How Herd Mentality or Groupthink can lead to Depression

by Nathan Chua

I have to admit that the title of this article is just about a dead giveaway. Experience has taught me how life can be even more difficult than it already is, when people are driven or indoctrinated to think that there is only one way to live the “good” life. It can drive one nuts when seemingly or outwardly successful people, most of the time unintentionally doom others into thinking they are less capable individuals, simply by describing one way of living that is similar to their own. If you don’t match how a self-described leader lives, you are flawed and outside the inner circle of those considered to be exceptional, or at least worthy of acceptance and love.

In my years of searching for the “good” life, I have come to understand that each one of us is special beyond what others think. The plain truth is we are all different. We should never think we are less than anyone else just because the other is smarter, has better looks, or is more financially well-off.

As Kierkegaard wrote:

The crowd is untruth.  There is therefore no one who has more contempt for what it is to be a human being than those who make it their profession to lead the crowd.

I find this prevalent in our country where people are motivated by fear to offer so much deference to religious personalities, almost to the point of fawning behavior. Whether these are fundamentalists or liberal Catholics, they would bow in obeisance to the “sole possessors” of wisdom. There’s very little wiggle room for variety. The result is we become more of a homogenous group that play roles, having to live up to these expectations, even if our DNA doesn’t conform to such made-up standards.

I have seen how so much suffering is inflicted by those who stand behind rostrums, proclaiming they know what it takes to be considered worthy of respect. People come to me not knowing where they stand in this world. The constant bombardment of religious sermons and motivational talks, can be overwhelming. They feel left out and are constantly grappling for that key that can open doors for them to become what they were not meant to be.

So for you who may think that swimming against the tide of social conventions is a curse, I admit, it will not be easy, when you are surrounded by people who have sacrificed their individuality for conformity. You will experience isolation and ostracism. But take heart, for there is no reason for you to feel down on yourselves, for you can otherwise be proud that you have chosen to take the road less traveled. You have chosen to be brave and to live according to your DNA; according to your wishes for what you believe will make you one whom you envisioned to be, someday.

Rollo May wrote, “The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.”

Take courage for you are indeed courageous for choosing who you truly are, and more than what you are expected to be. Free yourselves from the dictates of others who have chosen to stop listening to their true selves, and sold their souls to blind allegiance, and their fears of being different.

 

Sakto Guesting for Halloween 2017

Thanks again to the people behind Sakto for having me on their show last October 31, 2017. This time it was with Marc Logan and K Brosas! Topic was about grieving among Filipino families.

Mental Health Awareness Month at UP

Last October 24, 2017, I had the privilege of being invited to be a part of UP Diliman’s Mental Health Awareness Month. Congratulations to the UP School of Economics Student Council for holding such a timely, relevant and successful event!

 

The Dissolution of Marriage: When is it time to say goodbye?

by Nathan Chua

I had a recent interview with the crew of Failon Ngayon for their weekend documentary, about the new proposal coming out of the lower house of congress, authored by the speaker of the house Pantaleon Alvarez. A quick glance at the grounds for both legal separation and annulment, shows a number of reasons that the church and state will accept, for both processes to ensue.

For this interview, I was asked the question of when it is time to acknowledge that a couple is better off apart, than together. Bluntly speaking, when is it time to give up? This is never easy to answer. Most married couples come to me with hopes that things can be worked out. At the same time, I and the couple are very aware of the amount of work and difficulties, that a separation would entail.

If there was a compelling reason to say goodbye to a relationship, I guess it is when one no longer values the other. The response that I usually hear from experts involves the loss of respect. I have no reason to disagree with this. However, if there was a better word that can describe something that unhappy couples lose when the relationship becomes very unstable, it is the loss of valuing one another.

Since I started this blog in a negative note about ending relationships, I think you, my readers would like to end it on something more positive. If valuing your lover or spouse is so important, how come my partner never seems to feel that I do value him or her?

Here are a few tips on how to show your spouses or loved ones that you value them:

  • Try to look as clean and good looking as possible to your partner. This shows that you take ownership of what you contribute to the relationship. It tells your partner that you do not want them to love someone, who is difficult to love because of their sloppy appearance and inadequate hygiene.
  • Say it as much as you do it. Of course, nothing beats actions. You are always going to be measured by how you behave. However, you must remember that talking and speaking your mind is also a deed. It’s good to let the other know that you love them and care for them by saying it as often as you possibly can.
  • Transport yourself into your partner’s world. Although you can’t stand his or her favorite things to do, join him or her occasionally. A little sacrifice can get you a long way.
  • Show and say your appreciation. A little thank you is always welcome. Make your partner feel appreciated and he or she will feel valued and important. Even just a long, loving gaze can do the trick.

Hope these simple tips can help you in your relationship with your spouse. There is nothing more moving than to see one person sacrifice his or her own needs to help another.