‘You Didn’t Build That’ Obama Says – Psychotherapist Concerned

“You Didn’t Build That” states President Obama. This Psychotherapist is concerned, to put it mildly! If I were a cartoon character you would see steam coming out of my ears, my eyeballs popping out of my head, and teeth enamel coming out of my mouth from grinding – all in my physical reaction as a Psychotherapist analyzing President Obama’s insulting, degrading, and de-moralizing statement and philosophy.

“If you got a business you didn’t build that, somebody else made that happen.” Those are the words that came out of President Obama’s mouth. Anyone who knows me knows I have a concrete opinions about most everything, and yet I found my mouth wide open for a few seconds, no words, just my mouth wide open. No, I was not in shock, because his statement is consistent with who he has presented himself to be in his overall philosophical belief system as President thus far. Rather my mouth was open out of my ongoing deep concern for the mental wellness of Americans. Knowing the President represents America I asked myself: is this what America stands for and is this the voice of the American people?  Hmm, certainly his voice does not represent my voice as a mental health professional because his voice is not representing a healthy America, and my goal is all about health and wellness.

Talking Points

Is The Small Business Owner Delusional? 

So, let me get this straight. A small business owner who decided to take the initiative, the risk, work hard, has a strong work ethic, is brave, had a vision, and implemented it by making the courageous choice to create and/or expand one’s business, our President would have us believe that this business owner is quite delusional. The small business owner is delusional if one’s thinking is as follows: I worked hard to make this happen and therefore I take pride in my hard work and thus accomplishments. Specifically, the President is staking a claim to the business owner’s achievement stating somebody else made that happen, it is not an individual achievement, and that somebody is actually – guess who – the government. Well now, as a mental health professional I will state that without feeling one has accomplished, that brings a person’s emotional status down very quickly. Depression and many of the symptoms that go with it, including feelings of worthlessness and a lack of energy (AKA motivation) will reign as part of a person’s natural self if one goes without accomplishing and goes without taking pride in one’s self.

All People Are Not The Same:

Not all people have the initiative, make the choice, have the focus, the passion, the vision, the work ethic, the bravery, and the creativity to create and build a business. As a Psychotherapist I can analyze our current President and understand psychoanalytically how his assertions make sense in his mind’s eye, in the context of his life, and thus developing his philosophical belief system.  Although I can understand and make sense of his perspective, it is that very lens upon which is his view that is not healthy for our America, and the American people. Let us not teach our children that all people are the same, everyone does not get a trophy.

Work hard, do your best every day, strive to be the best version of yourself you can be and perhaps you will be rewarded. To punish achievement (staking claim to someone else’s accomplishments, hard work, and rewards) and create a country of same – is that not suffocating and burying one’s vision for what can be? It is one’s very vision and passion for what can be that exhilarates and motivates us as humans. If we have nothing to work for because the harder we work the more selfish we are viewed and the more is taken from us to “Even Steven” our country, I ask you; what are we to teach our children about working hard and success? What are we as adults choosing as a life philosophy? How are we feeling emotionally, and thus what actions are we taking each day? For it is our belief system that impacts our every day choices, our mental wellness personally, our relational health, our professional identity, and our families wellness.

What Human Beings Need In A Leader:

As a leader (whether you are a psychotherapist leading a client to help themselves enter the next stage in their recovery, a teacher leading a student to academic success by teaching them study skills, a parent leading your children in teaching them right from wrong, a boss, or the President of the United States) holding the philosophy that a person’s hard work is to take pride in, and that they shall reap rewards, is exactly the philosophy that brings a person to feel good about themselves and creates personal happiness, and physical and mental wellness. The mind and the body are interconnected. Therefore, if you are feeling well emotionally that impacts the health and wellness of your body, if you are not feeling strong emotionally that impacts the strength of your physical health.

Imagine if a mental health professional told her client that it is because of her, the client is feeling better rather than because of all of the hard work the client did? Would that lead to a sense of self empowerment? No it would not. What would happen if a boss told his employee the only reason she is successful is because of him? Would that lead to a sense of self worth and motivation to achieve even more? No it would not. What about a teacher who gave her student no credit for a high scoring grade and rather said; “you didn’t do that I made that happen”. Would that lead a student to have a strong sense of self and feel accomplished and motivated? No it would not. These examples are meant to put in perspective what President Obama is suggesting which is in direct contrast to and in opposition with my humble opinion as a mental health and wellness expert. Our current President is on a journey of creating a very different America. The President’s philosophical approach will create an America lacking in self worth, increasing depression, a culture of neediness, lack of motivation, poor work ethic and feelings of entitlement.

When a person does not feel a sense of control of their own choices and outcomes they then feel out of control. Feeling out of control leads to symptoms of anxiety for many. When a person feels that he is in control of the choices he makes it leads to healthy and successful outcomes. If one does not feel he is in control it is human nature to find other ways to be in control, even if those choices are unhealthy.

America’s Core Values:

Harry S Truman stated: “America was not built on fear. America was built on courage, on imagination, and unbeatable determination to do the job at hand.” These words are uplifting, motivating, can bring a person to want to be more than who they are today. It is these 3 qualities that not only describe what America was built on, these 3 words also describe what are extremely important qualities in order to have mental health and wellness, succeed as an individual personally, professionally, and in any relationship dynamic, and provide for self and family: 1. courage, 2. imagination, 3. determination. What words is President Obama stating that brings forth motivation to achieve and work hard? The answer is none, his words are in opposition to this, and that is deeply concerning to me as a Psychotherapist for the mental wellness of the many.

America’s Philosophical Belief System And Our Mental Wellness Are Inter-Related:

Wanting to work hard because it feels good to strive for more, to be all that you can be feels good emotionally and thus our mental wellness is experienced as stable and healthy. Having someone (or some entity) accept credit for what you accomplished is disorienting, disturbing, and depressing. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • What is your philosophical belief system?
  • What do you want to teach your children as their core values?
  • What do you want our country, your country to look like today, tomorrow, and the many tomorrows from now?

Final Point:

Each individual client, each couple, each family that comes into the Psychotherapist’s office – their mental wellness is ever so important. This blog article is about the mental wellness of not only one, two, or three families and their extended family, this is about the mental wellness of all of the individuals, couples, and families – this is the mental wellness of our America, the people within our America. Let us take President Obama’s statement seriously, not sweep it under the rug, and consider how the philosophy of our President impacts our mental wellness in the now and in our future as a country. Let us consider the importance of what America was built upon and recognize his philosophical belief system is in opposition to our collective mental wellness.

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