I attended a funeral yesterday. With great sorrow we said good-bye to the brightest bee that I have had the pleasure to meet. A bee who gave me the courage to be more like her. A bee that, even through the hardships of life, remained a brilliant bee right until the end.
A bee? You're saying WTH is she talking about, right? The father who performed the funeral service yesterday told us a story. This story has been passed down the lines, but it originates from Father Paisios, an Eastern Orthodox Monk, who’s teachings are known far and wide.
So the story goes, one day a man approaches Father Paisios and begins to complain about the church, the clergymen, priests, and so forth. Father Paisios listens intently and finally says “Do you want to be a bee, or a fly?”
He went on to tell a story along the lines of: There was a grand garden and within that garden there lived a bee and a fly. The fly flew around all dayand was instinctually drawn to the dirt of the garden. All day long he flew around in the manure, rotting plant matter and the lower, dirty plains of the garden. He spent his days in filth, lived in the filth and was overall drawn to the filth of the garden.
One day he meets a bee and they start chatting. He begins to complain about the garden and it’s conditions. “This place is a horrible place to live! It’s dirty, it smells, it’s full of rotting things…” The bee looks at the fly with a confused look on his face and says “I don’t understand! This garden is the most wonderful place to live! It’s full of beautiful, bright flowers which are filled with the most succulent nectar! They are wonderful to
look at and this garden is the best home that I have ever known!”
I think there are two really significant lessons to learn here, both of which I teach in my Anger Management classes:
First: If you hang around the dirt and grime of the world, you will only see the dirt and grime. If you want to see the beautiful flowers then
you have to look up and start hanging out with the bees! By hanging out with the bees then you will strive to become better, bees won’t pull you down into the dirt!
Second: Be a bee! When you are in your garden of life, look for the beautiful flowers and taste the succulent nectar! Take each day as a new opportunity to learn and see the beauty of life. Now, if you are innately a fly
then you will need to practise this. Just remember Rome wasn’t built in a day! You will get there, just strive to be a bee and you will be a bee!
As for the wonderful bee whom has recently passed, it was a great loss to her family, friends, and the community as a whole! I wish that I could have spent more time with her to learn more from her. She was someone who had suffered through some of this world’s greatest atrocities and yet, on her death
bed had only loving and positive things to say about life and the world. She was a master of courage, empathy, communication, positive thinking and forward thought! Someday I hope to be a half of the bee that she was!
Rest in peace Baba!
Today I speak to you all from my heart. I whole heartedly hope that by bringing awareness to suicide, we can save more lives from suicide and to help more people through their hard times. I chose today to talk about shame
and suicide because it's my father's birthday. He would have been 52 today...had he not committed suicide last year.
There are many reasons why people commit suicide, but studies show that there is a high correlation between unhealthy shame and suicide. Shame doesn't just push the victim to commit suicide; it carries on long after that in the minds and hearts of the loved ones left behind.
Shame is a temporary and normal human emotion, and if dealt with appropriately, canmotivate us to maintain a healthy balance in our thoughts and actions. If you are doing something that you know is not right, maybe it goes against your personal values, then shame can serve you well by detouring you from continuing with whatever it is that you are doing. This shame is healthy. Unhealthy shame is very much the opposite of this. Unhealthy shame is inaccurate and extreme! This is the shame that doesn’t tell you that you are DOING something wrong; instead it is telling you that you ARE something wrong.
In anger management we teach our clients about unhealthy shame and how to not only identify it, but how to get it out in the open and deal with it appropriately. Unhealthy shame is a very painful emotion and more often than not, is deep rooted in our past, right back to our childhood. Many of us were shamed into doing things 'right' as children and have carried this forward into our adulthood, not realizing what it is, nor how deeply it affects us. Maybe we were teased and bullied as children, outcasts from the social group, or maybe we were told ‘you should be ashamed of
yourself’ so excessively that we began to believe it. No matter what the reasons for excessive, unhealthy shame are, it needs to be challenged and dealt with in a healthy manner.
Victims of suicide often were prone to shaming self-messages of worthlessness and inadequacy. They couldn’t, or chose not to, fight their inner voice who told them that they didn’t belong, or that they were not good enough. Maybe they were humiliated and shamed so deeply that they couldn’t see living past it, or had done something that they viewed as unfixable. Whatever the individual reason for taking their own life, most times, shame was at the bottom of it.
Now, as a ‘survivor of suicide’ I see more shame. I have attended support groups for survivors of suicide where mothers, brothers, friends, husbands, wives, daughters and sons of someone who has completed suicide, admit that they lie and say that their loved one had a heart attack or a fatal accident, all from the shame of the social stigma of suicide. Most don’t realize that they are suffering from the same shame that took their loved one from them.
I personally have been open about the fact that my father killed himself. I am not ashamed of him or the fact that he decided to end his own life. Of course, it hurts me and deeply saddens me that he didn’t choose to get help and to release his shame. Of course, it has affected my life in many ways, so many that I could fill this entire blog with them. BUT I am not ashamed of him or my family, on the contrary! I am proud of us from moving forward together as a family through this heartbreaking, life changing event.
I ask a few things of the readers of this post. First and foremost, if you are someone who has considered suicide, please get help! There are tons of amazing individuals, working in amazing help centres, who are awaiting your call right now. Shame doesn’t have to control you and torture you anymore! If you are someone who is prone to excessive, unhealthy shame, please contact a professional, educate yourself on it and heal from it! If you are someone who is a suicide survivor, don’t be ashamed of it, raise your voice and show people that this is a reality in our society. Tell people your story and raise awareness to this issue. You’d be surprised; it affects more people than you’d think!
Finally, I’d just like to say happy birthday to my Daddy-o! Sending you lots of love up to heaven! You are missed everyday!
Are you prone to stereotyping? One of the things that we teach in anger management is acceptance; How to accept ourselves for the positive and negative traits that we possess, as well as accepting others for their positive and negative traits that they possess. A huge obstacle to learning acceptance is stereotyping. Here's an exercises for you to see if you are prone to stereotyping. Write down the first thoughts that come to your mind. Be honest with yourself about the thoughts. This is an exercise for personal growth; if you don’t tell the truth then you are only hurting yourself. You can write down thoughts, feelings, or any reactions to these groups that you have.
People who live in trailer parks
Review your answers and find the groups that you had trouble with, or rather, stereotyped. Ask yourself why your hold these stereotypes. Where did they come from?The next time that these types of people come to your mind, or are involved in your life, remember that you particularly struggled with this
stereotype and try to get to know them personally. Try to focus on the stereotype that you hold and to change your views about them.
Most of the time we hold stereotypes because we
fear or don’t understand these types of people/cultures/groups. We automatically take what is told to us, through personal interaction or the media, as the truth. It stems from a general lack of understanding of human behaviour.
Sometimes we have had bad run-ins with one person of the stereotyped group, we lose respect for that one person and then we take that as proof of how the group as a whole really is. Try to change your stereotyping ways by accepting each and every person for who they truly are.
Let us not look back in anger,
One of the most important things that I teach in my classes is awareness. It's amazing how many people live their lives on autopilot, not realising how they create the situations in their lives. It's easier to play the victim then to be self-aware and realise that we have a choice in what happens to us.
If you aren’t aware of your thoughts, mental images, actions and beliefs, then you are just another soul who is living their life on autopilot!
If you don’t see how you are creating your life, you’ll stay stagnant and never drive your life yourself. If you pay attention to your thoughts, mental images, actions and beliefs then you can change them. Awareness is the key to
Aren’t you tired of your angry feelings taking control and regretting what happened AFTER it’s all said and done? Once you become aware of how yourself, then you’ll be able to control your behaviours BEFORE they happen. Once you become more familiar with thinking your way through your anger instead of feeling your way through it, then those old anger behaviours will die, because you won’t need them anymore.
I am the founder of The Anger Managers, a clinic that provides court-approved psycho-educational courses and workshops to individuals and corporations