The benefits & dangers of rules based on ideals.

I have written this to examine both the negative & positive aspects of holding yourself to an uncompromising personal ideology. Is it smart in today’s society to live inside of a bounding box created by a personal code or should we leave our morality to be flexible, able to adapt to the circumstances confronting us.

Firstly I would like to discuss my personal standing on the issue so not to come across as judging of others. I began creating solid rules during my teenage years that have remained with me *almost completely unbroken. Perhaps it was from growing up with a deep appreciation of martial arts that I developed a sense of honor & felt there was importance in living by a personal code. What more serious code is there than the warrior code of the samurai – Bushido. Any deviation from Bushido & the warrior would have to commit Seppuku, or ritual suicide. Seppuku involves painfully disemboweling yourself whilst kneeling before a friend of yours who would then precisely remove your head in a fashion that it was still attached to the suprasternal notch, falling in such a way that it appeared that you were embracing your own severed head. These are the people I grew up idolizing. No wonder I am fucked up!

Now that we have my personal viewpoint out of the way let’s take an objective look at the subject together. First I would like to start with what I see as the positives of this lifestyle choice.

I wrote in one of my previous articles (Everything is not amazing) that in order for us to be truly happy as human beings we need to be working towards our goals & personal ideals. But what if you don’t have ideals to live by? I think there is a deep sense of satisfaction if, at the metaphorical end of the day you can say “I lived the way I wanted too”. By holding ourselves to higher standards we allow ourselves the ability to derive additional happiness from the choices that we make. Can we truly have inner peace without knowing that we lived a life true to the individual?

The strongest reason for making your own rules in my opinion is that without rules based on ideologies to keep you in line, what safeguards do we have to stop us from making the wrong decision or potentially causing yourself more harm? We are not always in the best headspace to make good life choices, or to listen to the opinion of someone with a better view of the situation. An “ideal” can be based on logical thoughts & experiences, not just emotion or intuition. How many people have been in relationships where they say “I will never make that mistake again”. Of those people, how many relapse & find themselves in the exact same position. I will relate this point to a personal choice.

I made a decision as a young adult that no matter what the circumstance I would never go back with a partner if we had decided to separate. I had witnessed too many relationships in which there would be a separation, a quick reconciliation before all the drama re-ignited at which point the cycle would begin again. On top of this, if the relationship had ended then how could you be right for each other? As I have grown in maturity I have began to understand that things are very rarely this black & white. Nevertheless, despite feeling every fiber of my body screaming for me to go back to someone, I have never reneged on that rule I set when I was a teenage boy. Was it the correct thing to do? In my opinion yes. Love really does cloud judgement.

Something I would consider to be a negative is the lack of flexibility available. If you are genuinely serious about sticking to a self imposed rule-set then your options are rigid and black or white, which is always a dangerous thing. A key to survival is the ability to adapt. Taking away choices constricts your ability to change. What if the right option isn’t the one you select because you wanted to maintain your integrity? Was there a chance that people I have loved truly were the ones for me & we just needed to try to work out it? It is certainly a question that I have asked myself numerous times. It seems that living blinded by ideals can lead to missed opportunities.

The above point can lead to the very opposite of that sense of satisfaction I spoke about earlier. If we are unhappy about the choices that we have made, or opportunities missed then this will lead us down a path of regret. Knowing that you were stubborn when you could have made a better decision is a quick shortcut to having a shitty time! Regret and dissatisfaction are things we want to keep out of our life as much as possible because they are poison for the mind & soul.

So, in today’s world is it necessary to form concrete boundaries or do we require a more adaptive approach in modern society?

If there is one piece of advice I can offer it is this: Nobody who is alive today knows more about living than any other individual does. Do not judge yourself negatively because you think you are not “normal”. We should take comfort in the fact that there is no right or wrong way to live your life, all we can do is try to be true to ourselves.

-Troy H

 * I made a quite serious pact with myself when I was 16 that I would never watch the notebook with a woman. Despite many attempts I maintained that for more than 7 years. I was charmed into watching the second half of the film with my last girlfriend. I am honestly so disappointed in myself that I ever broke one of my rules I take them that seriously. It has been a constant source of anxiety since it happened.

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What does it all mean? An introduction to twentytroy

This is a page that was born out of an idea for therapeutic release.

It was recently bought up to me that a good way to keep the world from imploding in on itself was to write down thoughts & feelings.

So with that I picked up a pen with the idea of formulating an essay for the first time since high school.

7 years is a long time to be out of the game, particularly when you were never that good at the game to begin with, but here goes nothing.

The Essay from my first night of writing can be found here: https://twentytroy.wordpress.com/2013/03/29/everything-is-not-amazing/

Guess what? I actually felt a little better after publishing that.

“Thanks Troy- I appreciate it. Glad you are feeling better. Just make sure to keep up with good activities even when you’re feeling good- like if writing made you feel better, keep doing it- the trap people (including me) always fall into is to stop ding the things which make them feel good, which is why they fall into feeling crap again…it takes a lot of practice.”

-With that warning, I suppose I better keep this thing running for a while!

-Troy H

Everything is not amazing.

In the last 12 month’s I have been opened up to a very popular viewpoint amongst society today. The basic principle of this argument I believe is best summed up by this meme of Louis C.K

 Why should depression & anxiety exist when this is the very best time to be alive? We have more technology & presumably the best living standards (in some parts of the world, anyway) so why don’t you wipe that fucking frown of your face!!

 Never mind the fact that this fantastic access to technology is forcing younger people to become much more mature at a much younger age. The internet is giving people access to more information at a faster rate than has ever been possible. But is this really the greatest thing for a positive state of mind? Are our fragile minds really ready for the absolute brutality of the real world?

 Here is an image from an article posted on Vice.com regarding the deaths of two Egyptian youths via vigilante justice from a rival town as punishment for unproven crimes. The youths, one of which was aged 17 were beaten & tortured for 4 hours before being hung from a building to die as seen in this image:

 I want to emphasise that this article is not a unicorn. It is never a long wait between new information on pedophilia in the church (the majority of articles regarding the church, for that matter) murder, government corruption, natural disaster, police brutality… You get the idea.

 So now that we have had a grand old time looking at the brutal reality of our world, does anybody feel like laughing anymore?

 Granted that the internet has brought with it a wealth of new tools to connect us with others & help pass the time. Let’s take a quick look at the two major players, Facebook & Twitter. Sorry Google+ but you really need to up your game.

Firstly, some benefits:

  • Its a fantastic way to keep in touch with people who, lets face it, we would have no interest in keeping up with if it took any effort.

  • It has incredible detective powers for monitoring your ex lovers movements.

  • My personal favourite. Bad at remembering birthdays? Facebook is here to make sure that you get your mother & siblings covered!!

Now, onto the negatives:

  • It has incredible detective powers for monitoring your ex lovers movements.

  • It is absolutely the largest (if I am a proper model for 20-somethings) time waster of this day and age.

  • Facebook for mobile & alcohol is a sure-fire recipe for disaster

 There are certainly things that could be added into both of those categories but the point I would like to make is in regards to something I think we can all agree on. In order to be truly happy we as human beings need to be working towards our inner passions & the ideals to which we hold ourselves. Just imagine the incredible amount of energy that we pour into these social applications without even taking into account silly Youtube videos & meaningless websites.

 How do I know the unproductivity of the internet black hole? Hell, it took me about 45 minutes to open up a word processor to start writing these words. Proudly, I have only checked facebook twice whilst typing. My point is we’re not exactly working on ourselves while we are riding the digital waves. Moving in a positive direction, setting life goals & making plans is not the primary objective whilst distracted by the constant glut of shiny plastic things to view on the internet. I don’t imagine there are too many people who come out of a 5 hour internet coma feeling like they have had a good productive day.

 Also, did I mention ex lovers & facebook?

 I don’t claim to hold any solutions to these problem. I’m not really sure that any exist or that we need them. Just give me a fucking break for not floating around with a stupid grin on my face. I have shit to worry about too.

 -Troy H