Two large influences on our music took their lives in the last year, Chester Bennington (Linkin Park) and Chris Cornell (Sound Garden and Audioslave). It was a painful reminder of the fragility of human life and more importantly, the human spirit. This put a spotlight on something that we talk about together as a band quite regularly – in fact it is at the very centre of why we write what we write – and this is it,
“It’s okay to not be okay.”
But this idea of being vulnerable and letting people around you know that you’re not alright does not fit with our culture. There are a number of commonly held beliefs that are the enemies of mental health and a good life. Here are X reasons that ignore our mental health is literally killing us!
Huh?! What we are getting at is that the desire to be right all the time is an incredibly destructive force when the pursuit of being right means that the other person in the relationship is made to feel less than, worthless, stupid; you get the idea. When you are close to people that are never wrong, it can really wear you down because their attitude says that your ideas and feelings have no value. This can be a great setup for the on set of depression – just add a couple of “bad life events” and you’re on a slippery slope.
The poison in this one is that your feelings are never valid. Burying them is the only way to be a man or to be seen as strong. To feel is to show weakness. If you are a soldier serving in a active combat zone, I am sure that you will face the loss of your comrades at some point in your career and when that happens, you can’t just shut down and cry. You have to hold it together and be present to do your job to keep your fellow soldiers safe. This simply will not work in normal life though.
Looking to someone else to bring you happiness is not going to work out. We aren’t saying that relationships are useless. Clearly relationships are an important part of our lives, but depending on another person for your happiness is something called co-dependency. Co-dependency will cause you to ride a roller coaster of the whims of the other person and holding your happiness hostage. You have to find happiness through your identity and through self acceptance.
Isolating yourself causes you to lack proper perspective. If you are depressed about your life and circumstances but don’t have anyone to act as your reality check, you can get very internally focused and blow relatively immaterial circumstances way out of proportion. Isolation results in you being disconnected from reality. Relationships bring a measure of accountability along with them to keep us centred.
We often accept fault for bad things that have been done to us and that is not right. We need to place fault where it belongs – it is not your fault if you were sexually abused as a child by a family member. Other people get it right and realize that the bad things that happened to them are not their fault, but take no responsibility and live their entire lives as victims doing nothing with the gifts and abilities that were given to them.
Will Smith recently shared a video talking about this and we realized that he had hit the nail on the head. It might not be your fault that bad things have happened to you, but it is your responsibility to play the cards that have been dealt to you and make a good life while doing what you can to leave this world a better place than when you arrived here.
This comes down to vulnerability. You can’t truly be known and understood unless you expose yourself – don’t go flashing people. Vulnerability requires you to reveal your dreams, desires, hurts, wounds, and all. It’s also necessary in order to build trust. You’ve got to hear out your friends and your partner in order to know them and build their trust. If you are interesting in living a good life, you’re going to be very lonely if you don’t invest yourself in others.
What’s this go to do with mental health? We aren’t made to bottle up and never spill out. We are made to be known and when we don’t allow ourselves to be known, we will unintentionally force ourselves into isolation.
These aren’t the only ways we sabotage ourselves. It just happens to be the first 6 we could think of!
Tell us what you think.