I was just going to stay away from this site and not say anything, but then I thought that maybe I should explain why this forum isn't for me. For the past few years I have been vacillating back and forth as to whether or not I should continue to participate in atheist activism and I've finally reached a decision: absolutely not.
Constantly talking about how religious people treat atheists keeps me in a state of anger that is not healthy for me. Other people may be able to address the issue and still conduct their lives in a positive frame of mind, but at this point I am not wise enough to do so. And judging by the nastiness of some atheist activists, I don't think they are wise enough to do so either. I'm finding more and more that I don't want to be associated with atheist activists or ardent theists. I don't like who I am when I am around such people, so I will avoid discussing these issues as much as possible. They will either agree to disagree or I will leave. It is as simple as that.
And it's not just the religious question. This is part of an overarching decision I have made about life in general and my own personality as a highly sensitive person. I can't live my life the way "normal" people do. For years I participated in religious and political forums, trying to give myself a thicker skin. It didn't work. I'm simply wired differently than 80-85% of the population. I can't change my sensitivity any more than I can change the color of my eyes, so I made a decision to avoid any kind of stimulus that is 1) unnecessary and/or 2) elicits over-stimulation or negative emotions. Almost all such stimuli concerns events over which I have very little or absolutely no control. Advertisements; Facebook; Twitter; the "news"; people behaving badly on Internet forums and comments sections--all of it is of little or no value to my actual life or the lives of people around me. People evolved to live in small family groups. Some of us don't do very well when pushed to operate beyond this small sphere of influence. What good am I to society if I'm constantly at the point of having a nervous breakdown due to sensory overload?
I'm sure all of you have heard Gandhi's admonishment to be the change you want to see in the world. Well, I finally get what that means for me. In order to be of any good to anyone, I must gain a balance currently lacking in my life. Now that I've removed most of the unnecessary negativity, I am much happier. I am learning to forgive myself and others. People tell me I'm different, more easygoing and approachable. I've gained valuable insights while on medical marijuana and during meditation. My blind spots are slowly disappearing and I am finally growing in wisdom. I have a long way to go, but for the first time in decades I am experiencing joy and happiness on an intermittent basis.
At some point in this journey, I may revisit important issues that affect others' quality of life, but for now I must focus on my own quality of life. I've heard people say it a million times: You have to love yourself before you can love others. After a session with weed, I finally understood. You can hear the words, but understanding the concept of self-love is an entirely different matter altogether. I finally, FINALLY understood that I was beating myself up in a hundred different ways on a second-by-second basis and that I needed to take care of myself. I needed to forgive myself. I needed to give myself permission to end my own suffering. This understanding was fleeting, but it was all I needed to kick-start a new chapter in my life. Those flashes of understanding are becoming more frequent, more profound and more insightful.
My highly sensitive temperament demands I make amends with myself in every possible way. For now that means saying adios to any stimuli I perceive as unnecessarily negative or overwhelming. Paths others take will be different from mine because their personalities are different. They may not understand my decision, but I don't care. I don't mean this in a snarky way, but rather as a way to affirm my right to find a happier, more fulfilling life.
I still might pop in from time to time to talk to a few people I like, but I won't post on the forum anymore. If the chat room becomes negative and overstimulating, I will leave. I'm doing this for all of you, too. A frazzled me is an unpleasant me. I can't be that kind of person anymore. It hurts me and it hurts others. I must find another way.
Even though I've done my best to explain what is happening to me, words don't seem powerful enough. I wish all of you could feel what I feel, understand what it was like to suffer so horribly and then soar above that suffering, finding those precious moments of emotional freedom. I still fear this is some kind of fluke, but I'm hopeful it might be the real thing. I wish you peace and I hope you wish the same for me.
Atheist in FundyLand, I like how clearly you state what it is you experienced, what you need, and what do to take care of your needs. I wish you a happy journey through life and that you find a community that fits your needs.
Goodbye, and best wishes to you! I can understand, I need to pick the right place to be too. Good luck!
What you have said here is so true and it is a very good quote
"I'm sure all of you have heard Gandhi's admonishment to be the change you want to see in the world."
I am sorry you have to stay away and I think you are doing the right thing for you.
I also try to stay positive and get away from the negativity.
(If you were to read this:) You seem to have reached what is for you the right decision. I don't ever refer to myself as an atheist; it's a far too incomplete description of my positions. I use Humanist, which adds the positive requirement of doing what I can to improve conditions for the world and its inhabitants. Avoiding magic men is only a part of that.
I hope you can find -- have found -- forums where you can express yourself without becoming angry or defensive.
All this theism and anti-theism is words not opinions. Put yourself in the shoes of an early human and you'll see the uselessness of any god. If the devil makes work for idle hands then god makes work for idle minds.
First of all I am impressed how you are able to convey such daunting task about perspective of self actualization. Kudos to you sir. I too suffer from the grinding teeth while smiling and remaining civil - while looking at and listening/reading to obvious annoyances - that are usually of political and religious assertion.
I too have not figured out how to deal with the dichotomy of staying positive in surroundings that seem lacking of perspective, noninclusive, narrow minded, ill informed, aggressive, negative, naive, confusing, vindictive, disingenuous and generally unbecoming of the living/morphing intelligence. Maturity has a lot to do with developing 'thick' skin - and from a personal experience, I have a long way to go too.
I bid you best of lucks and keep on the positive side - which usually helps others to join you in the adventure of existence.
I don't believe I ever had the opportunity to get to know you. I was off of here for a few months, and returned yesterday, and noticed today, this goodbye thread. In all camps, there will be people who feel the need to recruit others to their way of thinking, theist or atheist...believer or non believer. Some who share their beliefs/lack of beliefs, in a kind and respectful way, and others who don't. Maybe that's the human condition, I don't know.
You have to stay true to what you believe, and you are entitled to feel any way you wish. I hope the best for you, and think this was a brave thing for you to share with us. :)
Whatever feels right. I have enjoyed our conversations and you have made a favorable impression. Hope to see you pop into chat occasionally.
I still think you should give horse racing a chance. It is an intellectual/emotional rush that might be a great addition to your life. Give me horses or give me death. That is what i always say.