Monday, May 08, 2006
I cruise the net viewing other peoples’ blogs from time to time and I happened across a nice guy’s blog who was suffering from a tragic mental illness called NGS. This disorder is tragic in the sense that it is self destructive. The poor guy, we’ll call him Bruce, was wasting away inside. It’s a horrible feeling to know you’re rotting inside and don’t have the desire to, or enough desire to change what’s happening even though you recognize there’s a problem and hate what its doing to you.
Such was Bruce’s predicament. Hours spent playing games and watching TV, yet lamenting the loss of relationships and the hermitting of his life. I posted a regimen for him to implement for thirty days and required him to record the results daily. I have held off posting this until he’s had time to carry out the regimen. Hopefully he will leave a post here to update us on his condition now.
So, what is this dreaded mental disorder known as NGS? The letters stand for Navel Gazing Syndrome. No, really! When we start looking at our lives in that critical way and begin to poke holes in our own happiness with comparisons and irrelevant expectations of ourselves, there’s something wrong in that we can’t seem to get what we’re told we’re supposed to have. The messages we hear from TV in the form of commercials, the innuendoes in the sitcoms and movies of what is expected to bring happiness, the validation of these expectations in our friends who also buy into this mindset only magnifies the effect and soon depression begins to set in. With depression comes loss of self discipline, self control, while simultaneously gaining self interest, self centeredness. This is where NGS becomes damaging to self and to society.
It’s a very common problem here in the U.S. and I’ll bet its prevalent in the European Union as well. I know its prevalent in Sweden, Norway , and Denmark and its growing world-wide astronomically. I expect the world could degrade into this epidemic except for one thing. God! This is a problem of the untroubled civilizations in the world and as the world gains in technology and automation, as our standard of living rises all over the world, more and more we have the ease that allows us to interact less and self entertain more. The message of the growing church today is “center your attention on others, not self.” I believe these growing churches are guided by the hand of God. If enough people follow this ideal, the growing standard of living does not become a curse but remains a blessing.
Thus my regimen for Bruce was to turn off the TV for a month and find ways to bless others on purpose and without expectations of any kind of return. Compliment others, do favors for others without being asked, and find someone who’s life you can improve. Make a project of blessing others. Happiness returns by the truckload without your designing ways to please yourself. I know this is God’s will and suppose happiness works this way as a way of rewarding those who follow Him. Overdoing self interest harms contentedness. Of course we have to be self interested to survive so I’m not suggesting we all become Buddhist monk-like, deferring all self interest to prayer or anything comparative. Just take 10% of your resources spent on self interest and spend it on other centeredness and see what happens to your state of mind and heart.