We don’t really stop to think about it much, but each of us has an identity for ourselves relating to our health. Some identities include chronic pain, or a lost limb, or the effects of a disease. Some identities define us by our psychological struggles.
When it comes to the latter group, it is telling that the issues people are coming to me for during the pandemic are almost always issues they had before the pandemic. The added stress acted as the rather large straws that broke the camel’s back, as the saying goes, but folks were really struggling long before that.
The question that strikes me is why? Why did they wait all those years before getting help? The reason I’m baffled is that I see amazing people who have so much to give that I can’t figure out why they wouldn’t want to take action to overcome their issues just so they could experience the joy of sharing themselves with the world.
Of course, from their perspective that is not who they are. They are not amazing people who are unrealized. A lot of you see yourselves as broken, even to the point of being irrecoverable. Well of course you won’t care for yourself if you think you’re fundamentally broken. That makes sense.
The means the real problem is that people can’t see their own value. And that denial demands a strange form of narcissism. Because we really need to work to make ourselves special if we somehow think we are not like every other human being.
The issue isn’t that there is a bunch of fundamentally perfect and fundamentally faulty people running around. All humans have strengths and weaknesses. The difference between the two groups is that one believes the strength is there so they make efforts to gather it into some effort to move their life forward.
Meanwhile, the second group hides away, focused more on their weaknesses, as though we could somehow be that special person who would be the first person with no ‘faults’ or ‘challenges.’ Not wanting those is being unrealistic. Everyone gets them.
Our job is not to stamp out our failings. It is to manifest and utilize our strengths. If we look comparatively at others and covet strengths that are theirs and not ours, the fault is in our thinking not in our being.
We simply need to create a life that suits who we are, not one built to protect us from our weaknesses. Build one that allows our strengths and joy to flourish. Be selfish in that way.
We owe the world nothing. But it –and we– do benefit when we feel good, because we are integral parts of the universe that acted to create us. So stop managing your weaknesses. Love yourself as others do. After all, the only reason you don’t think you deserve their love is because you tell yourself that.
Take a moment to self-assess. What psychological ‘health identity’ do you communicate to yourself? And then ask yourself, could that very identity be a part of what keeps you from being as healthy as you can be?
A serious childhood brain injury lead Scott to spend his entire life meditating on the concepts of thought, consciousness, reality and identity. It made others as strange to him as he was to them. When he realized people were confused by their own over-thinking, Scott began teaching others to understand reality. He is currently CBC Radio Active’s Wellness Columnist, as well as a writer, speaker and mindfulness instructor based in Edmonton, AB where he still finds it strange to write about himself in the third person.