Tag Archives: mental health

Honesty the Best Policy

We all learned in kindergarten that honesty is the best policy, so why is it still so hard to tell the truth? With lies running rampant from our government and through our friend circles, no wonder it is easy to get so confused. Most of us are living an extremely fast paced lifestyle and sometimes it’s just easier and faster seeming to lie.

“I would love to help with that, if only I had the time!” (It’s not that I don’t have the time, it’s that I have zero interest). Or, “Oh ya, I do remember that totally ridiculous moment you are referring to” (No you don’t because it actually happened when you were with someone else). “Ya I showered today” (Actually I only shower like twice a week, and yes, that is true for me some weeks). “Oh ya, your new haircut looks great!” (What have you done to your hair?!)

Why bother lying about things? Typically, we lie because they want to be nice. Lying though, isn’t nice. It gives false information about a situation and leaves people making decisions based on false facts. If we can start to create social circles and societies where we are honest, we can make huge positive and progressive change! There is no use for a secret agendas or sneakiness if we are all just upfront about what is actually going on. With any major change though, we must begin with ourselves. So how do we start being more honest?

Where to start

Letting go of the ego

Letting go of the ego is not something that happens overnight. This is a long process of working on ones self, or in-fact, letting go of ones self. However, it is a well worth while process that transforms one into a truth seeker.

Once one learns to let go of the ego, instead of looking for things for one’s own planned personal gain, one tunes into a guidance that is larger and more trustworthy than the self. The most important thing to do to continue receiving guidance from the this source is to be honest with ones self and others so the source can guide things appropriately. It’s a process of giving up your control to something that is bigger than you. It won’t necessarily makes sense until you feel it for yourself, but you probably have felt it. It’s built into your intuition.

Use tactful truth delivery

There can be a difference between being honest and being blunt. It takes thought and practice to first find the truth, and second to paint the truth with pretty colours before delivering it.

So when a friend asks you to do something and you have no interest in doing it, you can say no, but also provide encouragement or possibly suggest someone else you know who might be really excited for such an offer.

Being honest does not need to be mean, if your honesty is coming from your heart it can still be delivered and received gracefully most times.

Recognize the little lies

White lies are the hardest ones to quit. My friends and family  members consider me to be a very honest person, and I am. I still do find myself, with certain friends and family members, wanting to veer away from the complete truth. Unfortunately, telling half truths don’t really make the cut. A half truth is a half lie.

For me, it is harder to tell the complete truth to people who I think will have a difficult time hearing it and to people that I think may respond to my truthfulness with something that is hurtful to me or that brings up feelings of guilt within me.

These people are great to have around because they help me to practice the skill of tactful delivery. Also, it is often these people who need honesty role models in their lives the most. Often too, these people will surprise me with their ability to gracefully receive the truth and I realize I have greatly underestimated them.

Some challenges

Part of my challenge being completely honest with certain people I think must be a lingering ego and fear of hurting someone. I, like many others, like to make people happy and I like to be kind.

I also am an only child who loves to spend a lot of time alone in my fantasy land. It is difficult when my friends want to spend time with me but I feel I need alone time. I have to tactfully tell them that I would rather spend my time in my cabin alone doing absolutely nothing productive.

Slowly though, I’m learning to do it. And because am honest with them about my needs, they are able to respect what I need. They are able to know me on a deeper level and in return they get a shiny awesome and happy me because after I have had my alone time to recharge I come out with bells on… sometimes quite literally.

The Benefits of being honest

Truth giver = Truth receiver
When people know we are honest , they feel comfortable coming to us with the truth, whether it is pretty or not. When you are able to hear people’s truthful opinions you are more open to people giving you useful and constructive feedback. When you live a life based on truth you can make decisions with valid information and therefore can live a life that is more clearly aligned with what you want.

When you are honest, you are able to share your true self with the world. You are friends with people who are able to accept your true self and you’re not friends with people who you can’t be honest with. This leads to more intimate and meaningful relationships and an increased sense of self and self-esteem.

Being honest all the time is also a good way to keep your actions in line because you are committed to telling people the truth about what you have done. If you are doing something that makes you feel shameful, you know you need to own up to it. And by owning up to doing things that cause you shame or guilt, you open yourself up to the beginning stages of changing the behaviour.

Honesty is the best policy. Honesty will lead you to happier life, because by living a life of truth you have nothing to fear.

:)

QUOTES:

“Honest hearts produce honest actions”

“Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom”

“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind” Dr.Seuss

“Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.” Mother Teresa

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Please comment with your experiences and opinions!… You can be honest 😉

 

 

 

 

The Road Less Traveled

This week, I offer you a book review and summary of “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck.

This book is another old classic, published in 1978. The author, Scott Peck, was a psychiatrist and best selling author in his time. He passed away in 2005; however, the concepts he outlines in this book are still relevant to our lives today.

This book is a great read for anyone interested in self development and spiritual growth; however, may be of particular interest in people who are interested in psychiatry specifically. Peck explores certain childhood experiences, parenting techniques and therapy tools as he has experienced them from his personal perspective and how he has seen experience and tools affect his clients.

Peck points out in the first page of his book that spiritual growth and mental health are one and the same. I couldn’t agree more.

He recognizes that life is a series of problems. Life is difficult. The first section of the book is titled “Problems and Pain” and suggests that discipline is one of the required tools to solve life’s problems. He states “Without discipline we can solve nothing.”

On the flip side, Peck recognizes that problems are what bring forth courage and wisdom. It is problems that help one to grow mentally and spiritually. Thus, if we avoid problems we contribute to our own mental illness.

Peck goes as far to say that “This tendency to avoid problems … is the primary basis of all human mental illness.” And in this of course, everyone is mentally ill to some degree. Our mental health, as I see it, is on a spectrum and where we are on the spectrum changes day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year etc. Whether we are contributing to mental health or to mental illness, I agree with Peck, depends on the ability to see life’s problems as hurdles, and recognizing that problems are opportunities for growth. 

The sooner you face your problems, the sooner you can gain the strength they have to offer you and use it to solve the next challenge you face.

Peck talks about the importance of parents as role models but also is sure to mention that “Ultimately love is everything”. The Beatles sing it loud and clear “All You Need is Love”… The message is all around and if we can listen and apply this truth we can transform our lives and experience on this planet. By giving love to people, you give them the feeling that they are valued and therefor treat themselves as if they are valuable. Feeling valuable, Peck states, is “essential to mental health and is a cornerstone of self-discipline.” He also states it is a direct product of paternal love and is extremely difficult to acquire during adulthood. Being abandoned by one’s parents as a child, Peck states is equivalent to death, as children are dependent on their parents for survival.

Peck states “for children to develop the capacity to delay gratification, it is necessary for them to have [the following]:
1. Self-disciplined role models
2. A sense of self-worth, and
3. A degree of trust in the safety of their existence.”

So, we’ve established that problems are opportunities for growth. Next, we need to come to realize that “anyone who is not mentally defective can solve any problem if willing to take the time”.

Peck gives a great example his own experience, being busy in med school and having issues with the mechanics of his vehicle. Peck believed mechanics were something his brain just didn’t grasp; however, one day his neighbor suggested that the only reason he didn’t know how to fix his vehicle was because he had not taken the time to learn how. Peck realized the simplicity of this statement and soon found it to be absolutely true. Once he started to take the time, following wires and looking at the function of the parts, he was able to soon understand his vehicles mechanics.

It’s true. We live in a world of information. If you want to learn how do something, the only formula you need is:

the desire to acquire information + access to accurate facts +  time to investigate and apply the learned information to the current situation

If you sit and wait for problems to disappear on their own accord I will risk to assume you will not live a mood magnituded life.

Imagine your house was on fire. That is a problem. Do you sit and watch it burn to the ground? Or do you problem solve? Maybe you call the fire department, get the fire extinguisher, gather your loved ones and get out. There often are many ways to approach a problem. If one way isn’t working, try another way instead, or in addition to.

A balanced approach to problem solving-

1. Accept the problem, be grateful for the opportunity to gain courage
2. Go to war with the problem- tackle it from all possible angles

A major part of this process is accepting the responsibility of facing problems. Peck points out that saying “It’s not my problem”… is a problem. If something is getting in the way of your growth and is causing your grief in one way or another, it is your problem. It is your opportunity to grow.

Peck quotes a saying of the sixties (attributed to Eldridge Cleaver),

“If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.”

So, we’ve established that life is hard, it’s full of problems and problems are opportunities for growth. We are aware that anyone can solve a problem with time and effort. And, if we neglect to solve our problems we are contributing to mental illness rather than personal growth. The next topic to explore is dedication to truth.

Truth, similar to love, is challenging to define in it’s totality. Truth is exceptionally challenging to define because people see different truths and ones truth can change at any time.

What you can do is curious about the truth and open to all of it’s possibilities. Be a truth seeker. And as the truth changes, change with it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Think Yourself Out of Mental Illness

“This isn’t me, I’m actually a high functioning, smart person!”

This is something I hear people say when they are accessing mental health services. Stating this as if they are smart enough to think themselves out of mental illness.

Typically the person saying this is well-educated and, in our societies terms, an overall high functioning person. Having mental health challenges does not mean you’re not smart. This idea is bogus.  The fact that I hear it so often, shows the stigma- still stuck to like glue mental health challenges and the people who access mental health services. Many highly functional people do have mental health challenges at some point in their lives.

In fact, According to Stats Canada, one in four Canadians experience an anxiety disorder in their lifetime.

17% of Canadians 15 and older perceived that they required mental health services in 2012.

In the US, 2.5% of the population have Bipolar and 1% have Schizophrenia.

All kinds of people access mental health services. No matter how smart you are, you can’t think yourself into mental health. In fact, often the opposite is necessary. Often one needs to stop thinking, slow the thoughts, and calm the mind. Doing this reduces anxiety and gives ease to the mind and body. These two things are the most common symptoms I see people accessing services for, followed by suicidal ideation which trots along shortly behind, if things aren’t dealt with.

In life all kinds of things can and will go wrong. Things will get hard and there will be times when you aren’t taking care of yourself as well as you could be. You might need help along the way from a mental health professional. If and when you do, understand that this is you in this moment. It’s not all that you are, but it’s a part of your experience of the now. This is  a part of your journey. It’s okay, it doesn’t mean that you’re not smart.

Smart people have mental health challenges. Famous people have mental health challenges too and slowly more of them are publicizing this aspect of themselves including the following:

Vincent Van Gogh, John Nash, Carrie Fisher (Princess Leiah), Kurt Cobain, Mel Gibson, Brooke Shields and of course Robin Williams.

In fact, researchers at the University of Toronto and at the Samuel Lunenfeld Research Institute of Mount Sinai Hospital found a protein, called the neuronal calcium censor protein 1,  that is linked to curiosity and spacial memory. This protein is also linked to Bipolar and Schizophrenia.

They found is straight A students are more likely to have either of these disorders, more so for people who excel in humanities than people who excel in sciences. Another study found similar correlations between A grade students in music and language courses and a diagnosis Bipolar.

The correlations found have not been consistent enough to be used for anything further than interesting findings; however, they do provide one an appealling flavor of  food for thought.

 

Your mental health is never stagnant. It’s changing with every moment you live. You don’t know your future and that’s what makes life interesting. If you stumble across mental illness along your journey, it doesn’t mean you are not smart. It doesn’t mean that you are smart either. It simply means that you are a human going through an experience. Embrace it’s teachings.

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RESOURCES

http://www.medicaldaily.com/why-smarter-people-are-more-likely-be-mentally-ill-270039