How comfortable are you in your own skin?
A question that’s easy to ignore or shove under the rug or cover over with all manner of things in normal life, and a whole lot harder to do exactly the same during a pandemic. Even for those of us who it has affected very minimally (like myself), the environment shift has been palpable. I don’t know anyone who hasn’t taken a hit to their mental health.
Even when you are really busy, you are just with yourself a whole lot more than you are used to. Even for people like myself, who is pretty used to my own company, well it’s been a lot.
You find out pretty quickly the parts of yourself that you cherish and the parts of yourself that are deeply uncomfortable to stomach. The parts that get hidden under work, or doing things, or rationalised coping mechanisms.
Sometimes you are travelling along really well and then your brain decides, hey let’s replay every stupid thing you’ve ever done over the last 40 years with no breaks.
Then you really have to cling to this one idea: never judge yourself for the choices you made in order to survive.
It’s something I always remember from when I had really rough patches of mental health – maximum effort doesn’t always look the same. Sometimes maximum effort is making peanut butter on toast. You don’t know.
It has to be more uncomfortable to stay the same, than it is to change
This is true of any change – whether it’s fitness or nutrition or smoking or drinking or whatever it might be. It’s not going to happen until staying the same becomes untenable.
You can have help and you can have support and you can have strategies but ultimately it’s just you, sitting with yourself deciding if you are worth saving today.
You can’t change what you don’t love. So you have to find a way to love those parts of yourself that you don’t like so much, that make you feel uncomfortable.
Sometimes you’ll go back and forth on it, and that’s okay too. Certainty only comes with practice. A lot of practice.
And sometimes it’s not until you get to the other side that you feel how tired you are. Because all that effort you put into ‘passing’ builds up.
That’s okay too. Just like maximum effort looks very different depending on the day, so does doing your best.
My best is okay, and I bet yours is too.