In an effort to find meaning in tragedy, let us hope that the death of gifted and much beloved actor Robin Williams will shine a light on the darkness that is depression.
Let us not resort to blame and judgement in our attempt to make sense. Suicide is not an act of weakness or selfishness, though it may seem both to those who cannot understand. It is an act of desperation, an attempt to end the oppressive, all-consuming emotional pain of a lost soul who feels desperately alone and helpless in a far too apathetic and self-absorbed world.
Who among us has not been touched in some way by depression. It sadly remains a complicated, often misunderstood, and difficult condition to treat.
Let us open our hearts, seek to understand and offer a hand, an ear, a shoulder. Perhaps the greatest help that we can offer to those who suffer from depression, is simply awareness, empathy, and the simple message that you are not alone, your suffering matters and there is always hope.
Other people’s expectations for your life
This is your life. You are the one who has to live it. You have to live with the consequences of the decisions you make and the actions you take, so you should make them according to what you want for and from your life, not what someone else thinks you “should” do with your life. We care way too much about what other people think about us and far too little about what we think about ourselves.
How much you weigh
It’s just a number people! We live in such a weight-obsessed culture that our weight is often a measure by which we are judged and worse by which we judge ourselves. I’m not saying to stop caring about being healthy, that’s a completely different thing, and one definitely worth worrying about. Just don’t fixate on the number on the scale. Care about healthier food choices, care about how strong you are, how much exercise you’re getting, just stop attaching your value, your success, your confidence, your attractiveness and your health to this one single number.
How other people live
Let other people live their own lives, just as you’d like to be able to live yours. Stop judging what other people do and how they live. That’s their business. If it doesn’t affect you, stop caring about it. Stop comparing what you have, how you look, the money, the status, the possessions, the beauty to what you “think” others have. Don’t measure yourself against other people, measure yourself against your own yardstick.
How many Facebook friends you have
Same goes for Twitter followers. The number of social connections you have is not a good indicator of either the strength of your network or your true popularity. True connections are measured by the quality of interactions and the people you who actually care about you and what you have to say. How people respond to you and share with you is a far better indicator or your social status.
We suffer so much anguish caring about being perfect. Perfection is nearly unattainable and our striving for it, costs us so much. Perfect is a waste of time, perfect is unreasonable, perfect is a recipe for stress. Pretty darn good is a better goal. It’s usually more than good enough and far less stressful. (Note: If you’re a brain surgeon or a pilot, please try for close to perfect, but as long as you leave my gray matter in place and get me on the ground safely, I’m good.)
You can’t stop the clock. It’s a fact, no matter how much you worry about it or how much money you spend trying to hide it, time is going to keep right on ticking and taking you along with it. Stop caring about how old you are. It’s not a good measure of the quality of life anyway. Or maybe it is…Studies have shown that people are actually happier as they age. So stop caring about your biological age and wrinkles (whether you have them or worry about getting them,) and start caring about what how you want to live the years you have left.
We place too much value on conformity. If you like to listen to jazz and wear purple shoes, go for it. If you are the sculptor in a family of accountants, good for you. No make-up, big jewelry, cowboy boots, bow tie, thrift store clothes, dinner on cushions, no TV…it’s all fine. You’re not hurting anyone, and though they may judge you, that’s their problem, not yours.
Why are we so obsessed with celebrities? From reality shows to magazines, entertainment news shows to paparazzi photos, clothing lines to hairstyles, we are so infatuated with the lives of the rich and famous. Why? Are we so unhappy in our own lives that we have to get our excitement and pleasure by watching public figures live theirs? Stop wasting your time caring about what famous people do, good, bad, crazy, sad or fabulous. It has nothing to do with you. It’s only a distraction from your own life.
We all want to be right. It must be intrinsically bred into our DNA, but more times than not, it’s very destructive. When we’re striving to be right, we’re focused on proving other people wrong. We’re grasping for power by trying to prove our infallibility. Care about finding solutions, collaborating with others to find the best answers, and cultivating relationships. Care about the result, not who is right or wrong.
Anything you can’t control
Stop caring about things you can’t control. If there’s nothing you can do to impact the person or the situation, then don’t waste your energy. There are so many important things in your life, in this world that you can affect. Focus on what you can change, where you can have the most impact, make a difference, and let the rest go.
Post originally written for lifehack.org]]>
Do you have a life plan? Have you ever thought about how to make a life plan? Most people haven’t, but they should.
We are not talking about a 50-page business plan with maps and checklists. A life plan is really just meant to be general summary of where you are now in all the areas that matter to you, where you want to improve and what you’d like your life to look like in the future.
Don’t be scared off by the title. It may sound ominous, but creating a life plan does not need to be a difficult or lengthy process. It’s worth an hour to get the life we want, instead of chasing the wrong things and working hard, only to find that we have been following the wrong path.
How would you rate your life? – Are you satisfied with the way your life is right now? Somewhat satisfied? Not at all satisfied? The answer is for your eyes only. No one else needs to know. Be honest.
What is going on in your life now? – Briefly summarize the current state of your life. Consider your health, career, relationships, finances, spirituality, and emotional well-being. Add any other areas of life that are important to you. Don’t take too much time with this. Just write down what your life is like right now.
What makes you happy? – Think about what you enjoy. Think about things that are going well in your life. Include activities, people, and situations that bring you joy, satisfaction, or just make you laugh.
What are the happiness drains? – Pinpoint the drains on your energy and happiness.Determine what people, behaviors, choices or situations cause stress, anxiety, or a negative mood. We all have life toxins; people or things that suck the life out of us like vampires draining our life force.
What isn’t working in your life? – Think about where you want to improve. Identify your obstacles to living a fulfilling and happy life. Consider the lingering challenges in your life; health, fitness, weight, lack of organization, an unsatisfying or dead-end job, a difficult or damaging relationship. Perhaps, you simply need to manage your stress better, get more balance, or just learn to laugh again.
What would your ideal life look like? – Describe in detail what kind of life would truly make you happy to get out of bed in the morning. Describe what you would be doing, whom you would be with, and how you would be feeling. Be honest and be clear. It’s important to be really clear about what you really want in your future.
What do you need to do to get that life? – Think about what needs to happen for you to get from where you are now, to where you want to be. It doesn’t have to be a detailed action plan right now, just some general goals or ideas to work toward. You can get more detailed later, but you need to define a target. Consider what habits you’d like to adopt or whatways you might change your attitude or environment.
What do you really want to accomplish in this life?
What kind of person do you want to be?
What is most important to you in life?
Why do you want whatever it is that you want?
How would you like to be remembered?
What will your life be like if you never change the way it is right now?
Post originally written for lifehack.org
Photo by TheAlieness GiselaGiardino²³