Mental Wellness Challenge – 2020, September 25, 2020
Last week my challenge was to:
- Talk to someone you love about mental health. It might be an uncomfortable conversation at the start – but take time to talk about some facet of mental wellness.
- Hug someone in your “personal bubble”. Wear a mask if you need to, but get some connection time with someone you care about. We are social creatures – we need contact.
- Laugh. Laugh. Enjoy a good joke, a funny story or whatever. Find a reason to really laugh.
I’ll check in with my own participation in the challenge…
I suppose I have a bit of an advantage regarding speaking with the people I love about mental health and mental wellness. I do this a fair bit already… That said – I spoke with my spouse about the stresses I am having with all of the uncertainty ahead. I really don’t do so well with all the craziness around me that I have no control over… Talking about the stress does help.
I love hugs… LOVE EM… I make time to give my kids and grandkids hugs whenever I have the opportunity. I did OK with this piece. Got some hugs from my wife and the rest of the family. Those few seconds of connection – go a long, long way to helping re-energize me. Funny that – it’s in the giving of the love – the hug – that I get the energy…
Worked at the laughing piece. I did get to spend some laughs with my wife, kids and grandkids. Spent some quality time having fun and enjoying the company of the folks I love most in the world. Some of my best laughs were provided by the antics of my grandson. He’s just a little over one, but he’s a character already…
I’ve been thinking about wearing masks. Not just the cloth ones we are asked to wear in different stores and when we can’t maintain a physical distance of two meters, but the mask that I wear all the time… The mask that hides me. I know I have shared about this topic before – but I its on my mind quite a bit lately – so I am going to share a bit on it today.
I have traits – stuff – characteristics – weaknesses – flaws – etc. that I just don’t want people to see. Maybe we all do. Maybe I have more, maybe I have less than the next person I don’t know… I don’t know their journey… I do know that there’s a public Kev and a private Kev. There’s the outside – the façade if you will and there’s the inside – the guts… and I’m pretty certain that’s a truth for everyone. I don’t like showing or sharing the chaos that goes on below the surface – the disorganization. So, I put on a mask.
I try to do sincerity justice when I share my journey with y’all. The truth is there are places in my experience that I don’t share with anyone – there are hurts, scars, shortcomings, ouches, thoughts and the like that I don’t let out at all. I suppose there are times when I hide those pieces from myself – behind a mask or costume. Maybe we all have these things…
I know that for me – the masks, costumes or walls I put up to protect myself have another effect on “me”. There are certainly times when I feel plastic, non-genuine, a fake, an imposter. I get that the imposter piece is in part a result of my ADHD – but there’s more to this.
I know there’s a shame piece at play here. I was raised on shame. My understanding of shame is basically – Feeling wholly wrong – broken or unworthy. Not to be confused with guilt – feeling that something I’ve done is wrong… Now – there are pieces of my experience that I hide because they are my very personal business. I don’t believe I feel shame over those bits – the pieces that I mask are the pieces of my experience that I make a values or judgment call about myself that is contrary to societies norms.
Each time I think about masks… I come to a very similar place. The façade that I construct is meant to represent a version of me that reflects what I think other – society – values. I’m not saying I’m “putting lipstick on a pig” here or “polishing a turd” – I don’t believe that at all… it’s the little things that I do without conscious reflection – the response to the “How are you today?” as “Fine thankyou and you?”. That’s a bit trivial – but that’s the idea here. Deeper for sure – but that’s the idea.
As I am getting older – I am starting to pull out my mask or costume less and less. I think that is happening because I am learning to love myself for who I am, not for what I think others expect of me. There’s certainly still “things” that I hide – insecurities, pains, scars – that likely shouldn’t make a spit of difference to the world or anyone else in it… but I do… and maybe those are the places where I need to grow… to accept… to value.
I believe too that I – just like the masks we are asked to wear to help protect ourselves and other’s health, I don my masks to protect others – usually those close to me – from the “stuff” that they wouldn’t and couldn’t understand or process. So – I wear a mask for the good of others too.
OK then, so – I need to work on some more stuff for sure. – There is the part of me that has always tended to focus or see the negative in things… Its always been a part of my fabric. I am learning that this negative view or perspective isn’t serving me very well – and that I need to be more accepting of – well – me. As always – I’m a work in progress. Being aware and recognizing this is certainly a good step I have taken to change my perspective to be more realistic.
This week, my challenge is to:
- Make time for a friend. Have a coffee, a phone call, or a walk.
- Take a little time to really see nature – each day for the next week.
- Practice patience.
That’s it – I challenge you.