Decadence

Opulent people can spend 43 million dollars in a wedding and we see it the news as a novelty, as something crazy but nothing more. I saw the news today from this Asian celebrity. Is that even real? Did they plan to spend 43 million dollars to show the most extravagant wedding event ever or did they just get carry away? No budget, no limit. Why people feel the need to go overboard with everything they do when money is involved. I mean is that really necessary when there are millions of starving children in the world. I find it obscene. Decadent. Irrational.  Extremely unjustified. Why can the rich think of others instead of themselves? Why poor people think more about helping others. Is it because they know suffering and they know what is like to need help. They have more empathy and a healthy conscience or am I generalizing. Newly rich people can be arrogant, selfish and want to show off. Is it that simple? I don’t know but it upsets me when I know they will continue to spend millions of dollars in impractical things. Where’s altruism in all this. I couldn’t find any news of these two celebrities helping others but themselves. I guess I have no choice but to accept the facts no matter how unfair they are.

Of course not everyone is like that. I know of plenty generous and well off people who help others and do not go crazy spending their money. I just have a hard time comprehending how all these events can be promoted on social media and people follow and rejoice seeing how money is spent by others. These things should clearly not be celebrated or praised. Has society really lost their mind as a whole or have we become so numb by all the glitter in our world that we don’t even blink when we hear these things anymore, good judgment is gone.

Perhaps I am jealous, envious of not having so much at my fingers. Perhaps I am too much of a social worker and I see the need in everyone around me. Regardless, I feel the media should not promote or even mention these people, maybe that way they will not feel the need to impress anyone. Let’s not contribute to the insanity. Let’s no mention them, let’s not even take their photos, ignore them. Celebrate those who are out there contributing to society, let’s focus on those heroes….really. Even better let’s all do one thing, weekly, monthly or at least annually to help others, not matter how small, that’s worth celebrating and promoting, what are you waiting? go!

Hypocrisies

The problem with today’s society is that most people say things they truly don’t mean. They act as they think they should. They say or do things out of politeness or because it’s expected. Yes, it’s appropriate in order to have civility but when being too phony is too much. I have so many examples I could write a book. The most recent is claiming to care for a cause yet they don’t’ contribute in any way, not financial with a donation neither which is okay, but they won’t offer their time or effort to promote the cause or even help volunteering to organize an event. Or else participate somehow in this because they keep saying it is so important to them. I guess it bothers me when people say they really care about something but nevertheless they don’t move a finger to back it up.

I know I care about different things and causes and I cannot always partake or donate financially with each one but I do my best to promote, educate, and engage others if I feel it is important. And I keep quiet and don’t pretend it is something I want to do or something dear to me when it isn’t. For instance I do care about other important causes such as global warming issues, environmental concerns but I am very sincere when I tell you that I am not passionate about these issues. I am not Leonardo DiCaprio and I don’t have the aspiration to do something about it. That is better than what some folks do.

So it got me thinking, why people tell you what they think you want to hear? Why pretend? A simple answer is that it is much easier and less awkward to say yes than to admit their true feelings. Right?

Somehow that got me thinking about sincerity in general. Is a disingenuous answer healthier than telling the real response so you don’t hurt people’s feelings, so you keep your friends, so you appear likeable, so you are invited again, and so and so on. When is it okay to be yourself? I know a few hypocrites and I can’t make myself like them although they are always so pleasant and say yes this and yes that, they end up not following through and well they’re not real. They’re superficial. Another one of my peeves.  And I am not talking about being so sincere that you’re going to hurt someone’s feelings by telling them how much you don’t like their hairdo, or how much fatter they gotten lately. But I am talking about those people who actually praise and applaud someone with lies, then behind their back may even share their true thoughts “oh how ugly is that new hair color” when a minute ago they told the person they loved it. Loved it? Are you kidding me? You loved it and you told her and now you make faces and say the opposite. Too much for me.

Someone might argue that they’re not hypocrites but they are people fearful of being disliked, or too polite to actually share their real thoughts. Someone might also argue that these people tend to be popular and although artificial or phony for some, they do know how to manage uncomfortable situations. They’re good politicians if you will. Then the problem is the rest of us who aren’t politicians. How do we cope with them? Accept who they are and recognize that this is their way of responding and it seems to work for them. Accepting others as they are is not necessarily easy but it can bring you peace of mind and it can reduce your irritability. As for myself, well I can accept people are different and that’s their approach but I decided I will not have people like that in my life. Because it isn’t healthy for me. I cannot be superficial, I cannot be false. And if they talk about others, they do talk about me too. And that’s that.  I am making the decision for me and not for them. This is better….ah…I am not longer disappointed.

Courtesy has died

I recently had planned a little get together at home, a house warming dinner for a few friends, and it was a really nice evening. Good friends came over, they brought laughter and good company, and we had a fun evening. After it was over it occurred to me, that those “friends” who never showed up or even worse who never even replied to the invitation are no really people I want on my party list. They failed the courtesy test. I knew that one flaky and unreliable friend we all know would again demonstrate their poor manners. I would expect that. We always know that friend is the one you cannot count on. I knew they said yes and never be there.
I shouldn’t be surprised with the millennium generation but even the X-Generation have lost all etiquette. There were a couple of other people who didn’t have the decency to respond or decline the invitation. Others confirmed but never came or apologized to me the hostess, the one who invited them. I did buy food and drinks taking into account those confirmations, do they care? Of course not. I can’t expect education from those who don’t have it.

However it’s disappointing to know that people have lost civility and respect. People of my generation do not have thoughtfulness for others. I am not used to see or hear anyone not being considerate to give the decency of a reply. I was never accustomed to these manners growing up. I was raised in a family where you are expected to be courteous and respectful of others. (And I’m not talking about having had an emergency or a life threatening situation for which you couldn’t RSVP or had to cancel last minute, which would be reasonable).

I have to remind myself that I can’t be upset over people who never learned the concept of respect. I have to remind myself that not everyone has the thoughtfulness to call back, to decline or cancel an invitation. I have to remind myself that not everyone think this is acceptable. But why? It should not be this way. School should teach this if parents aren’t. School or Church should tell kids to be considerate of others. Be respectful. Be courteous. I only expect what I offer and that is why I cannot understand people’s behaviors. It is sad that some of these people are parents who are educating their children with the same standards. It is sad that society is becoming less and less courteous, more rude and inconsiderate of peoples time and effort; and take friendships for granted. It is sad when family values do not include to treat others as you would like to be treated.

The principal of all this, is what distresses me, because these people truly have no clue and no true understanding of what integrity is. No idea of what it implies the simple fact of being courteous. It is much deeper than responding to a silly house warming party. It essentially is far beyond that. If they knew this I’m sure they would think twice next time, but only if they had character.

Gratitude

I have been feeling really frustrated with myself lately. I can’t decide if what I have is enough. Rather I can’t decide if what I don’t have is worth my mood. I am angry at myself for wanting things I never care about before and for thinking that I need things I never considered in the past. Having it all is not a guaranteed for anyone. It’s unreal. I know that. I wanted a career and I got it. I wanted a good husband and I have him. I wanted a nice house and yes I got it. And there are other things too. Some I have some I don’t and that’s everyone’s dilemma, to want it all.

People are depressed or anxious about what’s missing in their lives, what they think or perceive they should get: a house, a car, a marriage, a child, a promotion, more health, more money, more love, etc. It is human nature to think others have it better, or that we could be happier if we just had that one other thing. Our disposition as to how we react when others appear to have what we want makes a big difference in our attitude. When we focus too much on what we can’t have, then we lose focus on what’s important. We lose motivation and pleasure on what we already have available. We missed out on enjoying everything else because we’re unhappy about additional things that may not necessary be for us. So what do I tell my clients? It may sound too simple, but it is the best tactic: I say be grateful. Really. Be truly thankful, appreciative and indebted with life. Believe or not you have much more than you deserve. You do!

Gratitude is the best medicine. The more grateful we are the less depressed we can feel. When we start to notice everything good in our lives, we can truly appreciate every little detail that makes our life better; we can enjoy life with more passion. That’s the point of keeping a gratitude journal I tell them. Appreciate what you can see, smell, hear, and touch. Appreciate your world, your family, friends, and your being.

Of course I am not saying is stress-free, otherwise I wouldn’t be so irritable lately. Thus I do apply what I preach every day. Some days are tough and some days are good. I truly practice my gratitude affirmation every night before I go to sleep and then when I wake up I might also express my appreciation for what the day has to offer me. I appreciate that today is another day to make it better, to enjoy my life. I am thankful I can get out of bed and go to work and interact with others. And that’s how I am managing my ugly mood. The more I do the easier it gets, and guess what? Writing this now has made me feel so much better. I am grateful for this outlet, I am appreciative that I can express my feelings openly, and I can say what comes to my mind without worrying. What a relief it is to vent freely. For this I am grateful today.

Got children?

Having to make decisions that can change your life is never easy. Having to make decisions in a short time is even worse. If you are in your forties and never had children you might begin to question your decisions. How about when you never felt certain and all around you told you is supposed to be this way? Having children can come as natural as eating, walking, and talking. For some people it was never a doubt, they always wanted to have children. For others the maternal / paternal instinct was never there. But society kept telling them they should, and then wondering if they made the right choice can be as bad. Not knowing if they’re actually missing out or if they are blessed. After all you will never have to worry about someone’s future for the rest of your lives. You will never cry if they cry, you will never agonize if they are hurt or if they made bad decisions themselves. Being a parent means you will never again be without apprehensions, you will always be anxious about your children’s welfare, when they’re older you will still worry about their lives. Your life will depend on their happiness. Is that what we want? Why? I often wonder why people brought upon themselves more distress, more emotional pain on purpose. Yes, you enjoy them when they’re babies, you love them and they make you happy for about 12-13 years. Then things get complicated. They want to be independent, they make poor decisions, they experiment, they make mistake, they get in trouble, they rebel and they do foolish things because is supposed to be that way. Didn’t you do it too? But now you’re the parent, so you’re lamenting yourself every night. Praying they are well and nothing bad happens.
Someone told me children were retirement insurance so you won’t be alone when you get old. Maybe that’s the reason to have children, so you won’t be lonely in your elder years. However there’s no guarantee your children will want to spend time with you, or be with you as they will have their own lives. Others have said, why do I need a child? The argument of being too selfish to care for others isn’t necessarily true. You may be very generous, caring and even altruistic but you have decided that you don’t need the emotional stress of parenthood. I would argue that people that have children is out of self-interest, egocentricity if you dare to say because they “need” to have someone, or have a heritage, a legacy, or other selfish reasons e.g. loneliness, tradition, etc. Conversely, there are many parents that have 1, 2 or more children because it just happened, because they could or whatever, and couldn’t care less about them. Just ask Child Protective Services on their thousands of neglect cases. But my question remain. Why do people have children? What’s the objective, to populate the world? And don’t tell me that after having your child everything changed and you don’t regret it. Of course, you don’t. I don’t regret having my pets either, I love them. And if you have an ounce of sentiment you will say that about your children. That’s not the point. Why have children? Because that’s the way it is? Really? Because the Bible says so? Really? Because I can? Really? I guess is the same reason as to why we exist. Not one person knows…and we continue to exist and so our children.

Time Out

Relationship problems have continuously been the motivation for our happiness and the greatest source of stress in our lives. I cannot envision more causes for anxiety, depression and frustration than relational problems. Our relationship with our parents, our children, our siblings, our friends are vital to our lives. All these affiliations can contribute to tension. Human beings are all about relationships. We are all about connections, interactions, affiliations. We are communicative, we converse, and we exchange thoughts, feelings and sensations constantly. Our ability to interconnect with others is what drives us. We are insecure, fearful and miserable if we cannot have the best communication with our loved ones. Or even with our colleagues, acquaintances and other people with interact with, if we are not on the same page we cannot help but feel a little distressed and apprehensive. Having our feelings validated, and heard are foundations to our overall happiness and mental health. Whenever we feel misinterpreted or misunderstood it can translate to various other stressors that eventually will affect our functioning.
So when people get overwhelmed and distressed or unable to function at work or with their family, they need to recognize themselves that the problem at hand is a communication problem. Whether it is because their significant other is not giving them what they emotional need or whether the boss has not really expressed their appreciation for all they do and continue to demand more. It can be a simple comment that gets us upset. It can be a remark or an innocent statement that will get us irritated because we interpreted differently or it was said without thinking. That frustration will carry over to other areas of our lives, to our spouse if he/she says something we didn’t like – we’ll snap because after all we’re not listening anymore or we are angry with someone else. It is all about communication.

Communicating and understanding what is being said is not always simple. It can take great skills to be a good listener, much more skills to be able to discern information without emotional reactivity. In order to fully respond appropriately we need to become emotionally stable ourselves. Remember this: Acting with a hot head can lead you no-where. Calm down first, take your time to think things through and clarity will come back. Whenever you make a decision or say things you have regret later, it has been because you did not take sufficient time to put things into perspective. You didn’t have a “time-out” to process all the information that was communicated to you. The challenge is to identify you need this time to think. Do not be afraid to wait it out. Slowing down will help make better decisions, to clarify your feelings and to empathize with the feelings of others. Go ahead and take 5.

Don’t marry your best friend

I met with a friend a couple of days ago; we ended up talking about marriage. She complains her husband only wants to spend time with the children, doesn’t want to go on dates anymore, he doesn’t want to have sex at all. He doesn’t have the time or energy to be with her “he’s always tired” she says. Life is boring, work, work and maybe the occasional weekend off and the mini-vacation. No romance, no kisses; nothing that can promote more intimacy.  Love may be there but it’s not the same she said. How is it that every marriage turns out pretty much the same: a mundane relationship without desire or sex. Why, why….

Yes, I agree that the marriage after so many years will not be the same. It can’t be the same. A relationship cannot go unchanged for long. All affiliations change over time, some for better and others for worse. During your married life there will be so many happy and sad moments, you will share many common activities, anecdotes, occasions, conversations, trips, things done together that you in time will become friends (hopefully good friends you say) and because of that friendship your lust for one another has transformed into something else. Maybe there’s camaraderie or maybe good companionship and a loving connection. Is that wrong? Isn’t that how marriage is supposed to be?, she asked.

I don’t know the answer as how “marriage is supposed to be” and I don’t think anyone does. Basically our fantasy of how a marriage should be is very different from the day to day reality of millions of other couples out there. Social media, movies, books, the Church, our family members and even marriage counselors may tell you otherwise but the fact is your marriage doesn’t live up to what you are experiencing every day. You love your spouse but can’t help being bored sometimes. You have become good friends, roommates even. Bored with him or you or the family (guilt feelings all over the place), or can’t help feel attracted to someone else; it’s a novelty, a much younger, handsomer, athletic novelty. You considered cheating but can never do it (guilt again). You want out but can’t think you could be on your own after all this time (fear). But you look at others, you fantasize you’re single. And you think it’s even better, a clean tab, no history, no shared baggage, no shared experience or familiarity to ruin the sex.  He /she won’t need to know anything about you. They don’t know your insecurities like your spouse does. That makes is so much more interesting I tell her. That’s the attraction. Once you know all their flaws, their character traits of everyday life, things change. They have to. That is normal. All those books that talk about keeping the passion in your marriage, fire in the bedroom, how to keep things new and on and on they advise because they know is the reality of daily living. A routine will emerge. Things become predictable, friendly. It doesn’t feel fresh. It is human nature I tell her.

You may disagree with me, but think for a bit; your partner should never really become your pal. Sounds odd perhaps in this era when people make it such a big thing “I am marrying my best friend” on wedding invitations, social media. Oh how sweet! With a bit of luck years later it won’t come back to haunt you.

“I met my best friend and I think she’s the one”, said a male colleague, I smiled and said good for you! and then I thought: So now you dump all your good friends! Even your childhood friend who was until a few months ago your best friend? You dump them because you like this person so much SHE has to take over that role? So all those memories you shared, your hiking trips, your drinking/dancing days, your shared dating stories, your games of ball every weekend, all of that is gone and now she will replace all of that, huh!?. Of course a year later wedding announcement, you guessed it, it’s on the wedding invitation now, and they’re best friends! He dropped everyone for her. Nice! Newly engaged people are no longer listening, they’re deaf and blind. You don’t need another friend. Let your significant other stay in their role before it’s too late. You need a lover, someone who wants you, who desires you, who wants to touch you, kiss you, protect you, take you places, enjoy things with you, and have fun with you and surprise you on your day, to still be romantic and curious about you. That is your lover, not your comrade. She doesn’t want to hear your farting or nasty jokes; she won’t laugh and join you with enthusiasm and more farting unless she is your buddy. And he doesn’t want to know about your bloating, or your irregular periods.  You can go to the doctor or better yet tell your friend. Got any? And if they do want to share all that, good luck. They crossed the line, not a lover, but a good friend to hang out with every day, that’s what you got. So don’t complain. Harsh? Perhaps.

For some people it feels stupid to act sensual with their “best friend” (husband/wife). After years of marriage you got too comfortable, just like you do with your friends. I hear men say “well she knows me so well I don’t need to tell her anything romantic or I don’t need to buy her a birthday gift, she just tells me what to get for her “. What! No romance for a friend?  After all friends are platonic, fun, and your friends are never sexual or romantic with you (I least I hope not). According to the Oxford dictionary, a friend is a person whom one knows and with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically exclusive of (not including) sexual or family relations.

You read that! A friend is not your family member or your sexual partner! Better yet, you know what the synonyms of friends are: ally, comrade, chum, crony, confidant, and fellow. There you have it. Yes, your friends are your allies, your pals, and your confidant. Friends are reliable, predictable, non-sexual, and consistent. The one you can talk about your sex life if you wish. That’s the friend we all want. Your spouse cannot be your friend; yes they can be your supporter and your intimate but not your chum, not your pal… If they are, that is the problem I tell you. I am not saying don’t share with them. I am not saying keep it private. I am saying do not use them as your only and best friend. They are not. Have a life outside your marriage. Have other friends so you don’t treat your partner as your best chum. Of course we all know those friends who tell you they wished their spouses would confide more in them, that they would share more, but heck their sex life is good….no one is ever happy.

So here’s my friend complaining, she has no friends left (I am the only one she says), and her husband ignores her all the time. That’s the mistake many make: isolate from others, don’t need anybody but your sweetheart, then routine gets you, nothing new to talk about and you became roommates. The enigmatic feeling that attracted you to your partner is gone. The sex-appeal is gone. It is only natural to learn so much about another person after 19 years together I told my friend. It happens with daily living so it may be inevitable. What about asking him on a date without the kids and call me when you need to vent. He doesn’t have to treat you like a pal either. Set your boundaries. Too late she says, he already see me sitting at the toilet in the mornings, or eating with my hands, or getting my legs shaved, or whatever …and that is definitely not sexy. Not at all. You stopped being sensual in front of each other’s eyes because friends don’t want to be sexy with one another. Yuck! I don’t want to be sexy with you I tell her. I don’t want to date you she says, and we laugh. So no, I don’t have the answer. It would be nice if things we want would never change and only those we want differently would actually change. I don’t have the solution for a great marriage.

Yet others tell me I am wrong, their husband is their best friend and their sex life is wonderful. Is it? Great I say. Good for you! But guess what, you’re not the majority. And if you know why you can have it both ways, go ahead and share. Maybe you will help reduce the infidelity rate or even better: fewer couples will get a divorce. Go for it, I challenge you my “friend”.

Envy

Envy can be a very intricate emotion. We all experience it at one point or another in our lives. But why is it so spirited and undesirable besides the obvious reasons: it can consume you, it can cause more unpleasant feelings (anger, guilt, resentment), and it can cause friction among friends as people feel uncomfortable about the whole situation. There are so many other explanations why Envy is never described as the desired quality. People do their best to deny any jealousy feelings. However it’s there, Envy has come to you, and no individual can escape at least one stopover.
When we feel dissatisfied or angry by someone else’s assets, abilities or good fortune we tend to act in resentment and minimize their accomplishments, we may criticize them so we can feel better. In psychology we talk about comparison and contrast; that if you experience envy you have the opportunity to learn about yourself because envy is emotional and you are measuring yourself alongside the life of another person. You are comparing yourself and you are contrasting the evidence in front of your eyes. Society sees this emotion as negative, one should not have it because it goes in contradiction of encouraging other more positive aspects of humanity: love, kindness, care, consideration, helpfulness, etc.

What if I say is okay to feel envious, is okay to compare yourself and feel upset with the situation. It’s only normal, right? I say accept it! Agree you are envious and that you feel jealous in the moment. Take what it is without trying to make it better, or to justify it. Look at the facts. Envy is here! Then when alone and calmer, look deeper. There is a very specific reason for your envy. Describe it. Own it. It’s there.

A month ago when you didn’t know your best friend had a new job you felt happy and content with your life. Now that you found out he has a better paying job, a better office and a better benefit package, you feel upset and can’t take it off your mind. What about your neighbor, yes that one, he has 3 children, works an average job and has bought his 2nd house, can afford annual vacations (yes 2 at least) and a brand new car. You barely manage your mortgage and no kids to blame. Envy is sitting next to you again.

Nothing has really changed in your life but the way you perceive things have changed. Your feelings about the circumstances have transformed. If he didn’t tell you about his successes or if you didn’t see it, you would go about your life as usual. However now you know he’s doing better or at least when you compare yourself to him you think he’s doing better. So things are different. Resentment is there, anger is there, Envy has come to visit you.

Recognizing the feeling and accepting the emotion is the first step to cope with your feelings. Plan to do something about it. Not against your friend or the person that has caused these feelings but plan to do something with yourself; with your situation that will help you feel confident and happy (again). Because after all, you’re lacking confidence right now, and it has nothing to do with him. List the things you already have that make you happy. List the things you would like to get and can make you feel prosperous (less envious?). Are you comparing again? Yes, so what? If it’s going to help you, then you should compare. Do compare your options, compare your present to your desired future. Compare your abilities and your determination to do well. Use Envy to move you. Challenge Envy to give you the motivation you may need to achieve your own victory. Talk to your new friend Envy, vent freely. Complain and say what’s on your mind and soon enough Envy will dissipate in time. When you hear yourself say it aloud, the absurdity will surprise you. Talk to people you trust, find sympathetic outlets to let Envy go….now I feel better already. I have everything I want and need, another life dilemma managed… Envy has left the building.

Death

Can people really get over the loss of someone they loved? What “getting over” really means? Not crying as much? Doing the routine every day and not thinking how much that person would have enjoyed this or that? Or not getting over: constantly thinking about them, feeling sorry that they’re not here, lamenting how much they are missing out. I often wonder how is it that one person’s grieving is so different from the other. Within the same family, each person is grieving differently, some more intense, some are acting out, and others are discreet and peaceful and others so overwhelmed that they can’t function. Do they miss the person more? Did they love them more? Did they had a better relationship, a better connection / communication with them? Maybe, and maybe not. People may mourn someone strongly even if they were not really close to them or even if they never truly got along. And sometimes although the person really hurt them at one point and never loved them as much (an abusive parent for instance), the pain is as deep as anyone else because they grieve the relationship they didn’t have. And never will. Some people can’t cope knowing there’s no do over. Some people are impaired after a loss and others are more motivated and successful than ever.
I believe the answer may lie in two elements, simple but yet complex issues: Perception and Guilt.

How we perceive death is very important. I am not talking about ruminating about how they had so much more to live, and how they did not accomplish the things they wanted, or if it was an accidental death, how it could have been prevent it if and only if…well we could go on and on. That’s okay at first, that’s part of the stages of grief (remember Elisabeth Kubler Ross and her Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance stages). I am talking about understanding both emotionally and intellectually what is death. Death is transformation. Death is change. Death is inevitable. We know this. That people have to die. Perhaps you’ll say it’s too simplified as an answer but I’d argue I have a valid point.

Discerning that death will never be the right time for those of us left behind can help, but when we are sad and desolate, thinking that death is normal and people die, may not really help you. You can try to think logically, but it may not bring the comfort you seek in this process. Understanding death as normal transformation is part of the coping process. And the answer is to refocus. Shift your thoughts, your point of view. How about these cases: one person’s intense feelings over the death of their 92 year old mother? Do they want her to be 100? 150? Is that realistic? And of course the death of a child can never be truly understood. But a certain type of parent can make sense of it while others couldn’t.

Accepting death as normal is one thing, then accepting that dying is not the worst thing is another step. Refocus. Why dying is bad? I mean seriously. Does spiritual or religious beliefs tap into this? Do we believe they go to heaven or go with the angels? Or perhaps that they will return and be happier in another life. Do we believe there’s nothing more after dying? Dogmas, ideologies, and other theories can help us grieve differently. Finding one that will carry us to acceptance is usually the challenge. Learn, research, grow your knowledge.

Then there’s the second important issue I was mentioning before: Guilt. How guilty one feels over what was never done or said while the loved one was alive. Guilty because they are still here and can enjoy everything the deceased won’t. Guilty because they never forgave themselves, never said they loved them or spent enough time with them, perhaps never helped them; the list can go on and on. Yes everyone feels guilty at times. No relationship is perfect. No relationship is without flaws. People torment themselves with these doubts. Insecurities and lack of support is significant for someone who is depressed and anxious. Lamenting on disappointments can only cause more pain, it will linger there. We know, don’t we? Learn to forgive yourself. Say it: I forgive myself, I am only human.

Keep in mind that other factors can play an important role in how one can cope e.g. genetics, resiliency, life experience, family history, and education, as well as mental and physical health, managing skills and coping abilities are among these factors.

Shifting perspective and forgiving oneself, will support and help someone find happiness again. Nevertheless if it was so easy, wouldn’t everyone do it? I wouldn’t have a job if it was that easy, that’s for sure. What else can we do to start this adjustment? Step 1: Talk about it. You need to talk about it. Do not keep it inside or it will eat you. Talk about it with others, family, friends, and professionals. Seek help. Go to a grief support group, go to therapy, write about it, and let it out somehow. Now, really listen to your words. Be realistic. Do they make sense? If so, how? Challenge your own negative self-talk. That will lead you to changing your perspective. Shift your harmful thoughts. It will take time so be patient with yourself and do not think you have a deadline. There’s no cutoff date. Just move as your own pace but move. Breathe!

Do things even if you truthfully don’t want to, that means engage socially and be physically active. Do not isolate. Do not be quiet. Never stop looking for answers, shifting your thoughts by learning and improving. Be kind to yourself. That is the key. Be forgiving. You will conquer your pain and be comfortable again. Death will always be one of those life predicaments we must face and heartache is something that we all share sooner or later….Do know that Death is one of life’s dilemma that we may never completely understand and that’s okay too.

Got Goals?

Everyone tells you that goals are important. You need goals to have purpose in life. You need goals to achieve your dreams. You need goals to feel vital, that is worth living. But what about those people who are truly content with their lives? Do they have any goals? The goal to continue to live in harmony and as they are? Well, what do you tell someone who says they are no longer interested in anything anymore, and have no real plans for the future because frankly they couldn’t care less. So here I am trying to motivate someone who really doesn’t want to get anywhere, because even depression has become comforting, has been there for him the last 20 years of his life. Is his safety net, his excuse not to get up from bed every morning? What is there to do if get up early today?

What goals could you offer me to live a more fruitful and happy life he asks? There I paused. I thought for a while. Am I trying to change him because I think is best for him? Or because he knows he needs the change but he’s frozen to do anything about it (remember my previous post on fearing change?). Do I really need to do all the work here or do I just allow him to be. Stay where the client is at, they tell you in graduate school. But Gosh! He’s been there for decades I say; it’s time for a change. But nope, it’s not my call. It’s not my change to make. Then I realized I have to be the one to adjust my point of view. I need to focus on what is working well and perhaps that in itself can be the overall goal. Perhaps the fact that he will not deteriorate, will not become more depressed or even suicidal can be the objective, for now at least…keep going, not giving up but just surviving, carry on. All of sudden I remember the famous slogan and online posters “Keep Calm and Carry On”. Is it a worthy goal you ask?

Well, I truly do not know but it helps, and is what matters for now or so I think ….another life dilemma.