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Wellness Wednesday for May 17, 2023

The Wednesday Wellness threads are meant to encourage users to ask for and provide advice and motivation to improve their lives. It isn't intended as a 'containment thread' and any content which could go here could instead be posted in its own thread. You could post:

  • Requests for advice and / or encouragement. On basically any topic and for any scale of problem.

  • Updates to let us know how you are doing. This provides valuable feedback on past advice / encouragement and will hopefully make people feel a little more motivated to follow through. If you want to be reminded to post your update, see the post titled 'update reminders', below.

  • Advice. This can be in response to a request for advice or just something that you think could be generally useful for many people here.

  • Encouragement. Probably best directed at specific users, but if you feel like just encouraging people in general I don't think anyone is going to object. I don't think I really need to say this, but just to be clear; encouragement should have a generally positive tone and not shame people (if people feel that shame might be an effective tool for motivating people, please discuss this so we can form a group consensus on how to use it rather than just trying it).

Jump in the discussion.

No email address required.

I was an incredibly sad and lonely child. Loneliness was one of the earliest emotions I can recall experiencing. I didn't have any friends during my time at school, and the peers I associated with constantly harassed and humiliated me. These tormentors held significant social power as they dictated the school's culture and determined what was considered cool or uncool. Growing up, I never had any enjoyable experiences because I didn't have friends to share them with. I felt like a prisoner, spending most of my time at home on the computer, browsing the internet. I believed that my loneliness was a result of my unworthiness of love. How else could I explain having zero friends? I firmly believed in the existence of a social hierarchy and saw myself at the bottom of it. Additionally, I never had a romantic partner as my tormentors did. I believed that I didn't deserve it either. I somehow learned that sex was a reward granted to those who reached the top of the social hierarchy, so I used it as a measure of my social worth. There was always an indescribable weakness in me, a lack of confidence that I seemed to have learned from online interactions.

After turning 16, I attempted various things to improve my social presence and break free from my isolated bubble. I engaged in public speaking and acted out as an adolescent. Even though I admired those who smoked or drank because they possessed the level of charisma I desired, I abstained from such activities. This desire to be around people I admired led me into many toxic friendships. I was an inexperienced person trying to fit in with individuals who excelled in various aspects of life. I wanted to associate myself with them, but they soon recognized my lack of experience, especially because I was also a studious person, and they would then torment me for it. All of these experiences gradually instilled a profound sense of shame within me about who I was. Moreover, I have always struggled with sexual frustration and was too afraid to approach women. I believed, and still do, that there is a significant gap in socialization between men and women. I viewed women as existing on a different level of social understanding, which is precisely why they served as the measure of my interpersonal success. I was terrified of their judgment, which I knew to be extremely harsh. I feared them and didn't think I was ready for their company or worthy of their love. I also lacked good friends and constantly faced casual disrespect from those I grew close to. Throughout my life, my friends were exclusively male.

I perpetually pursued a sense of perfection, yearning to be attractive, confident, articulate, funny, and charming. Currently, I am pursuing a master's degree in a decent college with a prestigious brand name in my country (which is its only commendable aspect). Since I arrived here, I received an overwhelming amount of attention from women, something I had never experienced before. Even men started appreciating me, and I suddenly found myself being invited to socialize with other people. Women were even flirting with me in various ways. However, as embarrassing as it is to admit, I faltered under the pressure. I withdrew and chose to live an isolated life. I became asocial.

It feels like I've focused solely on attracting women's attention, without considering how to genuinely connect with them. I've had chances to start relationships, but I managed to ruin them all. There was this one instance where a girl was really into me, but as soon as I reciprocated her interest, she lost interest in me. I realized that showing interest was the reason she stopped caring for me. But this is something I've never learned before. It's all new to me.

I've become somewhat of a showpiece, something to be admired only from a distance.

Around 80% of the reason why people enter into relationships is because they're fun. They're meant to be enjoyable. But I don't know how to present myself as fun. I struggle to have fun myself. I've always been sad, moody, and miserable. When I have the opportunity to talk to women, I end up rambling about my insecurities, anxieties, and fears. What comes naturally to others, like effortless conversations, is an extremely intentional process for me. My entire social life feels like a performance.

That's precisely why I'm here. I need genuine mentoring. I want to acquire the skills to present myself as confident, masculine, dominant, and physically appealing. I'm exhausted from living in fear and feeling trapped in mediocrity. I understand that the population of this subreddit tends to lean toward the nerdy side, but I'm the type of person who requires things to be clearly explained to me. I genuinely want to learn as much as I can from all of you.

Have you tried picking up a physical hobby with social ties? Something like boxing, group workouts, sports, or dance is usually good. An important and underrated part of social prowess is physicality, a comfort in your own skin and in how you move. It’s not something that can be faked.

These groups also help you learn to be happier, if you can manage to express your emotions or learn to enjoy the experience.

You might also want to look into spiritual or religious traditions, many of them are focused on how to “be happy” in a sense.

I really liked using You Need A Budget but I can't really justify the cost nowadays, anyone have recommendations on a free budgeting app (or perhaps how to go about building your own using Excel?).

GnuCash is free.

I'd start with Excel, and if you see that you have needs beyond that, at least you will have more clear picture of what those needs are. My own experience about keeping track of the family finances for couple of decades have been:

  1. Doing a consistent effort and keeping track of things is much more important that the tool you're using. Unless you're so rich that you have complex investments and cash flows that can't be properly managed with a simple spreadsheet, then you'd probably just hire a professional. Actually, spending too much time on finding the exactly right tool might distract you from actually doing the budget. Budget on a napkin is better than a perfect tool and no budget.

  2. For all my needs over the years, with investments, stock options, house purchases and sales, education expenses, etc. - Excel have proven enough. I mean, it could be that a better too could do better, but I never felt like I can't keep my budget under control anymore because spreadsheets are the limiting factor.

  3. That said, online aggregator tools - like Mint, for example - allow you to keep a synchronized picture of your current accounts, and that's helpful. The downside is that most of these tools are owned by big corps now (like Intuit) and you are essentially allow them to know all your financial transactions. If that worries you, unfortunately I know of no tool that is free, independent and has smooth interface to a myriad of financial institutions around. I suspect it doesn't exist, because keeping track of all that wild variety with no standards and nobody caring about unified automatable client interfaces is a lot of expensive legwork, which must be paid for.

Got ADHD medication; therapists had said for a long time - since I was small - that I had it, but I was too chickenshit to get it and get a diagnosis and treatment. Now that I'm on a low dose of Adderall, I feel much calmer. Not euphoric - calmer, and more able to focus.

I still feel as if any prospects for a romantic relationship are more or less nonexistent and will involve some form of entirely-avoidable tragedy. I'm working on being able to cope with this in an honorable, manly way. A friend's giving me a fashion makeover, which is nice. Looks and the halo effect matters. This sort of thing...well. Let me say that I don't believe any of this shit is going to let me entirely dodge the ambulances that are coming for my partner, or the tragedy - but they are likely to lessen its effect. Soften the blow, maybe give any kids we have role models that allow them to escape some of the dysfunction they see. That is valuable.

My intuition was that it was better to be celibate for life than have a partner that was drinking or eating or drugging themselves to death. It may well be. That being said, there is something to be said for trying your best to make it work in a shitty situation rather than being is harder, and as such seems like it would build manly character and virtue. You aren't trying to make your life easier (like it would be if you were single), your goal is to make her life easier. Perhaps this is the wisdom that the unattractive gain through sex and relationships: the grapes look sour. You've seen scrawny foxes try and jump and eat the grapes, only to be spitting them out, or getting stomachaches, or shitting their guts out. Stronger and faster foxes have a good time. But the wisdom may come from the act of jumping and eating - never mind the sourness, you have duties as a man.

have you read Plato's Symposium? Particularly Aristophenes' speech, describing how humans are broken and love makes us whole?

Been trying out this KB Pentathlon thing. For time reasons, did a half-pentathlon with 16kg today which felt hard but manageable to put after my usual lifting:

Clean 60/60

Clean+Press 30/30

Jerk 56/60

Snatch 47/54

Push Press 60/60

503 points total

Jerk and Snatch are the hardest ones, I haven't done them before last week so my form is pretty awful. Snatch also gives me some lower back pain towards the end. Cleans and presses I've done before so they feel fine. Even the half gets me out of breath, though.

Weight is down from 90kg to 84.4kg over the past ~6 weeks. Not bad when I'm not counting calories or restricting myself from eating anything in particular. A little bit of strength lost on bench and OHP, but squat and deadlift feel great. Next week is probably going to be a deload because it's going to be really rough at work.

Super proud of you bro! Let me know how your progress goes if you keep up with the Pentathlon.

I would trade that much IQ to be at least normal in terms of conscientiousness. Having ADHD sucks and bottlenecks all else.

If you're like me, you spend a lot of time trying to talk yourself down from temptations. I think I've found a general method that has more or less solved the problem.

Instead of asking whether you can or can't do something (eg. eat cake), ask only if you can say yes to doing it, or give no answer at present. The problem with "yes or no" is that deciding 'no' implicitly begins a power struggle, where one has to enforce the answer rather than merely understand the issue.

"Yes or no answer" removes the difficulty and makes objective thinking easier, and while it doesn't always stop the problem, it tends to put one in a better position over time. My thoughts are much more accurate and powerful when I try this: instead of "but it's against the rules I set!" I think things like "the laws of health won't go away just because I want them to." You can always try the normal way afterwards.

Got my new prescription glasses today. Holy chromatic aberration Batman! The world looks like I have forgotten to switch off one of the bullshit postprocessing options in the settings, especially when I see someone wearing white in my peripheral vision.

And got my prescription sunglasses, too. I was kinda worried about having complex prescription lenses in a frame so curved, but they turned out great.

How would you go about paying for group therapy that isn’t covered by your insurance? Seems like using an HSA is a bit murky. It stings a bit having to pay $4k a year out of pocket.

What are some general tips folks have for traveling? Specifically to make it a disconnected, distinct experience from your classic trip. Not necessarily “google local tourist spots” but ways to view a trip and time in a foreign location.

Tinder/Bumble/whatever is popular in the area. You can practically never discover a place better than what a local can show you. You get to make interesting and distinct memories everywhere because you will be able to associate trips or cities with different persons.

Do you mean the physical act of traveling? That's one of the tradeoffs you make with airplanes: you get to the destination much faster, but time spent at the airports is wasted, as every airport is the same kind of purgatory.

I would sort the modes like this, from the fullest experience to the least full:

  • your own two feet, bicycle, rowboat/kayak, horse

  • motorbike, sailboat, motorboat

  • river ship, general aviation

  • car (not on interstates/Autobahn), sleeper train, ocean ship

Anything else is suboptimal if you want the journey to mean as much as the destination.

I'm not sure what you mean by "classic trip." I would assume your typical pop into the area, race around to the various touristy things in that area with little time at each, and then leave.

To get away from that, I try to set out some purpose for going somewhere, e.g., when I traveled to Japan I had prearranged an appointment to have handmade boots fitted and ordered. One way I set this time apart and sort of to "earn" this luxury was for me to bike to the shop which ended up being quite a ways from the city center. Due to the sheer amount of time to myself this took, it morphed into a kind of meditative journey. I've used this kind of pilgrimage in many places to set them apart from the typical business or tourist trip. I'm a big fan of cigars and drinks, so sometimes I'll make a long walk/hike/bike/motorcycle to a special shop or bar or scenery and sit for hours at a scenic spot smoking a favorite cigar and sipping a tallboy. My most memorable traveling experiences were the ones with hardships and I've really come to value them.

Another thing is to rough it a bit and stay at hostels or other cheaper places and talk to the young people scraping by traveling along. They always know the best local places to check out. Since I'm now in my early 30s, this may be weird now, but I'll probably still do it. Besides, it's nice to treat some of those younguns now that I'm not scraping by like they were once.

Has anybody here ever tried tai chi?

I can't quite get a handle on if it's a practice which could provide real benefits in terms of flexibility, coordination, etc., or if it's just a meme activity.

I find myself thinking about it mainly because I keep driving past a tai chi studio and I wonder what they get up to in there. I imagine it's not the optimized/minmaxed exercise mode for strength, cardio health, or anything else, but I'm tempted to go take a class or two anyway just to say I did, and to meet the kinds of people that do it. Curious to hear your experiences.

I finally graduated uni!

Farewell and passing out for the first time in my life

We had a farewell where all of us dressed up in formal clothes for a class photograph with some faculties which was then followed up with a short overnight trip to a resort which was a 2 hour drive from the city.

All of us began drinking and smoking in the bus itself, I was buzzed before we even arrived to the resort and all of us danced a bunch there. Later stripped down to my board shorts and spent close to 8 hours in or near the pool, ending the night with having vodka being poured in my mouth by my classmates followed by a heavy heavy dosage of herbs I cannot legally name. I passed out at 5 am on a bunch of chairs with my face down, waking up to find that my cheap smartphone would not start due to water damage, a serious injury to my left leg I sustained last night whilst running towards the pool, a missing water bottle and pair of glasses.

I fell because the pool was a 100 m walk from the dining hall with zero lights and a bunch of concrete slabs that you cannot see properly,fortunately I did not break anything, just a minor injury to my left toe. My face was barely recognizable, My eyes had more red than white, swelling had physically changed the shape of my face, I was hungover as fuck, unable to stay up, walk or do anything for two straight days. I still have some pain in my wrists because of alcohol lol even though this happened on Saturday.

I am happy uni ended, I hated my classmates, profs and everything about that place so am looking forward to continuing my sabbatical. So yeah, I quite literally finished an entire 4 year degree and documented mot of my life here like a public diary.

Super fun day, I will not drink again , alcohol is not good for someone like me who does not have the kinda skills and life I want to have but I get why people drink it.

The worst part of the night was no girls being there lol but I am used to that at this point staying in this town.Regardless, I will now rest for this entire week before I start my sabbatical again. Benders are fun, especially with friends around. You cannot do this stuff if you are old afterall.


This was the sucky part pre farewell where we had to present a thesis of what we did as undrergrads for 4 years under our advisors, everyone just copied code and showed that they did something, it felt like the teachers and students both knew that this is a charade yet we keep up with these things. This was tense, I was worried that my uni would fail me but thankfully that does not seem like the case for now.

The Future

My sabbatical will continue and I think I will take 6 months, ending it with an indiehackers like startup. I was doing it before my thesis but had to take time off due to the thesis bullshit. Following a steady routine, co working and doing what my mentor tells me to do is sorta what I will be doing. Meditation is a very underrated, so is physical culture for that matter. I have had Erectile Dysfunction issues because I would think of my oneitis whilst being intimate with some girls, that coupled with my sky high neuroticism led me to picking it up. I do not have anything bad going on physically with me, I have gotten myself tested extensively, just that my head is in a terrible place which causes these issues but I am sure it will be fixed before the year ends, for good. I should have good updates in a few months, see ya around!!!!

Congratulations! 👏