The Power of Community

community Jun 13, 2018

The reports of the suicides of Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have precipitated numerous conversations on social media as well as in family living rooms. This is so remarkable because these conversations are rarely held in public.

People who may be prone to thinking about suicide are those who have a strong ability to live in denial and cover up what they are experiencing internally.  They often put on a façade and enroll the world into believing that they are fine, while hiding the pain they are really experiencing.

We live in a culture that encourages pretense.  We pretend that everything is fine and good so that we can post happy images on social media and look like our lives our problem free.  We have ordinary conversations about emotional issues; relating to emotional pain as something to hide, something we are ashamed of. If these conversations occur at all, they are usually spoken to a therapist, or coach, or to certain close friends.

For someone who is suicidal, the experience of isolation and loneliness becomes the daily norm.  Someone who is suicidal believes that they are so alone and isolated that the option of suicide seems more acceptable than living in the internal state of despair.

In cases of suicide, this painful internal reality overtakes external reality.  The harsh internal voice of the Inner Critic becomes so powerful and dominant that the messages it sends become more and more real and true.  When this occurs the Authentic Self is not just elusive--it is inaccessible.

Yet, in our practice, we know that women are hungry for connection and open communication.  They want a place they can be real and authentic and speak about the issues that confront their daily lives: in their marriages, with their kids, in their careers, and in their relationships.  

It occurs to us that people like Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain, who were in such despair, could be helped by being a part of a community such as the one we have been forming at Dethroning Your Inner Critic.

Our current culture does not yet support forums for open communication about the emotional issues we confront in our daily lives. The ability to distinguish the automatic voice of the Inner Critic that breeds despair and suicidal thinking may not even have a chance to take hold if these thoughts can be expressed honestly and authentically in community.

The possibility of participating in a community of like-minded people, confronting similar issues, is an antidote to the loneliness and isolation so many feel in today’s world. Therapy and coaching are great tools to use but can go only so far in counteracting the loneliness and isolation that are the breeding ground for depression and despair.

Being in communication in a supportive community can be instrumental in helping people consider that there are other ways to think about what is going on.  Whether stuck in guilt and regret about the past or fear and hopelessness about the future, participating in community can be the most powerful antidote to the perfectionistic drive of the inner critic.

The possibility of creating a lasting shift in our cultural attachment to pretending to have it all together is available by joining our voices to help empower this shift.

The opportunity to change our cultural beliefs about mental health issues is more pressing than ever before.  Suicide is on the rise, especially among adolescents and young adults. It knows no stereotypical image. It is affecting society from the wealthy to the indigent, from the powerful and successful to those who are struggling.

It is our hope that together we can make a significant difference not only in our own lives, but also by contributing to shifting the cultural response to mental health issues prevalent in today’s world as well.  By joining our voices to champion communication in community, we can help create that change.

Thank you for being a member of our tribe.  And thank you for being willing to engage with new possibilities for lasting change.

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