I was diagnosed with PTSD, and I haven’t mentioned it before because it wasn’t relevant until this post. More kids are diagnosed with PTSD than soldiers, but soldiers suffer from it in its most extreme forms and also bring attention to the condition.
Some might say that is not being real if I don’t relay bad days or events, but for my personality, I try to keep it moving forward. Everybody is different. Some find it therapeutic to share more. I share what I can, especially if I think it can help.
The warmth and affection that I receive from the people I love and from everyone on social media is comforting. I know loneliness well, and I think most humans do. I think that outside of religion, solid, consistent community is hard to come by. Depression, self-absorption, or comparison can easily result, but no one picks these by choice. If you are a lonely person, I hope you will have the courage to reach out continually, until you find people that encourage you to grow and believe in yourself. Studying psychology has definitely helped, for me to understand others better and myself, and for me to find the people I can learn the best from.
Perhaps you are not lonely and you can find a college student or elderly person and bring them to dinner every once in a while. I think that could make someone’s month.
If I can understand people, then I can love them. Not everything we have to live out to gather, but most lessons we can pay a lower cost and read about.
The lessons that stick out to me from Christianity and perhaps the most moving part of the Bible’s thousand pages, was to forgive. They don’t understand. All of Jesus’ life was dedicated to the people resorting to violence on that day — religious leaders, his people, and two disciples. So in this way, we are our own worst enemy; it’s not the Romans or the governments that come and go, but ourselves.
Maybe the greatest love in the world is to forgive others because they don’t understand and to seek understanding ourselves, to do our own part. We act how we are, not based on others. We can set the tone and refuse to be the victim, and have compassion for those who succumb to their trials. I’d rather things rest on me, because I can change me. Many things can affect our external state, but what’s inside is more resilient.
It is obvious the war of good and evil is inside. The moment the battle becomes physical, it becomes antagonistic. If I attack an ex or attack someone politically, then I have added to the chaos and pain in the world, even if my message were compassionate. Methods speak too. If I try to understand, if I show love in the way that you guys have shown love to me, then I can heal what has been broken. What’s inside that is good doesn’t help if it can only manifest in pain. We can turn our loss into art or stubbornness into fight for the underdog or for motivation — but we don’t fight against people. The most important battles aren’t over ideas. The most important battle is inside.
Fear Leads to Anger, Anger to Suffering:
A young boy saw his mother being punched after another of his father’s drunken nights. This son had it hard all of his life. He couldn’t read well, and his parents disciplined him for this in unorthodox ways. He and his youngest sister were constantly teased and picked on by their siblings. For once though, this youngest son couldn’t take it. At 16, he did the most difficult thing he ever did: He punched his father.
The abuse witnessed and discord in the home caused a decade or more of extreme hypervigilance and anxiety. When the time came for this youngest son to have his own family, he asked people along his delivery route in the wealthiest neighborhoods to tell him their one regret they had on child raising, to be sure he could do as much as he could do the right way. They advised, “I wish I had spent more time with them. Now that they’re gone, I’ll never get that time back. They rarely visit; they’re too busy for me now.”
My grandpa was genuinely the nicest man you could meet. I never knew him as a drunken man because by the time I was born, he was a laid-back and sweet man, well-loved by everyone.
My dad’s hyperawareness became a part of my personality, and I didn’t realize how much this affected me until much older. I stayed inside and I expected the worst from people. Lines between what my parents valued and what I valued blurred together. No one spent more time with their children than my dad. Not putting in quality time was a mistake he would never make.
If I thought my dad didn’t try to do what was right for me, I could still love him. But that is for each individual to decide, what they can forgive.
Over the years, in intense, literal interpretations of Proverbs, there was a lot of violence. I said everything to make it go away; my more stubborn and aggressive younger siblings got the greater end of this, as they were more honest about their feelings. There are many other court cases that cover this same ground, the same literal interpretation.
I think that what we dwell on, we can become. If we dwell on abuse, which is why I generally choose not to discuss it, we can fixate on what was taken away. This is why I don’t mind reading history once or twice, but most of it is aggressive, chaotic, and an example of what not to do. So there is no point for me personally to dwell there. People in the past were doing the best they could probably, and I give them the benefit of the doubt.
The people within the circles I was raised exacerbated my parent’s behavior; there was very little compassion. Platitudes don’t mean anything to the hurting or hungry, and pressing down on behavior without understanding what drives people to it does no one any favors.
Love is the weapon that breaks hearts, and also the antidote that puts them back together. I have been loved in my 20s by the people like I was raised around and also by the people that I was warned about. People have always been trying.
Violence, Good Action > Good Intention:
My dad focused on his fear of losing us, and he became the hurt he was trying to defend us from. This is a common theme, even in myself. Gandhi remarked once, how can I hate the British for what is in all of us? We all fight noble causes, in our mind, but somehow mostly it is outside of ourselves.
The man who wrote Proverbs, his son also became violent. I Kings 12:11: “My father scourged you with whips; I will scourge you with scorpions.” Solomon had violent proclivities as David did (Uriah and the hundreds that died that day, over Uriah’s wife). Solomon also struggled with his father’s lust. But patterns have to die with us. We cannot settle for a life of repetition, by accidentally taking habits into our adulthood. Intentionality and mindfulness are essential. We have to prove and vet all things.
Though Jesus saw all the problems within religion, he never stopped showing up and being patient, trying to soften the edges, dealing with the leaders. So if you are within religion, you can be the warmth, the voice of reason, encouraging good action over good intention. You should not get out if you feel called to what you are called to, because that’s where you are passionate. Whatever is good, think on those things. You too can direct the topics of conversation from gossip or politics, to what makes people whole, in or out of religion.
Things are objectively bad and good. What is objectively bad is for all of us to press down on others, in the way that Westboro has done and said: “If I don’t tell them the truth, then I do not love them.” Confronting others is never interpreted as love, and I have to continually learn that myself. Being aggressive, even passively, to manipulate behavior is what we would not want done toward us. We’re all trying. We all want understanding, not implied consequences.
Methods override message, because actions override word.
Softer, More Beautiful:
What I hope to accomplish by writing this is to ask you to love your children more, to physically hold them because it means a lot for children to feel safe and warm. To compliment, not to only convey information as many Thinkers may – but to use compliments to convey love and attention often.
To break a mind or a spirit, that is such a tragic thing, and to avoid this, we have to be free from fear. We have to encourage those in our families to grow into themselves, not into what would best serve our personality.
Inspire and encourage. Channel your own hurt in the past to be better for your children by breaking habits, having compassion for the underdog, or producing art or other content; turn suffering into something beautiful. Mercy for others allows us to be merciful to ourselves. How can we encourage honesty in society if we reproach what comes out, instead of try to understand it?
My dad is the biggest part of who I am today, for good and bad. I want peace for what he had to experience in his childhood. We’re all a work in progress, and everyone knows this. So for all those that encourage and share their feelings regularly, maybe your house isn’t as organized as you had wanted or maybe you don’t look the way you want today. But you matter the most in a world that is broken, reminding us that there is beauty and depth, healing what has been broken and restoring what has been lost.