Where does a life worth living come from?
So actually as the more we get into how somebody builds a life worth living, we’ll see that that concept is actually quite old, and it borrows from Greek teaching tradition and Zen principles, and that basically say, “How do you lead a balanced life?”
A life worth living to me, and really what it is to anybody who’s examining it, is a mindful life and a balanced life. Where we as clinicians use it today is we’ve borrowed that concept from Marsha Linehan who created a type of therapy for …
Initially, it was for women who were suicidal, and now we can apply it across a lot of different populations.
One thing that was really important to her is that we not focus on the not being suicidal.
That’s a life without feeling suicidal.
Instead of not feeling suicidal or attempting suicide, just taking a chance on building a life that has joy and balance and interest and however that might look for you.
So, it’s moving from … it’s replacing that polar opposite … that polarized point of just feeling like you’re in so much despair that the only option you have is to die, to say, “Why not give this other thing a chance?”
So I’m always looking for the middle path, and that’s called the dialectic strategy, but it’s not just dialectic.
It’s Daoist. It’s Zen, and one of the ways that I personally think about doing that is, is once you’re on the middle path, it is about doing.
There’s a lot of thinking and mindfulnesses associated with it, and I will say more mindfulness, maybe even collaboration in many ways. But a lot of it is about doing.
The young man that I just talked to the other day says couldn’t identify any reason that he would not play video games all day, not self-harm, not drink cough syrup, get out of this cave that he lives in.
What he says is, “Well, I just don’t want to be depressed.” So he got to identify what the, “I don’t want.”
He could identify the negative. So when we say, “Okay, well, I don’t blame you. Who wants to be depressed forever, right?”
I’m thinking, “How are we going to get him beyond this?” Because he’s so invested in this lifestyle now, and the other piece is so scary. Why would I want to take that risk?
So what do you say what does not depressed look like? “At least, well, oh, I guess happy.” So, if you think of yourself in six months as a happy guy, what would that be? “Oh, I’d like to be an entrepreneur.”
So, the hope’s there in so many cases. It’s just so scary to admit it out loud. Then those times, it’s a little harder sometimes to coax out what people are thinking their life worth living would be.
Once we know what is entrepreneurs, what traits does an entrepreneur have? We can build those.
That’s not hard. Well, it’s still going to be scary, but we can make you a lot more adaptive.
There’s No Complete Guide
No person is ever going to have a complete guide on how they’re going to create this path. But once they’re on a path and they’re creating, it’s done by doing.
So I’m then behaviorally being that balanced lover and taker of love, and as the more I do that in more areas of my life, the more that I always am experiencing some level of joy and contentment and interest and curiosity, as well as being able to accept the misery that comes with life, the pain that comes with seeing people suffer, sometimes die, and being able to radically accept that those things happen and accept the feelings that come with that.
Rather than say, “I shouldn’t have them,” and that’s the work that I’m always doing for myself, to make sure that my life is the life worth living. The life where I’m always able to enjoy components of it, but acknowledging, accepting the parts that are painful.
But once they’re on a path and they’re creating, it’s done by doing.