When you think of life experiences what do you think of? Triumphs and wins, right? Where did those triumphs and wins come from? Do you ever wonder? Ever hear the question why do bad thing happen to good people? Why is there sadness and terrible things happening in the world?
These questions have been around for years. You often hear them when a good man is killed in a car crash. A crushing illness like dementia sets in. We ask what good does this bring to the world? Why? That is the eternal question, and there are some thoughts on it that may help you.
Is an event good or bad?
To start it is good to understand that events are neutral. Yes, all events that occur are neutral. Until you put a thought to it. Then and only then does that event become a good event or a bad event.
I know I hear you screaming from here. “There are good events and there are bad events!” or you are saying, “So 911 is a neutral event?” Yup! because My thought was that that particular event was a horrible action on the United States but, there were terrorists in the middle east who were celebrating the event. They took it to be a good thing.
Your thoughts determine your emotions, how you feel about an event is solely dependant on you. So that is why you can see a movie and you think it is the best movie ever made and your friend see the very same movie at the very same time and come out thinking it was, Meh.
So is an event good or bad? Well, that really depends on how you look at it as a whole. You can see something and decide that it is a good event or it is a bad event. That is something only you can do or change. Yes, you can also look at a bad event with new eyes and see it as a good event.
I’m a good Guy and everything fell apart!
This is one of those things that happens to everybody. How you take this event is solely dependent on your thoughts, as mentioned above.
Let’s use Bob as an example. Bob is an accountant who has created a good life for himself. Till one day his world starts to crumble. He was caught in some fairly shady dealing. He is facing possible jail time. He is going to lose his certifications. His wife of 18 years leaves him. He loses his house and is now living in the spare bedroom of his cousin in the next town.
Bob was always a good guy. He had been in a position of leadership in his local church. He was in both the Rotary and Lions Clubs. As a whole, he was a pillar of the community. The world is pretty dark for Bob right now.
You know that Bob is feeling pretty low. May even have a turn of depression when he really gets to thinking about the events and leads to him living in his cousins spare room. Yet that sadness and anxiety of the impending court date is actually a good thing.
How is it good?
That sadness teaches bob a few important lessons if he is willing to listen. The first lesson is, you are building a house of cards when you venture away from your core values. Especially when you build your values on a weak foundation. If you don’t have a list of core values. Finding out what your core values are is a good place to start.
That sadness also shows Bob that he has to be true to himself. Life dips and then it gets better. He also learns that redemption is one of the greatest blessings a person can receive. Bob will turn his life around. He won’t be able to be an accountant any more but that is ok he realized that he really didn’t like that field all that much
What could have gone wrong?
Bob could have easily started avoiding his feelings. He could have started drinking heavily. He could have turned to food and started overeating. Bob could have started self-medicating or gone to a doctor and picked up a prescription for some antidepressants.
None of that would have helped improve the situation. Why? because we were meant to feel emotions. We are emotional beings. we don’t fully experience an event unless we also experience the highs and lows of that story.
We are supposed to experience these events completely in the color of our emotional rainbow. Plain and simple.
Teenagers and their emotions
Maybe you are a teenager reading this or perhaps you are in college and your freaking out over what a professor said. Maybe you are a middle-aged old fart like me and you love reveling in your teen years. How great it was. Do you remember the emotional events you had?
If you are like me then oh yeah you remember the highs of your first kiss or that time a girl went to second base on you. You probably remember the crushing lows of your first love breaking up with you. You have been going out for 6 whole months. How are you ever going to be the same?
Well, teenagers are emotional rollercoasters. They may have highs and lows several times in one day. There are reasons we, as humans, have a phase in our life that we are manic in our emotional state. That is because each of us has to learn about our emotions. How do you deal with sadness, joy, the anxiety of standing in front of a group of people?
Why do you think they fall in love so intensely? So that when they do break up they realize they are not going to die it is uncomfortable. They learn how to treat and not treat people. Falling in love like that teaches them so much about themselves and others. Yet we worry about them being too dedicated.
How? By experiencing those emotions. Life does an amazing job of that by cranking your emotions to 11. You then experience the hardcore raw emotions from a fire hose. That way when you become an adult and the emotions are dialed back you have the skills and knowledge on how to handle each emotion as it comes along. You can process the emotion and decide what you want to.
Sadly these days we are overprescribing and deading the whole glorious experience of emotional maturity.
I am going to start with some finger-pointing. There are two groups that are to blame on this. First, are the parents then there are the doctors.
Parents, I get it raising kids are tough. I have raised my fair share. We get up. We get the munchkins up. We head to work. Once work is done, then you come home to make supper. Maybe you have to take them to practice for an activity. Get them to bed and you spend an hour in quiet before you head to bed only to start the whole process over.
Somewhere along the way you get a call from the school little Johnny has gotten into a fight. He has withdrawn or just not himself. The teacher says she is worried about him.
You may notice that your daughter is starting to act a bit secretive. She has started to sneak out and maybe she is getting into trouble at school too.
When kids hit the teen years they start to shift in their personalities. We often question these shifts because we want our dear darlings to stay sweet and innocent as they were when they were 3 years old. You can’t stop change. Sorry but that’s the facts of the case. You can not change a child maturing.
So teenagers become moody and grumpy, Their outlook can and often becomes cynical or just snarky. That again is normal but as parents, we worry about them we don’t want them to feel discomfort. We hear about bullies and all this other stuff that is normal in everyday society. Why do you want to block your child from learning how to navigate these obstacles in real life when they get out on their own?
Then the attitude we have to deal with is such a pain in the butt. You ask for something and you get a whole lot of lip in return. It’s never their fault always yours. It is maddening. It is easy to want to turn that attitude off and not have to deal with it. Yet again you are doing more harm to your kids by trying to keep your sanity. The attitude passes, trust me.
Doc, If you are reading this, first thank you, Next, Stop prescribing so many damn drugs. What appears to be a quick fix is not doing any good. People have to experience their emotions to mature. Yeah, I understand you may get a legal kickback for prescribing Paxil to people but 90% of mood-altering drugs are not approved for use on people under the age of 18.
Instead of prescribing something just because the parents want it. Why not prescribe family counseling. You are the expert you don’t have to prescribe something just because they claim that they want it.
Depression is higher in teens yes because their emotions naturally spiking as they figure out how to handle those emotions. Then, when you add an antidepressant to this there is evidence that shows it increases the suicidal tendencies. There is an emotional disconnect that happens and these kids don’t understand why they feel so alone suddenly. That is because they don’t have the emotional connection they require to mature.
Young adults are the same way their emotions are just leveling out but they also have added the stress of college and making a living for themselves. That is a lot of stress on a person. Add reality to the mix and many high aspirations come crashing down on their heads. No wonder they get depressed and frustrated. They aren’t able to do all the wonderful glorious things they dreamed. Bills are still around even when you go spend 6 months hiking the Appalachian Trail.
Though doctors are making more diagnoses now than ever before. Scientists are starting to question whether psychiatric diagnosis’ are actually accurate. There was a study done at the University of Liverpool has concluded that psychiatric diagnoses are “scientifically meaningless,” and worthless as tools to accurately identify and address mental illness.
Stop Over Protecting
So what do we do? Many parents under the misguided advice of teachers and some doctors, put their kids on mood stabilizers and antidepressants anti-anxiety meds. Why? Well, the teachers don’t want to have to deal with moody teenagers. My response to that is that is their job if they can’t handle a smart ass kid you went into the wrong profession.
Parents you have to stop remember your life when you were a teenager. You went through all the problems they have now.
Many like to respond with they have extra pressure from social media. That is true I will give you that. A solution could be to take away the phone and give them a flip phone. That isn’t going to happen so you have to lead your child on how to handle and deal with emotions.
A Good Solution
A good way to do that is to take the kids camping. They don’t have to get a vote. Just take them out and let them sulk and be pissy all the way to the camping site. Make sure the site is a Cell phone dead zone. That way as you go out and do stuff you have a chance to talk. Hiking gets kids to open up. Fishing gets kids to open up. Let them experience the motivating sensation of boredom. Teenagers love to talk and if all they have is their old man then they will talk to you.
Finally, if anybody recommends a mood-altering drug for your teenager. You as the parent have the power to say no. If a health clinic trying to say otherwise you can take your kid out of that clinic.
So parents let your kids be uncomfortable. Give them the tools to handle what life is going throw at them. If they are facing a bully. Then teach them how to defend themselves. Showing a teenager that they do have the power to defend themselves is great for their self-esteem.
If their girlfriend breaks up with them then they don’t need mood stabilizers they need a parent to sit by and talk. The parent needs to get them up and out of the house. That way they learn that life goes on.
Stop comforting them
The biggest thing is to let them experience the discomforts of life. Don’t pamper them. Don’t do stuff for them. Let the kids fail. Teenagers and younger are way more resilient than we give them credit for and because of that, we have actually started to make them soft and dependent.
The kids are discovering who they are. This process is never easy. It is often awkward messy and many times has an embarrassing element to it. Letting a kid know they are normal is probably the best thing you can do for your little Billy. He is unique as a person but he has to do all the normal stuff the rest of us slubs have to do.
We aren’t diseased
It seems that these days more and more people are turning to mood-altering pharmaceuticals. They hope for the magic pill that will help them not feel the discomfort of being sad. They don’t want to feel the gnaw of worry. These people and those treating it are trying to treat the human condition.
There is suffering in the world. There are bouts of sadness with joy and elation. Sometimes these happen multiple times in the same day. You ever watch a person cheer for their favorite sports team? There are huge ranges of emotions there.
Many people want to shy away from those emotions. When there is a negative emotion being felt or even any emotion at all is being senses we go to our numbing agent of choice. Be it meds, drugs, alcohol or food, our lizard brain turns to find a way to comfort us. It likes to make sure we are safe.
The point is, you are going to have days where you can’t stop crying. You will wonder what is wrong with you. Your mother died 2 months ago and you still are grieving. People are telling you that you need to get on with your life and yes they are right if you are not functioning in your day to day responsibilities. If you are getting out and going to work, making it to church then you are functioning. You will get on with life when you are ready.
Many times all many people need is a little help and that is where coaching comes into play. You can have a life coach help you over that log that has you high centered. Your not broke. You do not have a disease, though mental illness is being bandied about like it is the new fidget spinner.
We as a whole are not broke. Us humans do have our flaws, but because we have tried so hard to eliminate discomfort we have actually done ourselves a bit of a disservice.
Emotions are not going to hurt you. They seem like they can last forever and never stop but they are actually alright. They are what make you human. The problem we have had is that we were never taught how to handle our emotions. How do you process that sense of dread or that ticking worry about that test tomorrow? The way you process it is you experience it and claim it for what it is. Then you can choose to feel something different. You can start down that road with a little self-coaching
Self-coaching is great for taking the time to help those with anxiety and help you understand why you really are feeling stressed. Why are you nervous at what seems like weird times? Is there a reason why you are feeling overwhelmed at every turn?
We as humans are normal. You will be happier and better prepared if you allow different emotions to wash over you. You are supposed to feel those sensation vibrate through you. If you want to self-coach great. That is a start. I have an eBook that has 4 different and unique tools that can help you get started in understanding what you are thinking.
Do you suffer from Anxiety? Have you been told that you will be on these meds indefinitely? Share your experience in the comments below.