A project like the building of mentally healthiness is both so slow and so internal, seeing changes can be difficult. During today’s session, C asked me to consider: What do I like about myself as a person? Not based on what I do (or, more appropriately for myself, what I don’t do) but based on who I am?
He suggested writing down positive adjectives to describe myself, things I truly believe about myself: inner attributes, strengths, and so on.
I’m not going to do that here. That’s a personal exercise for my eyes only. (You are free to heap complimentary words on me in the comments, of course!) But as he made this suggestion, and several other similar exercises I might consider, I began to think of what those words might be.
I began to ask myself: Am I living my value? Am I possibly doing better than I assume? I haven’t stopped to consider in much depth how much positive change has occurred over the past couple of years.
Change has occurred, however, and most of it good. The trouble is, there have not been any major changes that would set off fireworks. Life rarely does that. My changes have been normal, which means they’ve been a slow, steady accretion of little actions. As I took even the few moments during our session to consider the possibility I had changed, I could see that I had.
And that it had been good.
One important example: It’s been ages since I’ve been in a major depressive funk. I still have plenty of days where I’m unsatisfied with my lack of action or I’m upset with the world or some such, but it does not bring everything crashing down. At the point where I need to get out of the house and go for even a short bike ride just to avoid getting sucked into the muck of my mind on depression – I now get out of the damn house.
Or I sit for five to ten minutes, observing my breath, not fighting the noise in my head but letting it be while I do my best to keep my attention on my breath. I am learning to shelter myself in that quiet place, even if for just a few minutes.
I am writing more. I am taking actual steps towards projects I want to do. I am letting go of false ideas about what I should do and instead doing what I want to do. My actions are becoming, bit by bit, day by day, more in alignment with my values.
I just need to come to a deeper understanding of my values. I think the better I can define those, the more I’ll be able to make choices that bring satisfaction and even, dare I say, happiness.