The Best Way to Live

mandela - best way to live

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When looking for examples of the best way to live and move the world forward, is it generally best to look to people above us or below us? Smarter or stupider? Braver or more cowardly? Happier or less happy? More or less content? More virtuous or less so?

Nearly every universally respected person — MLK Jr., Gandhi, Jesus, Buddha, Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, Vaclav Havel, Solzhenitsyn, Elie Wiesel, Dalai Lama, etc. — ends up not getting more disapproving and militant as they get older, but embracing love and compassion as lenses for living and stances for being better in the world, and helping to inspire, empower, and release others into better lives.

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Five Things to Remember Before Sharing Truth with Someone

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My work with individuals — students, parishioners, and clients — is built squarely on the critical role of truth and truth-telling. Below are some of my core beliefs about truth, and these core beliefs determine how I approach the truth in my work with people. I think more people (especially, but not only, religious people) need to be aware of these principles and observe them carefully.

1. Whenever possible, truth should never be forced on anyone.

We can force truth on a person in twenty seconds, whether they accept it or not. It may take them years to discover it on their own.

It’s worth the wait.

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Find me on another blog

man on blogThe good people over at Depression’s Collateral Damage blog have used the content of one of my older posts in a post of their own. Check out their post, quoting my post. Of course your comments here on this blog, over on theirs, or both, are always welcome. The work to de-stigmatize suicide, depression, and all mental illness, goes on.

Setting boundaries with toxic parents

boundaries with toxic parents

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Someone recently wrote to me asking the following question. I have changed this person’s name to protect their privacy:

When you’re an adult and one of your parents have always made decisions that corrupt the whole circle of the family, and they continue to make the same choices, when is it okay to walk away? I know honor your mother and father is important, but where’s the line when their actions are bad, not just for me but my family? I have found truth in knowing I will never have the daddy I’ve always wanted, but his actions are so bad and downright obnoxious. Signed — Gale

Hi Gale, thanks for writing, and for a great blog post idea. I feel like I have a fairly clear grasp of your question, except for what you mean by “walk away.” Are you talking about cutting off all contact with your father forever, or just choosing not to go over to his house anymore? It is just your father, or is a mom or step-mom involved too? This is a boundaries issue, but the severity of the action you take is, of course, determined by the severity with which his/their choices have affected you and your family.

You can, and should, protect yourself and your family from toxic choices made by others.

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Depression and anxiety are not spiritual issues

hope -- depression and anxiety

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Depression is not sin. It is also not just “being sad.”

In a March 5 post, Amy Viets of the blog Depression’s Collateral Damage, wrote:

Depression is an illness so terrible and stark that no one would actively seek it as a means to grow in the spiritual life.  And with such a burden to bear, when priests and ministers talk about how a person can find relief if they only ask and turn it over to God, it makes my hair stand on end. It’s not that easy, that simple.  All a platitude like that serves to do is to make the depressed individual feel that for some reason he is not good enough, is not really letting go, is not trusting God. Often for the depressed person an even worse downward spiral occurs as a result.

Source: Depression’s Collateral Damage

Calling depression sin is damaging to the depressed person

I could not agree more. I highly encourage you to follow the source link above and read the post. Christians who say or suggest that depression is a spiritual issue do so largely out of ignorance, but that doesn’t make it any less damaging. I addressed this issue to a smaller extent in my post about my own struggles with depression and anxiety, and I often feel compelled to set people straight about it on Facebook when I see various comments made about it.

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