The consequences of the 1960s and 1970s continue to yield vast cultural destruction. Our national identity is no longer clear or shared by anyone. The right emphasizes patriotic virtue-signaling displays. The left now starts to show its scorn for America rather openly.
Gen Xers were not taught that America is a great nation, but rather a deeply flawed and ambiguous force in the world today. And this was LONG BEFORE TRUMP.
For 60 years we’ve been steadily fed a barrage of reasons to lose faith in our civic institutions, our industries, our reputation as the land of opportunity, etc. Indeed, we’ve been taught AND given plenty of reason to hate our institutions- news media, religious institutions, “MEN!,” etc., etc.
Most people suffer from depression at some point in their lives or know someone who has. Here are seven things a depressed person can do to make life better almost immediately:
Establish a morning routine. Do you wake up at your girlfriend’s one morning, on your couch the next, and occasionally in your own bed?That needs to stop. A morning routine is critical to healthy functioning and when you start the day in disarray it usually only gets worse from there. So, wake up at roughly the same time every day, drink a glass of water, and do what you need to do to have a productive day.
Exercise. If you hate it, find a way to make it fun. It doesn’t have to be running marathons. Try rowing or swimming or bicycling or playing hoops. Again, just do something. And if you have a REALLY hard time doing it, then do it FIRST THING IN THE MORNING!
Build a spiritual practice. Buddhism, Catholicism, Quakerism, whatever. You might even be able to persuade me of the benefits of being a Wiccan. Regardless, though, JUST DO SOMETHING. Create a practice that helps you stay centered every day AND serves as a beginning or end point for every week. I know, I know, we all hate going to church. So add some fun to it like brunch or a giant latte or donuts. It’s important for many reasons. Foremost, it connects you with other humans. As a society we are facing an epidemic of loneliness. We need connection to other people. Try church, synagogue, meeting house, AA, whatever. Just something.
Make time for gratitude. You know when you’re sitting in Chick-fil-a on a road trip and you look over and the family next to you is praying before eating their meal? Yes, it’s awkward and a little embarrassing, but if you were to take 30 seconds 3 times a day to REMIND YOURSELF HOW FORTUNATE YOU ARE it might improve your outlook.
Figure out the patterns. We all have patterns of behavior that we repeat in our lives. Take some time to figure out which ones are holding you back. Are you overly focused on the superficial? Are you living up to your values? Do you keep dating the same types of people? It never hurts to work with a therapist, a coach, or even an app to help you figure things out.
Make a change. Maybe it’s time to get a new job or end a relationship or get a pet or move to a new city. Sometimes a dramatic change can shake you out of a rut. Now, don’t do anything that will hurt you in the long run- run it by a few people first- but explore the possibility of changing your situation, even if only for a period of time. Another simple idea- plan a vacation. Having something fun to plan and look forward to is half the fun!
Forgive yourself and others. Forgiving yourself is never easy and forgiving others isn’t always smart, but generally speaking, going down the path of forgiveness will only yield benefits for you. Explore readings and writing on forgiveness that might help you work through some of your thoughts and if nothing else works, try medicine.
I was discussing this concept with a friend recently. She is a Catholic who holds a vast number of views that do not conform with Catholic teaching. I asked her, respectfully, why is it that she thinks she knows better than a church that is 2,000 years old? Then we started talking about something else.
Anyway, my theory is that atheism is a kind of cultural-level depression. It’s a statement of cynicism, a kind of “screw that b.s. I’m doing things my way” attitude. It may not seem like it, but it is an act of putting oneself first. Claiming you and your worldview are THE WORLDVIEW that everyone should have.
Don’t get me wrong, there are some very cool tattoos out there. But aren’t tattoos just a form of idol worship? Isn’t tattooing something on your body just elevating it (i.e., the sun in the photo above) to a deity-like status with its near-permanence on your body? Is it possible that doing so tips the balance so that your priorities are somewhat out of order? Isn’t it just a form of worship by another name?
In today’s gospel, Jesus calls on us to not declare false oaths, but to simply speak the truth. This message has been lost in the modern era of talking points and tribalism.
How can we restore the Christian value of honesty, and the related values of humility, sacrifice, service? One by one, every man and woman saying, “Enough! We’ve had enough of the postmodern woke corporate nonsense that pervades our culture.”
It’s time to usher in an era of self-reliance, individual freedom, and optimism. I’m sorry to say this to the atheists, but only Christianity will lead us that way.
Being an orphan is a tragic thing. I know, I was raised by one. It’s even worse when you try to go through life without moral and ethical guidance. I tried. For 40 years, I thought I was a good person and that being so was enough to get by in life. It’s not. Because you need the other people in your life to adhere to a moral code, too.
There is a wisdom to religion that Sam Harris and the New Atheists don’t grasp. It is the wisdom of how to live day in and day out, week in and week out. Live with gratitude and work towards a cause much greater than yourself. There is nothing wrong with accepting some help from a father or the Father.
You can distract yourself and pretend otherwise, but the need for spiritual connection is so entrenched in the human that it is dangerous to suppress it. It will come out in you raging about your bullshit job or complaining about your life. Unless we nourish that need constantly, we succumb to the dull, earthly pains and occasional pleasures that deny us true happiness.
But have at it. Pretend we are just founts of logic and reason who just need to grasp our shared humanity. And see where that gets you.