Writing these because so much of health is focused on lack of health, rather than an actually healthy mind. Rather than focus on disease or disorder, I’m focusing on what can improve one’s mental health:
I think the most severe mental health challenge facing the general population – as opposed to the acute challenges facing people with a specific illness like bipolar disorder or manic depressiveness – is a lack of compassion and kindness. People who are out in the world doing harm to others are doing it because someone did harm to them and its unacknowledged. People who are out in the world being harsh to others are the harshest to themselves, and its unacknowledged. We cannot have compassion for others and treat others kindly if we don’t have compassion for ourselves and treat ourselves kindly. Like everything else, it starts at home and manifests outward from there.
We are told by our culture it is selfish to focus on ourselves, particularly as women, it can be a shameful thing to do so. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be outward facing and do everything for other people; so many women I know are on the brink of cracking. Yet if everyone cultivated kindness and compassion at home first, before going out in the world and trying to fix things and help others, think of what a beautiful place the world would be? We would look inward and make peace with ourselves through compassionate listening to the body, the mind, the gut, the intuition, the heart, etc. and consider each as a team member. We would carry an inherent sense of trust for others because we would trust ourselves. We would have a firm foundation of understanding and forgiveness, giving others the benefit of the doubt. Love would live and feel alive in the heart, not just exist as an idea in the mind. Love would absorb power and fear.
If everyone cultivated kindness and compassion at home first, before going out in the world and trying to fix things and help others, think of what a beautiful place the world would be?
Possession is toxic. I don’t mean a possessive partner, although yes, that is toxic. I mean possession as in the pressure exerted in our culture to collect: people, relationships, money, houses, clothes, furniture, social media followers, etc. We judge each other based on how big our piles are and how quickly we amass them. Fastest and most? Success. In terms of mental health, people are constantly looking outward for gratification and making comparisons to others, wanting the most, the purported best, the fastest. This new rat race isn’t through a maze; it’s on a treadmill that requires you to run faster to get further and more stuff in your personal backpack. It exhausts people and makes them into robots who are out of touch with life. As the Buddhists say, this is all wrong perception. The more you hold onto things – stories about yourself or other people, relationships, feelings, ideas, stories about experiences, hairstyles, dress sizes, cars, homes etc – the more you get stuck in them. The more you trap yourself. Truly, life is about a flow state.
To me, mental health is about coming to truths in story that I can live with.
Life is letting go. Life is being open to change and transformation. When you aren’t, you block your own life; you stand in your own way. To me, mental health is about coming to truths in story that I can live with. Rather than being so focused on the plot, who did what to whom, the goal is to broaden one’s thinking to recognize that one is living a story, one’s own story, and one is the only author. What stories are you living?