After scrolling through various social media platforms today, reading the scattering of comments, tweets and posts in relation to "R U OK" day, I thought it was a good idea to do some reflection on this particularly vulnerable topic.
I don't claim to have perfected the art of enlightenment, self-fulfillment or have unwavering self-worth, I do however have an insight that I feel most don't after digesting the comments of today. At various points the words had me interested, concerned, saddened, elated, disgusted and often devastated.
A wise friend of mine said to me this morning "my beef isn't with R U OK day as such but more so with people who are assholes to people 364 days a year who suddenly care about mental health". He wasn't only referring to the average Australian but also to the countless media personnel, bloggers, performers, artists, models, weather-women, sportspeople - all using this incredibly vulnerable notion as an opportunity to promote themselves, their businesses, product or image as oppose to deeply caring about the people who this "day" is truly dedicated to.
I don't know, perhaps I'm hyper sensitive about it all given my own personal suffering. All I know is it just doesn't sit right with me and my friends comment basically summed it all up to perfection. However whilst there is enormous validity to his comment, there is also a great opportunity to learn, here are the things I've learnt on this topic that hold me in good stead..most of my days ;)
- I've learnt that we'd all be enormously shocked if we new the struggles of many of our fellow humans.
- I've learnt that nor you or I have the right to ever tell anyone, including ourselves, how they "should" be feeling. I grant myself the permission to everyday feel how I feel with zero judgement.
- I've learnt that those who wait for a specific "day" to check in with their loved ones are the ones who will live with the most regret. It sounds overly cliche' but make yourself an available and reliable source for your loved ones to open up to.I hear so often people say to each other "..I didn't feel comfortable opening up, I felt like I'd be judged".
- I've learnt that unfortunately there's no changing the majority of the worlds inhabitants and because of this I consciously only surround myself with people who lift me up, who inspire me to be better, and who make me happy. There was a time I'd would've rebated this with "but how can I avoid all the bitter and nasty people in the world, honestly its impossible". I believed that for a long time, but hand on heart as I sit here today, I couldn't think of anything less true. The second I feel my mood shift or my instincts latch on to negative energy when I spend time with an individual, I consciously intend on spending as little if not zero time with them again. It sounds simple, but really its about respecting yourself enough to know you deserve better than to sit with the poison a lot of people are selling.
- I've learnt that I have so much more to learn. I still battle with my own demons which threaten to whip me off track when I feel vulnerable, but I know there's no rule which dictates how many times I can get back up and on track again.
Ultimately I'm pleased that mental health is starting to gain more and more awareness, but lets not lose sight of what days like today genuinely encourages. It costs nothing to be a good person, a kind person, a non-judgmental person, but it could be costing a hell of a lot to be the opposite.
I'll leave you with a quote by the Dalai Lama ||| "Our prime purpose in this life is to help others. And if you can’t help them, at least don’t hurt them"