Posts Tagged ‘individual’

If you read a self-help book, study the Bible, or go to therapy but don’t practice, it will not help. Only practicing what you are learning will change occur. The highest form of change is practicing what you are learning.

The Buddha said, “If someone is standing on one shore and wants to go to the other shore, he has to either use a boat or swim across. He cannot just pray, ‘Oh, other shore, please come over here for me to step across!’” To a Buddhist, praying without practicing is not real prayer.

“You cannot solve your problems by taking psychoactive substances that impair your mind and the expression of your sprit. From illegal drugs to psychiatric medications, drugs suppress and distort our real emotions and should be avoided, especially in time of suffering and fear when we need to know what we are feeling to control our actions.”

Peter Breggin, M.D., Medication Madness

By Cameron W. Meredith, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus

It is educational and psychological madness that:

1. While everyone agrees on the tremendous value of education in our democracy, we provide only 180 days of public school education.
2. While there is considerable agreement on the psychological principle of spaced learning we jam it all in long school days and homework only 9 months of the year.
3. We all know about newer and encouraging psychology such as Adlerian and Third Force Psychology, we still practice first force psychology namely behaviorism and obedience training called assertive discipline with belief in punishment and bribing.
4. While, since WWII, we believe in freedom and democracy, we still have too many autocratic schools and families practicing order without freedom as well as compulsory homework.
5. While we all agree on the value of cooperation, the helping relationship, and getting along together, we impose competition in our classrooms namely the ABCDF grading system where helping or receiving help is considered cheating.
6. While we all know how encouraging it is to have the freedom to choose and, when we invite and involve students in an atmosphere of freedom and cooperation, they become more responsible and feel that they belong, we are often inclined to tell them what to do and learn with few if any choices.
7. While we do a pretty good job of imparting knowledge and encouraging memorization in preparation tests, we often do a poor job in teaching the use of knowledge for daily living.
8. While there is considerable need for compulsory school attendance in a democracy for thirteen years, there is little agreement on the length of the school day. There is pressure to lengthen the school day. Almost all teachers demand homework as if it is compulsory. Then, as if mandated, there is three months with no school.

There is a lot of evidence that supports the use of Choice Theory and other Third Force Psychologies that focus on maintaining and improving the relationships. Especially staying away from external control psychology (Rewards and Punishment) and instead making use of encouragement (not praise) natural and on occasion logical consequences (4R of a logical consequences). There is a lot of confusion over what constitutes “emotional attachment”. Choice Theory, Adlerian Psychology, Person-Center Therapy, all offer helpful ideas of how to stay connected to the important people in our lives. For instances, empathy is a way to provide understanding and therefore belonging to those we love.

Although, I think the quality of time is as important as the amount of time with our teens. You can spend a lot of disconnecting time with our teens, children, and spouse (deadly habits). In addition, being overly focused on the need of our teens, not only develops self-centered human beings, but also takes away their self-confidence and ability to leave home.

Tampa Tribune, September 11, 1997.
Secure teenagers don’t take drugs

A Washington Post report
Teenagers who have strong emotional attachments to their parents and teachers are much less likely to use drugs and alcohol, attempt suicide, engage in violence or become sexually active at an early age, according to the largest-ever study of American adolescents.
The study, published in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association, concludes that feeling loved, understood and paid attention to by parents helps teenagers avoid high-risk activities regardless of whether a child comes from a one or two-parent household. It is also more important than the amount of time parents spend at home, the study found.
At school, positive relationships with teachers were found to be more important in protecting teenagers than any other factor, including classroom size or teacher training.
Researchers also found that young people who have jobs requiring them to work 20 or more hours a week, regardless of family economic status, are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, smoke cigarettes, engage in early sex and report emotional distress.
While the amount of time spent with parents had a positive effect on reducing emotional distress, feeling connected to parents was five times more powerful. And this emotional bond was about six times more important than was the amount of various activities that teenagers did with their parents.

“We overlook the essential fact that the achievements which society rewards are won at the cost of a diminution of personality. Many aspects of life which should have been experienced lie in the lumberrom of dusty memories” C. Jung

“Hell is having worked so hard for success that it corroded your relationship with other people, so that you learned to see them only in terms of what they can do for you. . . Hell is the loneliness of having everything and knowing that it is still not enough.”

Harold Kushner, When All You Ever Wanted Isn’t Enough

Good thoughts and actions can never produce bad results. Bad thoughts and actions can never produce good results. This is but saying that nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles but nettles. Men understand this law in the natural world, and work with it. But few understand it in the mental and moral world (though its operation there is just as simple and undeviating), and they therefore, do not cooperate with it.

Suffering is always the effect of wrong thought in some direction. It is an indication that the individual is out of harmony with himself, and the law of being.

As A Man Thinketh, James Allen

“ Why do we find it so hard to believe that our assumption of inferiority is only a prejudice”? Our traditional educational pattern stresses a negative value: hardly anyone is good enough as he is. We perpetuate this pernicious practice under the fallacious assumption that growth and improvement demand dissatisfaction wit oneself. Admittedly, in some few cases the drive for self-evaluation may simulate progress. But in all cases this negative urge is unnecessary, and in many cases highly detrimental.

Anyone who is sure of himself and satisfied with his abilities can do better than someone who must constantly struggle to prove his worth. It is the feeling of adequacy, rather than of inadequacy, that leads to successful endeavor.”

Rudolf Dreikurs

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought. As he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable.

The strong calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character which we call serenity is the last lesson culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold – yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life – a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!

“How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well-balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!”

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

Every day Geri and I have clients come in convinced by some one that they have a chemical imbalance, brain damage, genetic defect, or traumatized from the past. In short victims of their biology or heredity. We believe that the symptoms are real but the cause of their problem is misleading. Perhaps a better description for their symptoms is “unhappiness”. If they could change the opinion they have of their self and know what choices to make with an important relationship in their life, an improvement in their mental health would occur. In short, they feel happy.

This includes the variety of symptoms we see from anxiety, depression, anger, ADHD, to the more serious bi-polar.

William Glasser does a better job of describing what I am attempting to say when he writes:

“How can such a common, easily understood word such as unhappiness possible describe all the misery and mayhem that exists around us? My answer is: unhappiness is not simple. . . . it can appear in our lives in many different forms and lead to a myriad of feelings, thoughts, and behaviors that puzzle, frighten, and disturb us. Severe unhappiness can lead to bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and chronic, excruciating pain with no pathology to explain it, as in the condition called fibromyalgia.

A more accurate title for the DSM-IV would be The Big Red Book of Unhappiness. No matter how we experience it, almost every symptom can be traced back to its origin: relationships that lack love, respect, or both. By making choices that help us stay connected with each other, the unhappiness can be over come. Caring and respecting, never controlling, are the cornerstones of mental health.” (p. 57)

William Glasser, Warning Psychiatry May Be Hazardous to Your Mental Health

I don’t know who or what put the question, I don’t know when it was put. I don’t remember answering. But at some moment I did answer, “yes” to someone or something. And from that hour I was certain that existence is meaningful and that, therefore, my life, in self-surrender, had a goal.

Taken from Dag Hammarskhold diary which was made into a book, after his death, titled, Markings