Imagine going to the doctor’s office and regardless of your pain, illness, or challenge, the doctor prescribes you a pill to take away your pain. As you leave the office, you notice that you have two prescriptions, so you ask what the second medication is for and the nurse explains that the side effects of the first medication can be uncomfortable so the second medication offsets the side effects of the first medication.

You ask if there are any side effects from the second medication and the nurse chuckles, “Oh sure, but we don’t have anything for those side effects right now.”

The interesting part of the made-up story is how real it is. Over 90% of primary doctor’s visits are for maladies that are self-induced. Said differently, the illness, pain, or challenge is preventable.

There are two axioms that drive behavior in life,

  1. We are hard-wired to connect
  2. We each have a drive to learn, grow, and set & achieve goals.

Since we are innately driven to make connections and friends, when we don’t connect in a satiable manner, it hurts. When it hurts we medicate.

Likewise, when we fail to reach our goals, it hurts. When it hurts, we medicate.

Medication is the process whereby one meets their needs or wants in a misapplied or dysfunctional way. It is any activity (including drugs, alcohol, getting offended, criticizing, judging, controlling) that one cannot control and it gets worse over time. It’s the use of a substance or behavior for the purpose of removing pain.

There is a myth that doing drugs is a high. What is really does is remove pain and when pain dissipates, it feels great.

Nobody escapes the trauma of failure in this life. Since we all fail to some degree in making connections and achieving goals, our happiness, joy, and well-being is decided by our ability to understand and live in acceptance of what is.

When we fight our pain, it increases and we move to resistance, maladaptive behavior, stress, anxiety, addiction, and our pain increases to the degree we resist.

There is no magic pill to cure all ill. The solution lies in our ability to move from 1st half of life behavior to 2nd half of life behavior. By observation, most adults, and certainly politicians and the media continue to practice 1st half of life skills. We are barraged by constant criticism, lies, victimology, and persecution, to name a few.

With each generation since WWI, the fabric of the family, and hence, society, is weakening. While you can’t change others, you certainly can change yourself and invite others into your happiness. It starts by paying attention to what’s going on around you and learning how to name the behavior without judging.

Here are a few examples. Notice when people, including yourself, offer unsolicited advice or opinions. Only notice it. Note what it is by internally saying: “that is unsolicited advice.” That’s it.

When your awareness is raised you see things that you haven’t seen before. It is the first step to regulating your behavior.

Preplan the activity before your next meeting, conversation, family or social function. Just observe and see what you learn.