Archives for September 2016
Being loved means that everything that you do and say is different. You walk taller, you talk easier, you give more freely. This change in you, changes what people see in you. When people see your smiles, your confidence, your comfort, they like you more and spend more time around you. This can affect everything: getting a job, getting a client and getting a promotion. This can affect whether people cooperate with you or do not. Cooperation may seem small within an incident, but over time, it can change the way you live your life.
There is no way to earn love, you will be loved or not. Love has a life of its own. Parents fall instantly and ridiculously in love with their offspring. You may meet someone who spontaneously inspires love in you. You will love your parents – like it or not. You will not always love good people. Your love will not always be rewarded or reciprocated. In many instances, love happens to us, we don’t know what happened and suddenly the love is there, engulfing and enfolding us.
Being loved gives us strength when we doubt, gives us confidence when we fear. No matter what happens to us, if we know that we are loved, love gives us strength to endure, to survive, to thrive. How many times did I tell myself while living alone in a far-away city “I must stay safe, my mother would be unhappy if I was hurt”?
You may not be able to earn love, but being loving is the best way to find yourself loved by another. For some reason, loving others, draws love to you. When you decide to love, it flips a switch in your perception of the other. Suddenly, the spoiled behavior becomes understandable; the angry behavior is obviously hurt and not meanness.
This is why being loved is so wonderful, because you know in your soul that whatever you do, no matter how harsh and ugly you may be, the love remains steadfast and clear and true.
Those who could not or would not stop imbibing were thought to be degenerates, not deserving of social care and concern. In recent years addiction medicine has been able to pull us away from this paradigm into a broader understanding of how people become addicts and lose control of their lives. Science tells us that it is not a moral failing, but rather a complex combination of nature and nurture. There is DNA involved in addiction, as well as brain chemistry which reacts to primal pleasure sensations, seeking rewards by repeating behavior.
Addiction is not an easy illness to understand and this challenge has made it into a medical “stepchild” no one really wants to claim ownership and the illness keeps worsening. Addiction is now claiming lives in the thousands, daily, who overdose on opiates and heroin. At least society now sees a glimmer of reality by calling out the profit hungry behavior of big pharma and physicians who over-prescribe. We begin to see that addiction does not thrive in a vacuum, it thrives by virtue of hundreds of factors: social, medical, economic, individual and by the infinite possibilities in the strands of our DNA. Blaming an addict for using substances, doesn’t produce any good results and yet our society has done it over and over again.
Obesity is our latest moral failing in America, and like addiction it does not earn the appropriate attention for resolution. I read a billboard yesterday that was advertising liposuction, the billboard said “Get Your Sexy Back!” The assumption is: Of course you can’t be sexy if you are fat and of course, if you are a woman, you must be sexy. All through my youth there was a part of me that admired the woman who was not sexy and therefore did not have to glamorize her self. This woman was not being watched or looked at and had long since decided on a lifestyle with different demands. I deeply admired this kind of woman.
But the point is, that people are being denigrated and disparaged because they are overweight. Many will righteously criticize the obese making statements like: “fatty, stop feeding your face and you are a tub of lard.” Public Health appears to be much more concerned for the overweight than the addicted, which has been helpful for the overweight. Public Health brings a validity to this condition. All forms of healthy recognition can be appreciated, as long as the public understands that attacking those who suffer from addiction or obesity does not make for better public health.
What really needs to be said is this: People are not bad because they are obese, just as they are not bad because of addiction. It doesn’t help anyone to denigrate those who struggle with their behavior. There are no easy prescriptions for recovery and our culture does not support the discipline of sobriety, nor the task of healthy eating. Just the opposite, our society is concerned with selling booze and hamburgers to anyone with a dollar.
While our society spins relentlessly to the music of a dollar bill, in the meantime, our part of change is to be kind, kind to everyone, everywhere and at all times.
This means that we don’t blame, denigrate and demoralize anyone for any reason. Obesity is not a moral failing and neither is addiction.