Mental Wellness Challenge
2023 – March 23, 2023
WOW – its been a long time since I have posted. I won’t say sorry – because I needed the space… and I needed to look after myself in other ways… so I did.
That was my last challenge – give yourself some space. That sounds like a simple thing to do, but it’s a difficult thing for me to sometimes. I hope you were able to take the space you needed to be able to look after your own selves.
So, ya, its been a fair spell since I took the time to post. I’ve done some pretty interesting things over the past few weeks to take care of myself. From just taking time to “sit this one out” to connecting with folks I haven’t spoken with in a while, to getting involved in some learning and giving back on the wellness front.
Today I’d like to share a little about change. It seems that change – in my experience – is pretty much the only constant. Change in my personal experience, change in the work I do, change in the community I live in, change in the region, province and… well, in Canada and the rest of the world too. … and here I am just floating my little boat in and amongst all of that change.
Some of the stuff that I am experiencing as change is easy enough to handle – just go with the flow… and other change – well – those changes are changes in things that affect me, but I have zero ability to influence.
How am I supposed to deal with stuff that I have no ability to influence. Do I just “go with the flow” Accept that “it is what it is”? Or what? Well, my personality is such that I can’t do that. I am NOT a social justice warrior by any stretch of imagination, but I have to do something. So, I have written some letters to the politicians who implement these changes. I’ve expressed my concerns, my point of view, my position and my interests in the changes they are making… and in doing this I feel a little less trodden on and a little more empowered. A very little empowered. As an example, I wrote every Senator in the Government of Canada a personal letter, addressed to each one. That’s over 90 letters… I received replies from 2 or 3. (good thing the postage is free to email MPs and Senators). It doesn’t really matter here, what I was writing about… What matters to me is that I made use of the opportunity to express what I wanted and needed to express. The fact that only two or three of the Senators replied to my letters (I did ask each one for their opinion, position and interest via a written reply) is an indication to me that – well that system is broken… The people who are supposed to listen to the voices of the citizenry don’t – or they ignore it and do what they want… Getting back to ME – Ya, I’m frustrated, but I didn’t sit idly by and do nothing….
OK – so I recognize that I’ve taken the steps to get away from a position of powerlessness (victimhood) into a place of being, even just a little, empowered… and that to me makes a difference… maybe not to the whole of society that I live in, but it does to me. That helps me feel much better about… me.
I know I can’t always do that – but I know that I feel better about me when I do.
Change – getting older is change too… and I am definitely getting older. As I see the numbers of trips around the sun, the number of times the moon circles the earth and the number of earth rotations that I experience grow… I am seeing that my views regarding the importance of “things” in my experience change as well. I know, I know… its cliché, but “don’t sweat the small stuff – AND IT’S ALL SMALL STUFF” really is becoming a truth in my life. I am learning that I am better served when I walk away from dramas and “busy situations”. I am learning that sitting in my tractor, watching a rabbit thump its way through the snow is a good way to spend time. I am learning that listening to my grand children laugh and squeal and giggle and be silly is far too important to “squelch” their enthusiasm – even if I do have a head ache. I feel a pang of guilt, shame and remorse in this regard. For too many years I would force “Quiet, I have a headache.” …on the joy and exuberance of the little people in my life. What a waste. I’ve learned that I would have been better if I would have “changed my mind” and let them play – and if I needed the quiet, that I should go for a walk. Alas, I can’t change any of that (so that is what it is), but I can change me from this point on.
As I get older, I am learning to change the way I look at situations, problems, issues… when I was a younger fella, I would see most “issues” as obstacles and evaluate my approach from a position rather than an interest. For me – this was a huge piece of change. When I approach the world and all the “stuff” that I experience in it from a position – I know that I end up being stubborn, resistant to alternatives and opportunity – because I am ‘invested’ in my position. I’ve learned that if I change – and look at the world from an approach based on interest – my interest – I am more able to accommodate the interests and needs of others… I’m still in the “learning to apply” phase of this change, but it has made my interactions with others far easier, more productive and… well – less stubborn.
I’m also changing the way I interact with “personalities”. This might sound odd – but I am learning to change the way I look at people – people as individuals. I am learning to change my perspective, or perceptions of others. If I interact with a person – with their given personality – I react to that personality. If I take a step – sideways – and interact with a person as an individual and change my approach so that I don’t look for the personality, I find that I am more able to be accepting of that individual. I know that my outward appearance or ‘perceived personality’ changes with my mood…. And I recognize that the same happens for others. So – well – I cut others some slack. I try to communicate with the person, not the mood. (This might sound like a bunch of babble – but sincerely, I get it that people do have bad days, and that a bad day doesn’t define an individual).
I’m also finding that I need to culture my own resilience to change. I’m pretty certain that change is constant – and I’m pretty certain that for my own wellness – I have to build up internal resources of self-confidence, strength and adaptability to be able to navigate this inevitable change. Persistence and resilience are components of my wellness model. So, how do I build resilience? I start by taking a breath. Taking the space, I need to be distant enough from whatever stimulus I am navigating so that I don’t feel the heat. That space can be time, that space can be physical space, that space can be a change from position to interest, that space can be looking for opportunities. Resilience is also being rested and healthy. (I’ve been having a battle with sleep lately) Resilience is being prepared for whatever the stimulus is. Resilience is having enough in reserve (enough of what? Enough self esteem, self respect, energy, patience, compassion, etc.) in my vessel to answer the challenge. Resilience is also maintain that space when I don’t have “enough” in my tank…
Awareness of change is important. If I have been an ostrich with my head in the sand… I certainly can’t expect to be aware of changes that are going on… We’ve all experienced ‘seeing a friend that we haven’t seen for ages whom has, lost a bunch of weight, changed their hair color, etc and that surprise’. If I am not being aware of my own experience – well – I’ve experienced the “stepping on the scale” and being flustered by the extra pounds I see… (That poor scale – I’m certain that it could talk it would scream “GET OFF OF ME” LOL). So, I need to be aware of where I am in my life. What’s going on for me… When I am aware, the changes in my life don’t/won’t come as such unsettling events… being aware helps me be prepared, being prepared helps me be more resilient to change.
At the end of all this – I really am working at “changing my mind”. Changing the way I look at way I interface with the world.
Don’t sweat the small stuff… and its all small stuff…
For this post I’d like to challenge you (and me) to three things:
- Tell someone who supports you, that you appreciate them.
- Have a little look the way you see your interactions with the world… do your attitudes come from a “position” or from an “interest”… if you want, you might want to look for some reading or videos on “interest vs position”… This can be in negotiations or your perspectives… I’ll do the same.
- Sit in the sun and think a little about how you build or can build resilience in your life… because change is a constant…
That’s it, I challenge you.
My heart tells me that I need to get back to blogging on a more regular basis. This tool helps keep me on my model and out of my darkness. I sincerely appreciate you being a part of it.