“But do you know where constant worry comes from? It’s rooted in arrogance that assumes, I know the way my life has to go, and God’s not getting it right. Real humility means to relax. Real humility means to laugh at yourself.”—Tim Keller (via oceanofmind)
“I have seen the truth; I have seen and I know that people can be beautiful and happy without losing the power of living on earth. I will not and cannot believe that evil is the normal condition of mankind. And it is just this faith of mine that they laugh at. But how can I help believing it? I have seen the truth — it is not as though I had invented it with my mind, I have seen it, seen it, and the living image of it has filled my soul for ever. I have seen it in such full perfection that I cannot believe that it is impossible for people to have it. And so how can I go wrong? I shall make some slips no doubt, and shall perhaps talk in second-hand language, but not for long: the living image of what I saw will always be with me and will always correct and guide me. Oh, I am full of courage and freshness, and I will go on and on if it were for a thousand years! Do you know, at first I meant to conceal the fact that I corrupted them, but that was a mistake — that was my first mistake! But truth whispered to me that I was lying, and preserved me and corrected me. But how establish paradise — I don’t know, because I do not know how to put it into words. After my dream I lost command of words. All the chief words, anyway, the most necessary ones. But never mind, I shall go and I shall keep talking, I won’t leave off, for anyway I have seen it with my own eyes, though I cannot describe what I saw. But the scoffers do not understand that. It was a dream, they say, delirium, hallucination. Oh! As though that meant so much! And they are so proud! A dream! What is a dream? And is not our life a dream? I will say more. Suppose that this paradise will never come to pass (that I understand), yet I shall go on preaching it. And yet how simple it is: in one day, in one hour everything could be arranged at once! The chief thing is to love others like yourself, that’s the chief thing, and that’s everything; nothing else is wanted — you will find out at once how to arrange it all. And yet it’s an old truth which has been told and retold a billion times — but it has not formed part of our lives! The consciousness of life is higher than life, the knowledge of the laws of happiness is higher than happiness — that is what one must contend against. And I shall. If only everyone wants it, it can be arranged at once.”—
“We who live in free market societies believe that growth, prosperity and ultimately human fulfillment, are created from the bottom up, not the government down. Only when the human spirit is allowed to invent and create, only when individuals are given a personal stake in deciding economic…
“There was also a day in February when I had an epiphany,” she added. “I had lived my life without regrets. I had loved with my whole heart, lived each day for all it was, done my best while doing the right thing, and I was at peace. I realized that by living without fear, I wasn’t afraid of what the future may or may not hold. If my time was up, then I could leave this earth satisfied. If I was to live another day, then I would continue according to plan.”—Serena Burla
Do you treat yourself as well as you treat your friends and family?
That simple question is the basis for a burgeoning new area of psychological research called self-compassion — how kindly people view themselves. People who find it easy to be supportive and understanding to others, it turns out, often score surprisingly low on self-compassion tests, berating themselves for perceived failures like being overweight or not exercising.
The research suggests that giving ourselves a break and accepting our imperfections may be the first step toward better health. People who score high on tests of self-compassion have less depression and anxiety, and tend to be happier and more optimistic. Preliminary data suggest that self-compassion can even influence how much we eat and may help some people lose weight.
This idea does seem at odds with the advice dispensed by many doctors and self-help books, which suggest that willpower and self-discipline are the keys to better health. But Kristin Neff, a pioneer in the field, says self-compassion is not to be confused with self-indulgence or lower standards.
“I found in my research that the biggest reason people aren’t more self-compassionate is that they are afraid they’ll become self-indulgent,” said Dr. Neff, an associate professor of human development at the University of Texas at Austin. “They believe self-criticism is what keeps them in line. Most people have gotten it wrong because our culture says being hard on yourself is the way to be.”
Imagine your reaction to a child struggling in school or eating too much junk food. Many parents would offer support, like tutoring or making an effort to find healthful foods the child will enjoy. But when adults find themselves in a similar situation — struggling at work, or overeating and gaining weight — many fall into a cycle of self-criticism and negativity. That leaves them feeling even less motivated to change.
“Self-compassion is really conducive to motivation,” Dr. Neff said. “The reason you don’t let your children eat five big tubs of ice cream is because you care about them. With self-compassion, if you care about yourself, you do what’s healthy for you rather than what’s harmful to you.”
Dr. Neff, whose book, “Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind,” is being published next month by William Morrow, has developed a self-compassion scale: 26 statements meant to determine how often people are kind to themselves, and whether they recognize that ups and downs are simply part of life.
A positive response to the statement “I’m disapproving and judgmental about my own flaws and inadequacies,” for example, suggests lack of self-compassion. “When I feel inadequate in some way, I try to remind myself that feelings of inadequacy are shared by most people” suggests the opposite.
For those low on the scale, Dr. Neff suggests a set of exercises — like writing yourself a letter of support, just as you might to a friend you are concerned about. Listing your best and worst traits, reminding yourself that nobody is perfect and thinking of steps you might take to help you feel better about yourself are also recommended.
Other exercises include meditation and “compassion breaks,” which involve repeating mantras like “I’m going to be kind to myself in this moment.”
If this all sounds a bit too warm and fuzzy, like the Al Franken character Stuart Smalley (“I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me”), there is science to back it up. A 2007 study by researchers at Wake Forest University suggested that even a minor self-compassion intervention could influence eating habits. As part of the study, 84 female college students were asked to take part in what they thought was a food-tasting experiment. At the beginning of the study, the women were asked to eat doughnuts.
One group, however, was given a lesson in self-compassion with the food. “I hope you won’t be hard on yourself,” the instructor said. “Everyone in the study eats this stuff, so I don’t think there’s any reason to feel real bad about it.”
Later the women were asked to taste-test candies from large bowls. The researchers found that women who were regular dieters or had guilt feelings about forbidden foods ate less after hearing the instructor’s reassurance. Those not given that message ate more.
The hypothesis is that the women who felt bad about the doughnuts ended up engaging in “emotional” eating. The women who gave themselves permission to enjoy the sweets didn’t overeat.
“Self-compassion is the missing ingredient in every diet and weight-loss plan,” said Jean Fain, a psychotherapist and teaching associate at Harvard Medical School who wrote the new book “The Self-Compassion Diet” (Sounds True publishing). “Most plans revolve around self-discipline, deprivation and neglect.”
Dr. Neff says that the field is still new and that she is just starting a controlled study to determine whether teaching self-compassion actually leads to lower stress, depression and anxiety and more happiness and life satisfaction.
“The problem is that it’s hard to unlearn habits of a lifetime,” she said. “People have to actively and consciously develop the habit of self-compassion.”
The authors say men will struggle with the shift away from traditional male and female roles.
The Men’s Health Forum said male identity was bound up in employment.
One of the authors, Dr Boadie Dunlop from Emory University School of Medicine, said: “Women are almost twice as likely to develop major depressive disorder in their lifetime as men, but we believe this difference may well change in the coming decades.”
He argues that traditional males jobs such as manufacturing or physical labour are being lost, either through improved technology or jobs moving to other countries.
On the other hand the article states that as women are now more likely to go to university than men so the number of households where the main breadwinner is female will increase.
“Men’s failure to fulfil the role of breadwinner is associated with greater depression and martial conflict,” the article states.
Dr Dunlop said: “Western men will face a difficult road in the 21st century, particularly those with low levels of education. We believe economic and societal changes will have significant implications for men’s mental health.”
Peter Baker, chief executive of the Men’s Health Forum, said: “This really confirms what we already know about unemployment and that it has a much bigger impact on men, mainly because male identity is bound up as a worker.
“Male social networks are based around work so losing a job can lead to isolation and depression.”
Dr Cosmo Hallstrom, a consultant psychiatrist, said: “If you’ve spent 20 years pouring steel and the mill closes you can’t just go and do something else.
“It seems self evident in a recession with joblessness that it will be bad for physical and mental health and some people will get depression.
“Having to send your wife out and feel like a parasite surely would put up the rate of depression, but overall is it unique to men? I don’t know.”
Mr Baker said men do not seek help when they have depression and were “more likely to self medicate in the pub” than seek professional care.
He said: “As we see more men affected we need to think about how to support and get them back to work.”
“It does not do harm to the mystery to know a little more about it. For far more marvelous is the truth than any artists of the past imagined it. Why do the poets of the present not speak of it? What men are poets who can speak of Jupiter if he were a man, but if he is an immense spinning sphere of methane and ammonia must be silent?”—Richard Feynman (via nathanielstuart)
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself - no one else will be able to make that happen. Accept who you are - completely; the good and the bad - and make changes as YOU see fit - not because you think someone else wants you to be different.”—Stacey Charter (via quote-book)
“do the things you used to talk about doing but never did. know when to let go and when to hold on tight. stop rushing. don’t be intimidated to say it like it is. stop apologizing all the time. learn to say no, so your yes has some oomph. spend time with the friends who lift you up, and cut loose the ones who bring you down. stop giving your power away. be more concerned with being interested than being interesting. be old enough to appreciate your freedom, and young enough to enjoy it. finally know who you are.”—kristin armstrong (via onherway)
“walk with the dreamers, the believers, the courageous, the cheerful, the planners, the doers, the successful people with their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground. let their spirit light a fire within you to leave this world better than when you found it…”— wilfred peterson (via onherway)
“In order to have a happy life it is necessary to have a firm conviction. And in order to die fearlessly it is equally necessary to have a firm conviction.”—Peter Usakov, 18th century Russian revolutionary democrat. (via justagirl)
“I think life should be about touching the lives of people around us. Making a difference. Accepting people for who they are, going out of our way to help others, and loving with all that we’ve got. Sometimes all it takes is one simple gesture, and we can put a smile on someone’s face and make them feel less alone. That is what we should live for, because when we’re gone from this world, we can’t take anything with us. All that’s left are the people whose lives you touched, and the difference you’ve made while you were here. So make this life count.”—(via runawaytrain)
“Forget the mistakes of the past and press on to the greater achievements of the future. Give everyone a smile. Spend so much time improving yourself that you have no time left to criticize others. Be too big for worry and too noble for anger.”—Norman Vincent Peale (via thresca)
“Some things don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down on the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there.”—Sarah Dessen (via kari-shma)
“I find that the temptation to form premature theories based on insufficient information is the bane of this century. Decade after decade I have watched as comprehensive assessment has all but vanished from from sight, leaving room for exploitation of biases & fear. Very few people think for themselves. Those that do are labeled as crazy or malcontents. Our future looks rather bleak. Remember, I warned you.”—Safi A. Thomas (via safithomas)