Successfully Treating The Disease of Me

2013-07-19 19.30.39My dad and I have an acronym, a little joke, we call PLOM’s disease. It stands for poor little old me. You or someone you know may be suffering from it. Here is how to diagnosis and treat it.

We all have our natural ups and downs. The great author Spencer Johnson, M.D. called them peaks and valleys. Some of us are living more or less in a valley and are not able to successfully get out of a rut. This is not healthy.

Step 1: Recognize you are in a valley.

Overly focusing on yourself is not a good way to live. Younger generations seem to be very much focused on themselves. In “The Road to Courage” by David Brooks, he describes how the generation dealing with the aftermath of World War II were, for the most part, humbled. Living through the horror of The Holocaust and the apocalypse of death and destruction of innocent people across the world. It is something  we should all remain conscious of today, as humanity remains at war and at risk of the spread of war, including the ultimate use of nuclear weapons that threaten the lives of all of us, our friends, family and children.

The first “Americans” who colonized and settled the ever expanding outskirts of the wilderness worked together with their neighbors. They were focused on helping each other. I help you. You help me. Together we help others, and all together we help each other. This is lacking today, to say the least.

The more self centered you are, the more at risk you are of losing the true joy of life. We need self awareness in the sense of recognizing that the more we serve others, the more happiness we derive. We need less selfishness. If you are depressed, when was the last time you did something to genuinely help someone else on your own initiative?

Step 2: Take the first step to move out of the valley.

So you are in a valley? You now recognize it. As they say, accurate diagnosis is half the battle in medicine. Now you need to take some action. Don’t try to change your whole world overnight. Take one action.

Here are some ideas for start up actions to move out of a valley. Take a walk, visit a library, talk to someone you trust, buy a self help book that catches your attention at Barnes & Noble, make a list of things on your mind, make a telephone call to someone you’ve been meaning to call, write in a diary or blog, tell your spouse, parent, child, sibling or friend how much you love or appreciate them. Then, do an act of love for them. Love is a verb.

Step 3: Create a framework for your ongoing trip through life.

In life we need to stay in motion to get along. Finding your natural rhythm and an approach that works for you takes time, awareness, and efforts. To develop  a framework for navigating life successfully, balance taking time to reflect on what is happening. Whether or not you believe in God or some other word or concept for the powers behind the creation of life, give serious thought and reflection to these things and your place in this world.

How can you contribute to improving the lives of others? There is no one in this world with your particular experiences, background, skills, talents, thoughts, and dreams except you. Appreciate this. No one can take your place in acting in the particular time and space that you occupy.

There are people around you who only you can touch, only you can look in the eye, only you can love. Do it now. These little actions create ripple effects. You will begin to feel better by taking time to reflect on the magnitude of life and the people out there who could use your talents and service. Do one action to get started to help someone else. Do it now to get started and repeat. This is your treatment plan: be aware, reflect, act.

Go forth and get started.

Step 4: Ongoing Maintenance

If you are already on this or some similar type of path toward enlightenment, nevertheless we can all increase our awareness, improve our reflection ability, and take more and better actions.

Reflect on your framework, your systems, and the people in your life for how you can better serve others and in doing so increase your inner joy and satisfaction with your life.

Realizing there are people starving, suffering and dying all across the world should give you pause to reflect, think, and act in a way toward filling out your role in improving our world by working together.

3 thoughts on “Successfully Treating The Disease of Me”

  1. Life is like a baseball game. #1 you are @ home plate = AWARENESS. #2. you are @ first base = ACCEPTANCE. #3. you are on second base = ANALYSIS . #4. you are on third base = ACTION PLAN = home run!!!!! aka Dads 4 A’S.

  2. Since there are as many opinions in the world as there are men and women – here’s another one !! I think that all of us want joy. But how do we find it??? Do we seek joy by filling ourselves what we perceive is missing (like snook fishing in the Everglades.) Do we tell ourselves that we’d be happy if we just had enough pleasures, power, security, esteem , etc. But this does not work, even when I catch the biggest snook. The secret to joy as I see it, is self giving love – like when you come up to a person who is standing in the cold and rainy weather while they wait for food from the food bank. If you hand them a $100 bill, they throw their arms around your neck and say with joy “I love you”. The effect on the giver is real joy.

  3. Excellent analysis Jim. After spending 3 months with my mom recovering from a massive stroke your 4 points show a true example of how each of us can make other’s lives, especially the people within the family we have created, lives that are full of love, security , stability and happiness- in other words –
    Selflessness. It should be the basis of every important relationship we have with another human being . If a person truly cares about you, they’ll get more pleasure from the way they make you feel, rather than the way you make them feel. If only more people were like that.
    It’s about giving your all to your family without expecting anything in return. It’s about being there when it matters, to the people who continually show you that YOU matter. Being there for someone who has loved you through thick and thin without expecting any kudos or thanks – that’s true selflessness.

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