Gently Stepping Into Mental Health
Being mental healthy requires finding ‘The Real You’.
There is no single, ‘right’ way of being or thinking. Being authentic is about living according to your personal core values and worldviews in a genuine, wholehearted, conscious way.
Hold onto the fact that you are not alone, even when you feel lonely. Feeling lonely is a widespread psychological symptom of our transition from small, closely knit communities into a larger global community. We have become more geographically distant from one another. To accommodate this reality, we need to first accept that this is our new reality. Then, we need to expand on that acceptance with alternative ways of thinking and being. This is a period tremendous change. Feeling vulnerable and unsure of our place is completely understandable. Embracing this reality allows us to more readily find solutions. In doing to we expand and empower our voices. Just taking baby steps can effectively help to carve a niche beyond ‘loneliness’ and into engaged, global community living.
Embrace being vulnerable. Being vulnerable is actually empowering because we learn how to be brave. Yet, I concur that it is one of the most difficult steps in my process through recovery. It requires letting go of my habitual flight or freeze responses. I typically chose flight. I had to learn to stay and sit with those thoughts — even in the moments when I felt very shattered. Only then, being genuinely vulnerable, could I see the pieces more clearly. Then, I let go, regroup and rebuild differently, genuinely and compassionately.
Recovery isn’t supposed to be pretty. In fact, it can be downright ugly. Yet, even that is therapeutic. In mindful reflection, seeing both the dark and the light is clarified and each is more tangible. I learned to throw some paint (literally and figuratively) in my angsty reflections (onto canvas and walls) before I could settle into the thoughts and see the tiny elements of beauty.
Effective change requires an intentional attitude to find and embrace the authentic you. Brendon Burchard writes: First, it is an intention, then a behaviour, then a habit, then a practice, then a second nature. Then, it is simply who you are.
All healthy, holistic transformation of the matrix — body, mind, heart, soul and spirit — requires conscious thought and practice. It was only when I stopped to truly watch my thoughts flow did I experience empowering personal growth. Otherwise, negative thoughts and emotions, just percolated in the repressed corners of my mind. Then, they manifested in thoughts, emotions and behaviours in unrecognizable, but dysfunctional ways. Meditating, with focused breathing (pranayama) and chakra-focused yoga postures (asanas) are times for clarifying thinking.
Loving myself with a genuine, compassionate love was a steep learning curve for me. But, I learned that before I could genuinely, compassionately love others I have to genuinely show self-compassion. This is about the heart and the soul. It is also about becoming emotionally literate and building an emotional IQ.
Yin and yang are the ubiquitous Tao opposites inherent in all things, in you and around you. Black and white thinking may be good for decision making but I find that it can locks me into a narrow-minded box. An Einstein creed is that imagination is more powerful than knowledge. Moving outside habitual thinking, emoting and behaviour patterns definitely requires knowledge. Add creative thinking with imagination and the essential expansion of towards your potential is empowered.
Open-minded attitudes helps us to realize we’ve got what it takes. I have read the Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl several times. Life’s meaning is there, in you, already. That is the power of your mind intertwined with heart and soul. It can bring you down or lift you up. Strengthening this will power with frequent positive, mindful reinforcements helps us weather even in the most miserable storms.
Un-earthing the treasures of your genuine self might take an extensive archaeological dig, as did mine. Simply though, it is about taking agency over the ‘writing’ of your unique identity-narrative.
Love the real you
Embracing ‘The Real You’ is an empowering transformative process towards your unique potential.
Just like the butterfly, you never really know what will evolve from your chrysalis. Just like the box of chocolates, they are all good and each one is unique and special all on its own.
Gently begin taking the steps forward into recovery. And, look at every step as an enlightened awakening.