Has anyone ever told you “you’re crazy!”? They could have been referring to a risk you wanted to take, a perspective you had on something, a relationship you were involved in or a change you wanted to make. The word “crazy” is often used, but what does it really mean and when should you apply it? If you search on the definition of “crazy”, the variety of applications is far and wide:
In fact, close to 20% of the entire American adult population is clinically diagnosed as mentally ill. They are not necessarily deranged, or even “wild or aggressive,” but they do suffer true mental health issues: “Every year, about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia”.
If you have encountered behavior that seems to be absurdly out of place or in an unlikely position, you’ve likely said either audibly or to yourself as self-talk, “that person is crazy.” You may try to avoid them, and do your best to stay as far away as possible.
Assuming you are not encountering someone with a true mental illness, how can you deal more effectively with people when their behavior triggers something in you and, rather than wanting to learn more, you move away in disgust?
There are many reasons you might react to what someone else is doing:
In many cases, the odd or crazy behavior is due to a disconnect from the way you do things and what you understand to be true. Think about the current political environment – if you are in one camp or the other, you don’t just have a difference of opinion; the other camp considers you to be certifiably crazy in your leanings. When someone has a vastly different viewpoint, the tendency is to portray them as “out there”.
But what if you could learn from the oddities of others? What if, in seeking to understand, you might find a friend you would not have otherwise had? How can you stay more open to recognizing where behavior manifests and how?
Some of the things that make one be crazy include:
These are just a few of the drivers behind behavior you might interpret as negative or “crazy”. All human beings experience one of these at one point or another, and all act in less than optimal ways. To avoid your own upset, and emotional reactions, take a step back the next time you meet someone whom you consider to be crazy and see if you might be able to unpack what’s underneath the appearance of craziness. This is the true definition of compassion and care – and as an added bonus, it allows you to move from a negative and reactionary state to a more interested, objective one.