Monday, February 20, 2017

Be Conscious Of Your Value As A Person

In my practice, it's so common my hearing individuals doubting the value of their persons. They feel inherently defective. They don't feel deserving of love and respect. They see themselves as worthless.  A lot others constantly compare themselves to others. Rather than being conscious of their own value or uniqueness as persons, they continue to experience bothersome thoughts and feelings about themselves.

The convictions that sustain and reinforce one's value and uniqueness are essential to counteract common internal negative messages held by persons. The beliefs that need to be cherished by the self are:

*  I am a person of worth.

*  I am important.

*  I am in the best position to experience what I'm  like in the inside.

*  I can love my self  despite whatever happened to my externals.

*  I respect my self and expect others to respect me.

*  I take personal responsibility for all my thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

*  I have a good relationship with each part of my self.

*  I am unique, no one in the world like me.

*  I am my own best friend.

*  I do nothing to harm my health and relationships.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

The False Self

Psychology speaks of the existence of a "false self" in a person's psyche.  This part of the self hides secrets, necessitating erecting an accommodating exterior or mask.

All work on self discovery and recovery comprises this psychological concept of "false self." It lives a life of not following the truest and deepest inclinations of one's core being.

Dependent or non-autonomous, the "false self" is unable to disengage from social, cultural, and instinctual conditioning. It can not make choices that reflect one's true self, identity, and personal mission.

Nora is a 50 year old patient who sought therapy for her low self esteem. In our sessions, she continually anguished over her health, the approval of her husband and children, and what people say about her physical appearance.

She suffered from depression, anxiety attacks, and exaggerated concern of other people's opinions. Hypersensitive, she bordered a lot toward hypochondria and eating disorders. As a result, she caused her self unnecessary trouble and wounding in her relationships.

Upon deeper probing, I found out how much Nora was hurt and traumatized during the normal formation of her persona since childhood. Her mother treated her as if she's one of the house maids when she was a little girl onwards.

She received verbal, physical, and emotional abuse from her mother for so many years. Her mother definitely failed to respond to her basic needs. To survive, Nora's only choice was to hide who she is and use defensive, rigid adaptation defenses.

Nora is not alone. Countless individuals develop a pathological "false self" due to ancient false efforts for adaptation caused by parental mistakes or abuse.  So disturbed in a primary relationship by numerous frustrations and hurts, a child learns to build a protective defense wall. 

Instead of presenting a healthy persona, the wounded child tries to ward off the outside world which is experienced as hostile and rejecting. Far from being conscious, the unhealthy adaptation only leads to deeper alienation of the true self.

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Solo But Not Lonely

Nowadays, there are commonplace circumstances that make it hard to marry or be "coupled." For others, the brokenness or dysfunction in their families has not made family companionship come their way. Of course, singles, solo parents, and divorced individuals have always been with us. Then there is also the prevalence of homosexuality as an alternative lifestyle increasingly accepted in our society.

Either by choice or by force of circumstances, a fast growing number of people today are living alone around the world. 

In life situations like this, the oft-quoted saying stands true:  "In acceptance lies peace." So in what way exactly can that saying apply to the single state? 

Catherine, now age over 90s, lives alone. She was once married but divorced due to her former husband's infidelity and addiction. All her life, she worked hard to support her self and growing children. When her children became adults and started their own families, Catherine was left to live alone by her self. 

Now in precarious health and limited material resources, she's always asked if she ever felt lonely. To this, her response is: "Yes I live alone but I'm not lonely. How can I be lonely when God is with me?"

Solo but not lonely. 

The example of the life of Catherine demonstrates that singleness need not be equated to loneliness. When thinking of singleness, we should not also overlook the reality of numerous singles around the world who find fulfillment and satisfaction in the solo state. 

The magnificent accomplishments in all aspects of society, such as politics, the arts, or religion, would had been greatly undone if it were not for gifted single men and women. 

If the single state is where you are now, both men and women, even though you prefer marriage, take heart. It can be good for you! For example, there are lots of miserable married couples today. Your state of singleness can be better than the state of marital misery. 

More importantly, the secret of happiness and contentment in your single state is when it's activated for God. It will overcome the loneliness usually accompanying singleness which is never forever. 

Friday, February 10, 2017

When Our Parents Die Twice

Our fathers and mothers may die twice. First, during their actual dying. And the other is the experience of non-relationship with them.

I have sat with a couple, Charlie and Mary (not their real names in this composite story), who both needed to recount detailed memories of their parents' last days as well as their estrangement or abuse from them. Specific scenes and conversations kept coming back to them with extraordinary vividness. 

Charlie, triggered by his father's lack of attention to him while he was alive, died while he was so young. This left him fending for himself to support his studies and his mother. Mary, on the other hand, relived the period of her childhood during which her mother physically and verbally abused her. In her death bed, Mary's mother continued to berate her, swamping Mary with painful memories she could not handle.

In our marital therapy sessions together, Charlie and Mary both realized that their own respective parents died twice. As a result, they found themselves hurting and abusing themselves and each other without fully understanding why. Wasting the good present in their lives because their past remain present. Their marriage exposed the "unfinished business." Charlie and Mary lived to heal and revise their memories and self perceptions in accordance with the knowledge that they were gaining in therapy.

When our circumstances become humbling or we get wounded, things can become clear from the vantage point of helplessness. We can end up learning coming to terms with our parents' deaths. We may finally be able to forgive our parents for their mistakes or failings. We may finally learn to leave home and live our own separate identities. Recognition of this key element in self healing can supersede even a life time of heart wounds and disappointments. 

As psychologist Dr. Erik Erikson suggests, full spiritual health arises when one attains an "acceptance of one's own and only life cycle" and a "new different love of one's parents, free of the wish that they should have been different." Some people lived long enough to find this truth out.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Self and Entitlement Mindset

Do you have an entitled self? What I mean is, one suffering from a deadly mind-set psychologists call "entitlement mentality."

Maria, one of my long-term patients,  is a third-generation child born to a very wealthy family clan. From birth onwards, she grew up getting everything she wants. Her parents, sincerely driven by their love, desire to ensure that Maria "does not go through the hardships they went through." Every decision, including every sharp corner or struggle in life, is conveniently covered by Mommy and Daddy. 

As a result, Maria develops a belief that this is what life really is. Her self in luxury becomes a well entrenched expectation inside her brain. She is conditioned that she shouldn't have to work for things she wants. For her, the good life is her right and no longer a privilege. And there is anger or rage if she doesn't get her way or what she wants ...and get it easily. 

Once, Maria misspent millions from her family-funded business, going to bars, partying, drinking, taking drugs etc. When her business went bankrupt, she incurred multiple millions of debts from creditors who filed legal suits against her. Her family covered for her, paid all her debts. Now forced into personal psychotherapy and rehabilitation by her family, she continues in her "entitled self" and pass all the blame to her parents and family to what happened to her and her business.

Entitlement mentality is a deadly mental disease. It's a state of the mind in which a person believes that her "privileges" are instead her "rights." It believes that she deserves the "right" to be given special treatment, the comforts of life, without regard to consequences of her choices. She desires continuing supply of material things she believes she deserves. Refusing to accept or see what life is in reality, a person with entitlement mentality only experiences a vicious cycle.

What many parents fail to realize, my self included, is that by depriving our children of pain in facing the difficulties of life, we deprive them of Self development and growth. We spoil them, blinded by what we perceive as parental "love." With lack of proper perspective of what life really is, our children become immature and broken - psychologically, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. It leaves them with entitlement mentality, which produces weakness instead of strength. It makes our children forever dependent individuals instead of independent ones. 

If your self is living life with an entitlement mindset, it's not too late to heal and change. You can choose to change the invisible "roots" of your character so you can change the visible "fruits" manifesting in your life. Work on what you want, earn what you believe you deserve.

Adversity is your self vaccination against the disease of entitlement mentality. When faced with adversity, embrace it and learn from it. Take responsibility for the consequences of your choices, whatever they may be. Quit blaming others or circumstances. Heal this disabling mindset and be whole in your self through the refining process of adversity. 

Thursday, February 02, 2017

At Least One Person Who Cares About You

We all need an experience with at least one person who cares about us.

Before we can fully believe the good in our selves, we have to experience it personally. We need specific encounters with other individuals. This provides us with necessary roots, a basis for hope of a better life, even to the end.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I've seen lonely, angry, disordered personalities become gentle and receptive. They do in response to my taking an interest in their selves and lives. As I unconditionally accept them as they are and help them in their journey, many gave up their self destructive habits. It's a direct response to the love and caring and understanding they received in our work together.

Author Ben Weininger, in his book "Aging Is A Lifelong Affair," he observes:

"You need an experience with at least one person who cares about you. It doesn't matter what age this person appears. If you didn't have a close relationship when younger, and you now have one close person in your life, that makes up for the early deficiency. That person can appear at any time in the life cycle, even on the day of death. One does not need to make up for lost time."

I once knew a foreigner when I was much younger. At that time, I felt totally vulnerable. I felt hurt by my parents, and I could not get close to them. Then, this man from another country started talking to me. He kept visiting me, dropping by to take walks with me and have coffee talks. He'd crack jokes, treat me to nice meals, and bring me to feel part of his family. In my self development, such person was most meaningful and moving because he was not kin or within my immediate circle of relatives.

There may be no certain guaranteed formula for self-security. But the presence of at least one person in your life who cares about you almost always serves as a strength.

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Healing in Silence and Inactivity

The sooner we start learning to live fully, avoiding the waste of "unlived life," the better for our self growth. Yet prior to experiencing a crisis or trauma, few people live in terms of fullness in self understanding and development.

After three years suffering from a multimillion financial bankruptcy from his business, Mark, one of my patients with childhood psycho-trauma, was compelled by his paternal relatives to seek therapy. He never improved in his self awareness, marital, and financial situation since his business failed. So, for the first time in his adult life, Mark allowed himself to sit still and processed things more completely this time.

For some people, illness, impending death, relationship breakdown, or other traumatic experiences become the impulsion for them to "face their self." Before, they never gave a thought where they were racing to for they're always in such a hurry. So now, in silence and inactivity, they're provided with a golden opportunity to bring illumination into the hidden aspects of themselves to radically change their lives.

Writer Lewis Mumford wrote in his book "The Conduct of Life:" "Too many of us wait for an illness entertain solitary moments ... We should not depend on such accidents to make a timely orientation possible. A half hour of solitude, detached and 'empty' - that is essential for a new beginning."  Indeed, Mumford seems to be saying here and encouraging each one of us to spend at least  half an hour a day in complete silence and inactivity and solitude, with no outside interruption.

Self development requires appreciating silence and inactivity. Quiet time. Even prayers to heal. We don't always have to be doing something. I remember my frequent sittings in the parks or malls, just bringing my self to a point of "emptiness." Even amidst crowds, I've learned to feel my soul open and strengthen like a muscle. It's during these times that I experience the healing goodness of silence, inactivity. Then, I'm able to see through the surface to the depths.

Monday, January 30, 2017

Recollection and Relinquishment

I once heard the reminiscences of a 70+ year old man who lost his wife to cancer. He certainly did not take his wife's disappearance lightly. It hurt a lot for him. He loved her so much.

In the number of times we met, he'd always reminisce on his past memories and moments with his loved one. It's as if he was still walking along with her like it was yesterday. He wanted to move forward through the remaining precious fragment of his life on earth. Yet he remained never without her.

We need both recollection and relinquishment. Hoarding loving memories is no better than shunning them. When a loved one departs, a need for disengagement is inevitable. Yet such does not have to be without heart. We may still do the proper leave-taking while not detaching our self off from beautiful sentiments.

As writer Rainer Rilke put it, "We live our lives, for ever taking leave." It seems that we thrive with some fuel coming from a flexible relationship with our past.

Sooner, this man shared that he had to relinquish at some level to live a different sort of life after his wife's death. He chose to have adventures!

He opened an international business with his adult children, put up a new foundation, and went to gym to do boxing (he's as strong as one in his 40's!).  He joined groups and met regularly with other men for bible studies. So now, after his loss, every day, he has such a full life that he won't run out of things to recollect in his memory!

Somehow, as we age, we tend to be more predisposed to do increasing doses of recollecting amidst relinquishing. Recollecting in our memory seems to seek continuity, no matter how long we live.

As Sharon Kaufman observes, we seek continuity in our recollections "so that a familiar and unified sense of self emerges in old age."

We all need a theme in our lives, in our recollecting and relinquishing, to account for what is happening to us.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The Problem That Has No Name

  • "I'm married for 20 years now and finding my self more and more energy-less. My wife didn't do anything. But I just walked out and found a young woman."
  • "I can't understand what's happening. I've a beautiful wife and three children, a well paying job, and a string of high end properties. I've got my health, yet I still feel empty."
  • "Each day, I do same thing at work. My office is comfortable. My fellow employees are friendly. And I wonder about what's wrong with me."
  • "My husband is loving and a good provider. My kids are cute and loveable. With all the comforts of home, I've free time to do other things. I ask myself why I remain dissatisfied."
  • "I'm tired from the minute I get up in the morning to the time I go to bed at night."
Isn't this a tremendous puzzle? To borrow writer Betty Friedman's phrase, it's a "problem that has no name." This is a universal, common plight of millions of men and women around the world. They are tired, joyless, and thoroughly dissatisfied with life for seemingly no apparent reason.

Boredom is a malady typically described as "the problem that has no name." The problem knows no rank, status, or gender. It afflicts both rich and poor, educated and illiterate, famous and commonplace. Every one has the potential to experience boredom.

Unfortunately, boredom can produce deadly effects or consequences in one's self and life. It has the capacity break marriages and families apart. It can lead to fatigue, depression, and addictions. Left untreated, boredom could develop a host of psychological, emotional, behavioral, physical, and spiritual disorders.

I'm reminded of my Spanish subjects during college. I felt totally bored with it! I struggled to see the point of studying the language. As a result, my study efforts and grades suffered. This then led to dislike of my Spanish teachers, fatigue, and anger. The negative feelings emanating from my boredom impaired my academic performance and discipline.

So, what can you do about boredom?

Obviously, to accomplish your goals or what you want, you need to find a way to get through boredom. What can you do to make your life or work more interesting? How can you inject enthusiasm into your self during dull moments? In what ways may what you do make a contribution to benefit the needy or less fortunate? These questions could be good starting-points to overcome boredom.

St. Augustine once wrote, "Thou has made us for Thyself O God, and our hearts are restless until they find themselves in Thee." Or, as Paul wrote to the Colossians, "Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men ..." (Colossians 3:23). 

There it is - an ultimate anti-boredom prescription. When you find your life's meaning and energy in Him, boredom is never a problem.

Sunday, January 22, 2017

RAD: "Responsibility-Avoidance Disease"

Cassandra, one of my clients in joint session with her husband, was fuming. She protested my encouraging her to put in the effort and thoughtfulness needed on how she feels and thinks towards her husband and children. In the light of her choices and behavior, she found her self hurting everyone in her family. Yet she continued to blame, displacing all responsibility into them. Unfortunately, she chose to studiously avoid a deep examination of her self and owning her part in family relationships.

RAD or "responsibility-avoidance disease." It's essentially a choice to evade responsibility for what you are and how you think and feel on you. You deny your self-creation. You reject that you are the cause of your own "experience" and responsible for everything that happens in that "experience." It's the inability to choose personal responsibility that keeps people stuck in their lives. Only when they make this choice can their life move forward. 

A core of personal healing and wholeness is responsibility assumption. You are the sole creator of your "experience" of whatever happens to you. You are responsible for creating the "experience" of your loved ones' manifesting behavior, your being wounded by abusive parents, your being betrayed by your spouse, your financial bankruptcy, and so on. Do things happen to you and you're a just mere passive, innocent bystander?

Psychotherapy and responsibility are closely connected. RAD is bad for mental health. Responsibility acceptance and assumption leads to therapeutic recovery. Dynamically, a certain amount of ego strength is necessary if one is to successfully assume personal responsibility. It involves the belief that you have the power to act on your behalf. You recognize that you can create and influence your own experiential worlds. You're able to see the causal relationship between your own behavior and your outcomes.

Indeed, this shift of mindset is a major key to life change. As noted psychologist William James put it, "If you can change your mind, you can change your life."

Thursday, January 19, 2017

"Woman Criminal:" Hope in Broken Places

Such a warm, peaceful Tuesday afternoon. A cool, quiet drive with a TV reporter to one part of the city. As we entered the gate of the Women's Correctional, I sensed something up ahead. Before I realized what it was, it flashed before my eyes - I could see it now ... the color-dressed woman inmates, some staring at me, some smiling at me. I don't mean to be grandiose, but I felt they're not that different from those outside. And by seeing so, I saw a part of me as well.

My TV researcher guide, Georis, served as my cheery informative usher into a populous facility. My first ever visit here. The TV crew and staff were all over, already setting up. In a few moments, I was handed a "case study" transcript about one who they described as a "decent-looking, hi-society, pretty criminal." Along with lunch food, Georis made me digest the story of a wrecked life. So what appeared to be a curiosity visual tour of a place I'd never seen became a day of silent therapeutic reflections. Of course, it had been worth it.

Monica (not her real name). Over 6 years now, she's imprisoned in the Women's Correctional. Her case: robbery, estafa, and faking death. She stole millions worth of cash and jewelry. She hid and escaped legal prosecution and imprisonment by staging her "death" - violently, crazily, and fatally. Coached by her lawyers, she bought a corpse and burned it along with her car, and produced a fake death certificate. After 3 years of successful hiding, the police and NBI caught her that turned out to be a sensational media story. That's the Monica they're featuring in the upcoming episode of GMA 7's popular tele-drama "Magpakailanman."

Before my on-camera TV interview, I sat in a sofa near inmate Monica in real person. We chatted. I asked her questions, some too personal or "dangerous." Monica just smilingly responded. She was 
friendly, although she appeared to me to be kind of nervous. She honestly shared that her husband and three children practically abandoned her for years onwards while she's in prison. Her husband never visited her since he caught her having an affair during her incarceration. My mind swirled around images of how she has been healing. Naturally, I wondered about what else she thinks and feels living her life as a rehabilitating woman "criminal" in the Women's Correctional. I imagined my pulse shot up a bit that I had to take a grip of my fingers while speaking to and knowing more about Monica. 

Enter Mel Tiangco, TV host of "Magpakailanman." She asked too many difficult questions. One, among others, Mel asked referring to Monica, "Dr. Subida, how come a good-looking woman who comes from a decent, well-to-do family will choose to rob, do illegal and criminal activities, and even fake her death?" I responded by saying that crime is not dependent on appearance or gender; it's a 
non-physical, psychological "wound." Even prior to everything that happened, this ancient character "wound" was already existent. Monica never knew how to deal with her "wound," so she went to the wrong activities, the wrong people, the wrong places -- a life of crime - to medicate her "wound."

The world is full of wounded individuals who choose to pursue a life of crime. In psychological treatment, criminal minds are classified under ASPD or antisocial personality disorder, also referred to as sociopathy or psychopathy. It's characterized by strong toxic traits such as conning, deception, lying, reckless disregard of safety of self and others, violence, and an impoverished, numbed conscience. Due to the nature and severity of the disorder, it is often good in simulating remorse rather that truly desiring to change. ASPD is one of the most difficult dramatic/erratic mental disorders to treat based on the DSM diagnostic manual.

"Is there still hope for them to change?," the TV host asked.  Of course, there is always hope for any criminal while there is life. You can choose to heal, grow, and deepen as a truly transformed human being despite what was done in the past. The past does not have to define your present and future. 
There's no reason to stay in crime or wounding a minute longer. The escape route is clearly marked. It can't just be psychological/emotional relief or better circumstances. It must lead to the cross ... where you find the only One greatest Psychotherapist who ever lived that can bring you true wholeness, inner fulfillment, and lasting peace.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Who Authors Your Self?

I think it was Abraham Lincoln who once said that, after 40, you are responsible for your face! Whenever you're faced with external adversity in your life, no matter how painful or traumatic it may be, you remain responsible for the attitude you adopt towards it. Responsibility is authorship. 

A patient of mine, Leila, shared her formidable adversity. She's 57, abandoned by her husband 10 years ago, and currently experiencing medical challenges. She tormented her self by "choosing" to believe that not having a man or getting married again is a life without value. Her life's meaning and energy is attached to that basic assumption. 

Since her present situation appears to jeopardize the likelihood of finding a desirable partner, Leila became severely depressed and withdrawn. She felt no responsibility anymore for anything, including her self-care. She closed off many other options for her self. This included things such as serving others, developing circles of support with women, or even a nonsexual friendship with a man.

The bulk of my therapeutic work with her involved challenging her basic assumptions in the authorship of her life. One, of course, has to do with the belief that life is about marriage or having a man. Life is certainly more than that. The other consists of her self-deprecation as a result of what happened to her. Though she's not responsible for her husband's abandonment and rejection, she's responsible for how to "experience" it. She bears complete responsibility over her attitudes towards it and moving on from there.

An important task of therapy for Leila is to recognize and accept the external "given" of her current life situation. Then, she learns to "choose" to be responsible in authoring a new chapter in her life. That requires an active stance rather than passivity towards one's external environment and circumstances. With full acceptance of personal responsibility, Leila authors a new self with even greater significance and direction.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Healing Your Love-Approval Addiction (Part 2)

We all need love. We all need approval. It's a basic reality of our human existence. Our self, in its deepest core, needs love and approval to survive, grow, and thrive amid life's challenges. However, the problem begins when we become overdependent on others that we miss giving our selves first the love and approval we need.

I'm reminded of Imelda. She was telling me that she has already read all sorts of psychology and self help books to boost her self. She'd practice Self-affirmations like "I am worthy," "I love my self," or "I have talents people need." Still, she finds her self criticizing her self,  dwelling on her negative feelings, and turning to addictions.

Why the self-abandonment? Why is this repeatedly happening - psychologically and emotionally - to countless individuals?

You see, when you give your self love and approval in just the rational way, it doesn't work. This is especially true when your self affirmations are coming from that part of your brain where your unprocessed "wounded inner child" resides. If you've had a horrible childhood where you experienced abandonment, abuse, or deprivation and it's a past still in your present, that part of you will block your self affirmations. It feels that you're just "making it up" when you give your self love and approval.

Obviously, in order for your self love and approval to affect the core of you, it cannot come from your ego-impaired "wounded inner child." For healing to take place where your self can truly experience your self love and approval, you need to be connected to your "Higher Self." Your wise, loving "Higher Self" goes deeply inside of you where your "wounded inner child" can develop the capacity to believe when you give your self approval. This "Higher Self" then follows it up whereby you learn to take loving  actions toward your self.

This is how you heal your "love-approval addiction." You give your self love and approval first from your "Higher Self" rather than from your pre-programmed mind. In this way, your inner child can experience accepting and believing them.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Healing Your Love-Approval Addiction (Part 1)

Melissa can't make her self happy. Her happiness and well being are heavily dependent upon getting love and approval from her husband and children. Outside home, she constantly thinks of what others think of her and her appearance. She is always limited by other people's opinions. As a result, she doesn't take risks and experiences a host of psychological symptoms, which includes anxiety panic attacks, deep depression, and severe fears.

In my numerous years as a psychotherapist and counselor, I've discovered that "love and approval addiction" is a far more prevalent or common addiction than any other drug addiction.  I see it everywhere, not just during my sessions or personal and professional interactions, but much more so in the news, media, and in all walks of life. We live in a world of love-addicted, approval-addicted human beings.

Living as a "love/approval addict" is a very hard, unhealthy way to live your life. Your feelings are always up and down, like a roller coaster. You constantly worry about doing the right thing, looking right, pleasing people to get your needed love and approval. When you don't get your fix, you feel despair, anger, or you become judgmental.  You simply can't handle or cope with even the slightest pain of disapproval, rejection, abandonment, or being shut out.

If your addiction to love and approval of others is running your life, albeit unconsciously, you are hurting your self. You are hurting your personal sense of safety, worth, and loveability. No matter how much approval or love your receive from others, it never heals your inner insecurity that comes from abandoning your self. The more you become aware of this and take direct steps to address it, the better you'll feel about your self. And the less you'll become addicted seeking approval from others.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Wisdom in Parenting in Childhood Onwards

A mother once spoke to me about her disrespectful children. During their childhood onwards, she handled the children by pushing them into a friendship with her. Instead of being a parent to them, she’d converse with them as if she’s just a friend or companion and not an authoritative figure. The side effect of  her parenting style is conditioning the children to take disrespectful liberties with her.

It's psychological abuse when a parent handles children inappropriately. In this instance, the mother denied the children the parenting they needed because she allowed her role to be compromised by her need for companionship and friendship. It’s a thin line of parenting behavior. Crossing it leaves a child with an undefined and empty view of himself.

Perhaps, the children would be accommodating to your unmet need as a parent. But only for a short while. In their hearts and minds, it stretches them. The role reversal does  strain what their parent-child relationship was meant to be. A parent forcing water from their children that should come from someone else or other adult sources is a relevant parenting lesson.

Wisdom is called for parents with growing children. Make sure we don’t make their tender, immature frame handle undue weight prematurely. Eventually, time will arrive when our children could handle adult weight or issues. But prematurely, the weight becomes a source of potential psychopathology. Even a curse.

Friday, January 06, 2017

It's Never Too Late To Change and Be Whole

As I write this, a new year has come. Tradition shows that people used to make new year's resolutions. They resolve to become better selves as they start a new year.

A best principle to bear in mind for this is the principle of "sowing and reaping." "As you sow, so shall you reap," as Scripture admonishes. A related guide is the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you."

People who believe and apply this principle, which some call "karmic justice," are less likely to hurt themselves or their neighbor in the course of their life journey. Their choices or decisions will always be governed by their awareness of the long term or essential effects of their deeds.

A woman I'd been counseling said she has become out of control and violent in reacting to her husband's infidelity. Moving on to our talks, she confessed that she herself had secretly cheated on her husband multiple times during business trips.

Yes, the couple is experiencing high hopes. They confessed their unfaithfulness to each other and vowed to heal and change. Individually and maritally, they desire to recover through the deep process of therapy and counseling.

Yet both of them have to reckon with the reality of the reaping effects or consequences of their past sowing in their individual well being and marital state.  Surely there is hope and healing is always possible. Even in a fragmented state, one can get stronger and be renewed from day to day - leading to a fuller life.

Healing and growth does not stop with deep childhood trauma or ongoing consequences of past mistakes. Each new year presents new opportunities for loving and changing. The "missed development" can be made up and remedied in whatever stage of life. It's never too late to change and be whole.

Monday, January 02, 2017

Leaving The Past Behind

"I'm over it. I just need a few 'quick' sessions to get me back on the road," a woman explained to me. As it turned out, her therapy wasn't as "quick" or instant as she had hoped. She wanted to move on fast.

However, she was not interested enough in fully resolving her painful issues and memories. Her past continued then to be in her present. It took her years before she finally saw the importance of dealing with one's "unfinished business" in order to heal and be whole.

Many times, we want "instant solution" to our problems. In my effort to help people, they would like me to say something miraculous that will allow them to quickly recover. We want "magic," not hard work.

The truth is, when we have been wounded at our deepest levels, we are in need of an adequate process that requires our active, committed participation as well as follow through. This is not easy and instant. But in the long run, it is the most profound, lasting way to psychological, emotional, and spiritual health.

This coming New Year, if you are in that situation, will you finally choose to do your needed work and at last "leave the past in the past?" Will it really be new beginnings for you this New Year 2017?

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Christmas Materialism and Mental Health All Around The World

This morning, as I was sipping my brewed coffee, I read a Christmas comment of Pope Francis (a psychologist himself) of the world's 1.2  billion Catholics. He remarked and decried that Christmas has always been "taken hostage" by dazzling materialism that puts God in the shadows. 

He observed that a great majority of people in the world celebrate Christmas with a different "celebrant," obsessed with gifts, feasting, and self centeredness. The Pope said, "Worldliness has taken Christmas hostage. It needs to be freed."

I always witness one thing from our generation today. We are constantly exposed to "things" that convince us that we need more to be happy. This Christmas, I treated my children with new iPhone, clothes, watch, gym membership, sumptuous food, cash etc, in keeping with their wish to be up to date with fads. I know, in my mind for I'd been through it myself, having obtained what they think they need, they'll soon feel unhappy when new models come out!  It's never-ending.

I'm naturally concerned about materialism's psychological effects on my kids. "Things" may not be evil in themselves, but they have the capacity to be "idols of the heart." They can make one psychologically imbalanced, lose touch with reality!  They can lead one to forget Christ's simple admonition:  "One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses" (Luke 12:15). In the constant presence of "things" and the spirit behind them, one may indeed lose touch with the divine as well. 

Have you ever experienced living in cold Antarctic all by yourself?  There is this guy, Admiral Richard Byrd, who did it for months. In his journal, he wrote: "I am learning ... that a man can live profoundly without masses of things." 

Alexander Solzhenitsyn had a similar insight. He was thrown into Soviet prison and all things he held dear were taken from him - books, loved ones, home, freedom.  It was then that he came to write about the secret of how to be truly happy and strong -- "that man is never stronger than when he has nothing but the treasures within his heart."

Is having money, possessions etc wrong or pathological? Of course not.  Christ, the reason for the season, is simply against anything that becomes a "god" in our hearts and leaves God out of our lives. Unfortunately, this is a very common "psychological illness" and "soul wound."  Many people nowadays are "possessed by possessions" as no other generation in history.      

Christmas and materialism always go together each year to millions around the world. We witness lots of gifts and parties but there is a different "celebrant." It's a different "lord" that continues to dominate the season. This can wound people - emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually.

As Pope Francis remarked, Christmas needs to be "freed." That involves a lot of renewing of the mind.

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Healing Your Holidays

For those experiencing loss, emotional wound, or relationship breakdown, holidays such as Christmas and New Year can be excruciatingly painful times.  Death, divorce, separation, illness, financial lack, betrayal of friends or loved ones are great losses that can make holidays difficult.

Therefore, let me offer here some thoughts and tips ont how to survive the holidays:

1.    Prepare emotionally and physically, beforehand;
2.    Remind your self that it's a passing season and it will be over soon;
3.    Don't self-medicate or anesthetize with drugs, alcohol, overeating, partying, sexual acting out to numb the pain;
4.    Manage your expectations and realities;
5.    Force your self to socialize and not isolate or hibernate;
6.    Call, text, or meet your therapist or closest friend when painful feelings get severe;
7.    Keep up your physical exercises or workouts (e.g. gym, running, walking etc.), no excuses!;
8.    Try to eat less and move more!
9.    Eat healthy foods;
10.  Reach other people who may be hurting and serve or converse with them;
11.  Don't allow people to push your buttons;
12.  Pray and read God's Word, get close to and trust God in all circumstances;
13.  Remember the reason for the season;
14.  Have fun!
15.  Practice gratitude and contentment;
16.  Educate your self, read self improvement books etc;
17.  Focus on your unique purpose in life;
18.  Enjoy your hobbies or passions;
19.  Connect in new, healthy ways with your spouse or children, family member/s;
20.  Reflect on and learn from your past mistakes to create a better you.

21.  Always hope, for the best is yet to come.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

The Therapist and You


It's a generic term. A word that may refer to any of the following: psychologist, psychiatrist, pastoral counselor, social worker, clergy, life coach, or mental health consultant.

Therapist does a number of things to help heal. Interprets. Reflects. Confronts. Challenges. Comforts. Role plays. Whatever he or she does, including techniques etc., they're geared towards helping smeone to come out different or whole.

More than what he or she does, a foremost element of change and healing is the therapist’s “presence.” It’s who he or she is, regardless of his or her theoretical allegiances, that makes the main difference in a mind and soul in torment.

Psychotherapist/author Dr. Rolls May speaks of presence as a "complete experiencing of the patient's being - not of his symptoms or problems but of his essence. A therapist who is wise, loving, sincere, or inspirational comes fully prepared to enter a patient's world.

Therapist and patient or client are partners in the life journey. Fellow travelers. Equally human.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Nourishing Your Self-Care

Self-Care is vital. You miss or neglect it, you break down. You get ill. You experience unhappiness.

There are known effective ways or strategies to maintain self-care. I'm thinking of some specifics below where we may need to actively work on to improve and maintain our self-care.

Assess and get ready to better self-care.

Physical Self-Care:

* Eat regularly (e.g. breakfast, lunch and dinner) 

* Eat healthy 

* Exercise 

* Get regular medical care for prevention 

* Get medical care when needed 

* Take time off when needed 

* Get massages 

* Dance, swim, walk, run, play sports, sing, or do some other physical activity that is fun 

* Take time to be sexual with your spouse.
* Get enough sleep 

* Wear clothes you like 

* Take vacations 

* Take day trips or mini-vacations 

* Make time away from telephones and gadgets 

Psychological Self-Care:

* Make time for self-reflection
* Have your own personal psychotherapy
* Write in a journal
* Read literature that is unrelated to work
* Do something at which you are not expert or in charge
* Decrease stress in your life
* Let others know different aspects of you
* Notice your inner experience—listen to your thoughts, judgments, beliefs, attitudes, and feelings
* Engage your intelligence in a new area, e.g. go to an art museum, history exhibit, 
sports event, auction, theater performance
* Practice receiving from others
* Be curious
* Say “no” to extra responsibilities sometimes

Emotional Self-Care:

* Spend time with others whose company you enjoy 

* Stay in contact with important people in your life 

* Give yourself affirmations, praise yourself 

* Love yourself 

* Re-read favorite books, re-view favorite movies 

* Identify comforting activities, objects, people, relationships, places and seek them out 

* Allow yourself to cry 

* Find things that make you laugh 

* Express your outrage in social action, letters and donations, marches, protests 

* Play with children 

Spiritual Self-Care:

* Make time for reflection 

* Spend time with nature 

* Find a spiritual connection or community 

* Be open to inspiration 

* Cherish your optimism and hope 

* Be aware of nonmaterial aspects of life 

* Try at times not to be in charge or the expert 

* Be open to not knowing 

* Identify what in meaningful to you and notice its place in your life 

* Meditate 

* Pray 

*  Sing 

* Spend time with children 

* Have experiences of awe 

* Contribute to causes in which you believe 

* Read inspirational literature (talks, music, etc.) 

Work Self-Care:

* Take a break during the workday (e.g. lunch) 

* Take time to chat with co-workers 

* Make quiet time to complete tasks 

* Identify projects or tasks that are exciting and rewarding 

* Set limits with your clients and colleagues 

* Balance your caseload so that no one day or part of a day is “too much” 

* Arrange your work space so it is comfortable and comforting 

* Get regular supervision or consultation 

* Negotiate for your needs (benefits, pay raise) 

* Have a peer support group 

* Develop a non-trauma area of professional interest 

* Strive for balance within your work-life and workday 

* Strive for balance among work, family, relationships, play and rest 

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Why Your Prognosis Is Poor or Slow

As a psychotherapist, I've seen the most perverse, even the most evil parts of human nature. Constantly, I get exposed to deception, conflict, manipulation, mistrust, betrayal, and even cruelty. Privy to people's most secret, hidden selves, I see them at their worst or severe states. Depending on the severity of a patient's condition, there is somehow a hint on the level of progress a therapeutic process will go.

Among therapists around the world, there is some consensus concerning factors describing problem patients. Let me cite some of the following characteristics that are usually observed by clinicians in difficult patients, that make prognoses poor or if any, slow:

*  Patients with severe medical conditions, like head injury or stroke
*  Patients who are hostile, argumentative, hysterical, or skeptical
*  Patients with borderline personalities, sociopathic personalities, or other personality disorders
*  Patients who refuse responsibility ("you fix me")
*  Patients who ignore boundaries (session absences, chronic lateness)
*  Patients with hidden agendas (economic motive, legal requirement, compensation)
*  Patients who are avoidant, seductive, or afraid of intimacy
*  Patients who want something the therapist cannot give them
*  Patients who are impatient
*  Patients who feel hopeless or actively suicidal
*  Patients with poor impulse control (offenders, addicts)
*  Patients who are too superficial, concrete, and literal - unable to access or express deeper internal states

If you're in therapy yourself, do you wonder why your process is progressing so poorly or slowly? For the most part, certain types of patterns of behavior or thought are inherently difficult to deal with. Patience and perseverance are greatly needed to reach desired outcomes.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Your Responsibility When Abused

You may ask, "How can I be responsible when I'm the one abused, hurt, or 'sinned against'?"

One of my former patients, Eddie, was an abandoned and abused child. In his childhood years, he remembers constantly being beaten up by his father and verbally abused by his mother. When he reached high school, his parents separated and left him to the care of neighbors, totally unsupported.

In response, Eddie grew up feeling so angry, bitter, and resentful towards his parents. Sooner, he found himself in the company of criminal gangs. He became addicted to shabu and smoking and got drunk almost each day to numb the pain he's experiencing. One day, in a police buy-bust drug operation, he was arrested and put to jail.

If you've been abused, hurt, or criminally victimized by someone at any stage in your life, you have no responsibility for the event itself. It's outside your control. The issue is not about what has happened to you. However, you are personally responsible and accountable about how you choose to respond from there on. Someone overpowered and wounded you by subjecting you to abuse, whether physically, psychologically, emotionally, or financially. You regain power through your response.

In the aftermath of trauma or destructive events in your life, avoid confusing "blame" with "personal responsibility." You are personally responsible and accountable  for the following:

*  what you choose to believe or decide about your self after the experience

*  how the experience influences your relationships and your life today

*  what attitudes and impressions you develop about other people

*  how frequent that experience from the past gets replayed in your brain, distorts your thoughts, feelings, and behaviors

Your choice. Listen to your self conversation. Take opportunity to see how you choose to respond to your life experiences. Remember, a key is to do so without blame of self and others.

Monday, November 28, 2016

"iDisorder," Anyone?

The smartphone is wonderful. With it, we can check our email, monitor our social network, write in blogs, keep in touch with loved ones and the rest of the world. It's an immensely used digital machine nowadays. In fact, anywhere we go, this tech piece appears to answer the "needs" of countless people around the world.

Yet I notice among us, most people I observe, that the smartphone is always immediately checked, used, or looked at. In the streets. Inside the movie house. While eating in restaurants. In the car, even while driving. Excusing one's self to go to the restroom to check the iPhone. Isolating, withdrawing from social interaction or party, to engage in the virtual place of games or fantasy. Don't you think something is going on here underneath the surface we see?

Dr. Larry Rosen, a well-recognized international expert on the psychology of technology, says there is a rising trend of a type of mental disorder he calls "iDisorder." According to him, iDisorder refers to "changes to your brain´s ability to process information and your ability to relate to the world due to your daily use of media and technology resulting in signs and symptoms of psychological disorders – such as stress, sleeplessness, and a compulsive need to check in with all of your technology."

Well, talking about iDisorder, it's not just smartphone overuse or "addiction." There is, of course, Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. YouTube. Plus ... a lot of other social networks and posting sites. They all look good and can enhance our social or mental life. But with iDisorder, digital technologies and social networks can be places where we may unwittingly harm our minds. Truly, there can be deeper roots of psychological problems related to overuse of technology.

iDisorder is a futurist psychopathology. It's possible, like in other good things, to let too much of a good thing become a bad thing in our lives. In a technology-centric world, we all need to regain control and keep our minds safe and sane.

How about a "tech break" to find out whether we're still normal or already disordered?

The Disease of Person-Addiction

Samantha, a married woman with three young children, met a man working in another country over the Internet. After chatting for some time, she developed a fondness towards him and would begin to miss him. Eventually, they developed an affair kept secret from her husband for several months.

When her husband found out, she "let go" of the other person. But she became deeply depressed and underwent severe withdrawal. Later, Samantha flew out of the country to be with a person she became addicted to.

Have you fallen for a married man or woman?

Or, if you're the married one, have you betrayed your spouse and family to get attached to another person?

Spiritually, socially, and legally, it's forbidden fruit. Noted psychotherapist and author Dr. Robert Herbern calls it "person addiction," a type of psychological disorder, that needs to be broken and where one must heal from.

You see, it's really like a kind of drug. The actual effects are physical, emotional, and psychological addiction and men and women who have this illness will go through the cravings ... just as any drug addict would. The only difference here is we are witnessing a "ruining of lives."

The thing is, with men and women suffering from this type of addiction, they'll feel the pain of "drug rehab." Sometimes, the pain is as much as a person coming off a hard drug like marijuana or heroin. The "person addict" may have shakes, vomiting, and depressive symptoms. He or she could also experience deep withdrawal and isolation.

There are 3 important things to do to deal with "person addiction":

1.) Get committed to "drug rehab" and withdrawal process so you can be physically, emotionally, and spiritually fit and whole again;

2.) Have a complete physical medical check up, eat healthy foods, and exercise;

3..) Then, you need to get into psychotherapy and counseling to work out your problems.

If you know someone who happens to be in this type of addiction, try to help him or her as much as possible. Yes, he or she may feel bad towards you for intervening. Never mind. Just be a true friend or loved one. Get help.

Thursday, November 24, 2016

Does Blaming Others Help You?

Blame. It's people's favorite pastime. Blame is, to point to someone or something to be responsible for something wrong or unfortunate that happened to you. As a result, you find your self feeling powerless or helpless.


Maria shared during our session that she spent a large portion of her life with a husband who has been long addicted to pornography and women. She chose to remain in the marriage because of the children and  his financial support. Her focus for years was on blaming her husband for her unhappiness. As long as she could vilify him to friends and relatives, she did not see a need to take action. She spent nearly 20 years hurting and blaming her husband and circumstances.

Eventually, Maria and her husband separated. Her husband continued on with his addictions and extra-marital affairs. Do you want to guess what Maria did after the separation? She found a boyfriend who was a married man. After several months, her married boyfriend abandoned her for he could not completely commit to her and their relationship. This in turn wounded her again more severely, allowing her to blame this boyfriend for her predicament rather than be accountable for her choices and actions.


Blaming others can be comfortable and familiar. See, it's their fault! Each time and in every circumstance where you blame others, you are reinforcing your belief that you are not responsible. Feeling the victim always, you get centered on your being helpless and powerless. People who habitually blame others focus on what affects them and what they have no or little control over. By concentrating on these externals, they prove to themselves that there is absolutely nothing they can do. 

Indeed, when you are living without personal responsibility and accountability, you move on stucked to the blame mode. The pathological result is draining energy from your self, others, and the world.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Important Question

Why is it that in most people, “victim experiences” seem to happen repeatedly? Over and over, it becomes a significant issue (sticking point!) in their lives.

Each of us experienced a heart broken. Feelings, spirit wounded. Rejected by people who matter. A victim of another person’s abuse or wrongdoing.

You are not alone.

But, in the course of coping with hurt and victim experiences, we differ in our ways. Look at some of these differences in coping:

— Disappearing (flying under the radar)
— Creating drama
— Becoming righteous and arrogant
— Clinging to someone to rescue us
— Medicating
— Addiction to things or behaviors
— Seeking sympathy
— Confronting obstacles
— Feigning indifference
— Recreating similar experiences to maintain the uncomfortable comfort zone
— Rescuing others
— Fighting

The “learned” coping mechanisms are unlimited. Yet the recurring experiences of victimization via these coping ways can be one of your best clues to your healing and recovery. Repeated dysfunctional patterns of coping provide feedback that you are resisting something.

The important question is, What?

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Prostitute Within

"Inner prostitute." Has it ever crossed your mind that such a thing exists inside you?

Understanding first what a "prostitute is, helps. A "prostitute," in its typical meaning, is one who sells sex and physical body in order to get money or some type of favor. It's a very first thing most people think when they hear the word "prostitute." The word "whore" also comes to mind.

Well, forget the sex in the definition. Think internal, non-physical. So, when I mention "inner prostitute," I therefore mean psychological. Even more so, spiritual. The "inner prostitute" inside each of us to some degree, is metaphorically one that "sells" a part of our selves in order to get something. This type of selling is actually "whoring" one's integrity and self-respect, pushed by the winds of self-interest, vice or indulgence.

Maria, married to a millionaire businessman, was sure that she's doing something against her values. Her husband has been used to bringing women in their bedroom whenever he comes home. Despite her protests, she continues to allow him to do so. According to her, she gives her consent and stays in the toxic marriage for financial security rather than courageously face the unknown. Sacrificing her self-respect for comfort, she "sells out" to her husband's abuse rather than being true to her self.

The "inner prostitute," as you can see, is primarily attached to issues of survival and security. It thrives on deep fears. Often, those who persistently struggle with their "inner prostitute" experienced extreme physical, psychological, and emotional abuse, deprivation, and battering during childhood or earlier years of development. In order to fill the gaps, a person giving in to his/her "inner prostitute" becomes willing to whore away his/her integrity, self-respect, and values to feel provided for, guarded, and protected.

The result? Psychopathology. Personal and relationship breakdowns. A lack of purpose and happiness. Instability in various areas of life. Identity prostituted to others, which may include things such as time, affection, heart, soul, creativity, friendship, or intellect. Telling untruths or lies to one's self and others to have power, a sense of "security."

Indeed, the heart is deceitful above all things. In it dwells the "inner prostitute." Have you come to know it yourself?

Friday, November 04, 2016

Listening With The Third Ear

Love and hate. Dependence and independence. Joy and sadness. Individuality and intimacy. To be left alone and to be assisted. Trust and mistrust. Denial and acknowledgment. To tell and not to tell. To stay and leave.

Opposite tendencies or wishes can do co-exist within us. Especially in moments of stress, we may experience feelings contradicting each other living inside us. What is false and what is true can be confused.

Bridget, a single mother of three, often gets caught in perplexing contradictions. She does not want to be treated as though she is incomplete or needy. However, she admits in her therapy that she'd like men to notice and love her, and making allowances for her hunger to feel "complete" with a man who'd take care of her. She asked, "Am I crazy? I'm confused."

Dividedness. The self pulled apart by contradictions. What do you do in such a distressing psychological state? There seems to be no easy solution. What helps can be the ability to "listen with the third ear." It's like my saying you using your "extra sense," which is something that needs deliberate cultivation. It's not easily accessible by natural means.

"Listening with the third ear" may mean dealing with our dividedness or contradictions as not a problem to be solved, right away. Before healing or wholeness sets in, this dilemma we always find ourselves in is an aspect of the human condition that must be accepted first. Once this prerequisite is done, you then free yourself from the domain of helplessness to resolution or coming to terms with it.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Coffee and Mental Health

It's Harvard. For many years that span multiple decades, its scientists and medical doctors have studied the effects of coffee among thousands of individuals. Health benefits are a recurring theme in all of these Harvard researches. As they say, coffee loves us back!

Among coffee's health benefits, besides physical, based on Harvard research is on mental health. There is, for instance, a 2011 study they made which showed that drinking coffee lowered the rates of depression and suicide. They also found that coffee improves thinking skills, memory, and overall cognitive functioning.

I've done a lot of psychotherapy sessions in the coffee shop. I know it's not traditional. But I'm just that - un-traditional, unconventional, out of the box  - because I desire healing to take place in a normal life context. Besides, it's the coffee.

I've realized that the personal therapy of countless individuals and couples in my sessions is facilitated by the coffee and the community hub feel of the coffee shop. Of course, a lot of times, it's the processing that makes the difference. And this processing is hugely impacted somehow by the conversations and experiences shared in the coffee shop.

Famous writer Gertrude Stein once wrote, "Coffee is a lot more than just a drink; it's something happening. Not as in hip, but like an event, a place to be, but not like a location, but like somewhere within your self. It gives you time, but not actual hours or minutes, but a chance to be, like be yourself, and have a second cup."

Voltaire claimed drinking tens of cups a day as a secret of his creative productivity. The philosopher James Mackintosh had said that the powers of a man's mind were proportionate to the quantity of coffee he drank.

Coffee and mental health?  There must be something to see in it.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

All The Wasted Time

A woman patient filed a police report and legal case against her long-time live-in partner. It's for physical injury and the RA law on violence against women. She was physically assaulted and seriously wounded by her alcoholic, sex-addicted, and violent partner.

The worst part of it is all the wasted time. She let it happen to her for many years. Finally, she has decided to give up on him if he won't choose rehabilitation. She left him and pursued legal remedy when the needed change becomes a matter of life and death.

I'm reminded of another patient whose heart began to beat erratically because of overwork. At risk of a fatal heart attack, he shared that he can't believe that he put his job before his family, friends, his health - everything. All he cared about was making money.

This patient was "lucky" that he's still breathing when he started thinking these thoughts! Now, everything he took for granted before becomes so precious. When his wife and daughters come to care for him, he'd cry profusely as soon as he sees them. 

All the wasted time! I can't imagine the regrets countless broken patients feel about their lives. No one can give them back all the days of their life spent boozing, abusing, or hurting themselves and their relationships. Why did they have to wait until everything gives out, collapses?

Indeed, nothing compares with emergencies, traumas, and pains in catalyzing rapid changes in life perspective. Realignment of life priorities often happens during times of exigency. For a lot of people, this is true. It compels them to finally assess their expended years for the "real" content of life they hope to live.