Do you think you are mentally/emotionally healthy?
This is a really hard question to answer. I have a long list of questions that I can choose from every single day to answer and this has to be one of the hardest in the list. By psychologists and probably humankind definitions the answer would probably be no. By my own standards, and being the only one that lives in this mind and body, I would have to say yes. Humanity and society has become so wrapped up in definitions and labels that we are all walking around as statistics. One of the questions that I am constantly debating in my head is what is right and wrong and who determines such things? I can easily describe myself to people (it would probably take a really long time too) and say that I am open-minded (for the most part), extremely compassionate and empathetic, eager, sensitive, nervous, anxious, emotional…the list goes on and on. When we hear the words nervous and anxious there is always a negative connotation behind them. Don’t get me wrong, they are not necessarily pleasant feelings/emotions but what really makes them negative. If we did not experience these types of feelings we would be unable to realize what true happiness is or what real excitement feels like.
Fairly recently I was seeing a counselor. I had gone through a split with someone that I cared about (at least I think I did). After it was all said and done I realized that I was not being true to self. A lot of stuff that I had pushed far far back had resurfaced and I felt unsure of how to handle these feelings and thoughts (please take into account too that I am working on my Masters in Counseling). When I first started seeing this counselor so much stuff I never expected flooded out of me and for the first time I realized and acknowledged how I truly saw and felt about myself. It was quite disheartening. I was holding onto this self-doubting and self-loathing person. I was (and sometimes still am) unable to see myself as worthy and beautiful (in every sense of the word). I had been so wrapped up in letting other people/things define me that I really was unsure of who I was and what is truly important to me. I used to work in nonprofit and I taught Teen Outreach Program classes and one subject that we talked about incessantly was self-esteem. I would teach the kids how it was so important for each of them to have their own voice and love themselves because they were all beautiful and unique people. I was NEVER practicing what I preached. So, as my counseling sessions continued I learned more and more about myself. I constantly debated between whether to listen to my head or my heart. I still don’t know in some cases which to listen to-I usually just go with whatever I feel in the moment. What I realized after time passed was that it was helpful to talk to someone and to get their input and feedback but no one was going to change the situation but me. I had to choose what I wanted to change. I have changed quite a bit as a person and the whole time it has been my own doing because I have come to learn more and more what is the most important to me. My self discovery is what brings me happiness. There might be certain things I do that others may feel are detrimental to my emotional well-being but it is me that has to discover those things. For example, I told my counselor that the owner of the restaurant that I work at told the General Manager really loves me and thinks that I am a strong asset to the company. Her (the owner) and I have become quite good friends. My counselor told me that was nice but I could not look to others for approval. I had to approve myself. I do understand what she is saying but sometimes getting the approval of others is extremely helpful, especially when you are doubting yourself. It allows you to see that others really do think good things of you. Yes, again, I know that others do not define me but if you have people in your life that are important that you love very much, their opinions are important. I strive to make others happy in hopes that they would do the same for me if they felt I needed it. Life is about give and take.
I wanted to share an instant messenger conversation I had yesterday to show you what I meant by give and take and being able to feel good about yourself because of others seeing the hard work you put in. Let me give you a little bit of information: I have eliminated the names here. The conversation was on Facebook between an old high school friend and myself. This girl and I were in the same graduating class. We were in classes from middle school on up. We were more acquaintances than friends…always friendly to each other but didn’t spend time outside of school together. Our lives were very different but we never were rude or mean to each other-our paths just really never collided. She started a conversation with me yesterday and I cannot express the way that it made me feel. She took the time out of her day to talk about things that were going on in her life with me (and she didn’t have to she chose to). What she said to me tugged at my heart strings because I felt like even though we were not close she was able to understand and see me and she reached out to me because she needed kind words and knew I would give her that. For whoever is reading this, I hope that you have people in your life that make you feel this way. :0) Here is the conversation:
High School Friend: Good job girl!
Me: on what?
Friend: Your blog, yourself…I’m on a mission to find myself, I need to!
Me: awwwww thanks so much. that means a lot. it sounds like you are doing quite well. i am really happy for you. it feels good doesnt it
Friend: It does feel good. I just have a very hard time taking care of myself. Out of all the things my mother could have taught me, it really shouldn’t have been “how not to take care of yourself!”
Me: hahahahaha. i have come to realize that it does get harder the older you get. i never thought i would be the type of person to say that. but as we get older we realize what is important to us. i think it is awesome that you have been losing the weight and feeling good about it. i am so happy for you.
Friend: I love reading about your little discoveries and light bulb moments. It’s inspiring, you’re free spirited and deep down, so am I.
Me: you are going to make me cry. Lol. i have struggled for a long time with pretty bad anxiety and self esteem issues and until probably this last 6 months to a year I never realized how bad it really was. I didn’t want to live that way anymore so I had to take the bull by the horns. Everyday is not wonderful but I make the best out of everything I possibly can. My biggest problem is worrying too much about what other people think.
Friend: Because I feel so robotic and like such a blob though, parts of my life have deteriorated and I have to fix that.
Me: You can do it girl. I know you can. I don’t know if you ever read (i know you have a lot on your plate) but I reccommend The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. It is so inspiring and so truthful. I ended up buying that other Eckhart Tolle book that you reccommended. I havent read it yet but I have it.
Friend: I have to allow myself the time to read and I have to read the Tolle book again. I’m just lucky to have such a loving, patient husband otherwise we’d probably be divorced.
Me: that really is wonderful. you got this…i know you do.
Friend: I never did care what other people thought and I think that ended up creating a monster lol. I don’t care what I look like because I don’t care what people think but I never realized how much I wouldn’t care in the end. I can’t even remember the last time I did my hair or even bought myself new clothes.
Me: do what makes you happy. that is the most important. no matter what you look like (and that is easy for me to say and not always do) you are a beautiful person because of who you are.
Friend: I really have to figure out how to let go of my ex-husband’s messages…I still have clothes from high school because he proved to me I wasn’t worthy of anything. I hate the slump. I now believe I have to find the happy medium about caring what others think and not.
Me: it is REALLY hard but totally possible. i believe as people we have all wired ourselves to look for approval from others when in fact we need to find that approval of ourselves.
Friend: that’s a powerful statement! I have anxiety too and I also started having panic attacks in the last 2 years. My ex was so bad, I wasn’t allowed to buy a new bra until mine completely ripped through and I was only allowed to own 1 at a time. I was ridiculed for weeks if I got caught brushing my teeth. It was stupid. honestly, I don’t know what makes me happy anymore. I have completely lost that
Me: you will find it. i promise. keep doing what you are doing. it is in you…it is just buried right now and it needs to resurface. www.marcandangel.com that website is awesome. i think you would really like it. has a lot of insight and gives you a lot to think about
Friend: kind of personal but I was so far gone, my husband and I had sex 1 time in 2011…that’s not fair to him and he never got mad at me…I was more mad at myself
Me: it sounds like you have a good man there.
Friend: no doubt he’s the best! No other guy would put up with it. I have absolutely no sex drive, and I think it’s me. I have been doing alot of thinking and I’m beginning to think if I feel more like a person and less like a blob I’ll probably feel better about me.
Me: i have no doubt about that. everyone always says you cannot love others if you dont love yourself and i used to think that was just a cliche line but there is so much truth to it. i really think you are onto something big.
I really hope so. I hope I can find the strength and passion to take care of it like I do with my kids. I’ve realized that I’ve spent over half my life trying to keep others happy and never cared about myself, mainly my kids. Now my oldest is 17 and I’ve realized by watching him that I can not make him happy, he has to take responsibility for his own happiness at some point. Well DUH then I guess I have to do it for me too. I think I need to read Robin McGraw’s book too. My favorite line from Dr. Phil is “if you love your kids why wouldn’t you take care of their mother?” So this is my quest, my son is in school and I have time to reflect and I need to.
Me: You got this girl. I know you do. It really warms my heart to read this because I love when people go through these discoveries. It makes me excited for them because it is so relatable. It will not always be easy but it will be so worth it
Friend: it is relatable and you seem to be very real like I am. Things may not always be peaches and cream for us but we always seem to trudge through. It is a tough road and your posts make me think more than anyone else I know. You seem to want close to the same things I want (correct me if I’m wrong) you want to break out of the shell and grab on to the reigns of life. I love being spontaneous, it’s who I am, I hate making plans and I hate schedules. I have a love/hate relationship with my chaotic life. It wears me out but I’m soooo blahhhh when it’s calm, I don’t know how to deal with calm anymore. Thanks for walking through this door with me, I’ve been trying alone and nobody seems to get it. It drives me crazy when people are sooo unhappy and won’t change anything and I don’t want to be THAT person.
Me: You are beyond welcome. I am so glad I can help in some way. I can definetly relate and I love what you are doing. So many people just complain and don’t do anything or don’t take responsibility for themselves (I have been that person before) and you are and I think that is really great. I know some people get annoyed by my posts and quotes but I just want to be surrounded with positivity. There is too mucy negativity and I want to keep that as minimal as possible. I think you are doing wonderful
Friend: how can anyone be bothered by your posts? I have been that person for far too long! I’m tired of feeling like a whine ass, time to take action. I am the only one that can change any of it. I just need to learn how.
Me: You are on the right path for sure. Well girl I need to take care of some stuff. I cannot thank you enough for the kind words. These are the things that drive me and makes me keep going. I am sending all kinds of good vibes your way. If you ever need to chat I am here
So, returning to the question of whether or not I am emotionally/mentally healthy, I would have to say overall yes I am. I am human and I have break downs and I feel like the world is caving in on me sometimes but that is what makes me who I am. I am not always able to express myself to people or say what is on my mind but that is also a part of who I am. I am starting to see that yes this may not always be a good thing because I should stand up for myself but I love the fact that I care enough about others that I want to avoid hurting people’s feelings. Life is a balancing act and the only moment we have is now. It is one of the hardest things to do but I am learning that in order to find your bliss, you must accept yourself for exactly who and how you are. Love this person. Choose nothing but love even if it feels impossible. Tell yourself that even though you may be hurting and you may not be feeling the best about yourself that this is you in the moment and that is who you are meant to be in the moment. Who you are will never change but you can always change your life circumstance. It is all about accepting the Now!
wow…you’re right approval from others isn’t necessary BUT it is nice to feel like you are important or needed somewhere for something!