2020, the year we did not see coming, and that turned most lives and the world upside down. This year the importance of emotional health and wellness was felt and could not be denied. For most, in addition to day to day stresses, the pandemics of Covid-19, racism, inequality and injustice and domestic abuse plus their related consequences to name a few, were some of the issues with a spotlight on them and which millions around the world had to battle with.
If anything, this year (because it was so unexpected and far removed from our “normal” ways of operating and existing), showed up many dysfunctional habits, attitudes, virtues, principles and systems that have been allowed to grow and accepted as “normal”. For example, gone were the principles of “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, and instead we saw “every man for himself” with events like the unnecessary panic buying of toilet roll and other staple food items during the early days of the pandemic lock down. Or to give another example there’s been the unearthing of how deep racism really goes. From the murder of George Floyd in broad daylight by an officer of the law in USA, to far too many complaints in the UK being received by Ofcom and the ensuing outrage on social media because Diversity (an award winning UK dance troupe) featured a black lives matter inspired routine on Britain’s Got Talent, we saw in real time and on a global scale that racism is indeed alive and kicking despite the pretense that it is not. Racism, gender inequality, corrupt and oppressive governments and the individuals running the systems which keep them corrupt. Domestic abuse, child abuse, religious abuse, conspiracy theories and so many other kinds of abuse which with the help of imposed confinement in close quarters boiled over like rice cooking in a pressure cooker. This year, perhaps more than ever before we got to see these things played out with greater visibility (with the help of technology and social media) in more homes, on more streets and around the world. Like a horror movie where we don’t want to look, but can’t help but look, we saw the monster, and discovered it lives in our homes, in our neighbourhoods, in our country, in our systems. It is us as a collective of individuals. The underlying and simple truth is that emotionally unhealthy individuals if ignored, not addressed, excused, enabled and not healed, like the proverbial plaster on a gaping wound becomes more unhealthy, septic, dysfunctional. Dysfunction only breeds more dysfunction when not addressed from the root and properly healed, which is why I think in many ways we were surprised to see how monstrous we as a society and the systems which hold up our society have become. We have dysfunction displayed in the form of lies upon lies, gaslighting, selfishness, greed, abuse, oppression, manipulation, intimidation, false prophecies and the list goes on. It’s been sickening and mind blowing on so many levels, and the truth is it starts from and continues to flourish from dysfunctional individuals. As a consequence abusers continue to abuse without checks to stop them, victims of abuse are not supported as they should be by individuals or systems and are instead punished. Depression is very real and growing, and sadly so is suicide.
So please forgive my round and round the village approach to highlighting the equally very complicated but simple truth. An emotionally healthy you is the best gift you can give yourself and the world. I know it won’t change the world and the problems we’re currently facing (too many to mention in one post) overnight, but if this year has taught me anything, it is that the more emotionally healthy I became, the better I could cope with the madness of our world, what we have become and what we can further degenerate to. The better I coped with those decisions and circumstances which I had no power to change but which affected me. The clearer and better were the decisions I made on the things that directly impacted me and the people and causes which I had power to effect or change.
I’m going to prioritise and gift myself an emotionally healthy me. I’m going to do this through:
- Self reflection and awareness
- Practicing self love and compassion
- Staying connected to my faith and the higher power I believe in
- Holding and keeping myself accountable and surrounding myself with those I can trust to keep me accountable
- Setting and holding my boundaries and cutting off toxic people from my space as necessary
- Staying knowledgeable, teachable and open for growth on things that can help and lead me to fulfilling my life’s purpose
- Tapping into counselling be it professional or otherwise whenever I need it.
With an “each one reach one” call out I’m asking you to do the same, using tools tailored to best suit you. Maybe, just maybe, we can turn the tide on generational dysfunctions. As a realist, proactive optimist (if there is such a thing), I have hope.
If this post and even just the quote speaks to and resonates with you, please do me a favour and share.