Thursday, August 16, 2018

Creative or Original?

Life takes creativity.

The challenges it presents can be overwhelming at times. They stretch us. They surprise us with the unexpected.

Creativity is one of the best ways to turn pain into purpose during hurtful times.

The opportunity is there. But you need to think and feel creative when you experience yourself getting damaged.

A lot of us don't see ourselves as creative. We often associate "creative" with "original." So we feel insecure. And already blocked even before we start.

The truth of the matter is, you don't need to be "original" to be "creative." In fact, it's healing to realize that there's no "original!"

Music genius and prodigy, Mozart, didn't see himself as "original." He claimed that he never wrote an original melody in his life.

He said that his creations were pulled from varied sources. Recombinations of old folk melodies, lyrics, and songs.

I like what T.S.Eliot said to describe "creative:"

 "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal; bad poets deface what they take, and good poets make it into something better, or at least something different. The good poet welds his theft into a whole of feeling, which is unique, utterly different from that from which it was torn."

There's really nothing new under the sun, except rearrangement.

Scripture says you're created in the image of the Creator. Because of that, you must, therefore, be creative.

That means being integrative. Being reflective of all the things He created under His Creation grace.

And, putting or rearranging them altogether to make life work for you.

With creativity, you can start producing all kinds of solutions and plans.

Even the unexpected or surprising in order to face any challenges that life throws at you.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Looking for Love in the Wrong Places

In her poem, "Why Do I Love Thee?," Elizabeth Barrett Browning writes:

"I love you, not for what you are, but for what I am when I am with you."

Love makes you to be at your best. Not just for the one you love. But for the whole world as well.

In our times and culture, love can be poisoned. Many are love casualties because of serious psychological problems and emotional hang ups.

Such internal state leads them to look for love in the wrong places.

A few weeks ago, Rowena, a local woman was telling me in-session that she had "no choice."

She's living in with a foreigner overseas, whom she described as "addicted to sex," because he supports her family financially back home.

Rowena was a battered child and sexually abused teen. She'd get hooked with men in order to leave an oppressive, poverty-stricken home.

Each man whom she had sex or relationship with in the past, she'd say "I love you." Even amidst being abused, used, or jilted, she claimed it's love on her part.

Indeed, emotional hang ups or psychological wounds can cause individuals to look for love in the wrong places.

What they say as love is actually "pseudo-love." Its non-love masquerading as love.

Emotional problems involving "pseudo-love" include a variety of other situations or possibilities.

Marriage for money, status, or pride of possession. Marrying a symbolic father or mother image. Rebound romance after infidelity or being jilted.

Jealousy, the big, sick kind. Possessiveness. Sexual addiction. Severe loneliness. In love with "love" magic. Deep or sudden losses. Betrayal wounds.

The list is longer.

When emotional wounds are unhealed or unprocessed, the more a person is prone to look for love in the wrong places.

Truthfully, we can only find love in the right places when we truly love ourselves first.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

What You Allow Is What Will Continue

"What you allow is what will continue." One of my favorite quotes. 

It implies permitting something to exist. To continue to happen. Whether positive or negative, healthy or non-healthy.

In therapy process, I call it "tolerating." The negative, the non-healthy.

Usually, individuals, couples, or families "tolerate too much" of it, which lead them to "suffer too much."

With it, a lot of the pain or misfortune we go through are actually caused by ourselves, not by circumstances or people.

I had a young patient who had a traumatizing, unhealthy relationship with her boyfriend. 

He'd smack her in the face, verbally and sexually abuse her. Such mistreatment pushed her to deep depression and suicidal attempts.

It went on for years. By now, this abnormal reality had become normal to my young patient.

Truly, if she had allowed him to treat her like a doormat, this jerk will continue to trample on her. And eventually destroy her life.

As psychologist Dr. Henry Cloud put it, you'd always get a combination of two things: "what you create and what you allow."

Rid yourself of negative, unhealthy, life-damaging "tolerating." Within you, your self. In your relationships. In your environment.

A lack of boundaries invites a lack of respect.

Take a firm stand. Put healthy boundaries. Care about what you create. Respect yourself.

What you allow is what will continue.

Monday, August 13, 2018

Facing Bad News

Your spouse cheated on you. You've been diagnosed with cancer. Your boss just fired you. Your daughter was molested. A friend betrayed you.

No one likes bad news. It wounds. It hurts.

It can bring you to an unwanted state of dread and despair. Many emotions can mangle in. It feels like your whole world is falling apart.

No one escapes bad news. It's part of life.

So, how do you face it?

Firstly, you take your deepest breaths. Mindfully, slowly. Stop for awhile. Take a long walk. Do proper self-care. Find your place of calm where you can think clearly.

Secondly, be aware of your emotions. Express them healthily. Your emotions can be an opportunity for dignity, self control, and resilience.

Thirdly, mentally process. Fully understand the context. No matter how bad the news, it's likely not the be-all and end-all of your life and existence on earth.

Fourthly, cope spiritually. Pray. Seek the higher power. This aids you transform the bad news into something positive. To see the whole picture. To re-launch your life.

Fifthly, get support and resources. Think about what you have. Your strengths. Your faculties and abilities. Your family, friends, funds, facilities. 

And finally, seek professional help if you're too overwhelmed. See a doctor, psychotherapist, or minister. It's totally ok to cry out for help. It saves you time, energy, and resources.

Be prepared to face bad news. Always. 

Cicero, famous philosopher, was never surprised of anything because he tried to be prepare always. 

He gave the example of Anaxagoras, a fellow philosopher, whose son died unexpectedly. Upon being told of the bad news, Anaxagoras said, "I knew that I begot a mortal."

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Just Google It?

"I'll just google it," said Bob whose girlfriend just recently broke up with him.

He was referring to healing from his wounded Inner Child, which he heard about in-session.

Bob couldn't understand why he's so detached in his personal relationships.

And somehow he felt he'd get better just by googling it!

Listen, if you're hurting or in a crisis, you may have heard of psychotherapy as a form of healing. And it's ok when you have doubts.

Google it. Research. Be well informed.

Don't just accept what anyone tells you, including me.

But if you believe you can find everything in Google, you're wrong!

Information? Yes, lots of it. And they're free from Google or all over the Internet.

But ... "wisdom?" ... "unconscious experience?" ... "interpersonal conflict resolution," "unconditional love?" ... "emotional catharsis?" ... "cognitive reprogramming?" ... "spiritual renewal?"


You can't get those from Google.

And if you're confused about the difference between these two matters, that's exactly why you need to seek help.

Modesty aside, I've individuals, couples, or families who healed significantly from their psychological wounds in my practice.

They have free information in Google. Yet lots still get stuck or remain wounded.

Why? Because that's not how real life works. "Wisdom" or "emotional healing" is not acquired by mere information.

Think about it.

Everyone Keeps Secrets

Keeping secrets is universal. It's human.

Keeping secrets not only from people around. But also, keeping secrets from one's self.

Call it denial, self sabotage, or character flaw, we all have times when we actually don't think or act in our best interests.

Bill, a celebrity attorney and politician, had a long-time sexual affair. When his wife found out, he denied it amidst overwhelming evidences.

"He should know better. His affair partner even admitted it to me," Bill's wife narrated in tears during our conjoint session.

Then, much later, he admitted it. Clearly, Bill engineered his march to progressive marital and family breakdown and dissolution.

What was Bill thinking?

How could a man so intelligent, even famous and powerful, use such poor judgment? In his personal behavior, lie about it, and fail to take into account the damage?

Psychologists speak of "continuum of awareness." That's one explanation.

At one end, you have no or little awareness of your thoughts and actions. Also, the consequences afterwards.

At the other opposite end, you know completely that what you're doing is not in your best interests or health. But you do it anyway.

In between the extreme ends is awareness that may be vague, diffuse, or has conflicting motives to be  able to choose.

No matter where you are on the continuum, something may still be denied internally. Overlooked. Ignored. Unattended to.

I suppose it's part of our humanity. Our imperfection, our incompleteness.

The remedy is deeper, truer self awareness.

Thursday, August 09, 2018

When People's Opinions Matter Too Much to You

Do you hyper-focus on other people's opinions about you?

A few days ago, I received a Skype text message from Gina. She's one of my emergency online therapy patients.

She said, "Doc, I feel I'm breaking down. I can't help not thinking about what my friend said about me the last time we talked. I can't eat and sleep and go to work."

Gina is used to overthinking and overreacting to what other people say about her.  She put too much attention, time, and energy into it.

As a result, she found her self constantly getting depressed, sleepless, crying, and unable to function.

Gina is not alone. Like Gina, a lot of us struggle with OPO ("other people's opinion") about us.

Solution? Practice my two-point "what really matters" healing focus.

There are only two opinions that should matter the most in your life: 1. God's opinion about you; and 2. Your own opinion about your self.

That's your two most important conversations - your conversation with God and your conversation with your self.

Focusing on God's opinion about you yields ultimate truth.

In Mark 12:14, Jesus was known as follows:

"Teacher, we know that You Are true, and care about no one; for you do not regard the person of men, but teach the way of God in truth."

 Focusing on your own opinion about you yields self love.

Noted author, Dr. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross, writes:

"People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."

The next time you get hurt by other people's opinion about you, remember where to focus. 

God-opinion. Self-opinion.

Such focus puts a wisdom smile on your face.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Buy Small and Free Your Mind

Several years ago, I bought a small condominium unit to live in. Near a television station area, where I've a lot of work or clients.

Since my children have grown up with the passing of their Mom, this move to a small place from our larger family house somewhat felt mentally freeing to me.

For one, it allowed "adulting" for my children. And a start for me to rebuild life by possibly marrying again.

In our family house, while my grown kids are yet unmarried, they can learn to embrace more adult responsibilities.

Here's another discovery I made living minimally: I experience more personal happiness and health living in a small space!

A smaller space requires less of my time, energy, and finances to buy or maintain. Less time cleaning too, and that's reason enough!

Moving into a smaller space forces me to remove baggage. Pare down my belongings. Strip the inessentials.

My minimalism also frees up my schedule and resources to pursue things that really matter in life.

This includes closer interaction with my loved ones in the space where I am. As well as pursuing purposeful work that makes a difference in other people's lives.

Minimalism is a great booster to one's personal mental health.

As is the case of many of my rich clients, they often tend to be held mental hostage by their possessions.

The more stuff they own, the more they own them!

The cultural mantra of "buy as much and as big as possible" proves to be a lie. It's not actually what can make people truly happy.

I just think you'll be happier and healthier if you buy smaller. Practice minimalism.

It's one of your best keys to liberate your mind.

Tuesday, August 07, 2018

Top Secret to Get Well

In the work I do, I help people heal. I search for secrets or principles that truly effect life change.

Of the things that matter to really get well, one top secret stands out: taking responsibility for your life.

But I observe that we all seemed more conditioned to blame.

In my sessions, I have yet to hear individuals, couples, or families not blaming any one or anything. For their problems, struggles, or failures.

They often blame their parents, their spouses, their children, friends, co-workers, business partners, the weather, the economy, the government, the lack of money etc.

People often don't want to see where lies the roots of their problem - within themselves.

Psychotherapist/writer John Monborquet once told of a story of a man looking for his car keys in front of a neighbor's house.

His neighbor asked him, "Are you sure you lost it there?" The man responded, "No, I lost it in my house."

"Then, why are you looking for your lost keys here?" the neighbor queried.

The man said, "Because there is more street light here on front of your house!"

Whether in psychotherapy or any aspect of our lives, we all need to take 100% personal responsibility.

This means, you are the main author of your choices, decisions, experiences - whether the result is success or failure, happiness or sadness.

The moment you take 100% responsibility for your life is the moment you heal and become whole.

Such involves letting go of excuses. Giving up the habit of blaming people or circumstances.

As George W. Carver  put it, "99% of all failures come from people who have a habit of making excuses."

If you want to truly heal, move on, and have a better future, take away the excuses.

Take responsibility for your every move. Your top secret to get well.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Infidelity: Separating or Staying?

Dina is a faithful wife. She has three teenage children and one adult child.

She never looked for another man even if she has lots of opportunities in her sales job.

One day, she thought of checking her husband's iphone. She saw a thread of endearing messages between him and a woman.

She investigated. And she discovered that she's one of her husband's clients in the office.

When Dina confronted her husband, he had no choice but to admit the infidelity. She's deeply hurt and upset. She shouted at him and called him names.

Immediately after discovery day, he became extra nice. But only a few weeks after, Dina found out from their family computer that he never stopped seeing the other woman. He lied.

"Should I separate from him? Will my children suffer if I separate from my unfaithful husband?" asked Dina during session.

Since Dina's situation had complexities, she needed time for deep process during therapy. On the choice to make as well as how to actually go about it.

After one's "best efforts" and the unfaithful spouse remains unremorseful, a healing separation is generally given as an appropriate psychological prescription.

In regard to the children, will they suffer if Dina leaves her husband?

If it's truly the right healing choice, children will only suffer if the parents fight in front of them every day. If they use them as pawns or spies to attack the other parent.

The children suffer too from separation if they're neglected or abused verbally and emotionally. Especially since the parents can't do it directly to themselves.

Ultimately, its Dina's responsibility. Her choice. Her pain. Her life.

This is not a "we" in reference to her children. The children suffer if a parent or both uses them as "crutch."

Dina alone has to be fully responsible for the choices she makes. For herself, her healing, and wholeness. For her marriage and children.

Saturday, August 04, 2018

Making Peace with the Light

Imagine a lighthouse. Breathe. Feel the fresh air.

Take a vision of releasing.

From your mind, heart, body, and spirit towards the light.

Permit your self a sense of peace and joy.

A patient, Norie, got tired of it all in her life. Her cage always got rattled.

She hated being such a scapegoat all the time.

Trying to be a "good girl who doesn't confront." A goody-goody that people dumps.

She needed to free her self.

That's when she sought the light. Truth. She pursued it by going into therapy.

Informationally, she realized how much of her current pattern is copied.

From goody-goody Mom to the abusive Dad of her childhood.

She's not born with the pattern. She learned it.

It's her parents' stuff, not hers.

To make peace with the light, she had to make it emotional! Even spiritual as well.

Mere knowledge was not enough light.

Just knowing brings her back to playing out the same old, dysfunctional patterns.

Emotionally, Norie retained a lot of the characteristics of her original hurt "emotional child."

When she became adult, it waged war against her adult intellect.

Truth is, before our brains or intellects were formed, the emotions got conditioned first.

Since the roots were emotional, Norie did something,

In therapy, she became emotionally engaged. Completely.

Awareness. Expression of the hurt. Flushing it out. Detaching from the original pain.

Empowering herself to forgive. Closure.

In doing that, she tore out the roots of her old patterns.

The way out was the same as the way in - emotional re-programming.

In the lighthouse, she did become truly free to live her own life.

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Mad at Dad

From childhood till college, Roberto had an absentee and nonproviding father. His father  disappeared when he and his sister were still too young to remember.

He heard stories of his father's multiple women and other children out of wedlock. As well as his addiction to alcohol and drugs.

Roberto's Mom worked to provide for their needs and education. Fortunately, his Mom's relatives put them in a home where they're taken cared of.

Nearly prior to college, his father suddenly re-appeared to Roberto and his sister. He offered financial help (so little though it was). They accepted.

But over time, Roberto discovered his father's true colors.

He had become unbearably mean, demanding, and verbally abusive to him, his sister, and their Mom.

Roberto's father evidenced lack of remorse. Over his past abandonment of them and other abuses.

"I can't stand my father and my relationship with him," cried Roberto.

Certainly, Roberto is not alone. We have many others whose parents' self-centeredness blinded them to their children's developmental needs.

That same self-centeredness may continue to keep these parents from recognizing their own dysfunction as well as the children's feelings about the relationship.

What can Roberto do given the present situation with his dysfunctional father?

He "breaks up" with him. That doesn't necessarily require completely cutting him off.

Just firmly asserting lines of appropriate boundary.

Roberto can't undo how his father treated him, his sister, and his Mom in the past.

But he can change the relationship he has with him from here on.

He has to remember this: he is not in charge of or responsible over his father's emotions, abuses, and consequences.

Whether his father chooses to change or not, Roberto is free to do what gives him life in the situation.

He (as well as his sister, Mom etc) doesn't need anger to establish boundaries with his father.

Just principle, patience, and persistence. Even grace. And saving truths.

Enough healthy boundaries and hopefully Roberto's father may get the message.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Future-Proof Work That Heals

Much of our lives are spent in work.

The work we do is a significant contributor to our overall health.

I've noticed that a host of people's psychological or emotional problems are work-related.

A few months ago, Noreen, a single Mom, was in tears during our session. She hated the employment she's in.

Her heart was not in the work she's doing.

Aside from stress in the office, she had no time freedom nor financial freedom to be able to devote enough attention to the needs of her little children.

Nowadays, the paradigm of "job" is breaking down. Times have changed.

And Noreen can find work healing in its midst.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg talked about it in a Harvard commencement address.

He said that we're now living in an entrepreneurial climate. And the internet has made this possible, leveling the playing field.

By 2020, it's been estimated by noted researches that 50% of the workforce will be entrepreneurs and self employed.

There's an interesting part of this healing work revolution powered by the internet. It's what experts see as an emerging new wave of "cultural creatives."

These are people who like to do creative work that's meaningful. They care for others.

They are workers who want to make a difference in the world.

Work that heals them is one that inspires them and others to be their best self.

It's rewarding, challenging, and purpose-driven.

As one internet millionaire put it, "We are moving from work being number 1 in our lives to LIFE being number 1 - and fitting our work in around our lives."

Yes, I call it "future-proof work that heals" for everyone.

It's value is forever. And it's more possible today and the future than ever.

Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Albert Einstein's Greatest Discovery

In biological psychiatry, the doctor is a physicalist. He looks exclusively for physical explanations of mental illness.

Psychotherapy, in contrast, is concerned with the mind, which is nonphysical. Often, it dismisses organic brain chemistry.

Notice that both sides appear to mistake the part for the whole. Each is overlooking the other side of the same coin.

The view, then, of human nature becomes incomplete. Unintegrated.

Albert Einstein, the famous scientist of the theory of relativity, shows us the whole coin. He was holistic and integrative.

According to him, the physical brain and the mind are complementary. They exist conjointly. Each is irreducible and indispensable to the other.

Indeed, Einstein's holism was evidenced when he later claimed that ...

"every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe - a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble" (as quoted in Abrams and Primack, 2000)

Albert Einstein, even though he's a physicalist scientist, offers us here the nature of spirituality as part of humankind.

He professed this personal belief by further saying, "The more I study science, the more I believe in God."

A long time ago, I started traversing the deeper spaces of psychiatry and psychology.

I did experience the incompleteness, the lack of integration within these fields.

When I discovered spirituality, as Albert Einstein did, it spanned the divide in my understanding of complete mental healthcare.

"I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details," Einstein said to express his longing.

Monday, July 30, 2018

When "Helpfulness" is Toxic

When is "helpfulness" toxic?

When is help not real help?

Donald's young daughter, Mary, related to him as if he were a god.

She felt almost privileged to be the daughter of a famous multi-millionaire businessman.

Along with her hyper-caretaking Mom, Donald provided his daughter with overflowing luxuries.

Anything he and her Mom thought she wanted.

Even prior to completing college, Donald's "help" to his daughter turned out to be in the form of a super-package: a new car, a new house, and a new bank account.

Mary actually did not have to work for anything. In her life.

Despite her gratitude for her parents' "help" and gifts, Mary felt increasing desperation inside her.

She felt tense and exhausted when she's in the company of her parents.

Right after school graduation, Mary disappeared for months. Refused responding to her parents' calls.

The toxic quality of her parents' "helpfulness" (despite their best intentions) became apparent to Mary.

She resented it when she experienced continued feelings of inadequacy and dependency on them.

And so with it, she'd feel unduly stifled in her growth.

Mary seemed to have had enough of her parents' "helpfulness."

Dr. Jerry Greenwald, in his book "Creative Intimacy," tells us:

"When we are interested in the growth of an intimate other, the most effective way of expressing this, as well as avoiding toxic games of being 'helpful,' is to stand out of the way and not impede the experimentation and self-initiating processes of the other person."

Growth is a process that happens from within a person.

We cannot do the growing for him or her. Even with our caring intentions for the person.

Nor can any other person do the growing for us.

Healthy helpfulness comes from getting out of the way!

We allow the other the opportunity to initiate and experiment with his or her solutions.

In this way, we foster the person's potential self growth.

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Books and Mental Health

Chris is a young patient of mine who is an avid reader and budding writer.

He loves reading novelist Andy Mcnab, an ex-psychopath. Later, he read Scriptures and found the apostle Paul.

In our sessions, Chris always refers to his books as his "therapy." His writing as well.

He'd always say that he'll more likely end up in the mental hospital if not for his books. They're his friends and guardians.

Most importantly, the books prevented him from killing his father at home!

Bibliotherapy is the use of books to heal mental illness. Or, directly and indirectly, address life's wounds and difficulties.

The word "bibliotherapy" was first coined by Samuel Crothers in 1916.

But historians say that the use of books to change behavior and heal distress has a long history. Even dating back to the Middle Ages, with hospitals taking the lead.

From the psychotherapist's vantage point, bibliotherapy is applied through the use of fictional or nonfictional books and materials.

The books are used in-session for the process of catharsis, identification, and insight. The releasing of emotional tension brings hope and behavioral change.

I'm reminded of another patient who hated being lectured to by her mother. What worked for her was a "story" we used together in understanding her impulsive rage.

After hearing the "story" from a book, she smiled. She began to see and process an alternative reality to her recurring anger outbursts.

Rather than being lectured to or directly addressed about her rage issue, she found insight through a more effective healing medium.

It's a book "story" that allows her to embark on an imaginative journey. And, it clicked!

Author Eric Walters writes, "I'm a big believer in bibliotherapy. Books have the power to change lives: what we think and what we do."

Friday, July 27, 2018

T-person, N-person: Which one are you?

There are two kinds of persons in the world.  T-person. N-person.

The T-person is "toxic." While the N-person is "nourishing."

The T-person is characteristically phony, manipulative, and deceptive. Often, he is rigidly judgmental or moralistic - denying reality, fact-twisting, and hiding information.

The T-person poisons relationships by using others to meet needs that are his own responsibility. He often looks to others to give him relief, growth, and identity.

The N-person, on the other hand, is emotionally and psychologically attractive. He is more self-accepting, open, and authentic.

The N-person is more accepting of others even when they disagree or make mistakes. He avoids being judgmental or critical. He is more self-reliant and trusting of others.

Typically, those emotionally wounded are either T-persons psychologically poisoning themselves or N-persons who got poisoned or victimized by others.

I think each of us can be a mixture of T and N. For none of us is perfect. It's simply a matter of degree of predominance.

Bradley was lonely. He's more a "reactor."

He avoided the pain of his loneliness by surrounding himself with people and volunteering in activities initiated by others.

He seemed busy and active. But he continued to have increasing feelings of anger that hurt others.

Even though he knew he committed a wrongdoing, he found himself acting like the victim when confronted with his verbal abuse.

That mystified him.

Through increasing self awareness of our T patterns, we can start learning to avoid or minimize poison in our life experiences.

Those we inflict upon ourselves and others. And those we allow others to inflict upon us.

Then along the way experiment in our search for new thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, which are more N or nourishing to our overall well-being.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Past Meets Present

Psychologists have been re-discovering nostalgia. They claim it can have therapeutic mind-opening benefits.

As the Beatles sang long ago, "Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away ... Oh I believe in yesterday ..."

I'd met a married couple years ago who were both threatening suicide. Due to the pains they're experiencing in their marriage.

How could they be lifted out of that?

We used nostalgia, among others, during sessions. Visioning. Revisiting their past.

I asked them to think of their love theme song, the times they first met, the long-ago dates they had when they felt most loving and romantic towards each other.

Both also reminisced about the many wacky, fun times they had with their children when they were growing up.

Fortunately, their nostalgia trip remedied enough their joint suicidality!

We're then able to work together on the deeper issues of their relationship.

Psychologist Tim Wildschut once observed that nostalgia can foster "feelings of connection" between people. 

Even if they're just confined to one person's mind.

He told Psychology Today, "You revisit old relationships, bring people closer, and for a moment, it's as if they're there with you."

I once emceed a high school reunion with my batch mates where all we talked about were our after-school hang outs, parties, favorite songs, and crushes.

How energized and vitalized the reunion was through nostalgia! 

Everyone felt young again in the mind!

Memory can affect the mind to heal. 

Those stuck in the negative effects of their present lives can focus on memories that cast the present in positive light.

"Nostalgia seems to stabilize people, to be a source of comfort and reassurance," says University of North Dakota State psychologist Clay Routledge.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Is It Worth Living For?

People live for something. Or, someone.

Money. Cars. Spouse, kids. Mom, Dad. Friends. Business success. A job. Sports.

Fame. Sex. Food. Travels. A cause. Making a contribution. Fighting for a cause. Possessions, comfort.

The list is varied and endless. Depends. Every one is unique.

I had a millionaire client who loved buying lots of stuff. Her house was full of favorite things, like antiques, potteries, and furnitures.

That's her passion. To collect those things. She even had framed photographs holding her favorite collections.

But these stuff she collects and spends a lot of money and time on, are they worth living for?

Many years ago, I was part of a Manila-based newspaper where I had a column.

I was a young man in search of true happiness through the writings I did.

One column I wrote was entitled "Impermanence."

In that piece, I lamented about how all things are fleeting. I get this or get that because I thought it will make me happy.

Only to realize, something is always missing.

A measure of enjoyment, yes. But the happiness or satisfaction soon fades away.

Nothing this world offers fully satisfies. Even the good things.

C.S. Lewis writes, "God cannot give us happiness and peace apart from Himself. There is no such thing."

What are you living for? Is it worth it?

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Rich, Empty Childhood

On the outside, Manny's childhood was rich. He seemed to have everything. Wealthy parents. Status. Intelligence. Good looks. First-born. All he needs and wants, he gets.

But actually, most of his childhood was hell.

"Dad let Mom (a successful businesswoman) rule the house. She's demanding and rock-hard authoritarian," said Manny during session.

He added with a sigh, "My Dad, who's a noted doctor, was aloof and unaffectionate. God, I was so lonely!"

Manny and his brother never had family times and fun with Mom and Dad. They almost wouldn't talk during meals or travels all their years. They're more like dorm mates.

"My parents just provided. I wish they had the humanity to hug me, touch me, talk to me, be loving. But no, they're both cold, aristocratic, aloof and smart at anything," he lamented.

When I asked further about his emotions, Manny felt he might as well have been a zombie.

After sharing about his feelings and thoughts on his childhood, Manny was left with no doubts how, where, and why he became a Zombie himself!

A zombie to his wife. A zombie to his children. A zombie among his acquaintances and work mates. A zombie towards all his relationships.

Manny's healing started when he fully understood the nature and dynamic of how he was programmed to be a Zombie like his parents.

Something interesting happened in my sessions with Manny thereafter. At some point.

As he experienced emotionally (not merely informationally) how he adopted his parents' ways, he smiled a lot.

He learned to understand himself better. He learned to understand his parents too without condemning them. He developed compassion for himself, his Mom and Dad.

Manny also learned there is no more emotional need to cling to his false Zombie exterior. It's not really him any more than it is his parents' as he saw where they came from.

Freeing at last.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Is Mental Illness Genetic?

"I have a bad temper," said Orlando, a client in-session.

"I rage, hurt people, and throw things  around. I just can't help it. My father and mother and their siblings all had it in the family," he continued with a sigh.

This client saw me because his wife left him due to his repeated anger outbursts and physical beatings.

He's severely depressed and afraid that he might get out of control.

Orlando genuinely wished he could change his behavior pattern.

But he's at the same time believing that it's in his "genes," impervious to any shift.

He noted, however, that he had one brother and one sister who didn't have an anger problem.

It did make him wonder about the validity of his "genes" theory.

If psychological problems, such as a bad temper, has genetic cause, then both of Orlando's brother and sister would also have an anger problem.

Genes do not cause mental disorders. No one is born with psychopathology. 

There are no scientific or medical genetic tests to confirm a diagnosis of mental illness. 

No such thing as "bad temper gene," "depression gene," "addiction gene," "suicide gene," or social anxiety panic gene."

My take, then, is that psychological and emotional problems are not hereditary. Not biologically or gene-based. Nonphysical.

They're "learned habits in life" (unconscious though most are) traceable to original environment and people who nurtured one's foundations.

Trauma, emotional harm, and substance abuse from origins or culture increase the likelihood of developing a mental illness.

Given this context, potential control remain possible. Your mind is not a helpless victim of your genes.

Original trauma or pain creates disorders you don't choose. Healing creates changes you choose in your mind.

As George Bernard Shaw once observed, "Those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything."

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Beyond "Talk Cure"

Psychotherapy is known as "talk cure."

A process of talking things through when faced by life's wounds and challenges.

In reality, it's beyond talk.

Fact is that nobody gets healed or whole by mere talking.

Something goes deeper than talking in psychotherapy.

I once worked with an attractive woman who sounded like an expert  psychologist.

She read a lot on psych and can espouse even complicated concepts about how the mind works.

Yet despite her knowledge and talks in our sessions, she remained the same.

Only to return swiftly to her old ways of verbally/physically abusing and manipulating her husband and little kids.

Then back in our sessions, she'd be quite a different persona.

Looks familiar?

Have you ever tried to change like her by talking things through, only to end up doing the same old things in the same old ways?

Here is something I want you to fully see and understand.

From a biological perspective, change does not take place with mere talking and knowing.

Note that even the brightest people in the world fall into self destructive behavior.

So the answer could not lie in intellectual reasoning.

Transformation happens in a Process.

Fundamental change occurs experientially, not informationally.

In the "talk cure" I do, a major part of the beyond is in the releasing to make it experiential.

We learn and develop life habits emotionally.

Therefore, we can only come to true healing by releasing emotionally. With authentic awareness and depths.

It's a new education. A re-education of the damaged self into wholeness.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

You Are Much More Than Who You Think You Are

"I'm diagnosed with BPD," said a patient. "I'm that and unable to function," he continued.

I heard a lot of times people like him "believing" the labels placed on them.

In my work as a psychotherapist, I dislike diagnostic labels.

I'm not into the listing of personality or mental disorders. I think they dehumanize.

If ever, these labels, no matter how scientific they seem, only describe your "patterns" or symptoms.

They don't bring you to the core of who you really are.

Yes, only "patterns" or symptoms -- but you your self is much more.

I'm reminded of this man who became a famous chess grandmaster and world champion. He said "Chess is life." 

For him, chess defined who he is.

He spoke and behaved to look intelligent, put together, productive, brilliant. 

He became a shuffling recluse, consumed by paranoia.

Throughout his life, family, love, and fun were scorned by his intellect as beng beneath his consideration.

Three months before he died, psychiatrist Dr. Skulason was by his bedside.

This chess genius told him, "Nothing is as healing as the human touch."

The man, Bobby Fischer, was definitely much more than who he thought he was.

Appearances or words pale next to essence.

When you learn to find the True Source of who you really are within your self, you can drink from your own cup of love.

Every human is much more than what is seen.

The real self resides in the invisible.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Smartphones: New Teen Mental Health Crisis

Just awhile ago, a distressed mother texted me.

It's about her 17-year-old son whom she brought to see me for therapy.

She said that her son, a former honor student, has withdrawn from school.

He is now spending countless hours just watching YouTube videos daily at home.

CNN 2018 edition reported on "Smartphones: New Teen Mental Health Crisis."

It's based on a recent study published by the American Medical Association.

It investigated the link between digital addiction and the mental health of thousands of teenagers.

The study found a "statistically significant association."

Teenagers who are heavily addicted to digital devices are more likely to become prone to psychiatric problems, according to the study.

The researchers examined mental consequences of digital diversions.

These include social media, streaming video, text messaging, music downloads, and online chat rooms.

Teens with digital addiction showed psychopathology symptoms.

Among symptoms identified are brain ADHD or patterns of severe inattention, hyperactive behavior, and impulsiveness that interferes with functioning or development.

Treatment options include:

• psychotherapy involving cognitions, emotions, and behaviors;
• parental boundaries and discipline
• home logistical tech arrangement
• medications or natural brain foods;
• play or arts;
• school accommodations;
• spirituality;
• peer groups

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

When Someone Remembers You Only to Make "Use" of You

Long time ago, a former close friend sent me a text message that he's borrowing money from me.

We had not spoken for three years.

Something gave me a pause. It felt like a cryptic messsage from a former friend.

I remembered all too clearly the last time I called him three years prior. I had been in one of the worst moments in my life.

I had asked him to see me and help in some way with his company. With vague, flat, and subtly defensive voice, he said he'll call back.

He never did. He actually vanished at a time of deep need.

Then, I started seeing his text message for what it was. Full of presumption.

There was neither apology or empathy over what transpired from his 3 years late.

Slowly, it dawned on me.

Here was a self-absorbed person who suddenly thought of me only to make use of me.

The fallout from such desertion or betrayal by a friend can happen in other relationships, such as lovers, spouses, children, relatives, business partners etc.

When you value someone and you discover that the person is just "using" you, there is haunting damage in the relationship.

Hopefully, the unloving actions can be repaired. But if not, I find no illusions about rekindling the relationship.

The pain, anger, and sorrow may not completely dissipate.

But another emotion can join it - the resolve to turn the pain into purpose.


As you appreciate, you profit from the experience.

Integrate, not disintegrate. Both light and darkness.

And so in the process, emerge a better, stronger "whole" person.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Healing from Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a mental dysfunction. In psychology, it's referred to as a personality trait hyperfocused on flawlessness and perfect performances.

A young patient, Dina, was a scholar in the university. Her life has been an endless report card on grades, accomplishments, and looks.

One evening, Dina was rushed to the hospital by her father. Her sister found her slumped on the floor of her room with bloody cuts on the wrists.

She tried to end it all. That time, she could no longer keep up with her grades due to severe social anxiety.

What makes perfectionism toxic is its negativity. It's overly anxious on avoiding failure, mistakes, and messes ... an impossibility in reality.

Even if you express love to a perfectionist after some misses, it isn't enough comfort. The perfectionist is way too dependent or conditional on performance to feel loved.

Psychology Today magazine explains,

"There is a difference between striving for excellence and demanding perfection. The need for perfection is transmitted in small ways from parents to children, some as silent as a raised eyebrow over a B rather than an A."

If you're struggling with perfectionism, remember that "you are good enough." You are worthy as you are because you exist.

You don't have to prove your value to anyone, even to yourself. God has already placed that value on you and your life.

 "Perfection is an illusion. Yet perfectionists demand it from others while being far from flawless themselves. The margin of error of the human condition is often our greatest area of excellence and discovery," reminds writer Stewart Stafford.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Loving the Enemy Within You

Catholic Psychotherapist/author, John Monbourquette, once told the story of the son of a rabbi who attended another rabbi's synagogue.

On his return, his rabbi father asked him, "What new thing did you learn there?"

The son replied, "Love your enemy."

The father exclaimed eagerly, " Nothing new. I preach the same thing!"

His son explained, "They taught me to love the enemy that lives within me, the one I am so desperately trying to fight."

In psychotherapy, loving the enemy within you is essential to be a balanced and whole person.

Acknowledging and reintegrating this internal enemy lets you recover the hidden pieces of your self that were repressed or suppressed and accumulated over the years.

Dr. Carl Jung, being familiar with Freudian psychoanalysis, speaks of this enemy as the "shadow" side of the psyche.

In his work on "The Psychology of the Unconscious," Dr. Jung describes the enemy "shadow" as the "other in us," our "dark twin," who embarrasses and shames us.

Our enemy "shadow" contains the unloved aspects of our self we repress and consign to the labyrinths of the unconscious.

To befriend and love the enemy within is to own it. See the shadow as it is. Tap its resources and integrate them as part of the whole of you.

If you don't love or befriend the enemy "shadow," it will work against you. It will make you feel fearful. It will cause serious psychological and social problems.

Unless you know your enemy "shadow," you can't really know and heal your self! It's a basic condition for all human development.

Love the enemy within you. Welcome your unloved side!

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Negative Love Programming

A patient once cried during session, "My God, why am I doing this? My mother used to do that. I hate it, but I see myself doing it again!"

Of course, she's not her mother. The compulsion to repeat is unconscious-driven. It exists underground.

This is clearly demonstrated in extreme abusive relationships.

I discover that people with abusive parents often find themselves in abusive relationships. It just appears to be such a very common psychological wound.

I once saw a couple - a Filipina and an American - who continually abused each other verbally. Both felt so well that they never wanted what they're doing.

Yes, both came from emotionally impoverished families. Both of their own parents verbally abused each other and their children.

Unconsciously, their relationship has the pull of something familiar. A vicious cycle acting out an adopted parental pattern.

And there's also this inner script, "This time it's going to be different. This time I'll change the situation and I'll claim the love i didn't receive as a child."

It's obviously an effort to heal an old wound looking for love.

But the reality created is actually more misery living through further abuse in the present.

As Spanish philosopher George Santayana reminds us, those who forget their past are doomed to repeat it.

How do you stop doing what you don't want to do?

"Heal the 'negative love programming,'" as psychotherapist/author Dr. Bob Hoffman put it.

That's "forgotten" unprocessed pain from the past.

The way out is the same as the way in - programming.

Our positive real self is just there.

"Negative love" that keeps us doing what we don't want to do can be transcended and healed.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Giving to Get. Is It Love?

Today, I'm thinking of love. I'm a lifelong student of it.

Like you, it's important for me to learn what is and how to love. It's quite a necessity in life for all human beings.

One essential aspect of love is giving.

I believe all lovers are givers. They can't help it.

But is the reverse necessarily true? Are all givers lovers?

Reality is, it depends. On the motive. What's inside the mind and heart of the giver.

There is a difference between "giving to give" and "giving to get."

Often, our giving is not what it appears to be. Most of the giving we see around is done to get something in return.

I've met a father who claimed that he's a loving parent. He mentioned the proof of his sacrifices working as an OFW on behalf of his children.

Returning home, he found his son and daughter alienated from him. Not meeting his demands and expectations. Not following his orders or caring for him.

In session, he blurted out, "How could they do this to me after all I've done and given to them?" What's hidden had come out.

The cry of anguish reflects parental "giving to get," which is pseudo-love.

"Giving to get" also comes from other varied motives or forms of relationship.

Giving sex for money. Caregiving to get inheritance. One-sided marriages where one "saves" the other to feel good about one's self.

Donating to charity to glorify one's self. Caring for pets to feel needed. Giving to people to get sympathy. Self denial or martyrdom as indirect manipulation to be one up on others.

The deal is conditional. "I'll give to you if you'll give to me." That's what "giving to get" is. And it isn't love.

So part of the confusion about giving is mistaking it to be automatically love.

"Giving to give" is possible only through the exchange of real love that already exists deep within us.

Those who do give this way give without guilt ... and for no other need than that of the receiver.

"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving," says writer Amy Carmichael.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

It's Not Your Fault; It's Your Responsibility

Let me tell you a story ... with a therapeutic secret.

In the early 1990s, a poverty-stricken young woman filed for protection order and divorce from her husband.

Left with a baby daughter, she had no job. No money to survive. So she signed up for government welfare benefits.

She's estranged from her father. Hadn't spoken to him for years. Her mother died a few years prior to her divorce.

Failed marriage. Divorce. Single mother. Alienated father. In poverty. No job. Now, she's experiencing depression and on the verge of suicide.

However, the 5 years that followed her deep trauma, this woman became one of the world's most successful celebrity multimillionaires.

Her name is Joanne.

Better known as J.K.Rowling, the author of the Harry Potter book series, which became one of the world's best selling books and highest--grossing films of all time.

According to Forbes, Rowling is the first author in history who earned more than $1 billion dollars from writing books.

Here's her therapeutic secret:  It's not your fault; it's your responsibility.

You and I can learn to apply that secret for recovery and wholeness.

When life gets rough or wounding, it's not necessarily your fault. Any kind abuse, trauma, or loss can happen in anyone's life.

But, you can choose to take responsibility over doing something about it. You can give yourself permission to make things better.

As J.K. Rowling herself put it during a 2008 Harvard University commencement address, "Failure meant a stripping away of the inessential ... And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life."

Responsibility enables you to re-author your life even from scratch. You find purpose in the pain you went through. You can become new at your best.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Doing Mindfulness to Treat Personal Deficiency

"We all have an omniscient narrator in our head who is harsh and negative commenting on our life. Having a voice constantly urging us to do better has some survival value - but it can make us miserable," said New York-based psychologist John Gartner.

The other day, a talented young woman was sobbing during session.

She's continually harassed by an inner judge which is critical, nit-picking, and devaluing her.

This thing inside her head was demanding. Full of unrealistic expectations. On the job 24/7.

She's made to believe from the core that something is fundamentally wrong with her.

She's been trying to control and fix what she felt is a basically flawed self.

It's such an epidemic. This deep sense of personal deficiency. Getting stuck in the trance of unworthiness.

Mindfulness helps. It reduces the power the voice inside has over us.

Along the way in my sessions, I like doing Tara Brach's R.A.I.N. process tool to guide individuals in their  private practice of mindfulness.

R.A.I.N. trains the emotions and thoughts to be self-compassionate.

R.A.I.N. tool for mindfulness goes this way:

R = recognize what is going on

A = allow the experience to be there, just as it is

I = investigate with interest and care

N = nurture with self compassion

According to Dr. David Kessler, MD, author of "CAPTURE," studies show that meditation and mindfulness gives schizophrenics the "ability to pay less attention to and give credence to the voices in their heads."

"For those with anxiety or depression, meditation stops the cycle of obsessive rumination and self recrimination," Dr. Kessler added.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping ...

The poet Ogden Nash once wrote, "The trouble with a kitten is that eventually it becomes a cat."

In many ways, we could say the same thing about our children.

When my daughter Angel was 3 up, she was cute, cuddly, soft and small.

Now that she's older and bigger, I still love her just as much.

But she's become so independent. And ... isn't quite as small or cuddly anymore!

I could say somewhat the same thing about her brother Paul and sister Christine, who are now young adults.

They're former kittens, now developing cats!

As a father, time does keep slipping, slipping, slipping on me. And I've to admit that I'm not as young as I used to be.

A few days ago, I was in session with a Mom (along with her husband) who's still calling her son "babe."

Her son is almost 25, still dependent on her in all basic things.

It's obvious that as we parent our children, we're called to develop as adults as well.

This means, we need to be aware of appropriate developmental paths as time slips by.

My fathering my 3-year-old Angel, for instance, has to be far different from my fathering her in her teenage years.

I admit it's tough for me to be a father of a teenager. And it is not easier for my daughter Angel.

At this point, she may literally be "not all there."

Yet she needs my love and support to grow in certain areas, such as impulse control, judgment, and ability to face consequences.

This is "age-appropriate" parenting. For our kids' mental health and overall wellness.

To do that, we parents need to be relatively functioning adults, while we've the opportunity.

For time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping ...

Freedom from Self-Lies

Engraved on the front of a building are these words: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free." 

People who pass by that place look at those words many times. In fact, they originated from the Scriptures. 

But we can't be sure if people who read them really believed they're true.

Therapy is truth work. 

It's a brave, disciplined effort to face one's self-lies. And how truths can equip one to fight them.

Alan was over 300 pounds. He's a food addict. 

Doctors repeatedly tell him the truth that his overeating will ruin his health and make him unhappy.

Yet he kept eating too much even though it makes him miserable. He knew he had a problem he needed to change. But ... did nothing to change it.

Eventually, Alan's self-lies led to multiple surgeries. His pain worsened - physically, emotionally, financially, relationally, and spiritually. 

He's unable to be free to be his best self because he did not apply truth in his situation. 

He hanged on to ways of acting and thinking even though they're self-destructive.

Dr. Chris Thurman of Minirth-Meier Clinics explained about "tapes we have in our heads." 

He wrote, "These tapes are ones that continually play either truth or lies that affect every action and thought. When your program is faulty because of the lies in it, the daily 'data' it analyzes will trigger the wrong responses."

I've lots of truth-seeking patients. 

I help them get rid of their self-lies in their "tapes." And ... replace them with the truth. 

But I also remind them that they need to commit themselves to "practicing truth."

There it is ... the way to experience freedom to be your real self.

Saturday, July 07, 2018

The Family's Contribution to Psychological Health

All human beings are affected by family. The system and individuals in it provide the quality of life a person experiences.

The family as a unit contributes to the overall well-being of an individual. Psychologically. Emotionally. Physically. Spiritually.

Families have "subsystems" that shape children in developing their identities:  the marital/parental subsystem, the sibling subsystem, and the extended family subsystem.

I've observed in my practice that people view their families of origin in a variety of ways.

1. Some people instantly feel shame and guilt when they speak of their families.

2. Others deny that there was anything dysfunctional with their families when there is.

3. Others have only occasional or very few bad memories of their families.

4. Others feel good and happy about the families where they live in.

Generally, when a family is dysfunctional, children question whether they are loved. They feel undervalued and expect nonsupport.

Maria felt like an inconvenience to her mother and a piece of property to her father. Her mother was always absent. Her father made sexual advances toward her.

In Maria's family, both mother and father were incapacitated of making her feel valued and loved as their child ... and as a human being.

Eventually, Maria became disconnected from her sense of self. Regardless of her good behaviors or accomplishments, she simply felt defective at the core.

Maria was sick. When her mother and stepfather called me to tell me what to do about her in the sessions, I refused. They called me demeaning names, hung up, and threatened me.

Family life author Menachem Begin once wrote:

"Peace is the beauty of life. It is sunshine. It is the smile of a child, the love of a mother, the joy of a father, the togetherness of a family. It is the advancement of man, the victory of a just cause, the triumph of truth."

Friday, July 06, 2018

People Who Deserve Your Time

This guy, Tim Ferris, is a four-hour-work-week multimillionaire New York Times best selling author. He is one of the world's famous experts on "new rich" and personal development.

Listen to one of his productivity mental health advices: "Poisonous people don't deserve your time."

I knew it was too hard for Mike, an addictive patient. When he entered therapy to care for his fragile wounded life, his mother was critical. She'd blame and judge him for his addictions.

She said that therapy was a waste of money and he could do it on his own.

Accept if the reality is, your family and friends happen to be not the best people to support your healing journey. They may misunderstand your needs through disinterest and uncaring.

Even all the way to shaming or verbal abuse. Such characterizes what happens too when you spend time with "poisonous people" in general.

Remember, if you're just starting to heal your emotional wounds, you just have a tiny seedling with tiny leaves above the earth.

It's extra vulnerable to being crushed when wind and rain come. So you would have to care for it as you would any fragile thing in your life.

Examine your present circle of support. Family, friends, mates. And ask these questions:

Are they supporting your fragile tiny seedling to flourish? Or, are they stomping on your growth?

Sometimes, you've to clear space for someone or something new to emerge. It's hard but you've to do that in order to heal and grow.

Know the people who deserve your time. Find them, wherever they are. You need them. They'll protect and nurture you till you become stronger.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

The # 1 Cause of Loneliness

Rita was one confused teenager. After she got sexually molested in school, she won't talk with her mother or sisters.

She said, "My Mom can't handle it. What can my sisters do?" Even with her closest friends, she'd rather not talk about it.

Over time, the "secret" took its toll on Rita.

She became extremely lonely and isolated. Then, severely depressed and even having suicidal thoughts.

Loneliness, if prolonged, nearly always lead to depression. Or, other types of psychopathology.

Psychologist Sidney Jourard, a well known author and university professor of psychology, gives us a clue about the #1 cause of loneliness.

He cited that "to make oneself fully known to at least one significant human being" is a basic human need.

If that basic human need is blocked, stymied, or taken away, maladjustment results.

Maladjustment is often the struggle to avoid being known by another.

Rita got severely lonely not because she lacked family or contacts with friends and people.

But, she felt she had no one with whom she can truly "be herself" with little shame or self consciousness.

When a person has family and friends but no one with whom she is "truly her self," the loneliness produces withering.

It keeps one from keeping life moving along.

Psychotherapy is a natural anti-depressant and medicine for the lonely.

It gives one a "jump start." To arrest further development or escalation of loneliness and depression into dangerous levels.

It provides a struggling person a booster transitional context to truly "be himself."

To stay connected. To find his deepest core. To discover "new flow."

Until he is able to do it independently by himself.

To cure - internally and externally - the primary cause of his loneliness.

"Trust in Him at all times ... pour out your hearts to Him, for He is our refuge." (Psalm 16:8)

Wednesday, July 04, 2018

Want to be normal? Be abnormal!

I've met countless individuals who remain stuck. Debts, Bad relationships. Dead-end job. Addictions.

Nothing is happening in their lives. They're unable to move forward.

"I want to be normal," as one patient put it. "But I wonder how," she added.

Simple answer: "Be abnormal!," borrowing from a Bo Sanchez expression.

The way to be normal these days is to be abnormal.

There is this young wife, Rebecca, who saw me for a marital problem. Her husband kicked and punched her after she grabbed his phone, where she saw pictures of naked women.

It's an over-familiar volcanic scene for Rebecca since marriage. In all areas - debts, children, in laws, and almost any matter that would annoy her husband.

Strangely, Rebecca stayed on. She's in a bad marriage. She knew her husband is selfish, a jerk. But she remained attached to the familiarity of her husband's abuse. It felt normal to her already.

Time to be abnormal!

To cut loose from the chain of her ugly situation, Rebecca needs to wake up. To stop being enslaved by her feelings. To put boundaries or get out of an abusive marriage.

Here's a crucial truth you can learn from Rebecca's situation. If you want abnormal happiness, success, or recovery from pain, do what's abnormal!

Step into the storm. Do what's right and liberating even if you don't feel like it. "Feel the fear and do it anyway," as author Susan Jeffers put it.

I think that's one secret too of successful entrepreneurs. They want abnormal income. So to get that, they risk and do what "normal" people avoid to do.

Psychotherapist Dr. Jeffrey Kottler writes in Psychology Today:

"Experience forces people out of their comfort zone, that requires them to develop new resources and take constructive risks, that pushes them to reinvent themselves."

Want to be normal? Be abnormal!