Returning to Your Cave

We are all survivors of our own islands, with out an exception. In the rush of the day, running from one crisis to another, we carry weights heavier than we imagine on our shoulders. We deal with an unbearable work load, working for school or the office, managing our relationships with others and taking care of our loved ones. In short, we do our utmost best to satisfy others. We only miss one point through this process: ourselves.

Even though we occasionally forget, it is certain that we are living for ourselves, not others. Our minds and souls need their own space. Solitude isn’t something to be afraid of if you are ready to listen to your inner self; it is something every human being needs in order to live a healthy life.

All of us need time. To think about the past, future, and most importantly the present… To analyze our behaviours and delve into our thoughts… To understand what we want, what we wish and what we need…

Even if it sounds unnecessary, one day you will feel that you lack meaning in your life; you will notice that you can’t satisfy others before satisfying yourself if you don’t take care of yourself. Because the confrontation of one with his or her self, is what gives meaning to life.

So create time for yourself. It is way easier than you think. Just close your eyes, and return to your cave before you sleep every night. Let your soul enlighten your mind and body. Listen to a soothing song, light a candle that you like, and feel the moment. You may either feel good – and that’s great – or you may feel bad – and that’s also okay.  What matters is being aware of yourself and your feelings. There will be good days, and bad days, but as long as you are listening to your inner self, everything will be okay at the end of the day.

Just believe in yourself, because you are stronger than you imagine.  You have the power to change your life in your hands. What else can you ask for?

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Beware of Secondary Traumas

“Life, as it is imposed on us, is too hard for us; it brings us too much pain, too many disappointments, to many insoluble problems.” -Sigmund Freud

Life becomes too hard to endure sometimes. We not only suffer, but also see our loved ones suffering. And it hurts; it hurts so much. We know, that our loved ones are hurt too, much more than we are, and this slowly kills us inside.

At those moments, we take responsibilities we can’t take. We assign ourselves missions of superheroes, trying to pull out the people we love from the pit of despair they are in. With utmost sincerity, we try to help the people we care about.

But we unfortunately miss a point: our own wellbeing. We lose the track of borders. While trying to be empathic, understand what they are going through and be there for them, we become sympathetic. We mirror the emotions our loved ones are going through; we feel their sadness, their regret, their despair.

This case, known as secondary traumatic stress, mimics the symptoms of the first hand trauma victim. And even though we don’t take it seriously, it may result in consequences much more severe than we think. Sometimes, we come to the point where we drown in our problems, so that we can’t even take care of the people we love anymore.

I know. It’s so great that we are trying to help; It’s so nice that we are touching others’ lives and making an impact on this world. But if we want to help someone, we have to help ourselves first; If we want to be there for someone, we have to be there for ourselves first. We should never forget: We are living for ourselves, not for anyone else.

 

Finding Your Path

Even though I don’t have a certain answer to the question “What is your purpose in life?”, I’m sure that everybody has one. And again I don’t know where I’m going towards, but I’m sure that the path I’m following is guiding me to achieve my purpose.

Don’t let others  scare you. Don’t let these sayings overwhelm you. Of course are days when I feel lost, and believe me, they are the majority of my days. Of course there are times when I am off track. But in reality, who doesn’t?

It is the rule of the mother nature. It rains, it snows; It’s hot, it’s cold. But days pass, seasons change, the sun rises and that foggy road leaves its way to the straight path, leading to your bright future.

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Society’s View of Psychology: Why Mental Illnesses Aren’t Taken Seriously?

Just because you can’t see someone has a mental illness, does it mean that these problems are not real? Why Mental Illnesses Aren’t Taken Seriously?

The explanation of the question probably lies beneath a psychological concept. One of the most used mental defense mechanisms, “denial” is generally used for similar situations.

It is hard to take responsibility. It is harder to bear its consequences. Accepting you made a mistake, saying you are sorry, and trying to change is virtuous. But unfortunately as Immanual Kant stated in his piece “What is enlightenment?” our society is not “mature” enough to do what is virtuous. We are not enlightened yet.

As always we choose the easy way. Instead of healing the wound, we act as if there is no harm. Hiding under the comfort of ignorance, people run away from their realities instead of confronting them.

For these kind of people, there is no depression. If there is, it is not very important. The person who is depressed loves the state of melancholy. He or she is pathetic and weak. He or she only tries to get attention to survive.

For them, seeing a psychiatrist (“shrink”) is something to be ashamed of. And again for them people who get mental help are either mad or retarded.

But these people who ignore  mental illnesses are well aware of their existences; they just refuse to know it because they know the fact that they are the main reason for the majority of psychological problems. The situation is just too much for them to handle, so they just refuses to experience it.

But no matter what, everyone will have to face these realities willy-nilly; because, you can’t cover a wound before you heal it. So it is to learn from our mistakes, and start the change from ourselves.

 

Defining Ourselves

We live in this world to make an impact. We  want to leave a mark behind us. To be well-known and always remembered… In short, we want to define ourselves. But more importantly  we want to be known by others, in the way that we define who we are.

But unfortunately there are some moments in life, where we are desperate. No matter what we do, how hard we try, our capabilities aren’t enough at some points. We are not able to introduce ourselves as we want to; we can’t prevent the society labelling us.

Based on a single action you take or a decision you make people judge you. They observe you till you make a mistake, and determine who you are based on that specific second. And, oh. They don’t stop there. They label you with that nametag and they catch every opportunity to hurt you, to insult you.

When people who doesn’t mean anything to you does this, it’s okay. No way of harming one another is acceptable; of course this is one of the most mean things you can do to someone, but it doesn’t hurt much. You just get mad.

But.. But when someone you love, you care about, you value does this to you. It’s over. Not because you will be known by others in way that is not same as who you define your self as. Instead, because they didn’t know you well enough. Because you couldn’t show them who you are, and how much they mean to you. It’s stupid. But it hurts. So much.

No matter where you live, who you are, what you do, you will of through this every single day. There is no specific formula to be able to cope with it. There are only two rules. They are cliche, but they mean a lot. 1: Never change for another person. Don’t let anyone ever say who you are. If someone will be in your life, they should be there because they love the way you are. And 2: Don’t value people who are not worthy of being valued. The more you pay effort, the more arrogant they become. Believe me, they don’t deserve it.

Spend time with people who enjoy your company. Love… Love you friends, love your family, fall in love. Read, write, improve yourself. Eat, drink and travel.

Don’t let others define who you are. Instead, let you life speak for you. 

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What makes you happy?

Once I read an article. It used to say during times when you feel low, the number one question you should ask yourself is “Doing what would make me happy right now?” The author believed that you had to immediately stop what you are doing and turn your thoughts into action in order to treat yourself.
At first, the idea seemed meaningless to me. After I decided to try since I wouldn’t have anything to loose, I understood that the question wasn’t as easy as you imagined it would be to answer.

I quickly brainstormed. These were the first things that came to my mind.

  • being with friends
  • eating good food
  • cooking
  • singing songs out loud
  • reading the books I want

But I wasn’t satisfied. Reading when you felt low, didn’t change anything. Even eating your favourite pasta and chocolate didn’t give the taste it used to when your head wasn’t clear. Being with friends didn’t mean anything because when you feel down, you were there physically but not mentally, no matter what.

So I started to think once again. What really makes me happy?

Believe me or not, my conclusion was surprising.  Helping others was my answer.  Helping others… At that moment I got aware, I was only genuinely happy when helping someone. No matter what, maybe a community service project, maybe tutoring a student or maybe just helping a friend. But it warmed my heart and put a smile on my face.

I’m not going to tell you to help people. Of course it’s an amazing thing. But today’s moral is that no matter what you do, please take your time to ask yourself the question. “What really makes me happy?” It will neither be quick nor be easy. But if you find the correct answer, you will see that it was worth it at the end of the day.

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Divergent

As a person closely interested in psychology, I am aware of the fact that it is totally normal for me to go thought internal conflicts, especially regarding Freud’s Psychosexual Development Theory. The  theory says, through the genital stage, which is the final step of the psychosexual development, the teen goes into a series of internal conflicts regarding work, family, love and sexual desires. With the pressure of the society, instincts of survival, sexuality and violence as well as the constant opposition of the ego and the superego, the individual lives a though process of identity crises, trying to figure out who he is and what he wants from the world.

However, I don’t feel like I am going through a process of internal conflicts; I feel like I have two distinct personalities opposing inside me.

The first side of me is savage. Wants to succeed in business and politics – is even capable of becoming the president of a country. Takes Machiavelli as a source of inspiration. Wants a career in a business environment, where she will become the CEO or the CFO one day. Wants to master the art of rhetoric, and loves attention more than any thing. Thinks methodologically, acts strategically. Wants to earn great amounts of money, willing to see everyone take her as an idol. Most importantly, this side is ambitious. It is capable of doing everything in order to succeed and get what she wants one day.

The other side is peaceful. Wants a degree in psychology, maybe even philosophy one day. Takes her favourite author as a source of inspiration. Loves reading, writing, cooking and singing. Adores children and pets, loves spending time with her family. Wants to improve her self and widen her perspective on life. She believes that an individual must be self-satisfied, with out the need of anyone else to adore her. Puts her family and love life before work. Is disgusted by the corrupt and evil atmosphere of the work life. Most importantly she is full of love and vision. Believes that one day this world can change with people like her.

Can these personalities live in me in harmony at the same time? Will I ever be able to find the balance between them like yin and yang? Are these things I’m going through normal, or am I divergent? As you can imagine, there is an ongoing storms of questions through my mind.

Freud has stated that, the process becomes very difficult for the individual and his surrounding for that time being, but at the end it transforms the immature children to an independent individual, enabling him to be capable of love and work efficiently through his life. However, I am not sure if I will ever be able to complete this steps and evolve to the person who I am supposed to be. Who knows? Maybe I was supposed to be divergent in the first place.

Reading One’s Mind

Socrates once said “Knowledge is virtue”. From a similar perspective, I say knowledge is power. There isn’t a better feeling than being asked a question which you already know the answer, no matter how hard it is. Even though you don’t have to know the exact answer of the question, you need the core cues that will enable you to proceed through a logical journey.

However, instead of what many think, knowledge isn’t something that is easy to achieve. Knowledge is much more than what you see on Wikipedia definitions. Reading and searching helps you until a point. But after a certain point, you have to be able to see what no one sees, perceive what no one understands. Basically you have to expect the unexpected, ready to tackle  any issue that arises at any moment. On top of meeting the expectations, you have to  push your limits, think outside the box to  create a difference.

Reading books isn’t enough after a point; you have to use the books you read to read the minds of people.

For me, a person you has succeeded in life is a person who was able to read the minds of people. No matter how talented we are, we are living with people as a part of a community. We live in a world where the knowledge that the society doesn’t want to know, doesn’t want to use or doesn’t want to buy has no worth at all, no matter how precious it is.

I can’t give you instructions to read the mind’s of people. For some it passes through psychology, for some philosophy, while for some the art of rhetoric. But regardless of which path you chose, your end goal should be to perceive the perspective of others and get into the world’s of them.

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The Inevitable Process of the Loss of Individuality

Realization of the transformation from childhood to adulthood starts at the early teenage years, where these young adults are in the process of finding their own identities and shaping their characteristics – but maybe in other words losing what they already have in hand and getting in a robotic shaped structure.

A majority of high school students talk about growing up as a negative process. The most common words they use to describe their experiences through out their teenage years are “stress”, “responsibility”, “problem”, “anxiety”, “stereotypes”, “failure”, “depression”, “workload”.

I think the words, “I’m not living my own life anymore. I’ve stopped living for my self a long time ago” is well self-explanatory, indicating what today’s teenagers are going through.

 

Growing up brings responsibilities with it, responsibilities given by the society to the individuals. Societal pressure and expectations from the community brings the children down. They lose their own identities day by day and become puppets of the society. Regardless of their will, their future gets shaped by others.

First comes the school. Exams, projects, university, rivalry, which all end up with the word “stress”. Then come family, expectations, pressure, and the things they want from you. And then conflicts with every single person in your life, disagreements, the process of excluding the different one or losing your own self in order to be included. Later comes the process of finding a job, earning your own money, building a marriage, becoming a father and mother – once again regardless of your identity, your wants, wills, dreams and goals, only according to the ideal adult figure people’s mind.

And then people ask “How did I become like this? Why did I lose my innocence, curiosity, honesty? What has happened to me?” Then when they look back to them selves they see the loss of their own selves. They see that they couldn’t resist to the inevitable process of adapting to the harsh adult life, and turning to the typical boring adult figure they didn’t want to become years ago.