Every once in a while, something crosses my path that says exactly what I’m always trying to say. The Peanuts strip I’ve included in this post ran yesterday and sums up pretty much what I know can work to developing healthy relationships with self and with others.
Linus’ statement about how he’d approach the negative thoughts Charlie Brown proposes is the core message in pretty much everything I do and teach. My whole approach to leadership depends upon people looking objectively at themselves in relation with the context and then try to improve. My whole approach to treating substance abuse is for people to look at themselves objectively and then try to improve. Linus doesn’t say “become perfect” or “become everything to everyone;” he just wants to improve. That’s all any of us can really do: Try to improve.
Charlie Brown’s response in the last frame is actually quite consistent with most people’s response to what I teach. Not only do people want improvement to come cheap; they also want it to come easy. Improving one’s place in life isn’t either; it requires effort and awareness and, most importantly, that we are all accountable for our actions in one way or another. There are always consequences, good or bad, for actions we take and we must learn to see ourselves objectively and then look for ways within our lives that we can improve.
I believe with all that I am that if we all look at ourselves objectively and find ways to improve, we will have better relationships and health. I’ve always advocated keeping a journal as a way to look inside and get a temperature of how we’re feeling and responding to our lives’ events. Is it easy? Probably not. But is it worth the effort? Yes. I really think Linus is teaching a great lesson. I do hope Charlie Brown comes to see its value.