What’s the Point?

There are many forms of this question, “why should I bother?”, “It won’t work, why should I even try?” No doubt most people have asked themselves some variation of these questions. For those with depression or anxiety, this question can deter from achieving our goals.  This question can either start the process of doubting yourself, or amplify already existing doubt.

Picture a young couple in the midst of an argument that they have a number of times before. The details of the argument are not as important as the fact that they seem to continue to have the same argument. Each time there is some resolution, however, not completely resolved. The reason for this is each are too afraid or hesitant to say what is really bothering them. A common process in many situations is holding back information, usually because of some irrational belief or idea. Asking “what’s the point?” or “why bother?” are perfect examples of thoughts that will lead to worse feelings, non-action and regret.

With the couple above, after each argument there is a period of peace. But sooner or later there will be something that triggers the same argument. This pattern will continue until something changes, either breaking up or someone confronts the bigger issue. Each person in this couple is hiding something. Not a torrid affair or some kind of terrible secret, but a feeling or desire that they are too afraid to share. One partner is holding resentment for the other because she strongly encouraged him to hold off on school to pursue a family since she made more money. He reluctantly agreed to do so. While she resented him for never making an effort with her family after countless requests.

During each of their many arguments, there comes a point when each of them wants to share this feeling with the other, but they do not. It continues to fester underneath the surface. Right at that point of frustration to get the nerve to share, the thought “what’s the point?” enters the equation. “We have been through this before and they never respond how I want them to. I love them, but they will never get it. I give up. There is no point anymore.”

Try to look back at your own lives, in your relationships, your education (“what’s the point in studying, i am going to fail anyway”), employment (“There is no point in asking for a raise or a promotion, they will just say no.”, etc… Have you seen this question come up? The only thing left to do now, is… answer the question. The point of any question is to find an answer, yet the question of “what’s the point?” is often left unanswered. At least on the surface it is unanswered, but in the back of your mind, there is usually some negative response that you are not aware of, causing anxiety, stress or regret.

This may seem obvious, when you say it out loud, but most people don’t even think about this as an option. Or at least are not very creative with their answers. “What’s the point?”, which is immediately followed by the answer, “There is none.” If you were to take the time to seriously ponder this question, then you would see there is a definite point and it is a very worthwhile action. With the above couple, let’s examine each person’s perspective.

Take a minute to think about the answer to “what’s the point, he has never made an effort with my family?” I can think of quite of few points to bringing this resentment to the surface. 1. It will never be resolved if it is not explored aloud. If she develops the courage to tell him what she is really upset about, it gives him the opportunity to reflect and offer a conclusion and vice verasa. Albeit, the resolution might not be what they want, but hopefully it is a resolution, nonetheless.

The idea is to have some form of resolution and additional information in which to make an informed decision. Rather than continuing the same dead end argument, thought process, lack of action etc…, one could find the strength to act differently and make a change.

After reading this, you might find that it is a logical discussion, but still doesn’t apply to you. Your situation is different; there really is no point in bringing up the discussion. However, I would recommend really thinking about your situation and ask yourself is it truly ‘pointless’ or is the real question “is it worth it?” You might find that you can have an effect on the situation, however you are not willing to face it for fear of what the resolution might be. Therefore, the issue could be a matter of motivation to change your situation, rather than whether there is a point. In the example above, maybe neither of them is willing to let go of the relationship and fears bringing up the issue may result in breaking up. There are 2 ways to look at this situation. Either there is an irrational “what’s the point?” phenomenon at play or there is a hidden motivation for not discussing disguised by “what’s the point?”

Dr. Greg Schwarz, Psy.D is a licensed psychologist and Co-owner of Burbank Therapeutic Centers, A psychological corporation in Burbank, CA. Dr. Schwarz has been working in the mental health field for more than 20 years. Currently providing individual therapy in Burbank, CA, he specializes in severe anxiety, panic attacks, OCD, with a sub-specialty working with older adults. BTC was founded on the principles that therapy should be specifically designed for the person seeking help and the therapist and client should have similar styles in order for therapy to work. Each client who contacts BTC is thoroughly screened to ensure we are able to effectively treat them, This avoids unnecessary sessions and allows us to individualize the therapy to each person due to the advanced knowledge we have in their particular problem area.

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