In our quest for material gain and social advancement we sometimes lose sight of the things that ought to be most important.
We compromise our health in pursuit of wealth.
We ignore the blessings we have – such as limbs that move – forgetting that some persons have none.
We complain about the food we have to eat – forgetting that some have nothing to eat, some have little or no choice about what they eat, while others have to be fed through tubes.
When we view our circumstances through the correct lens, we find that we actually have far more to give thanks for than we may have previously realized. We are blessed in so many ways and while someone else might have something we lack and desire, if we shift our focus inwards we will find that we are indeed blessed beyond measure.
When what we have is assessed from a perspective of gratitude, we might even find that we do have a lot that others are wishing they had – things that may even be of far greater value than what we have been pining after.
It is never comfortable while in that dark place in your life. Maybe this dark place you are currently in is the darkest it has ever been! Be assured that this won’t last forever so while there, make the most of it: as you LABOUR your way through it, make sure you GROW your way through it!
After all, the light that is within you shines brightest when it has some darkness to shine through. So be confident and radiant even in your darkest hour; not only will it make you stronger, but also importantly, it will help you light the path for someone else to find their way through.
Don’t let your light go dim because of the darkness around you. Keep it shining and showing the way. Perhaps someone has already set off on the path being lit by you as you go through your days. Shutting it off can well see then lose their way.
You are not alone; reach out to someone willing to help you retain your sheen. Yes it might be hard to do, but it is easier to maintain your light than to rekindle it after it has already burned out.
Every day, people from all walks of life are facing challenges with their mental health. However, like so many ailments, you cannot tell by looking.
Regardless the approach one takes in managing their mental health, it helps to augment that by talking about it.
It is through talking about it that one can:
⁃ Obtain support in coming to terms with the reality of their illness;
⁃ Recognize that they can still thrive and live a full and fruitful life when properly managed;
⁃ Find out what options are available to assist them;
⁃ Find the support needed for their specific challenges
⁃ Recognize they are not alone with respect to whatever mental health challenges they are facing
Like any other illness, nobody else needs to know about our mental health struggles. But if we do choose to talk about it, that might just be the difference between someone winning their battle with mental illness, or actually losing.
Simply put, talking about our mental health challenges might make the difference between life and death for ourself, or even someone else. It is that serious.
So let us do something about our mental health – LET’S TALK…
Pushing ourselves beyond our limits is almost a guaranteed recipe for failure – by doing so we are basically setting ourself up to fail.
There are some pursuits in life that to some might be considered futile, since for the ‘rational’ person, they are not achievable. At least NOT by us. Yes, some will go as far as telling you it is not that it is impossible; it is just impossible for YOU.
Perhaps you are an amputee who dream of climbing a mountain; maybe you are someone with a speech impediment working hard to become a public speaker. Perhaps you are someone struggling with low self-esteem from a turbulent past or some condition that makes your pursuits so much more difficult to attain!
Yes you MIGHT very well fail; but isn’t the possibility of SUCCESS it’s own motivator? Isn’t your own will to win strong enough to make you actually do the ‘impossible?’ Does someone else know more about you and your capabilities than you know about yourself?
When someone doubts your ability, or indeed your capacity, to accomplish greatness, that’s often because of jealousy or their own narrow-minded view of themselves. Do not allow them to impose that on you.
At the same time, so what if you fail? It is by stretching ourselves that we achieve more, even more than what we ourselves previously thought possible. It is how we test the limits of our human capabilities.
There is great education in failure, including:
⁃ We learn what doesn’t work
⁃ We learn humility
⁃ We learn tenacity
⁃ We learn a lot about ourselves
⁃ We learn about how others view us
⁃ We learn to appreciate the satisfaction of success when it is ultimately achieved
Failing is a necessary part of life because every failure increases the chance of success – providing we actually learn from each failure. You see, failing is never final until we stop trying.
So don’t be too hard on yourself when you fail at something challenging. Ultimately, it is better to fail at a lofty goal than to achieve a mediocre goal that is designed to merely ‘be safe’.
Some of us spend a significant portion of our lives agitating in defence of our position on different topics, some of which have ultimately led to breakup in relationships, ending of friendships, and unfortunately and worst of all, ending of a life.
Most of the conflicts around relate to opinions masquerading as facts. Interestingly, it is said that 10% of arguments relate to matters of fact – 90% are caused by a ‘wrong’ tone of voice. But I digress.
Fact remains fact regardless of who presents it, and how strongly it is opposed. Fact remains fact because – well – because it is just that: FACT. To argue against a fact is not only counter-productive, it can sometimes make someone out to be a conspiracy theorist.
This is as opposed to someone being misinformed, or mistaken, or downright ignorant. However, in such a situation it is most beneficial for someone, in humility, to accept the possibility they could be wrong, and seeking out clarity or confirmation from reliable sources.
Facts need no defence; hence if you know something to be a fact, there is not much point arguing with someone who insists on defending their opinion, where such opinion is at odds with the fact you know. Put simply, to argue is sometimes an exercise in futility. Or it could be an invitation for harm.
For some people, their position always is: “Don’t confuse me with FACTS.” It is a wise person who knows when to ‘agree to disagree’, smile, and walk away.
We are usually more accepting of a bad situation if it resulted from our own act or omission. However, when we are faced with a situation that we did not cause, and which we feel unfair or unreasonable (have you ever found yourself wondering ‘Why does this have to happen to me!!??), how do we handle that?
– We tend to tolerate our bad situations better when we learn to put them into perspective
– Frequent trips to the principal’s office is likely preferable to frequent trips to the hospital, even though each, on its own, causes grief.
– We are likely to choose a broken limb over an amputated limb even though we would prefer neither situation in the first place.
– We are often more tolerant of a bit of extra noise, at nights, when we compare that with an inability to hear in the first place.
Our preferences are often dependent on the impact of our immediate circumstance on us. When we find ourselves at our most vulnerable, when we are crying for relief, our immediate goal is relief, from any source available. When that relief does not come fast enough, if at all, we often take steps, sometimes irrational or destructive, to force the relief we seek.
“Dear Lord, please send me unending pain and anguish, suffering and poverty”, prayed no one ever! But when we do encounter these realities, we learn to navigate them and can cope, indeed thrive, because of them.
Let us consider our circumstances and what causes us grief, and think about what other ‘bad’ situation we would gladly trade it for, understanding that whatever it is that we consider unbearable, someone else , at this very moment, is enduring even worse!
If you have had the need to undergo a surgical procedure of any kind, and for any reason whether cosmetic to life-saving. then you can likely appreciate its benefit.
Whether it was elective, urgent or emergency surgery, it would have inherent risks of some sort: risk that the procedure would not solve the targeted problem, risk that the incorrect procedure would be performed, risk of creating an unintended outcome, or worse.
In life we all need surgery of a different type; the kind that does not necessarily result in the loss of any physical limb or organ. Instead, there are sometimes people, behaviours, habits, or ideologies that need to be amputated or otherwise removed.
The aim is to remove any hindrance to personal growth and progress, while replacing some behaviours or habits with positive ones, or totally eliminating some.
This requires an honest, deliberate and strategic assessment of who we are, where we are, and where we need to get to. Any surgical procedure we undertake must point to that objective and like physical surgery will require a period of healing and recovery as we learn to adjust to the change in our condition.
If you find yourself in a place where you are no longer progressing, no longer growing, no longer happy, no longer proud of the person you see looking back at you in the mirror, then maybe it is time for Surgery.
We have the assurance that with patience and the right approach to our recovery, we can become as good as new in no time.
One of the most empowering self-discoveries is: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am unique.”
The way we relate to others often says a lot about how we perceive others and ourselves.
Human nature tends to force us to relate in a manner consistent with our views of others and our views of ourselves. The aim is to minimize or even eliminate, any dissonance generated by any difference between our views and our actions.
Those who are caught up in their own bloated sense of self-importance tend to be arrogant, boastful, and condescending to others with a strong sense of entitlement that is beyond that which is reasonable.
On the other hand, showing genuine patience, kindness and respect to others typically demonstrates self-confidence, humility, and a recognition of one’s humanity. It also demonstrates an awareness that we are all flawed, having the propensity to fail as human beings – just like everybody else.
So in a nutshell:
One of the most empowering self-discoveries is: “I am fearfully and wonderfully made; I am unique.”
One of the most humbling realizations to have is: So is everyone else!
One of the most powerful lessons from this awareness is: “Everyone else” is NOT the only one with flaws…I do too! So I will be humble and gracious in the way I interact with others, regardless of what I perceive to be their ‘flaws.’
Silence, when used wisely, can be of far greater impact than the most eloquent and carefully thought out speech. After all, wisdom and intelligence are not demonstrated merely by what is said, but by what is left unsaid.”
Let’s face it: we have all encountered people who are quite arrogant, mean or downright insensitive in the way they speak, who use words as weapons rather than tools of encouragement, teaching and of peace.
If we are not careful we will spend such a long time being crippled by the words directed at us, that we find ourselves either becoming demotivated, demoralized or withdrawn, careening back to a place from which we have struggled to emerge. The point is, we sometimes internalize these words to our detriment.
For some, the natural response is to attempt to protect ourselves from possible embarrassment by lashing out at the person, or to seek to defend ourself against that which has been said, by any means necessary. Whatever our motivation or objective from responding, in a number of instances we might well be best served by doing one thing: walking away.
You don’t need to attempt to defend yourself, or even respond to, every unkind or untrue thing that is said to you or about you. By your lack of response you are then demonstrating your superior emotional intelligence, wisdom, and strength of character.
Moreover, by your silence you would be removing the venom that might have been directed at you, thereby thwarting someone’s effort to hurt you with their unkind words.
Silence, when used wisely, can be of far greater impact than the most eloquent and carefully thought out speech. After all, wisdom and intelligence are not demonstrated merely by what is said, but by what is left unsaid.