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Andreas H.

Sorry if this shows up twice. The post was lost after an edit.

Almost nobody asking anything this month?
Well, then I am going to write something. More of a comment or a conversation than a question. But if nobody else is writing here, why not? If there will any other real questions like the usual one you could skip this for the more urgent matters.

In March is asked you about your opinion on psychological resilience (https://chrisryanphd.com/community/topic/video-roma-questions-archive/#post-30382). I liked your answer.

What stuck with me were to major points. First, you emphasized how important the near to unconditional love and support from your parents was. I agree that this is a resource of immense power and help to withstand difficulties in life. From how you describe it, I think, I had similar parents and I often recognize that only very few people I ever met do have access to the same resource. I am always finding it truly sad to see how much people struggle because they’ve got that hole in their tank which comes from unloving and unsupporting parents.

And yet I feel that there’s more to resilience than that, because despite of having this self-esteem I always have been somewhat sensitive and fragile, up to a point which one might call neurotic (in the sense as it’s meant in the Big Five). Having had a solid sense of self-worth deep down in me helped me, when I crawled out of the mess of my live six years ago. Yes, I became addicted, and, yes, I fucked up big way, but this didn’t make me less worth as a human being. This feeling, of course, was shaken, but not broken and I recognized how much more work my fellows in therapy had to do.
And it goes both directions: a good sense of self-esteem also makes you appreciate other people more easily, just because you do not feel a need to devaluate other people in order to level yourself up. Encountering other people like that makes life a lot easier, since there are less assholes around and you have less ways to blame them for your own mess.

(One might object that becoming an addict is not a sign of a person with good self-esteem because harming yourself like this is more self-loathing than the other way round. But there are many reasons for becoming an addict, and, more important, self-esteem and self-loathing can exist side by side. What was more significant was that those parts of myself I detested were acquired later in life, but didn’t affect the basic self-esteem.)

What I want to say with this (tangentially writing) is that this self-worth coming from childhood gave me resilience when the shit already had hit the fan. But there’s another – let’s say – fragility I observed. It sometimes seems to me as if I am too sensitive for a lot of things. Sometimes I think I am to “obedient” to my own moods. One word which comes across one’s mind is “sissy”. (Thanks folks, being shamed a “sissy” does not help becoming less sensitive!). A friendlier term would be “Highly Sensitive Person” (HSP). Leaving this one pejorative and the other fashionable term aside: what remains is, that I am lacking some resilience in the “short-term area” (for the lack of a better word). Maybe I am born with it, maybe not, but it is something I am working on now, since it makes my life more complicated.

In one of your latest podcast (I think it was #477 with Paul Saladino) I heard you say that you lately started to think about psychological conditions along the same lines as allergies. Roughly: Allergies are caused by a lack of playing around in the dirt. So maybe psychological issue come from similar circumstance (too much comfort etc.)
I was surprised to hear you say that. Not the idea itself, but that it came to you only lately. I am almost convinced since a long time that this is the case for a lot of psychological difficulties. That is not saying, that there are no other, profound reasons. But it might play an important part more often than one would think.

When I asked you the resilience question in March I was thinking along these lines.
I think the second part of your answer which stuck with me, the recommendation to take up a practice like meditation, can help with that fragility as well as it can with overcoming a lack of self-esteem. Particularly so, if combined with a practice of anti-fragility. These days I am trying to put a little hardship or discomfort in my daily life, just to toughen myself a little up. It’s an arduous way doing that in your 50ies. These things are much easier learned when you’re young. But it’s surely worth the effort.

Alright, that’s it for now. If you like to give your thought, I’d love to hear it.
Perhaps I will write more if there still will be no or few other posts. I am going to post this now because maybe you’re going to do the VROMA right now.

All the best