Sometimes you are just rolling along and – WHAM! – you are broadsided by an unexpected obstacle. It might be a physical obstacle, such a being stuck in traffic. Or it might be another kind of obstacle, one that is more ‘internal’, an emotion or a way of thinking that is having a negative impact on you.
No matter the obstacle, there is a simple and practical strategy that can help you move through the obstacle and either get back on track, or find a new track all together!
Over the next several months, we will be sharing some of the learning from “Not Crazy, Just Human: Moving Through Trauma to Healing”.
This first excerpt is timely. The holidays can bring all sorts of joy and also all sorts of stress. Remember to be kind to yourself can help!
Cut yourself some slack
One day last summer, I went for lunch with my brother, Devin. I am so grateful that we have always been very close. (Other than when he was young and annoying, of course!).
While we ate our Thai food during lunch last summer, Devin shared about a time ten years ago when he went through a tough situation.
“You were there for me, Der. You were always there for me. I want you to know that I am here for you too.” That was good to hear. He continued, “One day, when things were getting better for me, we were out for coffee, and I started talking about the tough situation again. I remember you saying, ‘Oh, I wondered when that might come up again.’”
“Did I really say that,” I asked. “Like in a ‘mean’ way?”
“Yes,” Devin said. “It was as though you just wanted to talk about something else—about something good, and you did not want to keep talking about that same bad situation. I am only telling you this because it might be affecting you now … if you are being impatient with yourself, if you are judging yourself, if you are trying to just get over this, it could be damaging you.”
I thought about that a lot when I got home. Thanks, Dev. That was a huge gift to me. Even though I do not remember saying that a decade ago (and really do not ever want to be that way with others who are sharing something with me), it was a good reminder that if I don’t want to be that way with them, I should not be that way with myself.
So ,,, when you feel challenged, worried or irritated, or when you say or do something you really wish you had not, remember to be kind to yourself. Pause, put your hand over your heart, and speak to yourself like you would speak to someone you love.
Positive mental health is a state of well-being, of flourishing, of resilience, and of positivity. It is a desirable state for human beings to be productive, to feel good, and to live a meaningful life.