22 Mar Are you well or worried?
Mental health professionals have a term for some clients:
The worried well.
Those people who see them, but don’t really have a mental illness. They need help with – worry.
In our society and culture, we all worry. From my friends, acquaintances, colleagues, associates, new people I meet, to people whose work I read – so many of us worry.
Some worry about where their kid’s next meal is coming from. Some worry about Instagram likes. This is observation, not judgement.
If you are like me and reading this, you likely have your physiological and security needs met, and you have some healthy relationships (though I don’t know anyone with only smooth sailing in the family realm). Instead, you are probably worried about something higher along Maslow’s pyramid of needs – and just as important. Self-esteem and/or self-actualisation.
So many of us believe, wonder, or fret that we are a fraud; we are not good enough.
It is even common in ultra-successful people:
“I have varying degrees of confidence and self-loathing….
You can have a perfectly horrible day where you doubt your talent…you’re boring and they’re going to find out that you don’t know what you’re doing.”
Women worry if they’re too harsh, too bossy, thin enough, if they’re a good mother. Men worry if they’re masculine enough, sculpted enough, enough of a parent.
When we set up lofty expectations to be a certain way because someone else thinks that’s how we need to be, or it’s society’s expected norm, we fall short. We are, after all, human. Beautifully fallible, error-prone, with systems built for survival and internal physiological reward and labour-saving systems.
Our impossibly ideal standard – to be a certain way, to have everything at home perfect, to have particular objects, to look a particular way – is a figment of our imagination, and doesn’t exist anywhere in perfect balance without another area of life giving way.
The fast way towards self-esteem is to consider the reality of how you are, and the reality of how you appear to the world. The sheer number of people who are incredibly competent and amazing at what they do, and yet are at the same time insecure about how good they really are, or feel like a fraud, suggests that it’s not actually true.
The truth is, you ARE good enough, you ARE competent, you DESERVE the good that comes your way.
With this comes embracing your unique self. In a world where there is such easy access to mainstream culture, it might take special effort to find your true self. And, assuming you’re through the adventurous, experimental trajectory of your teenage years, how do we do this like an adult?
Find your true centre.
Connect with yourself so as to know yourself. Svadyaya, or self-study, is one of the key components of a yoga practice, and this aim allows us to observe and explore ourselves as we navigate life’s challenges.
But let’s start with an easier way. Asking yourself such questions will build this up over time.
1. What do I like and dislike? What are my favourite things to do? How do I take care of youself? What do I continue to return to doing again and again?
2. What are my abilities, talents, skills?
4. When am I at my happiest, flowing, and most enjoying life?
3. What truly makes my heart sing?
4. What does my ideal day look like? What does it feel like?
5. How can I build more of those feelings into my everyday life?
This is a small taste of what can bring you truly home.
Dig deep and really imagine yourself living that life. What makes you feel amazing?
You might discover that it’s not what society dictates – 2.3 kids with a mortgage and an office job. It may not actually be a g-strung butt, designer handbag, stretch limo, or constant travel, that you truly crave. Release things, ignore the marketing faff, and dig right down to what would make you feel how you most want to feel.
As you work through what you really want, and towards a life that makes you feel amazing about your life – you will hopefully ease up on society’s, others’ expectations of you, and those worries about being less than someone, not good enough at something, will melt away too.
If you want to delve into this deeper with the help of a coach, contact me here, I would love to help.
If any of this resonated with you, please comment below or here.