Believe in Yesterday

Psychologists have been re-discovering nostalgia. They claim it can have therapeutic mind-opening benefits.

As the Beatles sang long ago, “Yesterday, all my troubles seem so far away … Oh I believe in yesterday …”

I’d met a married couple years ago who were both threatening suicide. Due to the pains they’re experiencing in their marriage.

How could they be lifted out of that?

We used nostalgia, among others, during sessions. Visioning. Revisiting their past.

I asked them to think of their love theme song, the times they first met, the long-ago dates they had when they felt most loving and romantic towards each other.

Both also reminisced about the many wacky, fun times they had with their children when they were growing up.

Fortunately, their nostalgia trip remedied enough their joint suicidality!

We’re then able to work together on the deeper issues of their relationship.

Psychologist Tim Wildschut once observed that nostalgia can foster “feelings of connection” between people.

Even if they’re just confined to one person’s mind.

He told Psychology Today, “You revisit old relationships, bring people closer, and for a moment, it’s as if they’re there with you.”

I once emceed a high school reunion with my batch mates where all we talked about were our after-school hang outs, parties, favorite songs, and crushes.

How energized and vitalized the reunion was through nostalgia!

Everyone felt young again in the mind!

Memory can affect the mind to heal.

Those stuck in the negative effects of their present lives can focus on memories that cast the present in positive light.

“Nostalgia seems to stabilize people, to be a source of comfort and reassurance,” says University of North Dakota State psychologist Clay Routledge.

Tim’s Advice

This guy, Tim Ferris, is a four-hour-work-week multimillionaire New York Times best selling author. He is one of the world’s famous experts on “new rich” and personal development.

Listen to one of his productivity mental health advices: “Poisonous people don’t deserve your time.”

I knew it was too hard for Mike, an addictive patient. When he entered therapy to care for his fragile wounded life, his mother was critical. She’d blame and judge him for his addictions.

She said that therapy was a waste of money and he could do it on his own.

Accept if the reality is, your family and friends happen to be not the best people to support your healing journey. They may misunderstand your needs through disinterest and uncaring.

Even all the way to shaming or verbal abuse. Such characterizes what happens too when you spend time with “poisonous people” in general.

Remember, if you’re just starting to heal your emotional wounds, you just have a tiny seedling with tiny leaves above the earth.

It’s extra vulnerable to being crushed when wind and rain come. So you would have to care for it as you would any fragile thing in your life.

Examine your present circle of support. Family, friends, mates. And ask these questions:

Are they supporting your fragile tiny seedling to flourish? Or, are they stomping on your growth?

Sometimes, you’ve to clear space for someone or something new to emerge. It’s hard but you’ve to do that in order to heal and grow.

Know the people who deserve your time. Find them, wherever they are. You need them. They’ll protect and nurture you till you become stronger.

Patricia and her “Other” Work

You may have people close to you, such as family or spouse, who exerts a powerful influence upon your life. They want a good relationship with you as much as you want one with them. Their opinions, however, may be sabotaging or not be in your best interest.

Patricia, for example, is an independent career woman. She loves to work and can live alone away from her husband. Despite her busyness though, she balances it with enough time and care for the needs of her husband and only daughter.

Yet, Patricia shared during a session that she couldn’t understand her husband’s treatment of her. Even out of nowhere, tactless remarks, jokes, criticisms, or silences will come from him. Times when she finds herself reacting to his behavior with depression, self-blame, or anger.

In my work with Patricia, she becomes more aware how her man’s disapproval or negativity can cause her to sabotage her self. When she gets too near to her success in her work, she tries to play it down since that’s the time she notices her husband becoming aloof or critical.

Knowing how to detect signs of a “co-saboteur” in your life is essential to your self growth and mental health. In that way, when the warning signals come, you can be prepared for what hits you! You can know how to understand and deal with them.

In the case of Patricia, it’s possible that her man may be unconsciously sabotaging his wife’s progress because of feelings of insecurity. He could mean well for he just wants more of Patricia’s attention, and broadening of her life and passionate interests to include him.

Often, a “co-saboteur” is not aware that he is sabotaging or being destructive towards one he cares about. He is not doing it on purpose. He simply needs help to see how he is impulsively responding to deeply buried feelings about himself.

Patricia meanwhile should never “self-sabotage” and diminish accomplishments in order to keep her husband from being jealous, critical, or withdrawn. Instead of avoiding/circling around it, she can choose to directly process it with her husband.

She could respond to her husband with something like, “I feel hurt when you’re not telling me how great I am with my achievements. I’d like you tell me that instead of acting on your irritation or anger. I love you, and nothing will change between us because I’m expanding.”

With that, the precious parts of the marriage will thus be salvaged especially when her husband responds positively. And Patricia will have eliminated him as a “co-saboteur!”

Remember the nature of the Saboteur and the work needed. As author Mat Hudson put it, “How has your Saboteur become so powerful? It’s because your unconscious mind is like a wall that’s been built up brick by brick, minute by minute, month by month, year after year, for decades.”

Parenting OFW Kids

“Parenting and providing are two different things,” is one of the remarks I made during my recent television interview last week over at Ikonsulta Mo GMK UNTV. Congressman Erin, the TV program’s senior host, was asking me on the impact on parenting of parents going overseas for work on their left-behind children. To that I painted a not-so-good picture of the psychological and social realities of the OFW phenomenon on the Filipino family.

I’m reminded of Maria who went to Dubai to work as an office employee. She left behind a 3-year old daughter and a 15-year-old son in the care of her husband. After 10 years as a migrant worker, Maria found herself husband-less with a drug-addicted, delinquent son who dropped out of school and a teenage daughter who became deeply depressed and suicidal that she had to be rushed for psychiatric treatment. Her husband had sexual affairs and impregnated one woman who happened to be a single mother.

Although dubbed as “Bayani” by the government for their remittances boosting the country’s economy, the psychological and social costs of labor migration among Filipinos remain so increasingly high. Statistics and studies show that the separation of family members from one or both parents working abroad have been linked to problems such as marital breakdowns/infidelity, juvenile delinquency, drug addiction, dropping out of school, teenage pregnancy, early marriage of young children, and parental alienation. Dependency on money received abroad have also been implicated as contributing to families of migrants becoming materialistic, losing desire to work, and suffering mental health or relationship disorders.

Indeed, the economic well being of OFW families cannot be divorced from the conditions of nurturing the mental health of left-behind children. To address the known care deficits that always happened, it’s crucial therefore for OFWs to be able to communicate with their left-behind children in healthy ways while overseas as well as educate themselves on the value and dynamics of true parenting given the sub-ideal family situation they find themselves in. The issue of surrogates or alternative caregivers is a significant area of development to better nourish the mental health and physical care of left-behind children.

You Cannot Change Your Spouse

It never fails to strike me whenever a couple – married or partners – see me about their hurting relationship. Each one expresses a need to change the other. Typical with this need is the presence of blame and defensiveness in their interactional pattern.

I’m reminded again of the insight or “wisdom” encapsulated in the Serenity Prayer: “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can, and wisdom to know the difference.”

In many ways, when couples shift away from blaming each other to take responsibility for each one’s part, things begin to change a lot. Done sincerely, the denial wears off, understanding grows, and the pain is accepted. This produces a strong foundation for the relationship to heal and get better.

Here is a bottom line: you can not change your partner. The only thing you can change is how you respond in your present and in your new truths.

Is There A Trojan Horse In Your Home?

Many parents and spouses ask, “What happened to our family? I can’t understand it.”

In many instances, there is a “Trojan horse,” an enemy that was pulled right into the middle of the home. And some parents and spouses don’t even know it!

Around 1200 B.C., the city of Troy had been under attack by the Greeks for 10 years. But they could not conquer Troy because it’s strong. So the Greeks came up with a novel plan based on deceit. They built a wooden horse, hid warriors inside, and placed it outside the walls of Troy.

The Greeks mad the mistake of pulling the Trojan horse inside their fortress. While they slept, the Greek warriors slipped out of the belly of the wooden Trojan horse, opened the city gates, let in all the other warriors, and slaughtered the sleeping Trojans! Without realizing what they were doing, the Trojans had destroyed themselves with the self-saboteur wooden horse. They had pulled the enemy right inside into their home camp.

Beware: some modern day Trojan horses may be right in the center of of your home and you are asleep!

Is Life Like A Game Of Chess?

There are many similarities; we live on the earth with its boundaries, borders & parameters. Like a chessboard the daily news broadcasts bombard us with incidents that are often very black & white. Each day we face daily challenges, obstacles, tests & trials & often have to work through them by action & deed. 

The chess player will use his brain to work things out, using logic & strategy, & will make decisions to advance his pieces in such a way as to gain position. In the same way we have to make decisions on a daily basis, big & small ones as we journey through our lives. Sometimes we get counsel & advice from others more experienced than ourselves to help us make our minds up when we cannot decide.

Supposing there was a key issue, a key question to consider. For many people they would say the most important decision to make in their life. Ultimately it is your decision to make, no one can make it for you. Like all decisions you should weigh up the situation, look at the whole chessboard, before making your move. 

Talking to other people would be an important part of the search for the right decision, reading up on the matter, researching on line, listening to all the schools of thought on the subject & then ultimately making your personal decision. You see, to make no decision is not good, it is effectively a dangerous game to play, & it is like allowing your clock to run down in the game of life. A chess player can be winning the game but lose on the clock. If his clock flag falls he loses the game, so to not make a decision allows seconds of your clock to go. Those seconds soon accumulate to hours, days, weeks, months & even years, before long decades could go by & suddenly life’s end faces you! 

Many people make the decision before the age of 20 years, whilst some make the decision on their deathbed leaving it rather close to the end game! So the important decision, the decision of life, what is it? The bible, the world’s most influential book explains it clearly: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ – John chapter 3 verse 16. 

God gave His Son, Jesus to be the one who would come & ultimately die on the cross for all who have sinned & done wrong before a holy God. Sometimes a chess player will sacrifice a piece to gain advantage, to open the way & ultimately win the game. God was prepared to do that too, it cost the life of His Son, Jesus. God had a plan of redemption for all those who would believe in Him through His Son, Jesus Christ. He had a plan to raise His Son from death after 3 days. Jesus overcame death, darkness, disease, & sin for you & I, a unique death that was acceptable to God the Father for all mankind. 

Any therefore accepting this sacrifice for them & believing & confessing Christ Jesus, as their Lord & Saviour would be given new life in Christ by the work of God’s Spirit within. The bible says that our sins would be forgiven & we would be filled with the Holy Spirit, a down payment & a deposit of what is to come.

The bible says that Jesus is the King of all kings, Lord of all lords & one day all will bow the knee before Him. We can get to know Him by inviting Him into our lives by His Spirit, making Him Lord, allowing Him to sit on the throne in our lives.

(This article was written by my chess mission partner, Kevin Moore, from United Kingdom)