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Sound Behavioral Health: Trying times test our ability to extend mercy
Sound Behavioral Health

Sound Behavioral Health: Trying times test our ability to extend mercy

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In a time of crisis, health complications, changes in life such as job loss, relationship complications or loss, a sense of helplessness can set in on our part. 

The current pandemic is no exception.  Unfortunately, we see many of the above mentioned in businesses closed as a result of shutdowns responses to prevent further spread. 

With that considered, jobs and countless people are without work or struggling to find work.  It has also been a time of great reflection and humbling, taking inventory and stock of what is important and what we are given in this life. 

There has been much consideration for the health of others as seen in our social distancing, wearing masks and quarantining. 

Regardless of opinions, there is much more compassion and regard given towards others in these extensions of precautions.  We have also experienced this consideration in the stimulus’ extended, and the moratorium benefits, along with mortgage forbearance opportunities for our citizens. 

This is with the understanding that this crisis is out of our control and personal needs still need to be considered on the side of human respect.  Extending help where a person is in need and helpless in a compassionate way is called mercy. 

Mercy is doing something for someone whom the person cannot do themselves.  This also falls under forgiveness, and this in considering and helping for the sake of wishing the other person’s wellbeing.  However, first, before knowing how to extend it to others, we must know how to extend it to ourselves.  Mercy is not only given to others but also received.  It is about human value, dignity and worth over circumstance.  Circumstance in no way changes the value of a person.  Circumstances test and shape the attitude and heart of a person for how they will respond to themselves and others. 

As life change involves behavior change, heart change is needed for authentic behavior change.  When emphasis is placed more on circumstance being the primary focus of what a person is then criticality, bitterness, resentment and judgmental responses are expressed and produce a toxin of despair and dread within.  This causing limited forward thinking, and problem solving, resulting in lower self-confidence. 

However, when the beauty of humanity and the creative and unique worth of a person in general is considered, then the circumstance seems but an event in life, and not a title.  Extending this type of consideration flows from our own need to be considered and validated.  It helps give us meaning, and with meaning comes purpose, with purpose comes direction, with direction comes focused thinking. 

With focused thinking we can positively scan for solutions, benefits, costs, and plan a way through.  Because our focus is no longer on the circumstance but on love, where mercy is.  Mercy is not bound by circumstance but is independent of circumstance.  Meaning it is never changing, like our value and worth as humans.  Ever constant!  Mercy believes in the beauty, dignity, and uniqueness of the human above the power of a circumstance.  So how does this look?

A circumstance may inspire fear, or anxiety because of a personal experience or belief learned in life about ourselves and what we think will happen or what we deserve to happen to us.  This is normal.  However, mercy inspires hope in and from our value apart from the circumstance. 

Mercy takes our focus off the circumstance for a moment to say you are a son, a daughter, a mother, a father, a husband, a wife, a grandmother, a grandfather, etc.  Mercy tells us what and who we are apart from the circumstance.  Fear, likes to use circumstances and boundaries to worth by telling us we do not have enough, will not be enough, this is it for us, it is all going to end for you here, I told you so, you should have known better, or if you would not have done that then this would not have happened.  And base our value and meaning on the circumstance. 

Can the blame and judgmental criticism be heard in a cause and effect way?  This because the focus is on the temporary situation and circumstance attempting to put our value in our mind as the circumstance would seem, and the focus is not on eternal value of the human first.  So, remembering mercy before action.

In mercy, it is always necessary to take inventory of what a person has and does not have.  A person cannot be expected to give what they do not have.  This includes ourselves first, then the other, to know we are giving mercy.  Next, lower expectations to meet the person where they are at.  If the means are not there, do not demand what is not there.  Instead, extending or accepting alternate means may be necessary. 

We must be realistic.  Remembering life is difficult enough as it is and trying to carry the weight of everything all the time is unreasonable to expect of a person.  We cannot meet every obligation every time, especially when life changes constantly, and in the change, the means to provide for needs change with it. 

Remembering you can only do so much and can only give from what you have, and this is enough, because it is your best.  Mercy considers the best a person can do, and this from their human worth, to allow room to grow and improve behaviorally and circumstantially.  Fear in a circumstance says more is required of us which we do not have. This causes despair, dread, and anxiety, which complicates ourselves and the situation.        

Brian Shubert is actively involved in the behavioral health field as a Substance Abuse Counselor.  He lives in Lemoore.

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