Dr. Gabor Mate reminds us that who you surround yourself with can change your life.
What is normal?
It’s an interesting question. We certainly know what is weird, abnormal and even crazy. In North America, we have over 500 disorders that tell us what, and (more importantly?) who, is pathological. For many of us, we are glad that we are “normal” and not like the people who have things that we label schizophrenia, depression, ADHD and PTSD.
We are all on a continuum. These traits are present in all of us. Gabor Mate
Internationally known for his work on addiction and mental illness, Dr. Gabor Mate, says that if you are going to be ill, the best place to be ill may be in a village in Africa or India.
Just try going to your friends and telling them that you live with Schizophrenia. That is a guaranteed way to lose friends and influence people… just not in the way you were hoping.
North America values it’s citizens primarily for what we produce or what we consume. Consumerism reinforces pathology. When we ignore the sick, the old and even our own own uncomfortable traits soon we have no room for anything real.
Mate reminds us that what we need to be well is simple:
- Feeling connected
- Room for differentness
- Room to act out and it is celebrated
- Encouragement to find meaning in your craziness
- Spirituality that aligns with love, connection and compassion
What are the ways that you nurture connection in your family, your friends and your community? How do you insulate yourself against the consumerism that can erode your soul?
I would love to hear from you in the comments. Join the Good Men Project, where we are having the conversation that no one else is having about meaning, connection and what it means to be well.
Photo by Miguel Virkkunen Carvalho