Although anyone would agree that there is nothing more important in their lives than their mental health, within our society there doesn’t seem to be a clearly identified link between mental health and the quality of our lives.
If, for the purpose of our discussion, we can agree that the reality that each of us lives is unique to us, and that the quality of our reality is dependent on our individual state of mind, then we can agree that the better we feel, emotionally, the better the state of our reality, and the greater the quality of our lives.
Early life can be such a test of one’s character, that as we move into adulthood, we begin to become accustomed to believing that all answers must come from within, that dependency in others is such a negative thing that we will rather ignore the signs of unpleasant discontent in our lives than to reach out to someone for guidance. There are probably an endless number of factors why we as adults think that the only reason to go to a therapist is to be crazy, but let’s have that discussion later. What I would like here is that we recognize that we are only crazy to think that we know it all and that with no professional training whatsoever we cannot properly analyze our own minds, prescribe methods for addressing found concerns, and then monitor progress of betterment for each one of those concerns.
Let’s take a look at why peeking into our own mind might be impossible. If we stop right now and begin to catalog our memories, and we chose to begin with our earliest memories first, we would quickly realize that the history of our lives during the first 10 years or so are quite fragmented and it becomes difficult to create a timeline we can trust as true. At which point we would have to assume that our history is somewhere within our minds but for whatever reason we don’t have access to it. This may not seem like a big deal, until we ask if any of these hidden experiences might be negatively affecting the quality of our current state of mind. It would be foolish and unfair for anyone of us to dismiss the question and blindly assume that there is absolutely nothing amiss and thus nothing we could improve upon.
Too often we go through our lives not daring to assume that there might be aspects of ourselves that are hidden from us, out of sight, and so we may be suffering in silence and living a less than ideal quality of life. For many of us men the main reason to not go to a therapist is pride. We, men, can be too proud to allow doubt into our lives, even if it kills us. But worst of all, we can be so proud that unknowingly we are willing to take our loved ones –children, wives, siblings, parents- down with us.
However, there are ways around the pride, and around the ego (should you care to try): I would dare to assume that 99% of the world’s male population “knows” that knowledge is power. I agree with the statement, but instead I’d like to think that knowledge is empowering. I guess it feels less aggressive of a statement. Either way, as long as you agree with some aspect of the statement, we can then proceed to acknowledge that the more we know the more powerful we are. Thus, we go to a professional looking to benefit from their knowledge when we need to know more about things- We go to the banker for financial matters, or the sensei for martial arts, or the butcher for the best cut of meat, or the webmaster for internet advice. But what about the most important item on the list of things to improve upon in our lives, our minds, the therapist, ourselves? What happens then? It seems that many of us freeze. We no longer believe in the professional. When speaking of a therapist we dismiss the fact that we just agreed that knowledge is power. Our ego threw it out the window and we allowed it to happen. And our ego has caused us, and our loved ones, great harm. This aspect of our lives will remain powerless, ignorant and dumb. And unfortunately, there will be no bliss in this ignorance. Just because we think we can handle it, doesn’t mean that so can our children.
I ask each one of us to please consider putting the ego in a headlock and beating it into submission, and taking ourselves to the most important professional that exists. The people that have made it their lives to understand the mind enough to be able to help those of us who search for knowledge and power: The therapist. Our little boys and girls will benefit greatly from this. So unless you’re so enlightened that you’re about to burst into a ray of light, please take the time to go and spend a few minutes with a “sensei” of the mind, gain some knowledge about yourself, and become more powerful.
You can start here http://www.goodtherapy.org/ Punch in your zip code and get the ball rolling. Don’t wait for the holidays to present your family with the greatest gift you’ve ever given them.