As of recently, I think one of the most simplistic yet hardest questions that could ever be asked is simply, “How are you doing / going?” (especially during crisis mode when you feel like the world is anything but your oyster). It’s often the norm that others expect the typical “Everything’s great” or “I’m doing great.” You get the point! Those mentally automated or “force of habit” answers we say for the sake of answering. But does anyone ever stop to second guess if you’re really being honest? Was that response really just to avoid further conversation about the harsh reality of life? Or maybe it’s that you’re are referring to the good parts and not as a whole, or as I like to call it – selective answering.
What would happen if we were honest in your replies and really spoke the content we hold amidst our mind?
Finally … for once!
What if one day someone heard the real side of your story? Would they judge me? Guilt trip me? Try to control my emotions? Tell me that how or what you’re feeling is wrong or just a phase? Do they even care or try to understand what’s going on?
So many lives being lost because we feel like if we risk speaking out, we will be judged or scrutinized by society, friends and family. We feel like if our outer voice reflect our inner thoughts, people will think that we’re crazy, over thinking, or the classic – “you should really see a therapist.” We might start lose the close friends and family that once claimed they will always be there to love and support us through the good times and the bad. Trinidadian born rapper Nicki Minaj put it nicely when she said “People will love you and support you when it’s beneficial.” Beneficial to who? Of course its to meet THEIR needs and THEIR wants, ignoring consequences of their incurred actions on your mental, physical and emotional health. And to be honest, that resonates so much truth and meaning because it’s more than a lyric- it’s a fact!
So, eventually, the façade turns on whist the reality stays hidden behind closed doors and the silent screams throughout sleepless nights. We wear this routine until it turns into a fashionable trend – just to keep our friends and family happy, to keep the peace, to avoid judgement, scrutiny and “problem-child” labels.
So, in commemoration of World Health Day , I URGE you to start being honest about your mental health. If not for others, do it for your own self. Sometimes we are own worst critic and our thoughts can be our greatest motivation or the cause of our demise. Secondly, check on your “strong” friends too because everyone is fighting their own battle – whether it’s in their head or their hearts – and can still act like they have it all together. I think some people have become so good at wearing a mask that it’s impossible to know the truth. Regardless, have the conversation, be open and don’t judge or try to control the way that people feel. There is no defined way to feel or act. And lastly, choose your inner circle wisely. Cut out the toxic and dead weight relationships in your life. Not everyone is your friend and some people have hidden agendas so be on the look out. Quality over quantity. At the end of the day, you can have 10, 1000 or 1 million friends (or family, coworkers, acquaintances) in your physical space or one social media. How many of them will be there at the end of the day to offer you their shoulder to cry on or lend a helping hand to comfort and support you at the day’s end?
Here’s a fun activity to try. Count all of the people that you think would be there for you at your lowest or you can also use a past experience(s) . Use your toes, fingers your pets’ fingers and toes- you do you! When you’re done, document (physically or mentally) your findings and your thoughts.
- Who did you choose these persons?
- What makes them so special?
- Why do these specific people deserve a seat at the table of your life?
- When last have you spoken or had a meeting?
- Where do you see your relationship / friendship in 5 years?
- How do they make you feel?
- And lastly, do you think that these feelings are reciprocal to your chosen few? Would you do the same for if they were in your position or a similar one?
The reality is that some of us may find that we only need one hand at most. And to be honest – that’s okay.
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