Why Christmas brings up a lot of different emotions in me

I was listening to the radio the other day how Christmas time can evoke a lot of emotions inside of us without even realizing it. On one hand, at it’s core, Christmas is a festive holiday bringing people together, filling them with joy and a sense of peace, away from the hustle and bustle of every day life. On the other hand, it can be a painful reminder of things we experienced around this time growing up, or even with recent losses, and how incredibly alone and depressed we can feel.

Continue reading “Why Christmas brings up a lot of different emotions in me”

Advocacy and Empowerment in Mental Health

Saturday Feb 20th (10am-12pm PST) I’ve been invited to speak on the Advocacy and Empowerment in Mental Health Promotion webinar, hosted by the SSPC, alongside members from the Department of Psychiatry and Nursing from the University of Toronto and Ryerson University. The SSPC is a nonprofit organization devoted to furthering research, clinical care, and education in cultural aspects of mental health and illness.You can watch me Live on Zoom, presenting “My Mental Health Journey – the Value of Applying Acceptance and Compassion.”

(and no, I’m not a MediCATION Coach…😆)

Continue reading “Advocacy and Empowerment in Mental Health”

I’m an Enneagram 4! (and the irony behind my discovery)

I’ve always carried a sense of creativity ever since I was a kid. I used to love writing short stories in elementary school for the class to read out loud. Throughout the rest of my school years, Art class was by far my favorite outlet, followed by Creative Writing to release my sense of quirkiness and ambitious imagination. Fast forward to adulthood and I somehow managed to bury the right side of my brain in order to eat brand named cereal for breakfast, thus choosing the road more travelled for my career. I became a scientist or more precisely a Food Developer with a steady income. It’s an enriching career filled with rewarding experiences, learning the science and development behind food manufacturing that most of us take for granted. But, after long days of repeated trials, I go home and relinquish myself of the title, “certified Foodie”, devouring my microwaved dinner with great ease.

Then, as the evening wears on, I gladly turn to my true passion: learning something more about WHO I am. The artist in me. The creator. The writer. The TRUE me.

Afterall, even Superman preferred to be known as Kal-El.

OK, that was a bit narcissistic, but if you know me, you’d also know that was only a metaphor.

I love the art of creating something useful with my imagination, whether it’s putting together a surprise birthday gift or writing a blog to freely express my state of mind. I find pure joy and liberation expressing my emotions, my thoughts and exploring the queries of self.

The other day, my counsellor (and dear friend) Guillermo (aka “G”) asked me, “Jason, have you ever heard of Enneagram tests to understand yourself more?”

I immediately Googled Enneagram tests and discovered a wealth of info (thank goodness for the internet!). For those unfamiliar and interested, you can read more about Enneagrams here. In short, it’s sort of like a Myers Briggs personality test, but this scores your values and beliefs, then categorizes you into 1 of 9 possible traits. The nice part about the Enneagram test result is that it provides a spectrum of where you score. In other words, if I was a category 4, I can easily swing into traits of a category 1 or category 2 personality.

The 9 traits are as follows:

  1. The Perfectionist
  2. The Giver
  3. The Achiever
  4. The Individualist
  5. The Investigator
  6. The Skeptic
  7. The Enthusiast
  8. The Challenger
  9. The Peacemake

Why did I do this?

Well, as starters, I’m an Enneagram 4 (inside joke that only Enneagram 4’s can appreciate). I’ve wondered for quite some time about my greater purpose in Life, other than to create sugary beverages for kids to love and moms to write grievance letters to. For those who know me, I’ve struggled in the past with depression and sometimes can feel melancholic, though I generally consider myself to be a positive person. I admit I do fear being rejected, yet I crave closeness. Even worse is when I’ve rejected parts of myself: my inner quest for deeper understanding of our human psychology, my emotions and my natural ability to be compassionate to other people’s emotions. When I didn’t acknowledge these parts of me, this became a slippery slope to feelings of low self-esteem and self-worth.

I’ve known G since 2014 and he’s by far been my favorite counsellor after all these years. He wasn’t like any other counsellor I’ve worked with before. He’s so much more in depth, often times not following the rule book of what a traditional RCC would say to you (and trust me, I’ve been a client of many). This context made G’s recommendation about Enneagrams all the more enticing because he’s always understood me and my constant quest for self.

The best part was G accepted me (not because he’s also a fellow #4) and because he told me in his delightful Argentinian accent, “Jason, you need to welcome ALL parts of yourself and not judge or devalue them. You are rejecting yourself, not making it possible for others to accept you. Only by seeing the value in your strengths, will you discover a true sense of self-worth. You lost sight of your gifts, your strengths and as a result your self-esteem. Your negative energy drowned the positive person who’s always been there! Bring him back!”

(Like I said, not what a typical RCC would say, but his message hit home).

I’m an Enneagram #4 – The Individualist! (aka the Romantic)

The accuracy for me on the Enneagram test was profound! It was like my computer became a mind reader and spewed out my exact personality on the screen. It’s a fun, short quiz that I took online and quenched my perpetual thirst for understanding myself.

Quoting from Crystalknows.com(one of many sights that does Enneagram tests), Enneagram 4’s:

Basic Desire

The basic desire of the Type 4 is to  build a distinct, meaningful identity and to express it in the world. They tend to crave authenticity, but may struggle through uncertainty and doubt along the way to discovering their individuality. Fours may feel misunderstood if others fail to recognize their unique, identifying traits.

Type 4’s tend to defend themselves by unintentionally adapting characteristics from friends, in order to appear more genuine.

Basic Fear

The basic fear of the Type 4 is that they do not matter or have significant impact on the world. In less healthy, times, they often feel misunderstood, outcast, and unrelatable. In order to distinguish themselves from others, Fours may work hard to be unique, creative, and expressive.

Strengths that are typically associated with the Enneagram Type 4 personality include…

  • Ability to connect deeply with their own emotions
  • Sensitivity to and understanding of others’ feelings
  • General awareness of their own growth areas
  • Imaginative and creative deep-thinking
  • Being consistently and authentically themselves

Weaknessess that are typically associated with the Enneagram Type 4 personality include…

  • Withdrawing in times of difficulty
  • Fixating on what they don’t have
  • Tendency to focus too much on themselves
  • Reacting strongly and emotionally to hardship

Here’s the Irony..

Enneagram 4’s struggle to find their tribe and to feel understood. But the irony when I learned more about myself through the Enneagram test, was I felt a sense of belonging. I finally could exhale that long awaited sigh of relief. I am understood! I am accepted! At long last! Being highly introverted, this was groundbreaking material.

The key for myself is to constantly seek inspiration and to create. I’m surrounded by inspiration. This is especially true if it’s focussed on personal growth to improve the man I am, and to contribute to a greater good beyond myself. Creating something is easy for me, whether that’s in a form of writing, journaling, blogging or something else cathartic. I’m grateful I rediscovered my passions over the years. I realize it’s important for me to have an outlet for my emotions and running thoughts. In fact, I’ve just submitted a number of applications to volunteer for several mental health organizations. In putting my energy towards something I’m passionate about, I’ll be able to further channel my constant search for purpose. In addition, this breeds positive experiences to feed my desire for growth.

Learning about this and continuing to be woke these last several months has filled me with a ton of optimism. So what if I march to my own beat? So what if I feel different and misunderstood? That’s me! I’m an Enneagram 4 and wear that proudly… well, until tomorrow anyway, when I need to scratch that itch inside of me again (another inside joke for us Enneagram 4’s).

Happy Friday everyone!

(There’s many free online Enneagram tests (simply Google Enneagram Tests) you can take as well. It certainly fascinates me and I’d love to read your comments on what your Enneagram test results show!)

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Jason Lee, Author of Living with the Cat, the 9 Biggest Reasons Why Your Life Sucks!

 

 

 

 

 

FB Live on the Healing Place Podcast

On The Healing Place Podcast this morning I had the chance to chat with hostess Teri Kamphaus Wellbrock raising awarenesss for guys about their mental health and encouraging men to take this time of isolation to learn more about themselves.

Thanks Teri for a great conversation!

Learn more about Teri Wellbrock here.

Coming Soon! Book #2 – Living with the Cat, the 9 Biggest Reasons Why Your Life Sucks!

Two years after publishing my best seller Living with the Dragon, Healing 15 000 Days of Abuse and Shame, I’m back with my follow up book that takes a complete 180 degree turn in writing style from my first book.

It promises to be wittier, quirkier and with chock full of anecdotes for your amusement. The best part is, you won’t even realize you’re reading a self-help book. I’m super excited to share this latest project with you and even more excited to make you smile, chuckle and laugh with my stories of mishaps, missteps and bumbling mistakes. (For example, what the heck does Mama Lee’s Rice-Wrap Steam Infusion Spa Treatment have to do with finding a relationship?)

COMING SOON!BOOK3D (2)

So life didn’t turn out the way you planned. All your friends have successful careers, are happily married with kids and own brand new homes. You’re also finding yourself hate-liking all their Instagram photos of them laughing, having a great time on their sunny vacations.

Meanwhile, you’re stuck at home by yourself, with your cat. You’re watching Netflix reruns all weekend long and eating leftover pizza from three days ago. Your job sucks, you think all your friends are lame, you have a nagging back injury that keeps you up at night, and you can’t remember the last time you even went out to have fun.

Where the heck did it all go wrong?

In his second book Living with the Cat: the 9 Biggest Reasons Why Your Life Sucks! author Jason Lee pulls no punches.

A perfect blend of quirky humor, retro-pop references and deep-dish insight, this off-the-beaten-path guide will provide you with an entirely new outlook on life: one that will fill your life with delight, optimism and happiness.

 

“Raw honesty and much needed guidance! An abundance of perfectly sarcastic cat-wisdom left me inspired and empowered to live for today!”

– Teri Wellbrock 

Trauma-warrior, Host of The Healing Place Podcast, Author, Speaker & Blogger.