Mental Wellness Challenge
2023, April 06
There’s a line in Desiderata that goes something like –“Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.” I’m in a struggle with that lately… actually – I struggle with this piece a lot.
I feel that I am likely one of the “loud and aggressive persons”… and I certainly do not want to be a vexation on any persons spirit – my own included. The other piece that I have always struggled with is feeling, perceiving, experiencing that I am “less than”… others… “there will always be greater and lesser persons than yourself”… I pretty much always see myself as being on the lesser side of that. Perhaps that’s why I project myself as being loud – out there – assertive?? (my inner roommate is currently saying “know it all” and I can’t 100% disagree…) I don’t really know that I am aggressive – gregarious I suppose, but I don’t know if I’m aggressive. When I think about some of the patently aggressive folks I know – I feel myself recoiling…
Hmmm – so how well do I really know myself? I don’t know how well I know myself… perhaps the knowing is, like in so many other pieces of knowledge… in the questioning, in the wondering???
I do know that I face “imposter syndrome” pretty much every day of my life. Very often I find myself sincerely feeling like I am very good at whatever it is that I am doing… I feel like I’m a faker. I’ve read and I kind of understand that this IS a piece of my ADHD and it’s common. It sure doesn’t feel very good… and the imposter syndrome thinking feeds back into that “not as good as the rest, not as valued as the rest, not as capable as the rest, not as… whatever as the rest…” On good days I can shake this “feeling” off and get along with my day – doing what I need to do – getting the things done, that I need to get done.
I don’t get to “That was a darn good job Kev!” very often. I know that I have shared before that some of this likely comes from the way I was parented – my mother was very much against any sort of those ‘atta boy team’ kinda things… pride cometh before a fall… sort of mentality I think… I know I was discouraged from prideful thoughts when I was growing up… Now, when I feel a glimpse of “that was good!”, the color of that feeling is pretty much always mixed with a shade of shame for the feeling.
I had a new tattoo last year… well a couple really… I got three words and an ellipsis tattooed on my inner arm and a couple of words on my foot… The tattoos are in my hand writing…
My arm has “I am enough…” and my foot “dignus sum”…
Both tattoos are reminders, statements, or perhaps sometimes proclamations… I battle imposter syndrome enough that having the words ‘I am enough…’ inked into my skin, where I see it every day, throughout the day help me to remember that I am ‘good’ enough. That I’m where I am because I’ve worked to be here. Not just my work – but my family life, my personal life, my world. The words on my foot translate from Latin to be “I am worthy” and those words are important to me too. I’m worthy of the appreciation of others, I am worthy of the trust of others, I am worthy of being… of just being… for a long time in my life I felt that I was unworthy of love, trust, caring, and even life itself… those two little words on my foot help me to see, feel, acknowledge and accept that I am indeed worthy.
My tattoos are my way of doing battle against my inner roommate that can be so very, very negative. The tattoos don’t make the imposter syndrome go away, they don’t make me feel superior, but they do remind me that I am just where I am supposed to be. I am just who I am supposed to be. I am enough… I am worthy.
Its certainly healthy to understand that there will always be persons who are “greater and lesser than me”. I’m moving my understanding and acceptance of who I am along – along my journey.
I wondered earlier in my blog for today… how well do I really know myself? and I still don’t know that answer… but I know that I am taking time to think about my place in my world, my place in my family and my place in humanity. I don’t believe that I will ever understand all of the pieces of my puzzle. Perhaps that what Yogi’s and the Dalai Lama seek and is what they call enlightenment… I don’t know. I do know that I do take time to think about what makes me tick. I still don’t know how to battle and win over my imposter syndrome… and maybe its not for me to ever accomplish??? I’m going to continue along my path of trying to understand.
Every year we experience Spring. My experience of Spring and your experience of Spring are totally different, even though we move through the same vernal equinox together… I’m going to try to pay more attention to my journey and provide space for others to share their experiences too. What I am trying to say is – I’m going to try to appreciate my own experiences and give time and space for others who want to share their experiences with me without me colouring their sharing with me sharing my own… That’s going to be my challenge for the next bit. I’m going to try to listen more to others… leave some silence, time and space for others to share… I’ll try to be less – loud… practice quiet…
Maybe I am learning after all… along the way?
In my last post I challenged you to three things:
- Look for the newness in your experience.
- Look for something to be grateful for.
- Look for somewhere to be the change you want to see in the world.
On looking for newness in my experience… I did find some new understandings and some new appreciations. I honestly can’t say that I was intentional in this effort… but I did realize some nuggets.
I looked for and found something to be grateful for every day. I needed gratitude to help me with perspective finding this past week. My week was challenging – and gratitude is a tool that I lean on when my life gets… challenging. I even had my class think about gratitude a little as the topic presented itself via a student comment.
I am taking intentional steps in my experience to effect change in MY world. I saw a sign or poster the other day that said something like – “someone should really do something about that… and then I realized that I’m someone…”… and I’m looking for spaces and places to be that change.
This week I loop back to my post and I am going to challenge you to practice being quiet. I’m going to try to listen more and say less…
and I challenge you to do the same.