I'm not really sure where to start with my thoughts, so let's just see what comes out...
I've had a few conversations recently which have left me feeling sad, and frustrated. I know this frustration is misplaced because it comes from a place compassion and wanting to see people flourish and not suffering.
People are struggling and suffering, and I don't know what needs to happen for a major shift to take place. I feel like we have created a society which creates mental distress. Our lifestyles are based on achieving, striving, busyness, strength, independence, chaos, pressure, expectations, performance, comparison and winning. Many of these things could be viewed as positive, however what if they become too dominant and we no longer have the balance we need to be well-rounded mentally healthy people?
I feel like we are losing our value of vulnerability, simplicity, joy, quiet, stillness, cooperation, community, and simply celebrating the amazing beings we are.
Three of my strengths are achiever, responsibility and discipline, and while these can serve me well, they can also become my Achilles heel when they become too dominant. I wonder if lots of other people have similar experiences as when I think about the people I know, the ones who tend to experience mental distress are the ones who put a lot of pressure on themselves. Pressure to achieve and a deep sense of responsibility.
That could be achieving as a parent, a business person, a sports person, a student, an artist, a good friend etc. It's an intrinsic need to do everything to our best ability, like we've failed if we don't, and a sense of responsibility to ensure the people around us are happy.
Feel like you have failed again and again, for everything from being there for a friend in need, to achieving an A on a test, winning that big new client, or getting the promotion, and compound this over years. Although many people will say this is silly, you haven't failed, to us we have, end of story. The failures have a much bigger impact and stick around a lot longer than the successes. And when you fail again and again and again over your whole life, and you are an achiever, this has an affect on your mental wellbeing.
I think we need to be a lot kinder to ourselves and each other. Give ourselves a break. Realise that something that happens today is pretty unlikely to affect the rest of our lives. I often say to myself "what's the worst that will happen?", and this helps me put it into perspective. If I didn't win that client, then it will sting for a bit, but there will be other clients and I'm still here and able to do the job I love. Don't sweat the small stuff, but sometimes in the moment and wrapped up in the emotion and negative inner dialogue, it's hard to recognise it as small stuff.
I don't know about everyone else, but I don't tend to achieve for myself, but for the people I love. Because I want to make them proud and ensure they love me...