There are several things that a person must have to maintain good mental health. We must have Hope, we must have a sense of belonging to a community, and we must have a purpose.
Hope is that understanding that even in the worst of times, there is something better waiting for us around the corner. Life will get better. It’s different from a wish that might happen...it’s knowledge that it will get better. It is knowledge that you have the capacity to endure the current hard season because right around the corner there’s hope!
In Brene Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection, she states, "it is human nature to want to feel worthy of love and belonging." She continues on to define belonging and to distinguish belonging from fitting in. "Fitting in is about assessing a situation and becoming who you need to be to be accepted. Belonging....doesn't require us to change who we are, it requires us to be who we are." It is human nature to feel accepted just for being who you are. How hard is it to be able to put your authentic self out there and hope, really hope that someone will love you just for who you are? Remember hope is knowing.
Finally, we must have a purpose, and we must have the knowledge that we were made with a purpose. We are made to complete something uniquely purposed to us. We must truly know that we are useful and we are needed to complete that project. We are significant.
When any of these three ingredients is missing, we are robbing ourselves of good mental health. We feel lost, lonely, disconnected, we doubt our worth, we doubt our ability, and we miss out on happiness and joy and peace. We lack ambition. We start sliding into bad habits to cope with what we don’t have. This happens to every human at one time or another.
One of those bad habits that we turn is building up “shame shields”and walls to cover the area where we are feeling less than. We fake it until we hopefully make it. We pretend to be what everyone else wants or expects us to be. Another bad habit we turn to is anger. When life is not how we expect it to be, we become angry. The problem with using these bad habits to cope is they are exhausting. They pull us down. So much so, that sometimes we just quit and turn to other bad habits, like addictions. And sometimes, when the load is just too heavy, we fall into Mental illness.
Mental health requires a proactive approach to care. Just as if you were to have a fever or sore throat you would go to your doctor, if you are struggling with a sense of belonging, with a sense of not knowing what’s your purpose is, with the sense that you’ve lost hope, with the sense that you’re faking it but not really making it...It is time to go to a therapist!
Action Step; Take notice of your mental health- Are you hopeful? Do you have a sense of belonging and purpose? How is your mental health thermometer today? What survival walls have you built up that are hindering you more than pushing you forward? What is it going to take for you to decide that you’re ready to live authentically filled with a sense of hope, purpose, and community?
Www.walescounseling.com Aiming to prove every life we touch!