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Fighting Against Hysteria

WARNING: This is a long post and I recognize in our current culture, most people want to read a blog that has 3 quick bullet points they can skim. Just understand that to write this particular post in that manner would be to contradict the very point I am trying to make. So, please forgive me in advance for the length and flow. I hope you can read it through in its entirety.

Every one of us has been judged, rightly or wrongly, by another human being. We’ve all been told at some point that we are wrong, that we need to change, that we are headed in the wrong direction. Each of us, too, has gotten frustrated when we do not see the kind of change we had hoped for in others and in ourselves. I have been practicing psychiatry for over ten years now and I have come to realize that the process of change is very complex and difficult. For some, success and failure are measured by whether or not they can get out of bed in the morning, let alone make it to the job or the gym. There are some who know all too well what they should do, but feel trapped by what they are compelled to do. Their spirits are willing. Their bodies are weak. We, as outside observers, might be quick to judge them. We theorize, often incorrectly, that they fail to change because they WILL NOT. They, however, would plead with us to understand that it is not a matter of willingness. They simply CANNOT. In the face of these conflicting interpretations of reality, we are left with a difficult decision:

Do we judge and condemn them? Do we label them? Do we shun them? Do we chalk their situations up to a lack of faith, a moral weakness, a stubbornness of pride? Or do we remain with them in the mystery of their struggle, accept our own insecurities associated with unanswerable questions, and feel to whatever extent is possible the burden of their pain?

The truth is, no one can know the depths of the human heart! We find ourselves deceived by it constantly. To judge is to say, “I know your heart!” When we get past all the rules, laws, boundaries, ultimatums, punishments, and demands in our relationships, we are still left with that “not-knowing.” Did they change out of fear or out of love? Did they stay the same out of fear or out of love? Who can know for sure?

I have found that those who try to find a cookie-cutter, one-size-fits-all, black-and-white answer for the challenges and triumphs of human growth and change do so for their own comfort and security. When they are faced with a situation or person they do not understand, these people have to force their own understanding of reality on that person or situation because they cannot deal with any unknowns. “Accept my truth, my reality, or get away from me. I can’t stand you if you don’t. You threaten my reality.”

I must admit that for a long time, I was that person. If I’m honest, I still struggle against that old man inside of me. We all do. Humans have an inherent need to compartmentalize truth in order to survive. When confronted with another person’s experience, one that may contradict our own reality, we feel the need to pound their square peg into our round hole. We long for a clear cause-and-effect relationship to explain why they are “that way.”

So-and-so relapsed on alcohol or drugs? It must mean he did not work hard enough in his recovery. Jane Doe can’t seem to lose weight? It must mean she is lazy. But when you delve into the human psyche and spirit, these kinds of explanations are much too cheap. If we were to ask why So-and-so didn’t work hard enough or why Jane Doe lacked motivation, suddenly the picture of reality becomes fuzzy. Now we find ourselves playing with a set of psychological rabbit ears that sit atop life’s staticky T.V. screen. We are hoping to find a perfect position of clarity that enables us to make sense of what’s playing out before us. This we do in order to avoid the fracturing of our fragile worldviews, worldviews that make no room for mystery. Herein lies the essence of all pride, prejudice and judgment.

Very few people are capable of change in the face of such pride and spiritual prejudice. I have realized this both professionally and personally. During an extremely dark time in my own life, I had people who spoke truth to me, but in two different ways. The first group demanded that I accept their understanding of the situation and conform to their rules of reality. They left no room or time for my acclamation to their truth, nor did they display any desire to understand my reality, the one in which I felt trapped at the time.

Looking back, I can honestly say I was incapable of seeing or conforming to their truth. The only way I know how to describe that pain is by likening it to a prisoner, chained to a wall, enduring the shouts of angry inquisitors, crying, “FREE YOURSELF!!” all the while writhing to the point of bloodshed against the shackles and shouting back, “DON’T YOU GET IT?! I CAN’T!!!” One man, who at an earlier time in our relationship claimed I was like a second son to him, told me in the midst of my despair, “You made your bed. Now it’s time for you to sleep in it.” He was correct, of course, but his admonition did nothing to help me change. A minister’s wife looked at me straight in the eyes and exclaimed, “You disgust me!” She, too, was correct. I was worthy of her disgust, but there again, her words did nothing to help me, but simply hardened my heart all the more.

Then came salvation: another group of people who spoke truth into my life, but in an entirely different way. It is to these people I am indebted for the changes I’ve experienced in my heart and life over the years. They were and still are the people to whom the more I confess, the more they have said, “I get it, I love you, I am here.” There was no need for judgment or condemnation. They knew I had done enough of that to myself. Instead, they refused to give up on me through my struggles. The difference between the two groups can be summed up in one word: compassion!

Now, understand me: I do not condemn the people in the first group (or at least I try hard not to – I still struggle sometimes like everyone else). I know I have been guilty of inflicting the same judgment and condemnation on others. It is not easy to love others when our own survival depends upon maintaining a rigid, unbending reality that cannot tolerate the mysterious. If you are reading this post and I have been the person who has judged you, perhaps even spoken truth into your life, but without the necessary compassion you needed at the time, PLEASE FORGIVE ME. It just goes to show that we all need compassion, even in our failure to show compassion.

But I would also like to challenge each of us to contemplate: what is that one necessary ingredient in our relationships that must be present in order to lead to lasting change. I finished reading The Brothers Karamazov and there is a quote from the book that sums up the answer to my question perfectly. Though long, it is one of the most succinct and compelling treatises on compassion I have ever read. A man stands trial for murder and his lawyer, asking for leniency from the court, echoes what we all long for in the midst of our failures and misunderstandings:

“I swear that, if you condemn him, you will only make it easier for his conscience, for he will end by cursing the man whose blood was spilled, instead of weeping for him. At the same time, you will destroy the man he could have been, because you will doom him to remain blind and embittered for the rest of his life. On the other hand, wouldn’t you rather punish him sternly and painfully, indeed, inflict upon him the worst punishment imaginable, but a punishment that will save his soul and regenerate him? If so, then smother him with your mercy: Then you will see and hear him flinch and shudder in awe: ‘How am I to endure this mercy? What have I done to deserve so much love? Can I ever become worthy of it?’ Yes, this is what his heart will cry out…And he will bow before your great act of mercy, because he is yearning for an act of love, and his heart will catch fire and he will be saved forever and ever!”

God help me to grow in my compassion for people every day. Amen!

Here is a test of the depths of your compassion for people. On a scale of 1-5, to what extent can you repeat these statements to someone you know who is struggling?

  1. No matter how long it takes, I will always love you.
  2. No matter how long it takes, I will keep seeking to understand your struggle.
  3. No matter how long it takes, I will never lose faith in the process of your transformation.
  4. No matter how long it takes, I will never give up hope that you can see this to the end.

So, there you are…reeling at the news, a look of utter shock undeniably written all over your face. That exciting opportunity for which you had trouble falling asleep the night before is now the shattered hope that will keep you up tonight!

The work you put into the dream – the planning, the time, the networking, the energy – all seems now like a complete waste of time. And what hurts the most? The whole thing would have worked out if not for the interference of other people! Why couldn’t they catch the dream? Why couldn’t they get the vision? Why couldn’t they see in me what I know I have to give?

People will tell you, “Well, it just wasn’t meant to be?” Is that supposed to be comforting? I mean really…if it wasn’t meant to be, then why did I kill myself thinking it was? Why couldn’t somebody have seen that earlier, told me, and saved me a whole lot of trouble? If it wasn’t meant to be, then what is meant to be? Is there any point, any good that I can take away from this defeat?

My response? No doubt…there is!

Now, I’m not going to go into a bunch of platitudes about “what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger” or “this will build character in your life.” I know these are true, but they usually don’t help much in the face of such a tremendous disappointment. Instead, I want you to focus on the original passion that led you into this seemingly lost endeavor in the first place. I can almost guarantee you that it wasn’t about money, power for power’s sake, popularity, or pure pleasure. It was always about people. You had something that you wanted to give, something to contribute, a need to know and be known, a need to accept and be accepted, a hope to empower and be empowered. You haven’t lost faith in the dream…you’ve lost faith in people!!

So what do you do? How do you keep this disappointment from completely tainting your love, faith, and hope in others and making you a bitter, cynical person?

Let me suggest that you start by envisioning three people in your mind. Keep these people with you through the trial. Give them a face, a name, a legacy, and a future with you. They are as follows:

  1. The person you are striving for: This is the person that more than likely you started your mission to reach. I asked a factory worker installing seatbelts in automobiles who he was striving for. He said, “That little girl, just like my daughter, whose life will be saved because of me.” A teacher recently told me it was “that kid who really can succeed but everyone else in his life keeps telling him that he cannot!” Who are you striving for? He or she will be the one who gets you back up on your feet when you face a roadblock on the way to your dream. If you do not have someone like this in mind, create them. Be as detailed as possible. Give them a name. Envision their face before you when you are feeling discouraged. No venture in life will succeed if you are pursuing it for purely selfish gain. Your work will be so much more satisfying, even in times of failure, if you are striving for another.
  2. The person you are striving with: Somewhere in this world, there is someone who has gone through or is going through exactly what you are. They need you! They need your story! If you hole-up in isolation and coddle your hurt, keep it to yourself and refuse to share it, you will miss out on the connections you could have made with people who want to give and receive strength for the journey. Your heart will overflow when you meet them: a kindred spirit you might never have known otherwise. I interviewed a woman who said, “I thought I was all alone, but a whole world opened up to me when I opened up to it. It was like walking through a fog of loneliness for so long and then suddenly stumbling upon a campfire, burning bright and hot, surrounded by people celebrating a journey not yet finished but sure to end well. They were ready to walk along with me. My heart glowed for the first time!”
  3. The person you are striving toward:This isn’t as simple as a WWJD bracelet with which you snap your wrist each time a problem arises. It is, however, visualizing that one individual that you want to be and asking yourself how your pain can make you more like him or her. I’ve been reading a kids version of Pilgrim’s Progress to my children at night before bed, and so for me right now, I’ve been visualizing the character, Faithful. He’s the one who entered the town of Vanity Fair and was dragged into the courts by the town’s people. Despite all the tempting and laughing and brutality he experienced for being different, he stood strong in his mission, even to death. That’s who I want to be. I know I’m not perfect in that regard. I know I have a long way to go with lots of setbacks, but I keep that story in my mind and it helps. What about you? Who do you want to become? Perhaps he or she is a real person or a fictional character that embodies all the qualities you long for. Tell yourself that this setback is an opportunity to become more like them and determine to be that same person others aspire to be. It will make all the difference.

Questions: How do you keep from getting cynical about life and love when you’ve faced a hurt or setback? Are their ways that you have found helpful to keep you motivated? If you had someone in mind to strive for, with, and toward, who would they be?


Be sure to follow my blog but signing up to receive email updates and follow me on facebook at David Livingstone Henderson MD or on Twitter @DaveHendersonMD .

For those of us in a painful season of life, this is a great reminder!!

kidsbook friends


Introducing Our Featured Friend: Planting a Rainbow by Lois Ehlert

Our April Showers from Tuesday’s Featured Friend, Just You and Me, brings us some May Flowers with Today’s Featured Friend, Planting a Rainbow. With so many wonderful flower books for kids, Ehlert’s is my pick because children ages toddler to ten (and even adults) can enjoy the book at different levels.

“Every year Mom and I plant a rainbow.”

She begins her book with “Mom and I” planting bulbs in the fall, and moves through the seasons of winter, spring, then finally summer by illustrating and labeling the bulbs, seeds, sprouts, seedlings, and plants with pictures and colors that captivate us.

In the middle of book, she includes a creative flip chart with each color of the rainbow and the flowers that correlate. For example, on her orange flowers page, she shows an orange tulip, zinnia, tiger lily, and poppy…

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kidsbook friends

Curious Garden Cover “But the most surprising things that popped up were the new gardeners.”

Featured Friend: The Curious Garden by Peter Brown

Today was Western Day for my kindergartener at her school. (Remember, it’s Texas!) When I joined her for lunch on the playground, I noticed all the weeds that had sprung up with the coming of spring. Then, I noticed something wonderful: One child began pulling the weeds up by their roots. Before long, he had a host of kids following him doing the same thing. The kids hesitated in their activity when they saw a teacher approaching them. However, they continued their fun when Mrs. Wilson, a wise kindergarten teacher simply remarked, “I’m certainty not going to stop you. Keep going!”
Without even realizing it, one child’s fun endeavor inspired other children to do good, and at the close of Western Day, the playground looked better.

A very similar, but more elaborate scenario is featured…

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How are your fears keeping you chained to the same old destructive patterns in your life? Are you ready for real freedom? Then you will want to tune in to the show tonight on 90.9 KCBI at 6:30pm or 10:30pm CST or listen online after 7:00pm by clicking here.

This evening on For Christ and Culture, my special guest is Michelle Borquez, author of the book, God Crazy, and creator and host of the women’s conference, The God Crazy Freedom Experience. Michelle will be talking to us about what true freedom looks like and how her personal journey of redemption led her to become a powerful advocate and coach for women struggling with the pressures of a superficial culture. When the glitz and the glamour fades, Michelle knows how to find true satisfaction and freedom in relationships, the most important of which is our relationship with a God that loves us completely. If you are interested in signing up for her upcoming conference here in the Metroplex on April 17th, 2014 at 7:00pm, click here. It will be at North Point Church in Fort Worth. Tickets are limited, so be sure to reserve your spot today.

For those of you who don’t know Michelle, God has used her mightily. In 1999, she founded “Shine”, a general interest women’s publication highlighting articles on fashion, travel and health. As Editor-in-Chief she interviewed well known leaders, such as First Lady Laura Bush, Anne Graham Lotz, Michael W. Smith, Kurt Warner, Chuck and Gena Norris, Beth Moore, and many others. Shine published 9 years with over 40,000 subscribers. In 2005 Michelle hosted and co-produced I-Life Television’s “SHINE with Michelle Borquez” on INSP that aired internationally for two years. Michelle is also Creator, Producer, and Host of the recently released, 8 week DVD series for women,” Live Again After Divorce” available at and is host for Beth Moore’s “Loving Well” Television Special and national spokesperson for “GLO” Bible. She has authored numerous books, “Live Laugh Love Again,” “God Crazy” “Overcoming the Seven Deadly Emotions” “Forever God Crazy,” “God Crazy Freedom”, and the “God Crazy Freedom Series”.

Question: What’s your story of redemption? Sign up for my blog and email me your story and I may feature it on a future blog post. Help encourage others who may need your words of hope in their life! “It is always the deepest mine, the darkest cave, or the loneliest desert that holds the richest treasure…”

Twitter: @DaveHendersonMD

Facebook: David Livingstone Henderson, MD

Recently, I did a post on the seven people waiting when you fall (The Vulture, Vampire, Voyeur, Freak, Fixer, Father, and Friend). If you missed it, you can check it out by clicking here or you can tune in tonight at 6:30pm or 10:30pm to 90.9 KCBI and hear some of my thoughts on the subject. Once the show has aired, you can also listen to it online by clicking here. Be sure to check out some of the other radio shows I’ve done while you are there.

One of the seven individuals I discussed was the friend. This is the person who is loyal and genuinely wants you to succeed in life. You know them by how willing they are to celebrate with you when you’re succeeding, not just by how they help you up when you’ve fallen.

This got me thinking. Are there benefits to being a friend like this to others? Absolutely. Here are just a few I came up with:

  1. The credibility you gain: If you want people to trust you, you have to demonstrate your friendship by helping them succeed when there is nothing immediately in it for you. Notice I used the word “immediately.” I do not think there is anything wrong with acknowledging that we do and should get something from our friendships. In fact, we get lots of things: companionship, mentoring, sharing, emotional support, and a list of other benefits. We need friendships as much as we need life itself. In that sense, no action taken on behalf of a friend is totally selfless. If you are in a relationship that is one-sided (all take and no give) I would not call that a friendship. I might call it slavery, but not friendship. The true friend is not someone who gives and gives and gives and never gets anything in return. Rather, a true friend is one who is willing to set aside his or her needs for a time in order to help you acquire your needs for a time. When you help someone in this way, you gain credibility as a true friend and strengthen a bond that can last a lifetime.
  2. The future ally you secure: When people know that you genuinely care about their success, their loyalty to you grows. This is important to recognize, because there will come a time when you need their support in order to succeed yourself. If you have been a true friend, you will not have to feel guilty or anxious about asking them to respond in kind. Example: How likely are you to donate money to a person’s cause when they don’t even say hi to you at the office? Not likely, right? But think about that individual who always asks you about your kids, prayed for you when you had surgery, and wrote you a congratulations card when you got a promotion. I bet you’d be more likely to put up five bucks for their charity run. We have to stop being so self-focused, understanding that serving others leads to long term allies. One caution: when you call on an ally to help, the decision is still theirs to make. They might say no and that is okay. If we are simply keeping checks and balances on our investments into people, we will become very bitter. But if we freely “cast our bread upon the water” (as the saying goes), it will return to us in the end.
  3. The wisdom you acquire: The saying is, “Learn from other people’s mistakes.” I say, “Learn from other people’s successes.” When you participate in the process of another person’s success, you learn a lot vicariously through them. For example, Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishing Company, completed a book several years ago called Platform. It ended up on the New York Times Bestseller list. Prior to publishing the book, he had posted updates on how the book was coming along, asking for feedback, and sharing tidbits of his wisdom. I must admit, as an author, I was just a little bit jealous. “I wish I could ask advice from a network of 100,000+ followers anytime I wanted.” But instead of being bitter, I took the time to follow his progress and learn from him. After all, if he had aquired so many followers, he had to be doing something right. His success, in a small way, has become my success because of the knowledge I gained through his openness about the process. (And, yes, I did buy his book!)
  4. The new relationships you develop: When people see that you are a trustworthy friend, they will want to be your friend as well. Over time, you will find that you have created a network of friendships that will become a source of joy, encouragement, and help, both in times of trouble and great success.
  5. The sense of purpose you feel: When you learn to celebrate with others, you discover the true purpose for living life. My new motto on social networking sites is share the positive, the whole positive, and nothing but the positive. Why? Because social networking is not all about me. This is my opportunity to serve others in the virtual world, just like in the real world. There is nothing more exciting than being able to take part in a big or small way in the success of other people. My life is richer because of it. Yours can be too!!

Question: How have you benefited from celebrating the successes of others?

Finding Purpose Beyond Our Pain

Have you ever heard the song by REM, “Everybody Hurts”? Well, it’s true! We all go through difficult seasons in our lives, either because of the things others do to us or because of the things we do to ourselves. The people in our lives play a vital role in whether or not we have the strength to get back up on our feet and keep moving through life’s journey. I was considering the types of people that wait for us on the way down. Who are they and how should we respond to them. Here’s my list:

The Vulture: This is the person who is openly antagonistic. They have been waiting for this moment as long as they have known you and they have no qualms about letting you and others know their pleasure in your pain. This is the boss that can’t wait to fire you, the frenemy…

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Have you ever heard the song by REM, “Everybody Hurts”? Well, it’s true! We all go through difficult seasons in our lives, either because of the things others do to us or because of the things we do to ourselves. The people in our lives play a vital role in whether or not we have the strength to get back up on our feet and keep moving through life’s journey. I was considering the types of people that wait for us on the way down. Who are they and how should we respond to them. Here’s my list:

The Vulture: This is the person who is openly antagonistic. They have been waiting for this moment as long as they have known you and they have no qualms about letting you and others know their pleasure in your pain. This is the boss that can’t wait to fire you, the frenemy who posts the embarrassing picture on their Facebook account, the sibling who uses you to get in good with mom and dad, the church member who wants you off the pulpit, the journalist who smears your public image. The list could go on and on. Nine times out of ten, the best option with the vulture is to keep your head high, ignore them, and distance yourself from any further interactions. Let your actions be louder than your words, be the better person, and trust that they will learn their lesson from someone else someday. An old proverb says, “Don’t cast your pearls before swine!!”

The Vampire: The vampire is definitely an antagonist, but in a more subtle way. They pretend to be your friend, invite you to open up to them in the midst of your struggle, and then take advantage of you in your weakness. They are smooth and seductive. Think traveling elixir salesman or corner prostitute! And they may not be selling anything material. They might simply want you to buy into their philosophy about life, feed their psychological need for power, or use you to assuage their own hurts. Your suffering is only a means to accomplishing their own purposes in life. They will suck your blood and keep coming back for more if you let them. The way to protect yourself against a vampire is to hold your cards close to the chest. You might be suffering intensely and they always seem to be right there ready to help, but smile and make them believe you’re doing just fine without them. Tell the salesman politely you’re not interested at this time and then hang up the phone! Don’t wait for the rest of the sales pitch.

The Voyeur: The voyeur doesn’t necessarily have a hidden agenda, but they will milk you for all the juicy details of your struggle. After a while, you get the sense that they really don’t care about you. They just love a good story. And trust me, someone who loves a good story is usually a magnificent story teller. The voyeur loves being in the know and spreading news. They feel better wallowing in other people’s suffering. Here is one way to test whether or not someone in your life is a voyeur: tell them something exciting and positive that has happened in your life and see if they take as much interest. You will know very quickly who your true friends are by who is able to celebrate with you, not just mourn with you.

The Freak: This person does not have a malicious motive. They simply “can’t handle the truth!” (Said in an aggressive, airy, Jack Nicholson voice). Usually, the freak is someone very close to you who suffers when you do. They love you desperately, but freak out when you’re in pain. They are empathetic to a fault. You wish they’d take your shoes off after one lap around the track, let alone a mile. With these people, you may have to share burdens gradually over time. Let the issue sink in so that they have time to process it and come to terms with it. In doing so, you will create less damage in the long term.

The Fixer: The fixer is the opposite of the freak. Lots of solutions. Very little empathy. I knew someone who did informal counseling who said, “Look, I’ll meet with you for one session. You do what I say? Great! You don’t? I’ve got better things to do with my time!” Now, to be sure. Individuals like this might have a lot of helpful wisdom to pass on, but you need tough skin and the ability to take everything they say with a grain of salt. They have a cookie cutter solution to every problem. Some advice might be worth chewing on and some of it, well, in the words of the comedian, Jim Gaffigan, treat it like a Hot Pocket: “Open package and place directly in toilet!!”

The Father:  The sage. The guru. The sensei. An older individual who is not in competition with you, has a deep yearning to mentor and genuinely wants to be a listening ear and an advisor in your life. Draw from them deeply, but realize that they may not be entirely able to relate to your circumstances. Every generation is faced with nuances in the suffering and pain they face. Culture, technology, styles, and relationships change over time, so look for a wise man that is willing to remain teachable and empowers you to tell your story. Remember as people age they naturally become fixers (minus the attitude), in part because they have had a lot of experiences we have not. The good ones remain humble in spite of all their knowledge. Hold onto them like a precious jewel (or your i-phone these days!!)

The Friend:  This person doesn’t have all the answers, but they can relate to your struggle. They care about you, want to see you succeed, and will continue to walk with you every step of the way. There is loyalty here. A history. A brotherhood or sisterhood. You may have disagreements, but if someone butts into your inner circle, they will fall on their sword for you. Cherish these relationships. Be that kind of person to someone else. If you have one or two of these people in your life, you can weather any storm.

Question: What kinds of people wait for you when you fall? What kind of person are you when others fall?

In 1999, The Matrix was released and instantly became a box office sensation. It is the story of Neo, a man who confronts the true nature of reality and then battles against those who had been trying to control his consciousness.

Before his epiphanous transformation, Neo is given a choice by the leader of the rebellion. He can take a blue pill and remain ignorant of true reality or he can take the red pill and face whatever may come. Obviously, he takes the red pill or there would be no story. But what would you have done? It seems like a no brainer, right? After all, don’t we always want to know the truth? Maybe, maybe not.

I thought about how often I say I want to know the truth. When confronted with it, however, I do whatever I can to forget it. If I could give back the red pill and take the blue one instead, I would. Think about how often we play this game in a day’s time:

  1. Honey, do these pants make me look fat?
  2. So, how did I do on my presentation? Any way I can improve my delivery?
  3. Listen, I want to know what you really think. What’s the deal with my coworkers? Why don’t they like me?
  4. Dude, I want you to be my accountability partner. Be sure to call me out on stuff I’m doing wrong, okay?
  5. Doctor Spock, do you have any tips on how I can be a better parent?

Now think about it. In asking questions, seeking advice, desiring accountability and feedback, do we really want to know the truth or would we prefer that one-sided answer that only feeds our illusion of truth? Think about what we do when we don’t get the answer we want:

  1. We disqualify the message: “Well, controlling rage might be good advice for other parents, but my anger isn’t that bad. Besides, my kids are going to grow up learning respect. My daddy was a drill sergeant and look how I turned out!”
  2. We discredit the messenger: “What a know-it-all! I guarantee you, he hasn’t given a single presentation worth listening to. I mean, really, I guess he’s got a right to his opinion, but in this situation, he’s clueless!”
  3. We discount the relationship: “I know she means well, but I’d don’t think she really understands where I’m coming from. If she had taken the time to listen to my side, if she knew me better, I don’t think she would have come to the same conclusion!”
  4. We dissociate the experience: “I’m sorry, can you repeat that last part? The part right after ‘now this is very important.’” (That’s a tribute to Get Smart, BTW)
  5. We discourage the self: Well, that proves it. I’m a failure. What is the point of trying anyway? Thanks for giving me the truth. I’m thinking of that line from A Few Good Men: “You can’t handle the truth!!”

Facing truth can be daunting, because truth always changes us and change is hard. My challenge to myself and to you is to stick with the red pill, be teachable and don’t get discouraged. Other people don’t always have the right answers or the truth we need to hear, but at least consider their thoughts before you write them off completely. Allow others to speak truth into your life and do not be afraid to change because of it. Don’t be like the person who looks in the mirror, sees a dirty face, and then forgets to wash it. And if you are the type of person that gets discouraged easily in the face of truth, then read my previous post, Go Hard or Go Home. Hopefully, it will encourage you.

Question: How have you faced truth today? Did you take the red pill or the blue pill and why?


So I have a few questions for you to consider in anticipation of my lecture at Park Cities Presbyterian Church on September 30th at 11:45 am (Did I mention they will be providing lunch free of charge?! – you must register, though, so email for details.)


What are the kinds of situations that tend to make you angry?

Who are the people who always seem to rub you the wrong way?

How do you typically respond when you are angry?

When is it okay to be angry?

Have you ever used anger in a positive way? How did you do it?

We will be exploring some of these questions on Monday, September 30th, as well as some of the techniques for effectively USING anger instead of LOSING it.

Hope to see you there.

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I am a board certified psychiatrist, author, speaker in private practice with Southwest Clinical and Forensics in Dallas Tx. I also serve as an adjunct professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. I have a passion for helping people through painful circumstances, be they physical illnesses of the brain, psychological conditions of the mind, social problems of everyday life, and/or spiritual crises of faith and worldview.


All information provided is for educational purposes only. It is not a substitute for a professional evaluation or treatment. If you are experiencing emotional distress, please contact a mental health professional. Dr. Henderson cannot respond to inquiries about prescription refills, or medical or psychiatric emergencies over the internet. If you are a patient in need of assistance, please contact Dr. Henderson’s office directly, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

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