Have Faith in People

In January 2016, someone shared their problems with me and while it was not clear to them at first, this process of openness and self-reflection helped them realise that life was worth living. The more we spoke, the more he realised that we should never allow failure to push us around; to make us give up.

Life was never meant to be easy. It was also never meant to be lived alone.

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Sometimes we keep our problems from people because we don’t believe they care enough about us. We lose the opportunity to create a much deeper relationship with those who might know or understand what we are going through.

Herman Melville once said, “We cannot live for ourselves alone. Our lives are connected by a thousand invisible threads, and along these sympathetic fibers, our actions run as causes and return to us as results.”

Yet in our culture now, there is a lot more social isolationism than was the case in the past. While new technologies have helped us connect with people in distant lands, it seems that people are lonelier than ever before.

There are those who do not have faith in people because getting to know someone involves an element of risk.

What if they reject you?

What if they hurt you?

What if they betray you?

As such, some people are choosing to believe – either consciously or subconsciously – that forming a connection with someone and sharing their life story with them is not worth the risk.

Danger of Loneliness and Social Isolationism

The Oxford online dictionary defines a companion as “A person who shares the experiences of another, especially when these are unpleasant or unwelcome.”

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According to the American Psychological Association, Social Psychologist Shelly Turkle, PhD., says in her book ‘Alone Together’ that social media relationships “…can provide the ILLUSION of companionship without the demands of friendship, without the demands of intimacy.”

In the end, everybody ultimately needs someone. There has to be a real connection, though, not just a number of social media followers. A captain needs a co-captain. A president needs a vice president. Spouses need each other. This is why many people are falling into the trap of loneliness. They find themselves feeling all alone, like no one in the world cares about them. As such, they retreat deeper and deeper into the depths of loneliness and depression.

Perhaps we are so bogged down in our own lives that we fail to look up and see what others are going through. Perhaps, at other times, we fail to see that the conversation we are postponing at a particular moment could be pivotal to another’s life. It happens ALL THE TIME.

You see it whenever someone commits suicide, the family and friends are always left asking the same questions:

“Is there something I could have done to prevent this?”

“Maybe I could have spent a little more time with them.”

“Perhaps I should have listened more instead of talking all the time.”

“How did I miss the signs?”

“Why didn’t they come to me for help?”

Great friends make a great support system. Notice, for example, how many celebrities fail in their careers or turn to drug and alcohol abuse because no one helps them cope with their fame.

Without taking a leap of faith, you never know whether a person has your best interests at heart. There are very amazing people out there. Watching the news, you might feel like everyone only cares about themselves. Stories about jealousy, murder, theft, and violence are pervasive in our news media. Yet, if you look beyond this, the beauty of the human race continues to shine through.

One crazy example I noticed was that despite robbers pretending there has been a road accident so you can pull over to help and get carjacked, people continue falling for it because we all desire to help others.

Are You Someone People Can Have Faith In?

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The people in your support system should have the following characteristics:

  • They are great listeners.
  • They care about you.
  • They try to see things through your perspective.
  • They are there when you call.
  • They are eager to see you prevail over any problems.
  • They are people you can trust to keep your secrets.

Having such a committed group of people in your corner will help you overcome whatever circumstances life throws at you. Nevertheless, you can’t focus on only what you get from the relationship. This is why networking doesn’t work for some business professionals. They care so much about what they are going to get from a partnership that they forget about what they are bringing to the table. You want to have someone you can lean on. However, are you the type of person that other people can lean on?

The R U OK? Movement says that in order to become someone that other people can turn to when they have problems, you have to go beyond the answer, “I am fine.” Once you start taking this approach, you start becoming a source of support. You also get to grow because you start developing a perspective of what is important in your own life. The next time you have a problem, guess who will be eager to help you get through it?

With all this in mind, it is time to start seeing the world through the prism that people are inherently good and they are ready to help you, especially if you ask for it. Being alone is a choice. Have faith in people and reach out. They will respond positively to you. Though some people might reject you or dismiss your problems, you will eventually find someone who sticks closer than a brother does. They will do their best to help you get to the end of your journey.

As an old Tibetan proverb says, “As I helped him up the hill, lo, I found myself at the top.”

 

 

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World Mental Health Day: Key Points From Social Media

Today is World Mental Health Day!

It is a day to raise awareness on mental health illnesses. For others, it is celebration of triumph over diseases and conditions that strike at the heart of our being.

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Many people probably didn’t notice this day or even know much about it. That sounds eerily similar to the indifference observed when it comes to issues of mental health.

But you know what, that’s okay. Sometimes, unless you have been touched by a situation, a person, a condition, or a disease, it is unlikely that you will care a lot (or at all) about a certain issue. That’s why it is important to speak up and let others know what’s going on. Here is where social media comes in.

Key Points from Social Media about Mental Health

The interesting lesson from today is that a lot of people DO CARE about mental health issues. Just browsing around social media, you realize that you are just one voice among many; hoping that other people will awaken to the reality that mental illnesses are among us and there are those struggling everyday with such issues.

Here is a list of some of the key points that people shared:

  1. Mental Health is just as important as Physical Health

One of the greatest frustrations for those who know about mental health issues is that people don’t think it matters as much as physical health. Check your blood pressure; check your heart beat. But no one is wondering about the mind.

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The brain can get sick just like any other part of the body.

Just look around the internet and you will see more “work out your body” pieces and few “mental workout programs”. It’s just not as important.

We are here to say “Mental Health is Very Important”.

  1. Mental Illness does not discriminate

It does not matter who you are, what you do, where you are from, who you know or how much you workout, mental illness can affect anyone.

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Knowing this should make people stop all the name calling, shaming and stigmatizing because mental illness can affect you as well as your friends and loved ones.

  1. People should stop trivializing Mental Health

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Have you ever heard a statement that sounds something like this: “I didn’t have anything to do today; I’m sooo [sic] depressed”? This is just one of the things people do. They don’t understand that there is a world of difference between simply being sad (or bored) and being depressed.

There were other comments on social media such as “Bipolar disorder is not being moody”. These are just a few examples of how people trivialize issues that affect many lives. If people had any idea what others go through – how much pain and sadness others feel as they are struggling with mental illnesses – then they would show more compassion.

  1. You are NOT Alone

I’ve said it before but when you are going through a mental health issue, it is easy to feel that you are the only one suffering; That life chose to punish you.

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The reality is that there are many other people from all over the world going through their own version of pain. Like you, they have had to suffer in silence. When they tried to raise their voices, they were shamed. People just don’t understand until they have walked a mile in your shoes.

But fear not; you are not alone. There are many people who have a sense of what you are going through. There are many organizations and groups geared toward raising awareness and helping to find solutions for mental problems.

  1. Take care of your health

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Another point was that people need to take responsibility for their health. Go for check ups, analyze your family’s mental health history, take the medicine prescribed to you for your mental illness and educate yourself on mental health.

  1. There is a lot of support out there

Who do you turn to when your life is in turmoil? As I have said before, it is good to have a support system around you.

The beauty of our interconnected world means that you can join support groups online and you can meet people going through similar mental illnesses and exchange ideas.

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It was also great to see comments from people who have had mental health problems encouraging others and saying things like “You are not alone” and “Things get better eventually”.

Take heart and believe that you will find a way to manage your condition or cope with a loved one’s struggle with illness. It will not be easy, but you can find a way.

Takeaway

It is great to see a lot of people united in spreading the message of love for those with mental health problems. No matter what problem you have, do not be ashamed; it was not your choice to become mentally ill.

We love you and wish you well.