Mental Health - Who is the enemy, who is the friend!?
Updated: Jul 27
They are on their way to conquer the world: burnout, depression, dementia, narcissism. A burnout is part of a good managers reputation and represents his/her level of engagement. Depression is seen as a characteristic of weakness, we avoid talking about it. Dementia is not even present, because it is deported with the people suffering from it, to nursing homes. Narcissism is the most accepted out of these four, because it is the protective shield of the strong ones, the winners, the supposed leaders/heroes of this world.
Come on humans, don't we know better?
The four are representatives for certainly a lot more symptoms caused by the way we operate our world today. It starts in school. When about 6 year old children are forced to perform and we as society start comparing one to each other. „What’s your sons grade in Mathematics .... ?“. If a child does not consent, we simply make it an outliner. Nobody cares about talents, personality, or even feelings. Either you fit in the expectations of society, or you are going to be excluded. So it comes, that a mother, as she told me, considers it as normal, that her son cried before and after school for the first 6 weeks. This happens every day in our western world.
Later it continues. If you want to become someone, there is no alternative to an academic career. The better the university, the higher your income. This decision is taken with an age of around twenty. And still for the majority of the people, this one decision rules over their entire life and tells them who they are and how much they are going to earn. If you are lucky, you wake up close before your retirement and recognize you made a good choice. But for most of us it means, they got trapped. And the price to escape is very high. Changing your profession means a significant drop in income and mostly one earns negative pressure from his/her peers. We can continue bringing up examples like the aforementioned easily. But I guess one thing is clear: we mess up our lives, we mess up the planet. And the worst, we are fully aware of it.
Why is that?
Because of a religion, that isn’t one actually. I call this religion the dream of a western life. Sounds ridiculous? But in fact it has a lot more in common with religion, than with science/evidence. It is a story, a miracle in which some heroes simply push the right buttons. And we tell each other, we just have to repeat their doing and it will work out fine for us. We have to have good grades in school and say yes to whatever authorities want us to do or say. The same is just valid for the students' life. Copy and paste for work life. Do what the boss tells you. But please, shut off your talents, your feelings, your brain, your humanity.
We laugh about other species on this planet. We put ourselves over them. But no animal is so stupid, to run after a miracle that leads, sooner or later, to the elimination of it’s own species. Our western life is a concept. Its been constructed by some brains based on everything, but latest evidence about human (behavior). As so often in life, there is hope. Because the fact that all this is just a story is a curse and a blessing at the same time.
The downside is obvious. We all know how powerful religions can be. They play with the identity of the people and exclude everyone who is not willing to consent to their perspectives. So it’s tough for every individual to let go of the concept.
But there is hope.
The good thing about it is that we already know how it works. We just need to invent a new story. A better concept, which is closer to our humanity. A miracle about collaboration, about love, about saving the planet together. The turnaround is just your next story away. Tell your children that you don’t care about their grades. Let your friends know that you visit them for who they are, and not because of their Mercedes and the infinity pool. Make clear that organizations can run on collaboration between ordinary people successfully, completely without bosses who claim to know everything better. I am sure, most of us can write entire books with narratives about the good in people.
My bet is, that if billions of ordinary people start telling the story in a new way, we are far more powerful than all the heroes, leaders and politicians ever can be. What are we waiting for? Let’s create this new script and shout it out to the world: humans can be good, if we let them and tell the right story.
And don’t forget. It starts all in our mind. What we believe in, what potential we see in others, creates a new reality.