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If you missed my interview with Robert Shryoc, Founder and CEO of Stonegate Center, a recovery community for men struggling with addictions, you really should take time to check it out. On the program, we talked about some of the lies we tend to tell ourselves when we are stuck in a negative cycle, habit, or addiction. You do not want to miss it! You can tune in to the program by clicking here.

Tonight on the program, I am revisiting a topic that I posted several weeks ago: the three people that you need in your life to succeed. I got such a good response from people about how helpful they found it that I decided to do a radio show about it. If you happened to miss the post, you can read the original below or tune into the program tonight on KCBI 90.9 at 6:30pm or 10:30pm CDT, or click on the link here after 7 pm to hear it in it’s entirety. Also, be sure to tune in next week as well. I will be talking with Stephanie Coker, a licensed social worker who has both personal and clinical experience working with those who are emotionally fragile. Stay tuned for more great guests and topics in the months ahead!! :

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?

 

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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?

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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.

Disclaimer

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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