This week in my work, I’ve been noticing a theme arising in the idea of our mental health and how it can feel like there’s something inherently wrong with us because of our experiencing difficulties with it.
We feel like the odd one out, the broken one, the one who’s messed up and can’t live optimally like seemingly everyone else can.
But the truth is, whether we’re anxious, depressed, struggling with eating distress, low in self-confidence, feeling like a total alien on this planet—whatever it is—it makes total sense. It’s not an affliction or an inherent flaw within us; it’s simply the result of a culmination of experiences, environmental factors, thinking patterns, nervous system responses, possibly trauma, and unmet needs.
The most magical thing I’ve come to realise in my work as a coach is how everyone makes perfect sense. The way we are is the way we are for a reason. If anyone had your life experience and sensitivities, they’d likely respond in the exact same ways you do. The way our behaviours manifest is all reasonable on some level, and if we can see ourselves through that lens rather than the wtf is wrong with me lens, we’ll start making much more progress and feel much better about ourselves in the process.
The world we live in today is not exactly optimised for wellness. We are bombarded by information, advertising, expectations, and all at a rapid pace that is completely unnatural for us to process. We agree to pretend we have our sh*t together, that we’re adults who know what we’re doing. We put on our costumes, wear our masks, and go out into the world seeking approval from others who are probably doing the exact same thing.
We’re disconnected. We’re lost. We’re frequently in a state of uncertainty and disempowerment.
And with all of that, we are doing our goddamn best.
Maybe we can’t directly change a lot of how the world is, but I wholeheartedly believe we make a difference by being the change we wish to see, and we can always take our power back over ourselves and our responses to this interesting world we live in.
A lot of our challenges come from the stories we tell ourselves and the misconceptions about ourselves that we’ve accepted as fact. We delude ourselves with stories of inadequacy and incapability, we tell ourselves we’re broken and others are fine, we believe we can’t have what we want even though others seemingly can.
We did not choose these stories. We didn’t pick out our limiting beliefs as kids thinking that would be a great way to keep ourselves stuck later in life. We didn’t decide to create a life of struggle.
But we do get to choose what we do now. With awareness comes choice.
If you know you’re not feeling as good as you potentially could, that’s the first step toward changing that. You don’t need to label it or validate it; you simply need to use that awareness to make a new choice.
We get to choose what we’re going to do to move forward in each moment. We get to decide what story we want to live in instead. The story of unworthiness can change, the story of stuckness can move, the story of being messed up or broken can absolutely shift.
They’re not life sentences; they’re life stories. And stories can be rewritten.
When we choose to be on our own side and have our own backs, navigating the human experience gets a lot easier. It doesn’t become perfect because perfection does not exist, but it becomes more free, more empowered, even more entertaining when you see what unfolds sometimes.
So however you feel, know that there’s a reason, and it makes sense. You’ve always been doing the best you can with the resources you have. You’ve been doing what felt necessary to keep yourself feeling safe. And now, it’s time to check in on and upgrade your resources to help you get to where you want to be.
Here are some questions to explore this week:
>> What is the story I tell myself about what’s possible in my life? What would a more empowering story be?
>> What could be great about the position I am in right now?
>> How can I find more understanding for myself? If a friend had my life experience and was how I am, could I find acceptance and understanding for them?
>> What can I give myself credit for? What’s one thing I’m proud of myself for?
>> Where have I already made progress?
>> How can I have more compassion for myself?
I spent so long believing the lie that there’s something wrong with me. I was convinced I was the one special snowflake who simply could not “do life.”
I was wrong. And if you’re thinking the same, you are too.
You’ve got this. You are not crazy. You are human.