greg dahlen

Alumnus, academy of achievement


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what role does self-pity play in your life?

Once in a while I get into a little self-pity, but it quickly fades. How about you, do you ever feel self-pity? Do you enjoy the feeling, or dislike it? How long do you feel it for?

If you think it's reasonable to sometimes feel self-pity, what percentage or amount of time of one's life do you think it is healthy to feel it for?

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    Mar 13 2014: I think self pity is a natural phenomenon. The only real issue is if you let it overtake you.
    I feel self-pity often, but then I remember what I have accomplished and how good things are now and that those bad things that lead to self-pity are all intertwined to form my life now. Without the bad I wouldn't be who I am today, and I wouldn't have anything to compare to when things get tough now. I wouldn't be able to say "You know what? This isn't as bad, it could be worse and I have conquered worse."
    I neither like self-pity in myself or dislike it, sometimes you need to feel certain ways and it's okay to do so.
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      Mar 14 2014: i agree!! its ok to have the feeling of self pity.. its not always feeling week and betrayed!! but sometimes just to make the person in front realise that you need a hug :)
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    Mar 13 2014: I put self-pity in the same category as nervous energy. If I don't do something positive with it, then it is wasted.

    I refuse to dwell on self-pity. I don't like the feeling at all, it makes me feel powerless. So I have to do something to overcome it. In the process, it often leads to inspiration. So although I avoid it, I don't necessarily see it as a bad thing.

    Some events trigger bad memories, which can lead to self-pity. I try to understand the whole event, not only how I felt, but what led others to do what they did. I use it as a learning process. It helps me to grow. It's like trying to solve a puzzle. Could I have done anything different? Is there a reason that events happened as they did? I sometimes discover things about other people that allows me to forgive. I get over it and get on with my life.
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      Mar 23 2014: when you say do something, roy, do you mean do something practical, or do you mean do the reflective things you've mentioned in the third paragraph?
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      Mar 28 2014: but sometimes isn't it pleasant to feel a little bit of self-pity? What is that feeling, it's pleasurable but doesn't feel like a particularly healthy kind of pleasure. But how can pleasure be unhealthy?
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        Mar 29 2014: I believe I know what you are trying to say. A little bit of self-pity is a means to erase some of the guilt. We are often our own worst critic. We take too much blame for our faults. We need to understand that we are human and prone to failure. It is one of our best learning tools. But we are also taught that we are responsible for our actions, so we hold ourselves in contempt for our failures. It is a very destructive mindset. A lot of it stems from our religious heritage, the fear of hell for not doing the right thing. It was wrong for the church to do that to us, but we are often gullible to what the church had to say.

        I have learned to accept failure and keep a positive attitude. Learn from it and grow, don't wallow in it putting ourselves down. If that's what you mean by a little pleasure, then it is a healthy kind of pleasure. We owe it to ourselves to give ourselves a break. Not everything is our fault. We have to learn to forgive ourselves and move on.
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          Apr 7 2014: well, but presumably by the time it becomes depressing it also becomes not pleasurable?
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    Mar 22 2014: Hi Greg, We all have moments when we feel that life has been unfair, or that we have been dealt a bad hand. This can lead to depression, fear and loneliness if we hold it in. On the other hand, if we let it overtake us it can create anger and frustration. The key is finding what works for you. I think that it is healthy to identify what we feel and have a plan for dealing with our own self pity. Whether it be indulging in a cupcake, meditating or turning off the phone to sit quietly and read, we should not deny our feelings. I personally have had lots of pity parties in my life. I allow myself to acknowledge my pain, identify the source and then determine what I need to do get through whatever is troubling me. The self pity usually lasts about an hour, and then I get to work and figure out what my next step is. I think it does serve a purpose because when the hurdle is behind me, I think of the pain I was in and feel proud to have pulled through.
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      Apr 7 2014: thanks for your answer, amy. I seem to remember reading your profile and it sounded like you had had a rough time. Have you actually suffered with physical pain, or is it more just not being able to do the things you want to do?
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        Apr 7 2014: Greg, Thanks for your note. To answer your question...yes, unfortunately, there has been physical pain which I knew I would have to face when making the decision to fight to stay here. I don't think that many people realize that when someone is faced with a life or death choice, it is not always as easy a choice as you might think. Of course family and friends all say, "you need to do this and fight", but it was not their arms with the IVs in them getting chemo pumped into them each week, and even after the chemo failed, I was faced with the decision to either stop all treatment or having my spleen removed. Since the chemo destroyed my immune system, the removal of my spleen lead to a massive infection. I have undergone a total of 16 surgeries to rebuild my face after tumor removal - the last being two weeks ago, and I am not done yet. But I must say that none of the needles or stitches or cuts hurt as much as the feeling inside that I have been burden to those that I love and love me. They have given so much time, energy and money to care for me and at this point, the guilt is the most pain that I feel. I'm sure that these are feelings that are shared by many others in my position. And, therefore, some of my pity is not for myself, but for those that have suffered because of me.
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          Apr 7 2014: well, i'm awfully sorry, amy, i wish we could all live forever and have no pain, but we are mortal beings. I wonder what you've given to the people who gave to you?
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    Mar 13 2014: In others it is disgusting and pathetic ... in me it is deserved and others should support me in these trying times.

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      Mar 13 2014: That sounds slightly hypocritical. How can you truly say that another's self-pity is disgusting and pathetic? You don't really know what the other person has been through nor could you understand if you have never been through their troubles. Everyone deals with things differently, and so long as they are not harming themselves and or others they should be allowed to feel whatever they are feeling.
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        Mar 14 2014: Chaney, Sorry ... the long time members know that I do these tongue in cheek jokes all the time. I am not really that heartless.

        Like the comment I made back to Poch ... daylight savings time will only save a lot of money in Alaska. When in fact the sun stays up day and night most of the year. Dry humor.

        Sorry to get your dander up. People get so serious on here that I do these things everyonce in a while just to keep everything in perspective.

        Good reply though .... be well .... Bob.
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          Mar 14 2014: I am sorry for going on the offensive, understand now and I will no for the future. Thank you for taking my comment so graciously
          I have been in a couple of conversations when some had genuinely come up with crude and offensive.
          Sincerely Chaney
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          Mar 14 2014: Robert,
          For what it's worth, I am a long time member of TED (several years) and I do not "know" when you are using "tongue in cheek jokes" or when you are being serious.....for what it's worth.......
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          Mar 31 2014: Robert.... you were kidding?
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        Mar 23 2014: like he was saying that of all the seven billion people on earth he is the only one who deserves to feel self-pity? What is he, the fucking king of the world?
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      Mar 23 2014: i'll go however you want me to, Robert.
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    Apr 7 2014: Some people do not want to forgive themselves or others, and their sense of self-pity might stay with them forever.

    “The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.”

    ― Mahatma Gandhi, Autobiographical Reflections
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      Apr 7 2014: Self-pity is therapeutic if not allowed to linger. There are people who continue to get nothing but woes in spite of not being harmful to others and we can't just say they are weak or flawed.

      Self-pity is like paranoia. Just because you think there are conspiracies against you doesn't mean it's not true.

      Looking for your own post dear Vera.
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        Apr 7 2014: Hello dear Poch. I personally cannot stand that Self Pity even for a moment. I replace it with fairness.

        I was growing up in my hellish household and sometimes had this terrible feeling - I'm so hurt for no reason at all. Just because my relatives are sick and very angry? I could be so desperately sorry for my hurt and "poor" self, so many times!

        I worked on many projects to help others - no charges - I learned to FORGIVE not to forget!! This experience of Creating Kindness against ugly pitiful madness grew in me invincible, peaceful strength.

        This wisdom can be hidden in a child's soul.

        2 days ago I received an attorney's letter: my sick mindwise and now physically, older sister, surprising me with the news - she revocated my Power of Attorney. She also removed my name from her Will. Why? By hurting me she creates a disaster for herself. I'm the only one who pays bills takes care of our house. The downpayment was my own money as well. She has no moral right to manipulate it.

        She has now a deadly lymphoma and has to learn how to take care of herself.

        I helped her endlessly through years even with her Lymphoma - her lymph nodes almost disappeared. She was able to live for 10 years after the doctor promissed her 1.

        She was never grateful, never learned. Ultimately hysterical she was "scared" but for herself only! Insecure, Jealous !

        When her Living-Will-attorney told her that after I saved her life, rescued her house and a big lump of money left after her deceased husband, who had no Living Will but only his First wife with children - he never divorced her! Why did not she add my name to title or accounts I filled with huge money?

        She is my Failure not because she grabbed everything. When you treat this develish person with kindless she bites you painfully in return showing who's the "boss". Kindness is an unknown sense for her She only knows how to grow her colossal Self Pity - her life is hell
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          Apr 7 2014: Wow Vera. That was an excellent lesson on self-pity and I'm glad and flattered you poured it out on me. You are one regular saint and should be declared as one! You even think like a master guru. My perception on self-pity was suddenly dashed to pieces lol.

          Anyway, I hope and expect you will get the good karma you richly deserve for the saintly treatment of your evil sister. Namaste.
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        Apr 8 2014: So grateful for your generous, kind words, Poch. I'm hurt right now because I have failed - my best "treatment" for bitterness and self-pity, by Generosity and Kindness, did not work this time. And I've tried for so long... It is very rare when it does not work. See - I'm not even a "regular" saint, but I'm learning. I can create my own Karma, turning ugliness into some good compost and good soil for growing graceful things. When I was 5 I saw beautiful, sweet little flowers in our old forgotten courtyard.
        I was wondering how in the world they can create their fragile beauty, from that scary dirt underground? I think that was my best lesson.

        Namaste.. Thank you:)
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          Apr 8 2014: If you failed, it does not count or matter. Motive is all that matters.

          'When I was 5 I saw beautiful, sweet little flowers in our old forgotten courtyard.
          I was wondering how in the world they can create their fragile beauty, from that scary dirt underground?...'
          Do you see that you're already a profound philosopher at 5!? Your best lesson indeed!
  • Mar 23 2014: Hey there Greg, great topic sir. About 10 years ago I struggled with anxiety and depression for reasons I wont get into here. It wasnt too long before self pity became a part of it as well. There came a point, I can see it clearly now as though it was yesterday, that I realized how much time and energy I was wasting on things I couldn't control. I started practicing the habit of not following my thoughts down the spiral. What Yubal and Amy said below struck home for me because meditating allowed me to step back and observe these feelings instead of getting lost in them. These days anxiety, depression, and self pity blow past me like a breeze. What also helps is reminding myself of people that I've known that had every reason to feel sorry for themselves but didn't. Thinking of them helps me put things in perspective and gives me strength. I try to honor them by not wasting time feeling sorry for myself.
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      Mar 28 2014: when you did feel self-pity, did you get any pleasure out of it? I sometimes find self-pity rather pleasurable, but it doesn't feel like a healthy kind of pleasure. But one thing I like about self-pity is for just a few minutes I let myself feel weak, instead of being strong all the time, chin up, etc.

      But I don't think you'd want to feel self-pity a great deal. What were the things you couldn't control that you realized you were wasting time on?
      • Mar 28 2014: No sir it wasnt a pleasing feeling for me, it was tied pretty closely to my depression and axiety. I was in a pretty dark place for a while there. Not really comfortable talking about what I was dealing with here in a public place but what I was wasting my time on was the anxiety, depression, and self pity. At my darkest point it came decision time, whether I wanted to stick around or not. I decided that I couldnt put my family through my suicide. At that point I made a commitment to outlive my mother and grandmother (after which I would renegotiate this contract with myself). It became very clear to me that I wouldn't be able to do that living the way I was. I had to start making healthier choices and had to pull my head above water. For me the easiest way to do this was to stop focusing on myself. I made a choice to live physically healthy enough to enable myself to help others in any way I could. I started practising the habit of stopping myself from following my depressive and anxious thoughts. Meditation was a huge help. Simply focusing on my breath. You cant stop thoughts but you can stop following them down the spiral. Those were the first steps to here. These days when I at all feel anxious or down I remember that its a choice and let it go. Bad shit happens, thats life. But I don't have to react to it with depression and anxiety, there are other choices. It may sound trite, but brother it could always be worse, whatever is going on will pass. I used to tell myself "this is just a memory waiting to happen". I realized that I would live through it, any suffering I was enduring would pass. I've rambled enough here brother, always good talking with you sir.
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          Mar 29 2014: I KNEW we had a connection Jacob!
          I'm sorry you went to that dark place to discover that anxiety, depression and self pity use a lot of energy that we can often use more productively. If we learn something though, I do not perceive it to be a waste of time. It is a learning opportunity, which you seem to recognize.

          I'm glad you decided to stick around Jacob, because you have a lot to offer! About 40 years ago, I also considered ending my life. My marriage didn't seem very good, and since the marriage and kids were my priority and focus at the time, it felt like I was failing in that endeavor. I was also diagnosed with a disease that supposedly is progressively disabling. I was only 30 years of age at the time, and I thought/felt.....this is not what I planned for my life.....poor me! I really could NOT end my life because of the kids....I couldn't leave them with that, and could not put other people who loved me through that either.

          At that point, I made a commitment to live.....really live with gusto! I made a commitment to myself to face life's challenges with an open heart and mind in an effort to learn, grow and evolve as an individual while contributing to the whole.

          Very wise of you Jacob...."You cant stop thoughts but you can stop following them down the spiral", and I agree....that is the first step to get out of the self pity, depressed state. I wholeheartedly is a choice. UNLESS there is something like a chemical imbalance, or clinical depression....then people may need a little extra help with the process.

          Also wise to realize...."it could always be worse"! When I was recovering from a near fatal head/brain injury after which I was not expected to live, I read a LOT of stories about people who faced incredible challenges. Reading about those situations minimized my own challenge....if they can do that.....I certainly can put my best effort into MY challenges....what we focus on expands:>)

          I LOVE it...."just a memory waiting to happen"!
  • Mar 14 2014: I work, live through it. Like I work through pain, sorrow, failure, success.
  • Mar 14 2014: I hate self-pity. I absolutely despise it. However, living without self-pity, I'm prone to self-hatred, which is also not good. In my experience, self-hatred leads to self-harm. So I recommend to pity yourself every once in a while. It's probably better for you.
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      Apr 7 2014: what was your experience where self-hatred led to self-harm?
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    Apr 7 2014: oh, the joy of wallowing in self-pity ^_^

    It has a strange comforting feeling sometimes (melancholic). Though I don't think it's something to dwell upon too long.

    Although I never really considered this topic before... it is quite interesting
    On Google scholar, there aren't many articles or decent studies. I hope it will be researched soon (Might be interesting for a TED talk)

    -edit- it seems to have relations with masochism and depression --

    - edit: seems an interesting read: -
  • Apr 4 2014: If you don't notice self-pity in others , most likely you don't have your own, and vice versa.
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    Mar 31 2014: Interesting question,
    I should have a full understanding of self-pity, but I don’t.

    It is strange I have never felt self-pity for getting MS, and fail to understand why so many other MSers get stuck in the “WHY ME!” phase.
    For a long time I consider myself a recovering-victim of US public education, now those scars have mainly healed and I consider myself to be a wise-autodidactic.
    But I struggle everyday with frustration and anger over my sub-pair earning/wage level, and all the tricks I normally use to move past these feelings have only strengthen them. Logic tells me that I should be happy because it could be a lot worse and I’m still living a good life, but logic also tell my others in my profession and skill level earn twice as much. Normally I find a work-around, fix or change to a new path, but with my MS my options are limited and my employer is openly hostile to employees who seek a proper wage. I could go on and on, But that is enough about me.

    Looking at the description of Self-Pity:
    Self-pity is the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor competence to cope with it.

    I’m thinking there are different levels of self-pity, would you say is it far to group those you can’t accept with those you can accept, have the confidence and skill but simple lack the opportunity.
    I would call a rich-kid not getting over a lost girl/boyfriend self-pity, but a parent in a war refugee camp feeling sorry for not being able to feed his/her family is something other than self-pity.
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      Apr 2 2014: what do you do for a living, Don?
  • Mar 31 2014: If someone keeps telling people over and over about some tragedy or trauma that happened years ago in their life would that be self-pity or a desperate cry for attention.

    If that same person also makes up stories about what they have done and makes outrageous claims what would that be called?

    I could give you an example but apparently TED didn't like it when I did that and removed my comment but I think you all read it and get the picture.

    I think self -pity for many people is not about feeling bad about their circumstances and is just a lame cry for attention that grows from lack of self esteem.

    Your thoughts?
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      Apr 2 2014: Well, I think it would depend if the discussion of tragedy was relevant to the conversation at hand? Usually my perception is that it is. I don't know, Argos, when I feel self-pity I generally don't voice it, I keep it to myself. Do you meet people who publicly declare their self-pity, well, I guess we've seen it a little on this conversation, as far as I can see the people who mentioned specific issues do have difficult problems to deal with?
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    Mar 29 2014: So, treat yourself as you treat other people,?
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    Mar 29 2014: A synonym for self pity is retirement.
    Most every retiree (me too) are kicking themselves for not investing in the company in Rochester NY that made a machine that copied documents. And then some years later, those scruffy college dropouts from Seattle. What about spending all the money moving cross country to take a job with Enron. And getting caught with that floozy, the wife took the mine and left me with the shaft.
    When we are employed, we are focused on our jobs and pass opportunities, make bad decisions, do stupid things.
    That is the nature of the
    Now it is not all bad. Sometimes, and it seems almost accidental, we make the right choices and we are successful.
    Some people have more success then failures. Some people win the lottery.
    Most people at the end of their life can at best, hope they broke even, Most are usually wrong.
    Is that self pity?
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        Mar 30 2014: Absolutely!!
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          Mar 31 2014: Mike, In reply to your question above ... yep I was joking as I explained to others.

          Often people just get way to serious and ask dumb questions that I just have to answer in a equally silly way .... the devil made me do it .... I hope no one really feels like that.

          See Ya. Bob.
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          Mar 31 2014: Robert,
          Regarding your joke....I wish to clarify my response, which was..." I do not "know" when you are using "tongue in cheek jokes" or when you are being serious.....for what it's worth....... ".

          I usually pretty strongly suspect when you are joking, because I know you a little bit from our long participation on TED. When you got the response from Chaney, it reminded me that we are participating on an international forum in which English is not the first language for many people, and in a public forum, where we are missing body language, eye contact and maybe speak different languages, understanding tongue in cheek or joking comments is sometimes challenging. I'm not saying it's good/bad/right/wrong/etc.......I'm just saying it's sometimes difficult to understand for some folks, and that's what motivated my response....for what it's worth.....the devil made me do it....LOL!I
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        Mar 31 2014: Bob,

        I am guilty too! There are respondents that go a tad overboard in discussing what I feel are subjects too obvious or too outrageous. Like you, I have this character flaw. But, we are old and age allows us to say what we say.
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          Mar 31 2014: I feel the same way sometimes Mike and I think age may have something to do with it, although I don't feel that age allows me to say whatever I want.

          It feels like some of the topics go round and round forever, and perhaps as older people we have already pondered and gone round and round with some of these questions throughout our lives?

          Some of the questions that seem repetitious for me do we find to find passion.....etc. The information about how to create contentment in one's life has been passed down by gurus, sages, psychologists, prophets and teachers for a very long time, and people are still searching for a life of contentment.

          So, thinking about the idea that we humans are sometimes not "getting it" after a couple thousand years, what surprises me that we are still talking about it??? That seems to put things in perspective for me, and I can be a little more patient....for what it's worth:>)
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          Mar 31 2014: Mike and Colleen, Age, experience, and just having been there done that ... There are many things that bother me ... one is that we disregard history and part of that history is those of us who have so much to offer are pushed aside so easy ... As Colleen said these subjects are entered over and over ...

          We have some young people who have joined and make sense ... are respectful ... and I like, disagree with me or not. Some others not so much.

          TED has rules about no fake names ... no foul language ... etc .... Yet a reply was received to my question on welfare at marijuna shops and strip clubs stating "No. What a stupid fucking question" signed John Doe.

          We had a child molester from Nevada who claimed to be from Idaho .. who claimed to be many things from college professor to other things ... He had at least five sign in names ... his real name was LaVar Alexander ... he was here to promote his agenda and fight with everone.

          My point is that if TED enforced their own rules much of this would stop. You can not get rid of all of the bad apples ... but they could get rid of the cowards who hide behind fake names and take cheap shots ... I currently have a stalker called Argos Xavier .. who sounds a lot like LaVar Alexander ... argo in the urban dictionary means "go f***k yourself". This person is playing games against TED and winning.

          The good far outweigh the bad in TED and I do enjoy the banter of the good people.

          I am also guilty of baiting some of the easy far lefties ... HEEEEEE HEEEE I know that is bad but they make it so easy .... My bad.

          Thanks for the reply. Be well. Bob.
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        Mar 31 2014: Colleen,
        We ( I am including Bob without his permission) stand roundly chastised. And we appreciate your sensitivity in this matter. We are also aware that you have not become crusty as we in our advancing years. I mean this not as an excuse for our behavior as it is an explanation.
        However, in my defense ( I leave Bob out) I did post in my TED description that I was a curmudgeon...

        Seriously, I see that many still are ":not getting it" That has confounded me for years. I have believed happiness is an internal process. I read Thomas Aquinas on his treatise concerning the deadly sin of envy. Religious aspects aside, people I know who express envious comments about the wealth of others or their appearance, their social status. whatever... seem never to be happy.
        I remember in a discussion with an atheist about God, I told him he should believe in God because when things go bad, he'd have someone to blame. Things seem always to go bad for him. Wealthy people didn't want him to have money, the government was in his business, etc. I am sure you have heard all the stories.
        I believe that envy is the root of much discontentment. If I am correct, how do you convince people not to be envious? Another problem is what I call the "Chicken Little" syndrome. Every challenge to mankind is "the end of us all" There are challenges, some on a global scale. I believe with careful analysis, efficient reactions and solutions, mankind is capable of meeting most challenges.
        The exception is the San Andreas fault opens up like the fault that opened 250 million years ago and cause that extinction... or the volcanos under Yellowstone go off all at once... then we are all toast.
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          Mar 31 2014: Well aren't we just a little Mr Sunshine spreading doom and gloom ... LOL.

          Mike you can speak for me and include me all you want ... I trust you and your replies speak for themselves.

          Now if I want to go quickly I can move to Cal or Wyoming .... Tough decision.

          But if I stay here I will have ocean front property ... surfs up .. just practicing.

          Thanks for the reply. Be well. Bob.
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          Apr 9 2014: Thanks Mike and Bob...
          My intent was not to chastise, but rather to share my perspective and reason for the comment. Hey.....wait a minute.....I can be "crusty" too.....don't leave me out!!! LOL

          You to convince people to NOT be envious?
          I think people hold onto a belief and practice as long as it serves them in some way. Being envious is a it not? I observe lots of people believing that they do not have enough, and that is where the feeling of envy comes from?

          Yes indeed, Mike IS "Mr. Sunshine".....with a twist!!!

          There is no reply option to your other comment Robert.....
          I agree that TED does not consistently, effectively use the terms of use agreement, which they ask all of us to accept when we comment here. I also agree that if they DID use it consistently and effectively, it would facilitate more productive conversation.
  • Mar 29 2014: You would need to define self-pity?

    "Self-pity is the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor competence to cope with it."

    Acceptance is the key word and people will make up their own reality to explain a failure or situation. Some will conclude that they are just a failure and accept that they fail. While others will conclude it was someone elses fault or the situation was rigged or maybe it was Karma.

    Mature people will see that some things are out of our control and those things that are in our control can be modified in some way for more success the next time around.

    I rarely feel self-pity because I have proven to myself that I can overcome or accept any situation that has come my way and the few times I did feel self-pity was short lived because I am the master of my own destiny.
  • Mar 24 2014: Self-pity is an indulgence in the instinct to cry for mother's milk to get compassion from other people.
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      Mar 28 2014: so when you feel self-pity, would it be smart to go to others and talk about what you are pitying yourself about and really try to get some compassion?
      • Mar 28 2014: The smart thing to do would be to realise that human beings are compelled by nature to indulge.
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          Mar 28 2014: well, it sounds rodrigo like you're criticizing a lot of the things humans lend their energy to. What would you conceive as a healthy human life? and healthy human activities?
      • Mar 28 2014: Healthy indulgencies: walking, jogging, shopping, cooking, eating out, cinema, reading, TEDing, philosophising.
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          Mar 28 2014: well, where is it that humans are getting bored? Because they're usually doing some of these activities, aren't they?
      • Mar 28 2014: I've changed my tune today. It's not "it is boring at the top of the food chain" anymore. It's "human beings are compelled by nature to indulge" now. Because that is my latest best explanation of The Holocaust, The Mona Lisa and self-pity.
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          Mar 29 2014: well, I hope you'll explain that more, Rodrigo. "Compelled by nature"? Nature as in trees, rocks, animals?
      • Mar 29 2014: Human nature compels us to indulge. Aimlessly rubbing two sticks together seems to be a useful mutation that has stuck around in our genes. Human nature compels us to aimlessly rub two sticks together.
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      Mar 29 2014: To a certain extent I agree with you Rodrigo, that self-pity may sometimes be a cry for help....a cry for compassion from other people.

      Unfortunately, when some folks are experiencing self-pity, they tend to be more solitary, and NOT interact with other people. Do you think/feel that sometimes self pity can be a cry for compassion in our "self"?
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    Mar 24 2014: My, my,my. I think we've arrived at a verbal double standard ( at least that's what I call it) when people-in general- look at the same concept in positive and negative views, and are unaware of this. Here compassion is seen as a positive trait, self-pity is negatively viewed more or less. What I believe that the two have in common is the idea that one should be logical in an emotional way to understand their current situation.
    On the other hand, some might say that compassion is on a social interractional level while self-pity is the individual's issue. But they seem to me practically identical.
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    Mar 24 2014: My, my,my. I think we've arrived at a verbal double standard ( at least that's what I call it) when people-in general- look at the same concept in positive and negative views, and are unaware of this. Here compassion is seen as a positive trait, self-pity is negatively viewed more or less. What I believe that the two have in common is the idea that one should be logical in an emotional way to understand their current situation.
    On the other hand, some might say that compassion is on a social interractional level while self-pity is the individual's issue. But they seem to me practically identical.
    • Mar 24 2014: "A crucial difference between (pity and compassion) is that compassion involves far greater commitment for substantial help. Compassion involves willingness to become personally involved, while pity usually does not. Pity is more spectator-like than compassion; we can pity people while maintaining a safe emotional distance from them. While pity involves the belief in the inferiority of the object, compassion assumes equality in common humanity."Aaron Ben-Zeév, Ph.D
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        Mar 30 2014: this sounds really true. I wonder how it works for self-pity, does self-pity involve keeping a distance from yourself?

        Jake, you seem very smart. Is it true you're working as a carpenter? Is that fulfilling? Possibly you should return to school and add some more intellectual pursuits?
        • Mar 30 2014: Maybe self pity involves distancing yourself from the responsibilty of improving whatever part of your life your are unhappy with, whereas compassion for yourself would be an act of acknowledging your unhappiness and seeking to remedy it.

          Hey man, thanks for the compliment, yessir I make custom and semi custom cabinets and furniture, nothing too fancy. I enjoy it, though it is still a job, which can take some of the fun out of it. I'm not a very structured thinker and struggled in school. I've taken a few community college courses since high school and tried devry about 13 years ago (damn, time flies!). I really enjoyed the psychology class, we had no papers to write, we only had case studies to read and then we would sit in a big circle and discuss them. Heaven on earth for me brother, deep topics with differing viewpoints from people from all walks of life, quite a bit like TED conversations! I have no ambitions that require degrees though. The only thing I miss by not going to school is the lack of interaction which is what brought me here these last few months. Textbooks are easy enough to get, differing viewpoints and constructive discussions are PURE GOLD.
        • Mar 30 2014: "Possibly you should return to school and add some more intellectual pursuits?"

          What makes you think carpentry is not intellectual?

          Carpenters use higher math and engineering skills coupled with a high level of creativity and hands on skill. They have to know chemistry, math, engineering, and also apply those skills everyday.
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        Mar 30 2014: Well, I occasionally feel self-pity that I've done so poorly at romance. At age 54, I've barely even had a girlfriend. But there's a kind of "secret" superiority in it, like "I'm so great, and all those women missed out on me." When you were going through self-pity, Jake, can you identify some feelings of "superiority" somewhere there in the mix?

        To me you seem like a very structured thinker. If you had had to write papers in the psychology class, would that have changed it so you wouldn't have enjoyed it, or would you still have enjoyed it?
        • Mar 30 2014: No sir, I don't guess so. It was more feeling sorry for myself because of the situation/circumstances/state of being I found myself in, which was caused by my own choices. There was more self loathing involved than any feelings of superiority, that and a lot of anger (we've discussed my struggles with anger before) that I directed at myself and everyone I came into contact with.

          Sorry to hear that you're feeling lonesome. You may be able to find companionship without looking for romantic relationships, though. Find away to get iinvolved in your community and help others. You and I have also discussed my aversion to groups of people but when I go Saturdays to work at the habitat for humanity, I am able to be around strangers but not focus on that uneasiness, I am busy working and doing something constructive. Its good medicine sir. There's a sense of community but I don't get overwhelmed because I'm focused on the task in front of me.

          I'm a damn mess brother ha ha. This forum is helpful to me because I can think about what I want to say before and as I type. I think I might have enjoyed that class less I don't know though. Our text was (40 Case studies that changed psychology) very interesting so it might have held my attention, but memorization for the sake of tests was always dull for me and the concepts never really sunk in. It was thinking and rethinking about ideas and concepts that I loved. Man I would leave that class scratching my head EVERY TIME. The problem was that I had very little interest in computers and was struggling with almost every other class. I had a critical thinking class that was good too, but it didn't seem to grab me as much as the psychology class.
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        Mar 30 2014: I agree Jacob....doing something constructive often takes our mind off self pity, and I think the sense of community.....everybody working toward the same goals is helpful as well.

        In my humble perception, based on your comments, I do not agree that you are a "mess". It seems like you are a very insightful young man. I was never very good in a classroom setting either, and I do much better with hands on learning.....learning from experience:>)
        • Mar 30 2014: Thank you very much Colleen, I appreciate that. By the way couldn't reply to you response yesterday, but I wanted to say that I'm glad we both made the decisions we did and followed the paths that brought us here, to have these conversations. A pleasure as always.
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        Apr 7 2014: yeah, I still wonder if someone calling themselves a "damn mess" who probably isn't so awful might have some desire for superiority in it. Because we all have a pretty good idea that compared to a lot of people in this world, Jacob, you're not a damn mess at all, for example, compared to Charles Manson.
        • Apr 7 2014: Just a self assesment sir! I can function in society, but I struggle sometimes. If you could see the inside of my mind you'd understand what I mean by mess, though in comparison with manson, yes, I'm doing just fine! I don't consider myself awful and don't feel sorry for myself about the state of my mind, I just recognize the "malfunctions" for what they are.
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      Mar 29 2014: Hello again Thaddea, and good observations on your part! I agree that a common thread is the idea that one can be logical in an emotional way to understand their current situation. In an attempt to clarify, I often go to accepted definitions...

      Compassion -"the feeling of empathy for others…an emotion that we feel in response to the suffering of others that motivates a desire to help…often regarded as having an emotional aspect to it…etymology of "compassion" is Latin, meaning "co-suffering." More involved than simple empathy, compassion commonly gives rise to an active desire to alleviate another's suffering...often…the key component in what manifests in the social context as altruism…In ethical terms, the expressions...of the so-called Golden Rule often embodies by implication the principle of compassion: Do to others what you would have them do to you...English noun compassion, meaning to love together with, comes from Latin…related in origin, form and meaning to the English noun patient (= one who suffers)"

      Self pity- " the psychological state of mind of an individual in perceived adverse situations who has not accepted the situation and does not have the confidence nor competence to cope with it. It is characterized by a person's belief that he or she is the victim of unfortunate circumstances or events and is therefore deserving of condolence. Self-pity is generally regarded as a negative emotion in that it does not generally help deal with adverse situations. However, in a social context, it may result in either the offering of sympathy or advice. Self-pity may be considered normal, and in certain circumstances healthy, so long as it is transitory and leads to either acceptance or a determination to change the situation…”

      Based on definitions, I believe we can have compassion for our self, and self pity apparently describes an inability to accept and cope with circumstances? What do you think?
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        Mar 29 2014: Yet the definitions themselves say " other people"and " the individual". So I disagree " compassion on ourselves", from a defined view.
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          Mar 29 2014: Good point Thaddea!
          The definition of compassion also says....the principle of compassion is to do to others what you would have them do to you....from root words which mean love who suffers.

          Self pity is defined as perceived adverse situations not accepted by a person, because of lack of confidence or competence to cope with it....characterized by a person's belief that s/he is the victim of unfortunate circumstances...therefore deserving of condolence.

          I believe that if we have compassion for ourselves (do unto our self as we do unto others), we can accept and move through situations because compassion offers support, confidence and a belief in competence to cope. With these elements, we can move through self pity.

          That is how I see compassion and self pity connected....what do you think?
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    Mar 17 2014: On the one hand, it's better not to get into self-pity because self-pity obstructs positive thinking, enthusiasm, courage to initiate new things, .....etc. But, as anyone can get into it sometime, it's important to deal it in the right manner.

    1. Not to let it taking the control on your mind too long and too deep.

    2. Not to get depressed by it and not to be afraid of it. Instead, observe it and investigate it as thoroughly as possible. In other words to detach yourself from your self-pity and observe it like an object of inquiry. This is true actually with any bad feeling one goes through. As one's inquiry and understandings deepen (not necessarily at one time but on repeating similar occasions), the self-pity starts losing its grip on one's mind and then it can become even enjoyable to observe it. It's simply because by observing it one can learn a lot about himself, even about some darker corners of one's mind without getting terrified by them and by the self-pity itself.
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      Mar 23 2014: so have you felt much self-pity in your life, Yubal? What age did you first start feeling it?
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    Mar 15 2014: I feel self pity; I dont judge it as good or bad. I've accepted my humanity, so I am not so shocked by my own perceptions.

    It is a feeling, like so many things we feel. Feelings are like the weather. Imagine this: A boss ask a staff, "We've not seen you at work for two days, what the hell is wrong with you?", and the reply, "I just dont feel like coming to work".
    How many marriages have crumbled because someone doesn't feel like he/she use to feel?
    As a filmmaker, sometimes I dont feel like waking up to meet the call time. When I started my career I would 'fall in love' (feeling of love) with someone anytime I go to a film shoot.

    Self pity is a feeling; like all feelings they shouldn't run our life. They are like the opinions of our senses, we dont have to take them as some holy grail.
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      Mar 23 2014: not quite sure on this one, feyisayo, you don't try to steer towards pleasant feelings that are "good"?
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        Mar 24 2014: I try to steer towards good feelings. But I dont allow bad feelings to control me. I do what needs to be done.
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    Mar 13 2014: Hi Greg,
    I have a short little "pity party" every once in awhile, and it's kind of a playful thing for me.....poor me.....woe is me.....why me.....bla....bla....bla.....I do it with myself or with friends, and it's mostly for entertainment purposes because in my perception, it serves no other useful purpose.
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      Mar 23 2014: sometimes my self-pity goes like "I wish I were dead," but then I tell myself stop that Greg, don't wish for it or you might just get it, life's short enough anyway. But I suppose by the time you get old enough and sick enough you might genuinely wish for death and not be able to fight off the feeling when my dad was dying of lung cancer i think toward the end he felt death would be a relief.

      By the way, colleen, I was thinking about a chat you and I were having about front porches and some of the photos I've seen of you and your friends and house, but did I ever see one taken on your front porch? That might be quite a warm, happy photo?
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        Mar 29 2014: Hi Greg!
        That is the kind of self-pity that can be devastating if it lasts...."I wish I were dead". As you probably know, self pity can become a downward spiral and lead to depression. It is good that you can bring yourself out of the self pity with a different idea. Change our thinking, we sometimes change our feelings, which can sometimes change our life experience. What we focus on expands.

        I haven't witnessed a lot of people experiencing self pity at the time of death....most people seem ready to leave when they get to that point in their life. I observed the same thing with my two brothers who died last year.....they were ready to die because they felt it would be a relief from the physical pain they were experiencing.

        Oh Greg....funny you mention the front IS a warm and happy place, and I'm anticipating the opportunity to use the front porch in awhile! It is still cold and snowy here now. In fact, they're predicting another freezing rain/snow storm later today and through the night, so we'll have another layer of snow for awhile....probably no front porch sitting for at least another month!
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          Mar 30 2014: thanks here, Colleen, you started with a lighthearted comment and then I got rather gloomy on you, sorry, but you gave me some excellent ideas back. Staying gloomy, I suppose there would be a lot of self-pity in a suicide? Do you think suicide should be legal or illegal, I've heard that some places it's illegal, but then you might think that people should have control over whether they live?

          Sorry I brought up the front porch, maybe it just says home to me, like on Andy Griffith where Andy and Barney would sit on the front porch. But truthfully, if I had a front porch, I'd probably never sit there, I actually don't like to just sit.
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        Mar 31 2014: No worry Greg:>)

        You write...."I suppose there would be a lot of self-pity in a suicide?"

        Yes....I think you're right, based on what I felt when contemplating ending my life 40 years ago. Life was not going as planned....marriage was not good.....I was diagnosed with a disease that usually gets progressively worse and becomes disabling....this was not my vision of what life would be like. Poor me....woe is me.....why me???

        Obviously, I decided NOT to end my life and I began to holistically support life. I decided that if I was going to live, I was going to live with gusto! I became more mindfully aware....more open to the idea that life is an exploration, and I was determined to learn and grow with the exploration. I started to "accentuate the positive and eliminate the negative"...I actually sang that song quite a lot during that time:>) I changed the "why me" to "why NOT me"?

        That seed (life is an exploration), was already planted by my mom, and with anything in the life adventure, we can learn more on deeper and deeper levels, so that is what I proceeded to do, and am still doing:>)

        Do I think suicide should be legal or illegal?
        I think that if a person decides to end his/her life, it doesn't matter if it is legal or illegal....they will find a way. I think the legality of suicide doesn't matter, and the government does not have a right to make someone live if that is not what the person chooses.

        I like talking about the front porch, and I LOVE being out there.....soon it will soon as it stops snowing up here in the north country! I am very rarely just sitting on the porch....usually reading, talking with friends who stop in (everybody seems to love the front porch), eating meals, playing with the plants, etc. It is a place that is always shady and cooler, so I pop onto the porch every once in awhile if it gets too hot in the feels like a sanctuary:>)
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          Apr 7 2014: I'm not sure, colleen, I keep intending to look up the law in california and see if suicide is illegal. Sometimes the law can give us great guidance.

          Obviously you decided not to end your life,'re not you? But possibly you weren't so serious, colleen, because i heard that the average suicide makes 200 attempts before they succeed?

          You could play guitar on the porch? Do you still play? I've always lived in apartments, thus didn't have a porch.
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        Apr 9 2014: Right Greg.....obviously I decided not to end my attempts made.....I pondered it long and extensively, and made the choice to stay here on this earth school for awhile longer:>)

        I gave my guitars away years ago. Sorry you haven't had a porch.....I LOVE it!!!
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      Mar 23 2014: colleen, would you be willing to weigh in on a point with Thaddea below, which is, what is the difference between feeling self-pity, and feeling compassionate toward yourself, or is there a difference?
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        Mar 29 2014: Oh my goodness wrote this 5 days ago....sorry it took me so long to respond! I'll look at Thaddea's comment.....thanks for the invitation and opportunity:>)
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    Mar 12 2014: It mainly becomes active when I am having a bad day, and get too wrapped up in my own problems. So to me self-pity is sometimes linked with selfishness.
    Not that self-pity is always bad, like when someone is too hard on themselves someone else might think that they need to have more self-pity.
    *just what I think*
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      Mar 23 2014: would it be have self-pity for yourself, or compassion and mercy for yourself? What is the difference between self-pity and being compassionate toward yourself?
  • Mar 12 2014: Self-pity is a symptom of boredom. It is boring at the top of the food chain.
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      Mar 12 2014: Have you truly found no interest that captivates you? I ask this only because you frequently express boredom.
      • Mar 12 2014: I'm not bored, I am trying to make you aware that self-pity is a symptom of boredom. Because it is boring at the top of the food chain. I am trying to make you aware that most problems stem from that.
      • Mar 12 2014: I was bored until I discovered TED and kept on seeing opportunities to say "it is boring at the top of the food chain." They will kick me out because zealotry is against the terms. Sniff, poor little me.
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          Mar 12 2014: I don't think saying the same thing repeatedly is against the terms of use unless it is spam, like directing people repeatedly to your own business or blog.

          I am glad you are not truly bored.
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          Mar 13 2014: Poor little you Rodrigo! LOL!

          I've noticed that you have expanded your mantra at times, in some conversations. I have confidence that you are moving through your boredom! :>)
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        Mar 23 2014: Fritzie, would you be willing to weigh in on a point with Thaddea above, which is, what is the difference between feeling self-pity, and feeling compassionate toward yourself, or is there a difference?
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          Mar 23 2014: I do not see the two are the same at all. Self pity to me is related to believing that in some respects life is short-changing you. Feeling compassionate toward yourself is, for example, recognizing that we all make mistakes.
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      Mar 23 2014: and what leads to boredom, or where would we think we are seeing boredom? If we see lions who sit around a lot of the time, would we think they are bored? Would we think they feel self-pity?
      • Mar 23 2014: Overwhelming amounts of calories. The amount of calories that we intake compared to the relatively few burnt to acquire them leads to an overwhelming amount left over. Lions and house cats indulge in resting. The human mind and body allows us to indulge in much more: war, compassion, art, Anthropogenic Global Warming, The Holocaust, genocide, science, self-pity, self-indulgence, comfort-eating, staring at a TV, The Olympic Games, sexploration, sport, trophy hunting, fishing, substance abuse, comedy, drama, talking, writing - and getting inside the mind of a house cat that seems to sleep all day and night. All these things burn calories for the sake of burning calories. They are symptoms of boredom.
  • Mar 12 2014: Hi Dear greg,I think self-pity has been going in my whole life more or less.It is one kind of natural sensitive feeling comes automatically at first.Someday I was aware of it isn't wise to keep it,So I active more to recognize it,be positive to face it to get balance in my body.
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      Mar 23 2014: and how do you active more?
  • Mar 12 2014: Self pity plays a central role in my life. I don't like it but that is how I feel. Having said that, I've seen people who have a better life than me who exhibit much greater self pity than I. I have also seen people who are in worse circumstances not exhibit self pity at all. How can someone tell if someones self pity is warranted?
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      Mar 13 2014: Hi Craig,
      In my humble perception and experience, a feeling in our self is warranted if we feel at the time that it is warranted. To discover that in my self, I often ask the does this serve me or anybody else?

      If you don't like it, as you say, why do you choose to feel that way? How is it serving you?
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      Mar 23 2014: i appreciate your honesty. What topics does your self-pity revolve around?
      • Mar 24 2014: Usually money, my place in society, and past ill treatment from others.
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      Mar 28 2014: how can someone tell if someone's self-pity is warranted? Great question, do you have any thoughts?

      I do somewhat believe the old saw "If you have your health, you have everything." Since you don't mention any health concerns, craig, I would slightly think your other topics of self-pity might be somewhat unwarranted?
      • Mar 30 2014: I would disagree with that. I do not believe that someone with good health is unwarranted in expressing self pity. I would rather be ill and happy than healthy and unhappy.

        For the most part I feel self pity because society lifts my expectations but rarely delivers.
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          Mar 30 2014: I also disagree Craig, and as I stated in another comment..." a feeling in our self is warranted if we feel at the time that it is warranted."

          Good health is one element that may lead to more happiness/contentment and it is not the only element.

          These are some questions that I might ask myself.... are expectations reasonable in your perception? Are you depending on "society" to lift your expectations and "deliver" something to you? Is there any way you can feel differently about your situations? Perhaps having compassion for/with yourself?
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        Mar 30 2014: Greg,
        What purpose is served by telling someone that their feelings of self pity are "unwarranted"? That is a it not? Do we really know what is going on in the mind and heart of another person? Is it beneficial to make that judgment?
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    Apr 10 2014: Greg, A couple questions.....what was the "difficulty" with wearing glasses? Did they fall off? Just last month my mother had laser eye surgery. She is now free of glasses. Second question is you say you "shifted to living on milk" Since there is absolutely no science that has shown milk to be related to eye health, what provoked you to shift to living on milk, instead of some other food? Was it that milk was your favorite thing? You say your eyes hurt. Is the pain now gone? If so, you can work, right.? If not, the milk is not working, true? You can't have it both ways - saying the milk works but you can't work when you work very hard on the computer from dawn till dusk. You also claimed to be doing this for five years, but then just told me that you mentioned it to your doctor 10 years ago. I think you may be missing some memory nutrients.

    My own limitations are the six weeks following each surgery, (about twice a year) where I need to keep in a very clean environment and stay away from any kind of crowd, especially kids to avoid infection. I never go to a movie or concert as someone may be sick and I am autoimmune. Another limitation is that I need to use a misting machine six times per day to keep the scar tissue soft and use a suction machine about 8-10 times per day as I am unable to blow my nose since I have no air flow control. This also interferes with my sleep since I am forced to breathe through my mouth only, if I close my mouth during sleep, I awaken gasping for air.

    And finally my appearance is rather unusual. My replaced nose looks like a replaced nose. I have significant scaring and disfigurement which is not something that an employer usually wants to represent their company. As wrong as that sounds, that's just the way it goes. I have two or three more surgeries to go to remove the scar tissue that is restricting my airflow. Six weeks after that surgery I intend to be working in a closed office for safety, but I always bring in money.
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      Apr 10 2014: well, I wonder, Amy, how much effort do you think it is to write a book? To me it seems like a lot of effort, but I could be wrong. I was just thinking if you, or anyone, went to that effort, they might want to feel that they are going to get a commensurate amount of money for their efforts. In fact, they might need to feel that way, because the time you devote to writing a book is time you could devote to doing other things that make money and most of us need money.

      no, no, i'm not looking for someone to set me up here with a wife and cattle. That was just if I had moved to Kenya, it would have been a big change and Kimeli was willing to help by integrating me into his village.

      Yes, you're right, there have been a number of diets, and most have failed. I believe my diet is better than any of those others, but I can certainly tell you i have told quite a few people about it, and most have not been interested to try it. The only fellow I can recall getting interested was a counselor I talked to on the phone, here in L.A. we have community help lines where you can call and talk for 10 or 15 minutes to someone about any issue, and they'll just listen. I was telling my listener about this diet, and he got very excited and said he was going to try it. But I did not get any followup with him as to whether he tried it and how it worked for him. I would imagine that if anyone were drawn to the diet, it would generally be people with strong health issues and hence strong motivation. But of course I don't even know yet if it would help with other people's strong health issues, I have an idea that it would but it is unproven. One thing I am fairly sure of is it would help most people reduce and control their weight, I am about six one and today weighed at 169. When you reduce and control your weight lots of things get better.
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          Apr 10 2014: yeah, for people who feel okay, whether overweight or not, they might not be so motivated to follow my diet, amy. I would imagine where people would see the conspicuous benefits would be if there is something weak or diseased about their body, I really think milk is less irritating to a weak or diseased part than solid food. But so far this is only based on a sample of one, me. I hope as time goes by I will see some people trying it and will get feedback on whether it helps or not. If it turns out that I'm wrong and it's not significantly better than a solid-food diet, then you're right, there would be no reason for folks to follow it.

          One thing I have noticed is that with milk I never feel deprived. If I were to eat three healthy meals a day of solid food, I believe I would feel deprived in between meal times, hungry, anxious for the next meal. Whereas I never feel that with milk. That's something I don't understand, I do believe milk gets to the cells quicker and in that sense reduces hunger, but if it gets to the cells quicker it ought to get used up quicker, too. If any thoughts come to you as to why living on skim milk is less depriving-feeling, please share.

          What do you mean by "preparing a manuscript"? Do you mean you don't know how to write a book, or do you mean you don't know what "official" form to put it in after you've written it? If you were interested, you could probably find some writer's group of people who are trying to break into writing, you all might help each other and share tips with each other. Or there are probably books in the library or for sale about how a first time writer gets an agent (I have heard that it is very important to have an agent.)

          So are you a Buddhist? Do you go to Buddhist services? Maybe you could write a crime novel that revolves around a Buddhist temple. Buddhism means you believe in past and future lives?
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      Apr 10 2014: I do have the impression that the diet is a little bit all-or-nothing, amy, the studies you were reading probably only talked about people who included milk as one element of their diet. For me, at least, when I do that I don't see many benefits. It's when I literally live on skim milk and cream that the major benefits come in.

      Well, as I've said, for me it is not boring, I have drunk thousands of gallons of milk, and I find it as delicious today as I did five years ago. I feel as though I have to follow this diet, if I eat solid food I feel worse (believe me, it's no fantasy), but it's no sacrifice, in fact it's immensely pleasurable. But I understand that other foods are tempting. Well, my thing now is to simply get the word out that it's probably a good option for people, and then they can do what they will. A few might follow it, maybe noone will follow it, maybe a bunch of people will follow it, maybe some will follow it rigorously, some may follow it but occasionally "fall off the wagon."
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          Apr 10 2014: well, I just thought it might be a good idea if you were somewhat trapped at home and felt somewhat physically weak, as writing is not so physically taxing. But do you feel physically weak, Amy, perhaps that's my wrong assumption.

          have you ever shown your writing to someone else and let them read it, it's possible you're being too hard on yourself? Maybe you're better than you think? Do you actually enjoy writing crime fiction, or is it all work and no play? Maybe if someone else read it they might think it's not good enough as it is but might have suggestions for how to improve it.

          really when I mentioned writing a book I was thinking more nonfiction. Part of this is probably my own prejudice, since I almost never read fiction but prefer nonfiction. Part of it was just a gut feeling that nonfiction might be your métier. Where were you born, Amy? How did you grow up? Have I asked if you yourself played music? How did your son get interested in music?

          Ultimately you know best whether writing would work for you. You do feel to me to have a lot of drive, which is particularly useful for an author because there is no one standing over you to make you write. Have you ever actually had some of your writing published, how did you happen to start the crime novel?

          Well, I do remember talking on a national radio show to host Doug McIntyre, and he said for him on a hot day there's nothing nicer than a glass of cold milk. So there is some appreciation for it. I'm not 100% sure how it would affect me with a female, I haven't even gotten to the point where the subject came up. Some might accept it, for others it might be a dealbreaker?
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          Apr 10 2014: well, the sequence was like this: I was living a typical American life, eating a typical American diet. I needed eyeglasses but there were some difficulties with wearing them. But if I didn't wear eyeglasses, on this typical American diet, my eyes hurt. However, when I shifted to living on milk, I could go without eyeglasses and my eyes didn't hurt. It was as clear as crystal that milk was easier on my eyes than solid food, there was no question of what I was used to or not used to, in fact I was quite used to a solid-food diet and yet my eyes did not feel as good on it as on the milk diet. If I return to solid food now, my eyes hurt again, but it does not feel like it's because I'm not used to it, it's something in the nature of solid food where solid food is simply more irritating than milk. It would be hard for you, or anyone, Amy, to really grasp this unless they had tried it, and even then I'm not 100% sure it would affect them the way it affected me, although I think it would.

          Several of my doctors have known about it. The first one I told was a psychologist I was seeing, well, actually there have been times prior to five years ago that I was living on milk, I probably told her ten years ago, she said it was "excellent nutrition." My prior primary care physician I told, and she said "if it works for the patient, it's fine." It's hard for her to argue when she's looking at a perfect physical where I'm normal range on every single test. Ditto my current PCP, she's never actually said her opinion but when she's going over my physical with me she's all smiles, she's shaking my hand three or four times. I asked her if she would share the diet with other of her patients, she said "I can't exactly advocate it to them, but I can tell them I have this patient named Greg who's had a lot of success with living on milk."
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          Apr 10 2014: I don't know if I'm far from healthy, Amy. I'm quite satisfied with the contribution I'm making, at times I am a really large help to my mom, and I think I'm doing excellent by pushing my diet. At some point or other I hope to also have animals and produce milk, but I don't have a clear picture of how that will go. The Maasai are not into producing milk for sale, they are into self-sufficiency and producing only for themselves and their family, but in America is it hard to live like that? To pay the bills must you be selling something? I, or I and my wife, can have a simple house and some goats, but how do we pay for electricity and heat if we aren't selling some milk and getting cash? Questions that might be answered as life unfolds? Have you ever felt like you might enjoy living self-sufficiently, something like a pioneer, little house on the prairie, it would have its charms? But having electric lights and a gas heater is awfully nice too.
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      Apr 10 2014: well, TED's motto is "Ideas worth spreading," but I do think TED conversations opens up to simply investigating life? I mean even this conversation amy is more a question, an investigation, than an assertive idea. I would certainly think asking people how they clean is as important, or more important, than asking what role self-pity plays in their life. I do think asking a question can lead to an idea worth spreading because you learn more about a subject, plus you simply have a reason to think about the subject.

      Well, in Maasai the women literally do milk the cows I've read. Maasai live rather simply, in the morning the men take the cows out to the plains to graze. They watch over them with a spear. Should a lion attack the herd, the man is required to defend against the lion with the spear, considered a tremendous act of bravery. At night the men bring the cows home. Possibly they are tired so it falls to the women to milk the cows? Although women might be tired from their day as well. But aside from literally milking the cows I believe it would be helpful to have a partner in keeping cows. But I can't yet articulate why. The best I can say, Amy, when I think of how Americans keep cattle is to ask if I were single and had some cows and had to go away for a while for some reason who watches the cows to make sure they're okay. There a wife would be good. And also it's quite complicated to keep cows so that it's good to have someone to talk about the problems with, two heads are better than one as they say. But I don't think these are the only reasons a man needs a wife to help in keeping cows.

      Yeah, if I were willing to move it might be easy to work on a dairy. As I say, I like staying in Glendale because my family is here. When I first got interested in dairy I moved to a city called Ontario, California, about fifty miles east of Los Angeles and Glendale. There were thousands of cows out there, it was where all the milk in..............
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      Apr 10 2014: Los Angeles County came from. I tried for three years to get a milker job, on weekends I would walk from farm to farm asking for work whilst I worked other jobs during the week. I never got a job as the farmers wanted dudes who had grown up on a farm and already knew what to do. But I thoroughly enjoyed trying, I enjoyed watching the operations of the farms as I walked. But I'm sure with time I would get one, but like I say I wish to stay in Glendale (a typical suburb) now. What I think about is how I could dairy in Glendale, although farming is illegal perhaps I could get a waiver from the city council to keep a goat or two. But that becomes a bit complicated because due to my eye complexities driving is complicated, and I would probably need to drive somewhere to purchase the goat and bring it back. I'm sure I'll solve it.

      The cleaning convo included personal cleanliness such as showering. Now how often do you shower? I go once a day, but I've read that the average person does it once a week, which I found quite surprising.

      How actually did your son get interested in hearing? My brother programs computers for disabled people. He says that studies show that a person who loses their hearing actually loses more social connection than a blind person. (Among others, brother programs for Stephen Hawking.)
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          Apr 10 2014: when i first got interested i did want to move to kenya & join the tribe. i contacted the kenyan embassy in dc and they connected me to a young maasai studying in oregon named kimeli naiyomah. He loved my dream and was going to set me up in his village back in kenya with a wife and cattle. Then my health diminished so the dream left. Which isn't so bad because america is a damn fine place and you can live with maasai values here, too.

          As it ended up, I helped Kimeli get into Stanford by connecting him to one of my old professors who had moved into admissions. At that time he wanted to be an M.D. and got a biology degree, but I see his interests have shifted and he is working in conflict resolution.

          Kimeli is also associated with a good children's book. When 9/11 happened, Kimeli convinced his elders to give 14 cows to America to help us feel a little better. A children's book author heard about it and wrote a book about it with input from kimeli. If you ever need a gift for a child, it is a gorgeous book, the title is 14 Cows for America.

          Well, I admire anyone who tries to help with physical afflictions. I would imagine there's something in it for your son, too, apart from feeling good helping others I would think it's very interesting to learn about the sense of hearing and the mechanics of helping it. If you're feeling it, although it doesn't seem that you are, mention my diet to him, I generally think the diet could help with many afflictions. As I say, I have tinnintus (ringing) in my left ear that gets worse when I eat solid food and improves when I live on milk. It's rather sad, I never had this tinnitus until I was anesthetized for hernia surgery, I really believe anesthesia damaged my eyes and my ear.
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          Apr 10 2014: as far as not leading an impressive life, amy, a book doesn't necessarily have as its primary goal to impress, does it, it can do lots of things, inform, entertain, touch. Now I'm not saying you would have a New York Times bestseller, so if you're really money-oriented maybe it's not worth the effort it would take. Just giving you an option.
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      Apr 9 2014: oh you're definitely right, amy, no, it's not the inconvenience, it's more that I worry my eyes won't be up to having to work on someone else's call. With my mom, it's lower pressure, if I want to go lie down and rest my eyes, I can. Well, I have some drive, now I put my drive behind trying to get this diet tested (I know, you think they won't do it, but I think they will.) It has been an extremely interesting process, I do have a degree from Stanford but it is in English, so I have had to educate myself as to who the various players are in medical research and then communicate with them. Last night I attempted to get on Dennis Miller's talk show to talk about the diet (remember Dennis from Saturday Night Live, now he's a national radio talk show host.) But when I called I didn't get a live screener, I got an answering machine (a new one on me), so I left a message. I've also been attempting to get on Rush Limbaugh, but so far that guy's line is always busy. Obviously these guys aren't medical scientists, it's just that while I try to get scientists to research it, I also try to inform the general public that this diet is available to them.

      One thing that makes it hard for me to get my milk business going is my lack of a wife. The Maasai say "a man needs a wife to milk his cows," and that feels right to me, that it's hard for a single man to get into milk business, does that seem right to you, Amy, can you say why?

      Beautiful that you are working. Making Easter baskets, does that mean you are a Christian?

      Well, I had thought of the guitar having a special sealed chamber for fluids so you wouldn't ruin it. You're right, milk would sour unless you refrigerated the chamber. Maybe water then. Or maybe some band could just have a percussionist who drums on milk containers with milk, it strikes me as being kind of hillbilly, like those guys who would blow into jugs?
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      Apr 9 2014: are you saying if you hadn't become ill your son wouldn't have gotten the doctorate? I listened to three samples of his songs, does he sing or only play guitar?
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          Apr 9 2014: excellent, amy. Would you call yourself a risk-taker? Actually, that first paragraph sounds a little like a book idea.

          well, I'm an atheist and growing up hated all religions, but now see beauty in them all.

          I'm afraid the ziplocs would leak. But I appreciate the thinking. You know, even if someone never literally loads a guitar with fluid, I think people might enjoy hearing the idea just because it's fun to look at familiar stuff in a new way?

          Well, everyone potentially has a singing voice. I mean, how worse can you sound than Bob Dylan, and yet he's Grammy and all. Course maybe your son just doesn't enjoy singing. As an audience I would say I kind of need a singer, instrumental alone isn't sufficient. Maybe he could find a partner?

          Yeah, growing up I played keyboards, but I don't play much these days, although I like to watch music videos on YouTube. Once a somewhat famous musician, Exene Cervenka from the group X, fell in love with me, but I'm afraid it didn't turn into a full-fledged relationship.

          Nuts, I just got a rejection notice on a conversation submission to TED conversations. The convo was "What is your cleaning routine?" I think that would be quite interesting for example to see if people in China clean the same way Americans do?
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      Apr 9 2014: oh no, I really appreciate my dad's sharing that with me, I believe in it and practice it as best I can within what I consider my limitations. Working is a little complex for me because now what interests me the most is producing my own milk, but I live in a suburb where farming is illegal. But I wish to stay here because my mother and sister live here, my brother lives one city over.

      What is your experience of Dr. Oz, he has a television show, right? I have called in to several radio talk shows, both local shows and national ones, and talked about the diet and my experience with it. Some of the hosts like it and some don't. But Dr. Oz is a bona fide medical doctor, right, so if he would like it, it seems conceivable that NIH would like it?

      Yeah, what happened is that I was wearing eyeglasses and, like many people, I was changing prescriptions once a year. My optometrist had made me my yearly new prescription, and, though I believe it was the right prescription, it strained my eyes to wear it. To deal with the eyestrain, I was putting in dry eye drops although I did not have dry eye, as the drops also have a generally soothing effect. I could handle the inconvenience, but it just did not seem healthy to be putting in the drops every three hours every day for the next 365 days, plus I was afraid they would cease to work. And yet on a typical American diet I really needed glasses, my eyes bothered me without them. However, on this all-milk diet I found I could go without glasses or drops, and my eyes felt tolerable if not perfect. So, I've just stuck with it. Yeah, I tend to think that the milk diet is the closest I can get to working, even if I'm not working full-time at a typical job.
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      Apr 9 2014: Well, if you do get back to the mainstream working world, what sort of work will you seek? Don't give up on the book idea too easily, I would think it could be there if you can find the right light to put your life in? Now did you get much schooling yourself growing up, Amy? Your son went farther in school than you?, did you have anything to do with that?
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      Apr 8 2014: well, personally i think gangsters suck, but i just thought if you had any experience with them that could be a hook to hang a book on. Of course, Amy, your whole medical saga has a lot of interest, but I would expect that kind of story has been the subject of a lot of books, so an author would still have to find something original. I don't know, maybe reread your journal for ideas, or tell your family and friends you're thinking of writing a book and see where the conversation goes? Actually, you can write a children's book about anything, you could write one about the profession of waitressing so kids can learn what it entails and see if it might be a good occupation.

      How exactly does one make brisket, it's a piece of meat that one just basically cooks?

      Yeah, it sounds good to me to get the nutrients from food, although I can't articulate exactly why, can you? No, if you had asked me 20 years ago if I would want to live on one food, I would have said it was boring, but the last five years have been delightful. Milk also inspires my creativity, have you seen my convo in the ideas section about how drinking my milk from two one-gallon jugs, one to my left on the table, and the other to the right, got me interested in ambidexterity? I've submitted another convo to TED, it's about how I used to drum on empty milk containers for fun, then I started drumming on ones with milk in them and I liked the sound, it was different from the empty ones, and I was thinking maybe traditional instruments like drums and guitar could be filled with fluid for a different sound. No, I'm afraid I class vegetables with other solid food, they bother my eyes the same as meat, bread, etc.

      Yeah, TED convos is generally fun, it's funny though I've recommended it to friends who I thought would enjoy it but they didn't check it out. Well, a lot of life is chemistry, eh?
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        Apr 8 2014: Greg, I must say that neither the milk diet, nor TED is right for everyone. During my son's time at Grad School, he would watch a TED talk as a condensed form of entertainment, as there was no time for a movie or TV. When he saw something that he thought would interest me, he would share it with me and I was hooked. Early on I only watched the talks and then read what others were talking about. But with one of my first conversation comments, I met someone with whom I have been e mailing almost daily for the past year. About 7 or 8 hundred letters back and forth and we have yet to meet as she lives in Holland. It's an amazing friendship and started with a TED comment. And then there are the people that you just see commenting and you know that they will say something inspiring or motivating and you keep an eye out for them. I think it can be just what you make of it. But you kind of need a bit of time to really join in or start a conversation.

        I did notice your other talk going on and I am a lefty myself and can do almost nothing with my right hand. I do think that the milk container music might just be a sign of boredom. Speaking of boredom, a brisket just sits in the oven wrapped up tightly with foil and whatever seasoning you choose and cooks all by itself - no work at all. I have used my grandmothers recipe for the last 25 years.

        How about cheese? Do you do cheese? It comes from milk. And it has various textures and flavors with none of the additives of other foods, and it can be very soft or melty. It's just hard to believe that you only live on milk, and claim to be healthy, but don't feel well enough to work. Your typing and communication skills are excellent so is there something you can do with that to make a buck and keep busy? How do you live? Your eyes also seem quite good as I see no typos, unless you are using one of those voice readers. There is something just a little funny about this milk thing. I don't get it.
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          Apr 9 2014: Actually, Amy, I got the idea from the Maasai tribe of Kenya. Are you familiar with the Maasai? They are famous for living only on the products of their cows, milk and beef. So if one were living Maasai and got tired of milk, he or she could eat beef. However, the Maasai do have a saying, "If a man eats beef and drinks milk on the same day, he is a glutton." Hence for me, each day I have to choose whether I will drink milk or eat beef, I just always choose milk as it has been so positive for me. I respect the typical American diet, which is more varied than the Maasai one, but to me the Maasai diet is actually more pleasant and healthy even though it has fewer things.

          Well, when I write with my left hand, my "bad" hand, the writing is shaky, but readable. I would mostly use it with notes I am taking for my own use. But I would think with practice it will get better, and I would think the same for you.

          Well, doesn't it seem like anything one does one at least slightly does out of boredom? But I am serious about the idea of, say, filling a guitar with some fluid, possibly milk, for a different sound. Doesn't the sound of fluid have a relaxing effect on people, we like the sound of fluid because it reminds us of the pleasure of drinking, bathing, etc.?

          Well, I do do some paid work for my mom, Amy. And I really am putting in some time and effort to publicizing this diet and trying to get it tested, which I consider a service to humanity. But part of the difficulty with working is I can't choose when and how I do it, for example with my mom I get more choice as to when and how I do it, if I feel okay I can do it, if I don't I don't have to. It's not like that with a job.
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          Apr 9 2014: I can't explain all the reasons the diet works, I just know it does. It might be hard for a person to understand until they actually try it, I know I wouldn't have understood until I actually did it. I slightly hesitate to recommend that anyone try it because it hasn't been approved by the medical establishment, and yet, as I say, I haven't seen anything but good from it, and I don't think I'm too different from anyone else.
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      Apr 8 2014: yes, that is why I went to it and why I stay on it, Amy. If I eat even a little solid food, my eyes start to hurt. When I return to milk they feel good again. And actually, when I drink other fluids besides milk, I have discomfort, too. I guess there's just something about milk. Yes, I have some videos on youtube about it, I have been emailing with two offices of the federal Health and Human Services Department about it, one is rather a famous office called National Institutes of Health in Besthesda, Maryland. So far I haven't been able to get it approved or tested, their objection is that the diet is low in or lacks certain recommended nutrients, my comeback is that while I acknowledge the low nutrients, I have been living on the diet for five years and have never seen any harm from the low nutrients, but only benefits from the good properties. When I hear about any disease, such as your anemia, I do wonder if my diet would help it, perhaps someone will test it.

      Hmm, you have a lowkey manner, I wouldn't have guessed you were that accomplished. When you say you owned a business, do you mean just you, or your husband and you? It's hard to head a business, isn't it, where did you get the drive to be the boss? What is your son's doctorate in?

      I wonder if you could, for example, write a book about your saga? That might have some advantages as you could work at home. You might have to find a "hook," a reason that the average person would be interested.
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          Apr 8 2014: Hmmm. Yes, I also have tinnitus in my left ear, which I find gets worse when I eat solid food, and gets better when I return to my milk diet. So I tend to think the diet would help, at least somewhat, with hearing.

          Well, the nutritionists I've read aren't that keen on supplementing, they like to see people get their nutrients from their actual food. In my case, I don't even see a need to supplement, because I do fine without it. My weight is great (165 pounds at six feet, one inch), on my last blood tests I tested in the normal range on every test.

          It feels like because of my eyes I can't work full-time, although I do some paid work for my mother. With this diet, Amy, my eyes do better than with any other therapy I've tried, but it still feels like working full-time would be too much. I was working, and then I had general anesthesia for a hernia repair, and it seems like "going under" the anesthesia weakened my eyes, I haven't been the same since. I somewhat consider the effort I put into talking about this diet a kind of volunteer "work."

          I don't know, lots of people clean carpets and paint but don't get tumors. Do you think that really did contribute significantly?

          Well, I tend to think everyone has a book in them, but one has to find that "hook." Do you keep a journal, maybe keeping one would stimulate new thinking about your life that would reveal the "hook." Really, I hope you rejoin the working world, too, Amy, I was just thinking if you do continue to be somewhat housebound, a book might be a way to work at home. What about a children's book? Yes, I've eaten at Denny's a few times. Was it in New Jersey? Now is New Jersey tough with all those gangsters and everything? If so, maybe they ate at your Denny's?

          How are you off-base? Because we're not talking about self-pity? I don't know if TED would agree with me, but if we had to stick like iron to the original topic, these convos wouldn't be much fun, would they?
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      Apr 8 2014: very good. Now, Amy, did you have a tumor in your face, or what? Did this suddenly just start growing one day? So it has somewhat incapacitated you, but yet at times you have the strength to take a senior to lunch, a movie, or cards?
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          Apr 8 2014: well, sorry that all happened to you. Do they know why you developed them whereas almost nobody does, right, it's very rare that I hear about a tumor in the head. How would your life have been different if you had had perfect health, would you have been a housewife taking care of the house, would you have gone out and gotten a job, what sort of job would you have gotten?

          I myself have struggled somewhat with eye discomfort, it's also somewhat of a saga. What ultimately helped me is shifting to an extreme diet, for the last five years I've lived almost entirely on skim milk and cream, every day I drink between one and two gallons of cow skim milk, plus some cow cream here and there, and I hardly eat or drink anything else. It seems to me that skim milk is much easier on my system, and my eyes, than solid food. I don't know all the reasons it works. One thing I think is that when one chews and digests solid food, although it does break up, I think it never breaks up as thoroughly as milk, and hence when it enters the bloodstream to travel around to the cells and nourish them (that's how food reaches the different parts of the body, the blood takes it there), I believe the solid food clogs and irritates the cells more than the milk. At least that's how it feels in my body. I tend to think this diet would help many people would many different diseases and I am trying to interest the medical establishment in testing it.

          Well, thanks for the lunch connection. I'll keep it in mind if I ever get to Clementon.
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    Apr 7 2014: Self-pity makes us feel weak. I cannot stand this feeling. I learned how to get rid of it immediately, thinking about my important for me work to which I am so devoted inspires me, takes me above all problems.

    Some people love to demostrate that they are victimized, wanting attention, and even hoping for a "free ride" when it is possible.
  • Apr 3 2014: hi greg,why all my somments been missing when I login with my registered nickname?it reminded me:new TED website message.I really don't feel pleased about New TED website,how to deal with it?Thank you.
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      Apr 3 2014: i don't know, e. Maybe you should write to TED at I know that if you go to the new website, there is an option, I can't remember if it's at the top or bottom, to go to the old website. What were your comments that are missing? Were they on this conversation or others, or both?
    • Apr 3 2014: I had similar trouble. When I posted comments to talks on the new TED they wouldn't "stick". I found that if you go to old TED and post comments, they would show up on both. I never had that problem here in the conversations though. Good luck!
  • Mar 31 2014: What is it with people saying they are long term members and pointing out that other members are new?

    Since when does being a long term member of TED in some way make your opinions any more relevant or intelligent?

    Sorry for the off-topic post but I see this being done in several threads as if these long term members somehow feel entitled and trying to control the conversations.
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      Apr 2 2014: I haven't seen that, I've only seen long-time members welcoming new people to TED, which I think is kind of warm and friendly, but you don't like it, Argos?
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    Mar 24 2014: Greg,
    I mean do something practical to rise above the situation, but the reflective things allow me to understand why I am feeling a particular way. It's an integration of thought so I don't get caught up in the feeling.

    Many people blame the past for their current situation, like some African Americans blaming slavery for why they didn't excel. That's getting caught up in the feeling. Some recognize that because of slavery, they were born in the most powerful country in the world with unlimited opportunity to excel. They see the silver lining and do something about their current condition. They look for opportunity rather than excuses.
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    Mar 20 2014: I think self-pity is natural, just another way in which we try to process and comprehend what our emotions mean. Self-pity can be quite rewarding if you allow it to be a way in which you reevaluate your priorities and the choices you've made in your life but it can also be detrimental if you allow it to overwhelm you with harmful thoughts. It can be a way in which you try and understand yourself better. But, like most things, if done in excess it will hurt you more than it will benefit you.
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      Mar 23 2014: but how much self-pity is natural, like what percentage of your time should a person be feeling it?