Mental Wellness Challenge
September 26, 2019
Recapping from two weeks ago (I was away on leave last week), my want for you would be that you were able to really connect with your “feelings”, your emotions, during my challenge and that you put some time aside each day to reflect on how your actions might influence the way someone else feels.
Personally, I have a responsibility to be as aware as I can as to how my actions affect others and how I react to others actions. Both are choices – both take me a great deal of practice.
This week I want to share a little about greener grass, greener pastures.
I tend to compare my circumstances with those of others. I’m guilty of comparing a whole lot of my life against the richness of others. I DON’T often compare my good fortune, my bounty if you will, with others. I don’t know if this is a product of my experiences as a kid, my ADHD, or my depression disorder or a soup of all of it – but I do know that its always easier for me to look at: where my failings are, what I don’t have, what I can’t do, what I don’t know, than it is for me to see the positives. I suppose I could share that I tend to be a “cup half empty” kind of fellow.
A friend of mine shared a story with me the other day about a good friend of his who ended up with an incurable disorder – one which eventually took that person life. My friend shared that his friend’s perspective tool, prior to and even after his diagnosis, was something like this… “If everyone were to take their challenges, their problems, their burdens and put them into a bucket and each other person were required to draw a problem or burden then from that bucket, most people would be hurriedly racing back to the bucket to collect their own problems back.”
When I reflected on that story for a while I realized that I’m 100% one of those folks that would have been running back to the bucket to get my own problems back again.
This isn’t anything new or news for me. This is a piece that I work on, struggle with, do well with at some points and not so good at others. This “greener pastures” piece is something that I have discussed with friends, mental health professionals and others. I approach the whole greener pastures issue by trying to recognize things to be grateful for.
My councillor shared (and said it was ok for me to share) about a young boy who had lost someone dear to him and as a result of that loss was seeing her to work through all the emotional “stuff” that the young boy was facing. As my councillor was sharing the story of this young fellow I realized that this young, tender soul had a perspective on his circumstances that was so full. This youngster shared with my councillor that he had his “handfuls” and that he was “going to be just fine” because of his “handfuls”. When my councillor questioned him about what he meant by “handfuls”, the young fellow replied, “Everyone knows about handfuls.” Without going into the details here – this young person explained that “everyone gets blessings, you go to the table and you scoop up all you can carry in handfuls” “There’s everything you can imagine as blessings and gifts on the table and not everyone gets the same handfuls”. This young person – had figured out something that I still struggle with as an adult. This young man had already figured out that his “handfuls” were going get him through his life. He wasn’t comparing his situation with anyone else’s, and he recognized that, “Well, of course, everyone is going to get different stuff and some people have big hands and other people have little hands.”
This grass is greener piece follows me with my emotional health too. Sharing my journey with other folks who may or may not be struggling with depression helps me to have perspective.
When I share my journey with depression, addiction, anxiety with others, I oft times will have someone share back where they are in their lives and maybe they aren’t in such a good place. Those folks sharing their current situations provides me a place to share “Things do and WILL get better! I know they will because I am here to be able to share the successes that I have been able to realize.” There is hope. In that moment of being able to share those successes/realizations I recognize that there’s more for me! There’s more I can do. There’s purpose.
I am not naïve though – no one takes the same breath twice! Even though two journeys may have the same start and end points, we never have the same exact experiences. This is why I am always trying to be mindful to speak about my own experiences, my own journey. I would never suggest that the path I take or the road I travelled would be the right one for another person. Given that, the reality that I am still here, able to share my journey is testament that things do get better.
I suppose I am suggesting that with a little care and attention, my grass can be greener and I don’t have to move or be envious of someone else’s grass… the analogy to grass kind of falls apart a little here because I don’t want to fertilize my grass with … well you know.. BS… instead, I have to make certain that I am consistently sincere, honest and realistic about my circumstances. When I take care of my personal circumstances honestly, realistically and sincerely, when I am being aware of my circumstances I can make certain that my actions support my values. I can co-op with others (connections) that might me help stay on course and help me to be certain that I’m not fertilizing with BS, but honesty and that I can accept that my “handfuls” ARE different than anyone else’s “handfuls”… well, my I can see that my grass gets greener all the time.
I’ve got a friend who really doesn’t have an interest in a green lawn. He’s more into guitars and music. That said, he is just as committed to his music as I am to my grass… different “handfuls”…
Contentment. To me – being content isn’t necessarily being “happy”… it’s about being ok in my skin. It’s about accepting myself with all my warts, spots, spikes, thorns, wonders, gifts and abilities. I like having a nice green lawn. I accept that my lawn has some “quack grass” and some weeds in it. It’s green. It’s green enough for me. If I am being 100% honest – I still like having a greener lawn than my neighbors… and that’s a piece of who I am. I’m a work in progress.
My challenge for the week.
Change your perspective! COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS. Don’t compare yourself against others and if you do, do so from a place of gratitude. Try to look for things you have, not the things you don’t.
That you don’t have certain talents, gifts, or riches may just very well off set that you don’t have certain burdens, heartaches or turmoil.
That’s it, I challenge you.