I’ve wanted to write this post for awhile, but have avoided it because I will need to make myself vulnerable and write about the things that make me feel weak.
Lately I have been contemplating why things aren’t working for people. Why are we becoming unhealthier and more disconnected than ever? We have more access than ever before to information and help but things appear to be getting worse. Never before have we experienced such an epidemic of obesity, diabetes and mental illness.
I believe we are so strongly focused on the ‘how to’ that we are missing the ‘why aren’t we?’ We know what to do, we know what will make us healthier, stronger, happier so why aren’t we doing it? There is always a little voice in the back of our minds that says ‘I shouldn’t eat this…’ or ‘I know walking lifts my mood’ or ‘I should go to bed by 9pm’ At our core, we know what to do. So why aren’t we doing it? It’s easier to focus on the ‘how to’ because focusing on the ‘why aren’t we already doing it?’ is difficult. It will make us vulnerable, it will put a spotlight on our weaknesses. We will need to deal with shame and unworthiness. It will take work and confronting our fears. We will in fact need to focus on the negative when we are constantly bombarded with affirmations saying we should only focus on the positive.
I am not saying ‘how to’ is a bad thing, we do need advice and guidelines to help.
So on to opening up and making myself feel vulnerable. A few years ago I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder. It made a whole lot of sense to me. Although I work very hard to practice the ‘how to live an awesome life with Bipolar Disorder by taking extremely good care of myself” I occasionally, perhaps once or twice a year have an episode like I did last week. I become manic in thought, movement etc and it’s terrifying. Then I crash and have a low where I can’t function at all and just need to hide under the covers for a couple of days. It’s intense and the rarer it becomes the more of a surprise it is and the harder it is to deal with. I am sharing this because we must start talking about the things that make us feel vulnerable in order to make progress.
The things that we view as our weaknesses make us feel shame and unworthy. These are the things that are stopping us from doing what we know is right for us. By feeling ashamed of my bipolar disorder I am stopping myself from moving forward. I can feel the energy it takes to keep it inside. I feel shame because I teach a course on how to live with Anxiety, so I have this unrealistic expectation on myself to be perfectly mentally healthy. When I think about it logically though, I know how much I have achieved and if I was learning from somebody I would want them to have experienced what I was going through. I wouldn’t want somebody that doesn’t understand first hand.
As hard as this was for me to share I know good will come from it. I hope I can inspire people to open up in their own lives. I hope people can find a way to share their vulnerabilities instead of hiding them, it will create connection. I hope we can stop searching for the ‘how to’ and focus a little on building our self worth in order to actually implement the ‘how to’. Please share your thoughts and comments below. I love your feedback.