to be clear mentally as well as physically. That EVEN THEY struggle with rumination... think about how well normal people deal with it. For me, not well! Plus it's compounded by a huge, life-long thing like schooling --> high paying career --> achievement vs. a single quick event like an Olympic race.

I struggle with this a lot. CBT helped. CBT helped me immensely this weekend even as I went in feeling like total garbage due to work stuff and left feeling much more peaceful and valued.
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 7:19 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


What do you do outside of work? I find that, if I'm in a period where I'm just working and hanging out socially with people, a lot of the time the conversation turns to work and money, whereas if I'm involved with one of the things I like to do outside of work (theater and storytelling and video production), the conversation very rarely goes into those topics, because I'm surrounded by people who are doing something together that doesn't rely on those things.

So maybe find groups of people interested in things outside of work that like to do the same things you do. Bonus points if it's not something that requires financial investment to do, so you'll have a better chance of mixing with people from a lot of different financial backgrounds.
posted by xingcat at 7:27 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


such as talking about how much their property had appreciated, how busy they all are.

I have to deal w/a lot of these kind of Masters of the Universe types as a result of my kids' schools - I've made it a personal policy to never talk about real estate, and to just nod politely and say nothing when it comes up (which is all the time - it's a kind of secular religion for them). Eventually, they'll just leave you alone or stop bringing it up.

My own friends are folks who are not striving, or, if they have to out of economic necessity, have a lot of other, non-monetary interests and don't define themselves by their house or their work achievements overly much. There are a lot of these folks out there, if you look for them.

T'ang dynasty Chinese poetry is full of pithy reflections on being "gainfully unemployed", the transience and nothingness of the self, and the virtues of doing as a little as possible. Chia Tao is a personal favorite. Also recommend the American, T'ang-inspired poet David Budbill.
posted by ryanshepard at 7:41 AM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


talking about how much their property had appreciated, how busy they all are

I usually only end up in conversations like this when I can’t think of anything else to say and when I feel like I have nothing interesting to share, and inside I’m thinking “wow, my life has been dull lately.” It’s one step away from discussing the weather (although I do love discussing the weather). I bet at least a few of those people would have been envious of you if you’d steered the conversation or shared something interesting going on with you, a new book you’ve read, something fun you and your partner did together, etc. And anyone who would have preferred talking about the rising price of their house over nearly anything else is not someone to be jealous of, but rather someone to pity.
posted by sallybrown at 7:52 AM on October 22, 2019 [8 favorites]


Make friends with artists and writers and other creative types who have different priorities than their investments.
posted by pinochiette at 7:55 AM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Anxiety can arise from a story we are drawn to and don't feel like we're living. Maybe that story is important and points the way, maybe that story is something we absorbed growing up without questioning.

What is the story beneath the surface thoughts about the anxiety? What does it connect to in your past experiences or future desires? Is the story still true or is it something you once needed and don't any longer or something you accepted for yourself even if it wasn't true for you?

There are many ways to live a story - if the story is important and worth exploring, what is the essence of it? What are ways that you can get at that essence that are healthy for you and/or beneficial to others?
posted by kokaku at 7:59 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


You may be the first person in the universe to think you are less happy than a bunch of well-off modern lawyers. Truly. Not to talk down my own profession, but the lifestyle required to do that job successfully is a miserable grind for most people. They're talking about their real estate and how busy they are because they have nothing else to talk about. They don't have time for leisure reading and they always have to give up their Mountain Goats tickets. These are not the people you set your happiness clock by.

Which does make me wonder: are you happy with what you do with your time? Do you maybe have a little niggling feeling that you could be doing more worthwhile things that exposure to these people is amplifying? Do you do leisure reading, go to the opera, volunteer, spend time with your family, whatever makes a meaningful life for you, or do you succumb to vegging in front of the Internet?

Ultimately, you are never, ever going to be happy using external referents for happiness. You have to develop your own sense of what a meaningful life is, and then pursue that in the face of the vicissitudes of fate, which will inevitably intervene and derail you from time to time.
posted by praemunire at 8:07 AM on October 22, 2019 [11 favorites]




I'm ashamed to say some parts of the conversations completely threw my mood for a week - such as talking about how much their property had appreciated, how busy they all are. I was between contracts and I make maybe half of what they do a year. Damnit why couldn't I have all that too.

Well, I guess the question to ask is: do you want it? And then: do you want to want it?

Because if I am hearing you right what you are saying is that you do kinda want more, maybe, but that you feel bad about that, like seriously bad. So there are a few things I'd think about here.

1. Are you and your partner on the same page here? Do you have about the same amount of striving or is one of you a lot more interested in having more than the other. Because having a mismatch in a partnership can be hard. Similarly, making sure your mental health is okay. Like, I have setbacks but I don't get stuck on them for a week, make sure you're doing okay at letting things go. Anxiety is hard and things like mindfulness meditation can be a great help (I literally listen to the same eight minute meditation track every morning where I rededicate myself to doing good, it helps)

2. What's your media consumption like? I ask because in a lot of ways it's the media that is the background noise of "You are not good enough" and that just gets set off by people bragging about their landholding appreciation (seriously who DOES that? No one in my peer group....) So think abotu ways to cut down more on things with a lot of pervasive advertising which is made to help you feel bad about yourself

3. Take stock of the things that are working out well in your life and realize there are a lot, a LOT, of ways to be human and ask if you are meeting the marks you set for yourself? Like for me, if it's helpful, I love that I never have to set an alarm to get up in the morning and that I work enough to keep my bills paid and no more (and I have enough savings to make this work, both through work I did and luck). Maybe you have things that can make the life at the level you are living seem worthwhile? For a lot of people this can be fitness, charity work, civic engagement, a strong community, travel, an amazing garden, activism. whatever it is.

Don't measure yourself using someone else's ruler.
posted by jessamyn at 8:26 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Meditate on death - it is inevitable for everyone, regardless our status we all must relinquish our relationships, status, possessions when we die. Really really think of it.

Now meditate on rejoicing in other’s good fortune (instead of jealousy). How fortunate they were able to go to medical school, that they had the support, it’s great that I know a doctor as a friend, their parents must be so proud. Really take their perspective and be happy for them.

These two attitudes will erode your imagination of being less than.
posted by St. Peepsburg at 8:59 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Are you and your partner on the same page here?

This is a good point. Have you talked about these feelings with your partner? I would bet that your partner values you a lot more than their fellow attorneys and acquaintances who talk about housing prices. Not that your partner’s regard is a replacement for your own self-worth, but there are lots of good reasons your partner wants to spend their time and life with you. When you and your partner have meaningful life conversations, what do you talk about, and how does your partner make you feel valued for your special qualities?
posted by sallybrown at 9:35 AM on October 22, 2019


Psychedelics and cannabis have helped remind me that keeping up with the Jones' is foolish.
posted by Uncle at 9:40 AM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


You are envious of people being busy. Really think about that. You are making enough to be stable. Quite a bit more than that, from the sounds of it. If you can make enough to be stable in your life *without * being super busy, I think thats awesome. Being able to buy more stuff that you barely have time to enjoy is not awesome.

Dont get pulled into the mindset of a competition where winning means your life ends up less awesome.
posted by ananci at 10:19 AM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think... If money isn't what you value, try to talk less about money. There's a series of sayings - we are what we measure, what we measure we improve, etc - that point to the fact that whatever you're looking at and measuring will be what you start to work towards.

So, can you talk to them about "how has your home been to live in? What are your neighbors like? What did you do last weekend?"
posted by Lady Li at 11:04 AM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Take an improv class! Improv has helped me reduce my perfectionism, because you don't have time to think of the perfect line but you have to say something, and it turns out whatever you say is fine, maybe even genius!

And there are the benefits you get from improv but would also get from another hobby: You get to meet some interesting people who care about things other than career/financial success. You also expand your life; if your career becomes a relatively smaller part of your life, you don't feel all your worth must come from it.
posted by catquas at 12:47 PM on October 22, 2019 [1 favorite]


Highly successful mid-30s person here -
If anyone talks to me about finances outside of as an advisory role, I find that incredibly rude, disengage, and likely avoid socializing with them going forward. Also, certain professions will never have a work life balance, but they must have known that going into it. Police officers and teachers serve the community even, but often underpaid.
Also a sad thing I've observed - money cannot buy you style, good taste, or social skills. Sad in the sense that imagine all they could do if they had a damn personality. Some successful folks do and those are the ones I give myself permission to admire but not set the bar in my own life. I truly believe we luck into a lot of our successes.
posted by hillabeans at 1:00 PM on October 22, 2019


Lots of great advice above, and I mainly want to second OnTheLastCastle's advice to listen to The Happiness Lab (without getting too bogged down on the silver medalist example).

I've recently moved back to a country with very high living standards, so I am suddenly much poorer than everyone around me. But I can assure you I am much happier (tho sometimes I have to actively remind myself of that fact, cuz it's hard not to feel inferior). All the people around me working long days and stuck in traffic in their big expensive cars to drive back to their huge villas out in the sticks (cuz they can't afford a huge villa in town, but a huge villa they must have)... they are so miserable. All they do is complain all day.

Every episode I've listened to so far of the Happiness Lab (it's still running atm) I've thought "Yep, this. Yep, this." It all rings true. More money doesn't make you happier. We have a tendency to compare ourselves with those who have more than us (leading to less happiness) etc. Laurie Santos was also recently on Slate Money to talk about money and happiness in particular, which I also recommend.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 1:15 PM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure if the subject matter is super relevant. I have friends who makes lots of money, own property, work lots of hours, etc., and I don't feel much more than happiness that my friends are doing well, and maybe concern that they're working too hard. But I'm comfortable with my own financial situation that it doesn't really affect me one way or another if people are doing better than me. When I do relate to this feeling, is exactly when I talk to my creative friends about their creative pursuits. When my friends tell me about their MFA programs or their bands or their artwork, I start comparing myself and feeling bad about my own lack of creative talents.

I think what jessamyn said about living according to your own ruler is really the way to go. For me, what helps is really evaluating what I want, what I don't want, and what I could do to get the life I want. It turns out that I don't really want to be in an MFA program, despite how cool it sounds, because it would mean giving up my job now that I really like. So I can remind myself of this whenever my friends talk about their MFA programs. But I do have the ability to fit in violin lessons, and now I feel better when my friends talk about their bands. And so on.
posted by chernoffhoeffding at 2:17 PM on October 22, 2019 [2 favorites]


Volunteer at a soup kitchen.
posted by kinoeye at 4:01 PM on October 22, 2019


Seconding Alain de Botton. He founded the School of Life, which has a ton of reading/videos on just this topic, plus loads of other things. Here's a playlist called "WORK + CAPITALISM." There's even a video called "You Are Not What You Earn."

I normally find this kind of CONTENT CREATION irritating and creepy, but his writing/videos usually make me think about things in a new way, and sometimes even help me to figure out how to feel a bit better. (Yes, there are lots of qualifiers in that sentence, but for me, that's a RINGING endorsement.)
posted by nosila at 4:28 PM on October 22, 2019


I think comparing yourself to others is a symptom, not the cause, of your agony. I tend to think that way when I am feeling insecure, and I tend not to think that way when I am feeling content with myself.

How to feel content with myself? I have never been very good at that. A few things that help me are to spend time outside, time in nature, to have new experiences with some frequency, and to exercise a few times per week. These practices keep me from getting "bogged down" in my negative self talk.

Also, many people suggest practices to cultivate gratitude, but I am not great at gratitude. I find that if I am getting too hung up in perfectionism or obsessing over my flaws, it is more helpful for me to cultivate curiosity. The more I am noticing and thinking about interesting ideas and questions, the less self-critical I feel.
posted by mai at 7:15 PM on October 22, 2019 [3 favorites]


Get a dog.
posted by metasarah at 12:28 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


I spend most of my social time with rich professionals, and apart from those I must see for professional reasons, I only choose to see the ones who have something more interesting to talk about than material things. But yes, the vast majority of people in this group will be very preoccupied with materialistic values; that is why they chose the path they are on. Their eternal loss, as they will never get that time back. Most of my actual friends are from the creative world.
posted by Atrahasis at 3:02 PM on October 23, 2019 [1 favorite]


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