Chances are, you know someone who is working with [listen on why I like the phrase *working with* rather than *struggling* here] a mental illness. It seems like more + more people are being diagnosed with depression or anxiety. Why? Is it because we have so much more information on these illnesses than during our parents’ generation? Is it because our generation is finally starting the conversation on mental health ++ allowing it to not be *taboo,* so people are readily able to open up about their illness? Is it because of the food industry + all of the processed crap we consume… as we have found out that 90% of seretonin is found in the gut? Is it because our current society suffers from both loneliness + perfection due to the rise of social media, that makes it seem like we are connected, but we are actually more distant than ever?
I’m sure it’s a combination of these, + more. Regardless of the *why* — I’m so glad that we mental health is being talked about more + more. In fact, there’s an entire month [this month!] dedicated to mental health awareness! If you haven’t checked out our mental health page on CHAARG.com, it’s absolutely worth exploring. Anyways, that’s not what I wanted to write to you about today.
We are all *working with* something — be it depression, anxiety, insecurities, fears, acne, cancer, past failures, a loss of a loved one, financial scarcity, etc. The work is never done. Every day is different, + we are all on our own healing journey. Whatever it may be that you are working with right now, I want to let you know — you are more than that. I know we rationally know this [most of the time! : )], but it’s easy to become overwhelmed with parts of ourselves that we don’t feel are good enough, normal, accepted in soceity’s standards, etc.
I CALL BULLSHIT.
((Also, I don’t swear… like ever… so this is a big deal for me.))
Honestly, it makes me weep, + I have tears in my eyes just thinking about everyone [myself included] who allows the media, parents, friends…. + sadly ourselves [the mean bully + insecure part of ourselves] to tell ourselves how we should look + be + feel… instead of just BEING OUR BEST IN THAT MOMENT. ++ that “best” is simply loving ourselves exactly who we are — knowing that we will grow + change, but we will never stop loving. We are our biggest critics. My wish is for everyone to live a bold, beautiful life made up of what you want deep in your heart. You might not know exactly what it is yet, but if you start to listen to the whispers of life, I guarantee it will set you on the path.
For this rest of May, I’d love for you guys to share a fear, insecurity, part of yourself that you are ashamed of, part of yourself that you are working on, etc ++ share why you are more than that. Tag us with #inCHAARG so that we can all see each others!
I am more than people’s expectations of me.
I just want people to be happy. I take things extremely personally, + most of my life, I saw the world through the lens, “How are people perceiving me? I hope they like me.” It’s getting much better, but even today — I deleted something I was going to say here for fear of being judged//hurting someone. My family doesn’t understand why I post so much of my life publicly, but it’s because I literally can’t not. It’s the way that I understand how I’m feeling. It’s the way I heal myself. It’s the way that I help others in their journey. I hope I’m helping others.
When I get caught up in my mind, I often feel like I’m not enough — as a daughter, sister, friend, + leader. Especially when we ((CHAARG)) receive criticism — some of which is helpful, while some is so hurtful. I don’t talk about it, because rationally I know we won’t please everyone, ++ that’s just something I need to accept. No one will know the full story, + that’s okay.
I’m working on releasing people’s expectations of me + truly believing that I am enough + I am doing the best I can. I am working on being proud of myself, + confident in who I am in all aspects of life — leading my life through my heart, not my head. ++ lastly, I’m working on taking the focus off me [after all, a lot of these *fears* come from comparing myself to peoples’ expectations of me]— one of my favorite quotes as of recently: “It’s not about you, it’s about manifesting God’s love through you.”
I am more than my thoughts.
We all have some type of narrative for our lives. A storyline that is all about *me*. Our likes, our moods, our opinions — it’s all carefully curated through our mind. Our minds produce thoughts the way our bodies produce sweat on a hot summer day to cool off. I used to allow these thoughts to run my life — I believed that every thought I had was true or had some sort of meaning. I would immediately buy in to the stories that it would weave about my body, my friends, my family — my world. I was at the mercy of my mind — either it would have neutral thoughts, or judging thoughts, or negative thoughts, or [if I was lucky] positive thoughts.
I began to see how these thoughts would become emotions + feelings within me. The negative thoughts would weave together so that I’d feel sad + the judging thoughts weaved together for resentment and jealousy. These feelings then became bodily sensations — a pit in my stomach, tension in my jaw, or even my heart racing. I allowed my mind to control my reactions to everything in life until I realized that I am more than these thoughts. I take ownership of the thoughts, the feelings + moods that they create, + I get to choose my response to life. I move from reacting to responding. I can choose my actions rather than my thoughts choosing them.
Sarah Clem ((Podcast on Depression))
I am more than my perfection-based anxiety + my performance.
I set the bar too high for myself. People ask me to jump + I respond with, “how high?” I can never perform well enough to feel worthy. I play scenarios in my mind on repeat where I feel I could have done something differently or better. I constantly say yes to new projects, plans, + opportunities. Ultimately, I don’t feel accepted when I do a “less than perfect” job at something.
I am working towards understanding + reminding myself every, single day that perfect does not exist [+ that is a huge blessing!]. If everything were perfect + if there were no failures, mistakes, + faults — what would our world look like? I recently went to an event where the speaker said — “I’ve never become a better person through success, but I have become a better person through failure + pain.”
Of course, I will still experience periods of deep anxiety. My goal is not to eliminate them — my ultimate goal is to learn to show myself grace + compassion during these times. You can only grow as a person through imperfection + that is so beautiful.
Sarah Jankowski ((Blog On Anxiety))
Tabula rasa is latin for “blank slate”. We have the opportunity to create a new beginning in every moment — don’t forget that. ❤
Rooting for you always,