The Personalization Of Self-Imposed Suffering

Do all used cars under 1000 make the weird sounds as my neighbor’s car? Is my kid the only 18-year-0ld to talk all the time about his cool letters for facebook? Is the grass always greener on the other side?┬áTo answer these questions, I will take my own case as a Brazilian man living on wintery Japan as an illustration.

It is snowing outside.

For the first time in my 30 years of life I was coming back from a very productive night at a club with several enjoyable interactions with women, and I saw snow. The cold was bad enough, but seeing snow falling down in little chilly flakes that chilled all bones in my body made me take this whole winter thing personally. After all, there is no way people could survive like this! It had to be personal. Maybe I had done something wrong in my early years to deserve being treated this bad by the weather. Do you hate me, God!?

In short, as much as this sounds ridiculous, all human little worries about their little life situation can be reduced to the same underlying operation.

This operation can be called personalizing, and is very effective and very widespread. The thing is that personalizing an event as if it was about yourself seems to alleviate the suffering one would feel if it had to just accept reality. In that sense, personalizing an external event is very effective and has been used since tribes had a god that was using thunder and rain to punish them for… whatever. Maybe they had forgotten to sacrifice a virgin. Maybe the rain just had to rain anyways.

Your neighbor’s car might sound loud, but pretty much everyone has a neighbor, and most neighbors are not perfectly silent. Most 18-year-olds have strange habits, regardless of them being your kid or not. All grass has its own color, regardless of where you put the fence.

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