Psychological Self-Help

Navigation bar
  Home Print document View PDF document Start Previous page
 37 of 49 
Next page End Contents 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42  

37
so much that you desert friends and family and joy altogether.
Thinking little of yourself is self-humiliation; thinking of yourself little is
humility. 
Some find solace in religion; some find moral guidance and
inspiration; some find hope beyond this earthly life. Others find guilt;
others find excuses for doing very little except seeking their own
dubious salvation. Some see God giving us the potential and
responsibility for doing good and loving; others see humans as
helpless and believe that all progress is up to God. (A caution: Thomas
Moore, a former monk, says that everything that happens in the heart-
-emotions and relations--can only be understood through religion,
poetry, and fate. This is at odds with science.) 
If you believe that God is responsible for everything that happens,
it may be hard to understand "When Bad Things Happen to Good
People ." Rabbi Kushner (1981) wrote a book by that title after his
teenaged son died from a rare disease. He says God gives relief from
suffering, not protection from tragedy. Illness, failure, hunger,
quarrels, unfaithfulness, hatred, loss of love, greed, death, and so on
are acts of nature, not acts of God. God does not start or stop them
for us. What does God do? According to Kushner, God gives us
strength and courage to get through and go on after a tragedy; God
gives us love and helps us forgive and love others.
Finding meaning in life 
This is the true joy in life--the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being a
force of nature instead of a feverish, selfish little clod of ailments and grievances, complaining that the world
will not devote itself to making you happy.
-George Bernard Shaw
Like Shaw, many wise people have observed that a life of meaning makes us
happy. O’Connor & Chamberlain (1996) have shown people who lack meaning in
their life tend to have more mental/emotional difficulties, more addictions, and more
suicidal thoughts. So, how do you find meaning? The Existentialists make several
good points: (1) to have a deep investment in the meaning our own life we must
have thought about it very seriously, it can’t be actions merely directed by parents
or friends or teachers or ministers or anyone else. We must decide what has
meaning for us (although we don’t have to be an entirely original thinker about what
is meaningful). Until we settle on a purpose, our life is in danger of having little
meaning except for self-gratification. (2) Unless we think of ourselves as self-
directed--as making choices about our life rather being determined by the genes, the
past, and our social environment--we can’t take great pride in the good we do. (3) It
is pretty obvious that, given our personal limitations, individuals aren’t mystically
assigned a clear mission that changes the universe 1000 years from now. So, in
some sense, we have to decide on and “make” our own life’s meaning. People do, for
example: I gave birth to and raised five fine children. I was a Christian minister for
50 years and preached over 3000 sermons and saved over 1500 souls. I worked in
Previous page Top Next page

advertisement


« Back


advertisement