Byung Chul-Han’s book The Burnout Society is a fascinating look into depression in modern life. There, he develops a belief that human beings are depressed because they are burned out. They are burned out because they are told they can be whatever they want to and can accomplish whatever they want. Because human beings are finite, with limitations, this simply isn’t true. Not everyone can be Lebron James, Bill Gates, or Bruce Springsteen. Some people are born with more intellectual, physical and social limitations than others. Others are born into situations that are overwhelmingly difficult to come out of. We shouldn’t punish someone in a wheelchair for not being Lebron James, right? We shouldn’t punish someone with an intellectual disability or even average intelligence for not being Bill Gates, right? Chul-Han points out that we will work tirelessly to make things happen and when they don’t, we are exhausted and feel like failures.
Maybe, one thing that we can learn from a book like this is that it’s okay to be yourself. It’s okay to have limitations. It’s okay to fail. It’s okay to be a human. It’s okay to be yourself. The Burnout Society that we live in produces endless fatigue and self-hatred because we can’t accept what we are. Some of us are born to be CEO’s, lawyers, janitors, and uber drivers. Some of us are more emotionally, intellectually, socially, relationally and spiritually able and aware than others. If we are supportive and understanding of one another, rather than harsh and alienating, maybe we can create a more hospitable culture where people can be themselves.
Sometimes, undoing the ruins of these narratives in our mind takes lots of work and support. Finding healing from perfectionism and moving into self-compassion is difficult. Counseling is a great way to find support, compassion, acceptance, and embrace for who you really are.
Mike Friesen is an intern at the Waconia location and is getting his Master’s in Counseling from Crown College. Before this, Mike also obtained a Master’s degree in theology and emphasized in spiritual formation. Mike cares about people’s stories and often utilizes narrative therapy to help you feel known and to live the life you want to live.