Author: Shernide Delva
The Duchess of Cambridge continues to pave the way when it comes to standing up for mental health advocacy. This time, she addressed the hardships mothers faced. On Thursday, Kate Middleton discussed motherhood and mental health preaching transparency and even sharing her personal struggles with parenthood.
“Becoming a mother has been such a rewarding and wonderful experience,” Middleton affirmed in her speech.
“However, at times it has also been a huge challenge — even for me who has support at home that most mothers do not,” she revealed.
Middleton acknowledged her privilege and went on to speak about the unpredictability of motherhood. She shared that, most of the time, “you just have to make it up and do the very best you can to care for your family” — a goal that can easily “lead to lack of confidence and feelings of ignorance.”
Middleton also shared that two out of ten women will suffer from pregnancy-related mental issues, such as postpartum depression. She encourages mothers to be more open with one another and reach out for help when needed. She confirmed that physical health and mental health aren’t all that different, saying:
“If any of us caught a fever during pregnancy, we would seek advice and support from a doctor. Getting help with our mental health is no different— our children need us to look after ourselves and get the support we need.”
The event was hosted by the charity Best Beginnings, which showcased a series of films that focus specifically on maternal mental health. Its website explains that some of the films aid in “understand[ing] your baby and support bonding, and support[ing] your baby’s brain development,” while 64 other short films work to “support your mental health during pregnancy and after your baby is born.”
Middleton has supported mental health charities in the past. Furthermore, she, along with Princes Harry and William, has a mental health foundation of their own. Their work on Heads Together exemplifies the sentiments Middleton expressed in her speech; “Mental health is just as important as physical health,” she asserted in a PSA for the group.
Her devotion to this cause, consistent message, and support of charities show that Middleton is a true advocate. It is crucial to keep the conversation going when it comes to mental health awareness and reducing stigmas. For many mothers, hearing Middleton share the same concerns provide a much-needed, optimism to the mothering experience.
The CDC estimates that 1 in 9 women experiences postpartum depression. Postpartum depression is depression that occurs after having a baby. Feelings of postpartum depression exceed those of “baby blues” which refers to the exhaustion and sadness many women experience after childbirth. Postpartum depression was misunderstood for quite some time, but now more awareness has been made about the condition.
The symptoms of postpartum depression are similar to symptoms of depression, but may also include:
- Crying more than usually
- Feelings of Anger
- Withdrawing from loved ones
- Feeling disconnected from your baby
- Worry about hurting your baby
- Guilt about not being a good mom
- Feeling unable to care for baby properly
If you think you may be struggling with postpartum depression, the first step is to talk to your health care provider. Depression is treatable, and there are a variety of treatment options available to help get you back on track. Please do not let this feeling linger for too long. Mental health is like any other illness. You should not feel any shame.
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Narcissism is a word that gets thrown around a lot these days. The “selfie society” that exists in a world of social media has some people saying we are more concerned with ourselves than ever. The new heightened sense of self-promotion causes many to feel we have become less interested in true connection with others. The truth is, there is nothing wrong with healthy self-love. Some may see it as simply embarking on self-exploration and celebration. Others may see it as self-seeking and being conceded. Are you more conscious, or are you pretentious? Are you introspective or disconnected?
At times the distinction becomes blurred, and that might not be your fault. Sometimes others will perceive us differently and it’s not our responsibility to change their minds. Sometimes people are afraid to give themselves the self-love they need because they don’t want to seem self-centered, but isn’t there a strong difference between self-love and narcissism?
Let us be clear; narcissists seem to love themselves to an extreme, with the exclusion of others. This is often considered as a feature of a mental health disorder and includes an excessive interest in one’s self, especially physical appearances. It is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes.
If you were to look up the definition of narcissism, you would probably find it also described as a social or cultural problem. It is a factor in trait theory used in various self-report inventories of personality.
Narcissism is most typically considered an issue in an individual’s or group’s relationships with self and others.
Let us also be clear that narcissism is not the same as egocentrism. It is true that both egocentrism and narcissism appear comparable. However there is a distinct difference.
Much like a narcissist, a person who is egocentric believes they are the center of attention. However, this individual does not receive gratification by one’s own admiration, as the narcissist does. In other words, the egocentric individual must receive validation and admiration from outside itself, so the self-love aspect is not so much an issue from the egocentric perspective.
Self-love is being more subject to the broad-stroke of “narcissism” over time, but should be viewed in a different light. For example, two forms of narcissism are not considered to be as detrimental:
Freud suggested that, simply put, the desire and energy that drives one’s instinct to survive is something he dubbed primary narcissism. This sense of self-preservation is supposedly ingrained in everyone as a sense of self that protects us, without abandoning empathy or loving others.
The “healthy narcissist” can be characterized as possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life. This expression of self-love, or “health narcissism,” is about having a honest appraisal of ones worth, and still valuing others.
All of this brings us back to the question; How can we love ourselves in a way that feels good and enhances the quality of our lives, but isn’t narcissistic?
Research finds four consistent differences between healthy self-love and narcissistic love. Take a look at these 4 questions that can help you with self-love vs narcissism.
Do I need to be validated by others?
Narcissists need the validation of others; it is a primary motive for a lot of their actions. A true narcissist craves constant affirmation. They need to be verified by others because they haven’t created a self-sustaining sense of worthiness or self-compassion. They may seem to hold themselves highly, however they have no genuine instinct of high self-regard.
The narcissist will do things to win praise and recognition. They seek materials as tools to measure their own worthiness. Even the people they develop relationships with are possessions they use as a means of validation.
Healthy self-love is fundamentally different in the sense of measuring self-worth. With health self-love, an individual’s internal values are a primary influence of their actions. They behave in a way that is consistent with those values, and these convictions help to sustain their good feelings about themselves.
In other words, basing your self-worth on your beliefs, instead of what others may believe about you, is self-love.
Am I focusing on my appearance or my performance?
This isn’t just for the sake of aesthetics either. It ties right into the last question.
A true narcissist will often make a great actor. They play many parts, such as:
- Caring friend
- Devoted lover
- Good employee
But they are better at keeping up appearances than actually performing the role with expertise and aptitude. Like when an action movie hero does well at looking like they beat up a room full of ninjas, but in reality they have CGI and stunt doubles.
A narcissist doesn’t invest too much emotionally in the actual quality of their performance. They don’t mind how their role as a friend or lover actually impact the other person, they just want to make it look good, especially if other people are looking. It is another form of validation.
People with authentic self-love take real care in doing a good job and taking responsibility for their part in things, particularly in relationships. So it is very acceptable to be concerned with your contribution to relationships and how you impact others, because in a way you earn your own self-love from the way you treat others.
Am I focusing on comparison or compassion?
Another huge piece of this puzzle is comparison. How do you perceive others in contrast to yourself?
Typically, narcissists are not self-loving or secure in their worth. Because of this, they often seek to compare ourselves with others. Now this isn’t especially exclusive to full-blown narcissism, because we all have a tendency to try and measure up.
But the narcissist will thrive on the belief that they are better than, or even the best. We all feel better about ourselves when we are accomplished or exceptional at something, but to require to always outshine others is a little more relevant to narcissism. The focus here isn’t so much on us being able to appreciate our own achievement as much as it is the need for other people to be less. In order for a narcissist to be more, other people have to be beneath them. It isn’t self-worth; it is self-inflation through the dispossession of others.
Healthy self-love and self-esteem is based on believing that we have a number of positive qualities, and that other people have such qualities. It puts us on a more level playing field and allows us to be compassionate whether or not someone is as accomplished in something as we are. So it is OK to excel at something, as long as you don’t make it about other people being less.
Do emotions and attitudes seem “black and white?”
We have mentioned before the real dangers of black and white thinking. In the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi,
“Only a Sith deals in absolutes.”
Basically, the issue is that some people only let it be one of two ways. It has to be black or white, no room for grey area or compromise.
Research indicates a narcissists tends to either love or hate things. They don’t to tolerate the middle ground. Usually, something with themselves or others is either preferable and exceptional or totally unacceptable. They are either everything or nothing, instead of just letting it be.
As a result, when we can’t abide our own uncomfortable feelings, we’re more likely to project them onto others. Once we force those feelings onto others we create conflict, isolation, and self-disillusionment.
Healthy self-love allows us to tolerate uncertainty. It is important to have self-love because with a strong sense of self-love we have the ability to experience our own vulnerability. Where a narcissist feels angry or intolerant of their own vulnerability, a healthy, self-loving person will naturally resort to self-compassion. This same compassion for ourselves gives us a chance to feel more connected to others.
So don’t look at self-compassion as “letting yourself off the hook,” look at it as accepting your imperfections with humility.
Recovery is Self-Love
At the end of the day, what is the moral of the story here?
Is it OK to just assume that people who have a high opinion of themselves, who believe in their own capacity to be unique and successful, and who value and respect their own impact on other people should be considered narcissists? Should the term “healthy narcissist” be something we swap for self-love once in a while to consider it as a virtue?
In recovery we hear a lot about how addicts and alcoholics are especially selfish. As often as we are told this, should we also be reminded to use our own nature as selfish people in recovery to shape that sense of self into something more constructive and empowering instead of thinking we need to abandon it completely?
Let us not be so quick to label one another as narcissists, and learn to love ourselves thoroughly as we learn again to love each other.
Mental health and self-esteem is extremely important in regards to addiction recovery. Holistic treatment programs like Palm Partners are specifically designed to address unique issues in unique ways. If you or someone you love is struggling, please call toll-free now. We want to help.
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Author: Justin Mckibben
As hard as it is to admit, that’s the first step.
Once upon a time the forces of evil gave us this great conspiracy that we are separate; the truth is we never were. We have been lied to long enough that we are defined by our differences. We were told the borders mankind created for each other are valid reasons to hate and hurt one another. They said the shades in our skin and the climates and economic categories we live in made some of us better or worse… and the greatest tragedy is- we believed it.
The 12 Steps and the ‘anonymous fellowship’ model of recovery are actively used all over the world for those looking to recover from drug or alcohol addiction. There are even other addictions such as gambling or over-eating that people use the 12 Steps’ strategies to overcome. Anonymous support groups meet to work with one another to fight the obsessions that rule over their lives.
While some debate the effectiveness of groups like AA or NA, thousands upon thousands of people in over 150 countries all over the world have found their salvation from substance abuse through 12 Steps.
So, the question is… will it work for racism?
Some would insist that to even suggest racism is still a reality in America is to contribute to the race-baiting that drives division. However, the truth is no matter how far we like to think we have come- racism is still real. Now, Racists Anonymous (RA) aims to help those struggling with their own prejudices to overcome them.
Racism in America
While it may be hard in a politically-correct America to understand the gravity of it, racism is not extinct. No one likes to admit they are racist, especially in the modern society that preaches tolerance and acceptance. It is probably much easier for some to admit to their innermost self they’re an alcoholic or an addict than it is to admit they suffer from a serious racial bias.
Today we are still bombarded with police-related shootings involving young black men and women in the media. Meanwhile, we have the biggest protest by Native Americans in our history happening right now, and the brutality being inflicted on these people is truly deplorable.
Regardless of whether or not you believe that race is responsible for these injustices, the nature of these events leads some to think discrimination is the only explanation. The way these events are shown impacts the country, also driving a wedge between its people, inspiring even more division. Tragically, despite having an African American president, many insist this is the most racially divided we have been in decades.
One pastor in Sunnyvale, California is so concerned with the status of stigma and racial tension he is taking the unlikely step of offering a 12-step program for people who wish to heal from racism.
Pastor Ron Buford of the Congregational Community Church knows well that the first step of basically every recovery fellowship is to acknowledging the problem. He stated,
“That is something that we as Americans don’t want to do. We all swim in this culture of racism. It’s impossible to not be racist to some degree.”
Pastor Buford, who is himself an African American, makes no effort to point the finger and say this is a problem unique to one race or another. Back in 2015 Pastor Buford began to host meetings of the newly formed Racists Anonymous in what he says was a response to the police shootings all over America, exacerbated by the shooting rampage of Dylan Roof at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina.
Slowly but surely the fellowship of Racists Anonymous did actually grow! Since its conception, at least a dozen people regularly attend the weekly Racists Anonymous meetings. The RA meetings host a majority of Caucasian members, but also various other races are adamant attendants. Seems like having members who would not normally mix is a big understatement here.
Still, the Racists Anonymous fellowship follows the path set out by the original 12 Steps. For example:
- Making a list of people they have harmed
- Making amends to those they have hurt
- Taking personal inventory
- Admitting and recognizing racist behaviors
RA meetings also include sharing experiences and feelings regarding race.
One thing very different about RA from most 12 Step fellowships is these meetings is the mediator. RA meetings have someone working to directly confront members with scenarios. The mediator, typically Pastor Buford, then challenges members to explore their attitudes and actions concerning other races. This kind of mediation is not the norm for many 12 Step meetings. What many might call “cross-talking” seems to be acceptable in the RA format.
Expanding the Fellowship
Beyond the reach of Congregational Community Church, over 30 other churches across the country are in the process of establishing Racists Anonymous groups. Buford says he hopes to make RA just as available as AA or NA all over the U.S. of A. Still there are many hurdles to overcome before this fellowship can hope to grow.
A large obstacle is that not many people are willing to admit they are racist to a group of strangers. Reverend Nathan King of the Trinity United Church of Christ in Concord, North Carolina, introduced the meetings to a mostly white congregation. Reverend King said,
“People are in different places. Some say, ‘I’m a racist.’ Or they say, ‘I don’t know’ or ‘I’m not sure.’”
Some would protest the comparison between alcoholics and racists. One might say that one is a choice and the other is a disease. But then again, some people still claim alcoholism or addiction is a choice, but anyone who has been there or been on the frontlines in fighting addiction knows better than that. So, is it fair to say that the idea of supporting people in recovering from racism is not a worthy task?
Stephen Mosier, a 74-year-old RA member is a retired college administrator who stated,
“We have all got some residual racism in us no matter how good we think we are at it,”
Pastor Buford believes that racism could very well be a lifelong issue one struggles with. Whether you believe people choose racism or not, the hope is to eliminate the spread of racism for future generations. Either way, this seems like as good a reason as any to try and make a change.
Racism is an Addiction
In the end if we are all as introspective as we can be, we will see that as imperfect people we have a tendency to make assumptions or misconceptions based on the ideas we were conditioned with throughout life. In a combination of our environment and the more drastic experiences we have, we can subconsciously create stereotypes or expectations, and our culture may only feed these beliefs. But it is our responsibility to fight back and grow out of these lies.
We become addicted to these stereotypes and presumptions. We may even realize we are wrong, but somehow we cannot let go of the crutch of our conditioning. The truth is, no one is born racist. Racism is taught. So love and tolerance must be learned in order to escape these archaic lessons. RA may not be the only way to teach love, but it’s an interesting take on an old way of working for an awakening.
While many are far from able to take that first step, others who have fought to overcome drugs and alcohol already know just how difficult of a step that can be. Having that clarity isn’t always easy, but once you see the problem for what it is you have a window of opportunity to get the help you truly need to change. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call now!
CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Before we begin this article, let me just say:
Everyone gets jealous. It’s okay.
In case you were not aware, we are all human.
No, but really, jealousy is a natural emotion. How you respond to jealousy is a choice. We all have to make choices on how we respond to our feelings. I have found over the years; I am able to evaluate my emotions better. Jealousy is something I do not let take over my life, and it has brought me more joy than I could ever imagine.
Nevertheless, jealousy can be a healthy emotion if you learn to navigate it. Jealousy can be your biggest motivator or your strongest downfall. You choose. How do you want to live your life? Do you want to go your entire life looking at other people’s lives, or do you want to live?
Are you wallowing in your jealousy?
According to clinical psychologist, Christina Hibbert, jealousy becomes a problem “when we act out in jealousy, or we wallow in it.” Essentially, jealousy becomes negative in your life when you let it consume you. When jealousy begins to creep into every part of your life, you need to evaluate why you are letting that emotion control you.
“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” -Steve Furtick
This quote pinpoints the cause of jealousy. We are too focused on the exterior of another person’s life that sometimes we forget to dig deeper. Everyone has their ups and downs. You might believe someone’s life is much easier than yours, but the truth is, everyone has their good days and their bad days.
Social media is a breeding ground for jealousy. All the beautiful pictures and the happy statuses and false perception of perfection make us believe that we are the only one struggling. But isn’t this thought process irrational?
After all, social media does not show you the challenges that a person had to overcome to get to where they are. It does not show the emotional obstacles, the hard work, and the determination it took for that person to post that beautiful picture you just liked.
So What Underlies Jealousy?
Ninety-nine percent of the time, jealousy stems from insecurity.
“We feel threatened, or less than or not good enough,” Hibbert said. “[W]e fear that someone else’s strengths mean something negative about us.”
The best way to overcome jealousy is to learn how to navigate it better. In recovery, learning to navigate jealousy is an important tool because you will see people in different stages of their journey. There will be some people doing amazing things in their recovery. However, the important thing is to remember that at one point, they were once where you were.
5 Ways to Navigate Jealousy
Be Honest With Yourself.
“Awareness is fire; it burns all that is wrong in you. It burns your ego. It burns your greed, it burns your possessiveness, it burns your jealousy – it burns all that is wrong and negative, and it enhances all that is beautiful, graceful, and divine.” –Osho
The first step is to admit you have a problem, right? Yup, this applies to jealousy too. Most people who are jealous do not even realize it. Jealousy can manifest itself as anger, irritability, anxiety, or even depression. One time, it took me an entire week to realize my reaction to something stemmed from jealousy. However, the moment I realized, I was able to overcome that emotion. Ask yourself, “Are any of my emotions arising from jealousy?” Assessing your jealousy opens the door to learning.
Ask Yourself: Are You Insecure?
“A competent and self-confident person is incapable of jealousy in anything. Jealousy is invariably a symptom of neurotic insecurity.” –Robert A. Heinlein
Jealousy stems from insecurity. The goal of this step is to acknowledge all the things you are insecure about and write them down. Are you insecure about your body? Are financial struggles holding your back? Do you have goals you never accomplished and envied others who have progressed more?
If the answer yes to any of these questions, then you have work to do. Use jealousy to motivate you in your journey, not hold you down. If you spend your day feeling sorry for yourself, you will get less accomplished in the long haul.
“Do not spoil what you have by desiring what you have not; remember that what you now have was once among the things you only hoped for.” ― Epicurus
I know this is going to seem crazy, but one day, someone will be jealous of you. Someone is likely jealous of you right now. They could be jealous of your health, your age, your wisdom. They might even be jealous of your ears. Who knows? We all want what we do not have. Practicing gratitude is being thankful for what you already have. It is acknowledging the accomplishments you have made in your life.Tomorrow is never guaranteed. Gratitude is not always easy to practice, but it is the most powerful thing you can do for yourself. By practicing gratitude, you can put things into perspective. Stop being jealous and start being thankful.
Let Go of Your Jealousy.
“People come to me and they say they would like to be happy, but they cannot drop their jealousy. If you can’t drop your jealousy, love will never grow — the weeds of jealousy will destroy the rose of love. And when love does not grow, you will not be happy. Because who can be happy without love growing?” -Osho
Jealousy is not an emotion you need in your life. Jealousy is toxicity in your soul. Holding on to jealousy creates hatred in the body. Tell yourself you do not need this emotion any longer. Imagine the resentment flowing through your body and breathe the jealousy you feel out of your system. Repeat a mantra and meditate until the jealousy leaves your system. Let it go.
Transform Your Jealousy.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemies.” – Nelson Mandela.
Learning to manage your emotions will teach you how to respond better to jealousy. Jealousy is an excellent motivator. If you find yourself becoming jealous of someone’s body, lifestyle, or stage of life, you can use that emotion to make a goal for yourself. Jealousy helps you understand the things you desire for in your life. Think about the sacrifices that are required to achieve that person’s success. Are you willing to make those sacrifices? If not, why are you jealous? Learn the steps needed to obtain the goals that you see other people accomplishing. Understand your jealousy and create goals for yourself. Stop wasting time on jealousy and use that emotion to create a life even you would be jealous of. See what I did there?
Jealousy is a natural emotion everyone experiences. Jealousy becomes a problem when we let it take over our lives. If you find yourself becoming jealous, the time is now to assess your journey. You have the ability to change your life. Create the life you want today. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135.
(This content is being used for illustrative purposes only; any person depicted in the content is a model)
Author: Justin Mckibben
Mental and emotional strength and stability are not always easy to develop, although many would say it is easier to fake. While some people do legitimately have a stronger sense of self naturally, others will live off a pattern of protecting themselves mentally and emotionally through acting tough. Acting tough may meet your needs as far as a quick fix, boosting the ego as a defense mechanism. Still, the tough act is not a strategy that is sustainable.
Mental strength is not to say you are stronger or smarter than anyone. Lacking in mental strength does not mean you don’t have the same capacity for thought and understanding, it just means when the pressure is potently applied there is more of a chance that you will suffer. Some people think that the tough act will help them improve their mental strength. However acting tough just fakes strength while not allowing people to grow.
Here are some differences between mental strength and putting on a tough act.
The tough act typically has that element of outward ego that proclaims the individual as the best thing breathing. The person will have an overcompensating confidence that insists upon itself. However the truth behind it is the person is overrun with their insecurities. They refuse to expose any weakness, which hinders connection with others.
People with mental strength will actually admit to their faults and invest energy and time into self-improvement. These people realize that while they may fall, they are still able to grow.
When it comes to falling down, the person using the tough act will insist that failure is not an option. They will never surrender or accept defeat, which means they cannot learn from their losses. The irony is that this attitude rarely prevents people from losing. Meanwhile it blocks them off from trying something new later because the ego fears the loss.
People who have mental strength understand that every failure is just a stepping stone to greatness. Mentally strong individuals view every shortcoming as an opportunity to learn what doesn’t work and build off their new perspective. These people know they fall so they can learn how to get back up.
- Denying the Self
The tough act has a pretty recognizable symptom in most cases- the individual only expresses their emotions when it comes to anger. This person will deny their pain, sadness, fear and even excitement. When it comes to pain they would rather grit and bear it then let anyone see them sweat. This again prevents them from growing through their pain and even from setting boundaries.
Mental strength will show itself for what it is. When this person feels fear or sadness they will be honest with others and with themselves. But just because they express these feelings doesn’t mean they let them dictate their lives. Their ability to be self-aware and expressive lets them monitor how their emotions impact their behaviors and their relationships.
This is probably one of the most common traits of people who try to act tough as oppose to actually having mental strength. The tough act will have someone trying to appear as if they are in control, having power over others and dominion over any situation. They try to force their will onto people and circumstances to make sure things go their way because it creates an illusion of strength and superiority.
However, true mental strength comes from having self-control, not controlling others. This individual wants to understand and manage their emotions by directing their own thoughts and perspective because they understand that they are only responsible for their own reaction to any given situation. They know their strength comes from their ability to adapt, not from trying to force life to go their way.
For people who rely on the tough act, it is not to say you have no mental strength, it just means you could build on it holistically to determine where you rely on a misguided ego instead of developing your mental and emotional muscles. The more practice you actually put into exercising mental strength the more you will let go of the act. By changing your strategy and adopting a new attitude toward these feelings you actually better prepare yourself for the journey ahead. When the tough gets going, the tough act doesn’t cut it without the mind to follow through.
In recovery from drugs and alcohol, mental strength is something we have to learn in order to grow and flourish. It is not always easy to break these habits, but if we can separate from the substance and get the foundation we need we have a great shot at becoming stronger than we ever thought possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135