I’ve been having an extremely rough time lately, mentally.
I’ve been having these all-consuming thoughts for a few years, and they’ve been particularly intense lately. While I’m not ready to admit it in verbose terms, I wrote a narrative-based explanation of these feelings some time ago.
The emotional, vulnerable side of me is petrified of writing this post. The rational, logical side of me is encouraging me to continue, because it’s the only way to move past it. To help others, and to rid myself of it.
I understand this is simply a phase, and it’ll pass, as does everything else.
What has been particularly bothersome about this experience, though, is my realization of how I view mental weakness, and some of the unexamined beliefs I possessed that led me here.
I’m genuinely scared to admit to myself that I’m mentally weak at times, because all I’ve ever known is that mental strength is at the foundation of everything.
Conquering my mind is at the forefront of what I believe to be characteristic of the man I want to be. If I let my mind conquer me, I’m the exact opposite of my ideal self.
In writing this post, I’ve actualized the weakness, and there’s a part of me that wants me to stop typing immediately. The more I type, the more it wins, and the weaker I am. I’m having a hard time dealing with this particular aspect.
If I can’t be strong mentally, how can I accomplish anything?
This, of course, is the unexamined belief, and the focus of this reflection.
Where does this disturbing pattern of thinking come from?
Why is it so hard for me to admit that I’m facing a mental problem?
Why is it that this post is going to live in my drafts?
I think it sprouts at my internalization of what it means to be a man.
A part of me really feels like I’m breaking some unsaid rule, like I haven’t lived up to the expectation.
A part of me is worried that all of my readers will perceive me to be weaker, and softer.
It sounds so extremely shallow to say these things, but it’s the truth.
Society has instructed me to conceal vulnerability. To appear rigid, and consistent. It sounds absurd, but the truth is, I believe it. I try to conceal my feelings. I feel stronger when I do. I feel like it’s just another one that I’ve conquered.
It’s starting to make sense, then, why I feel weak when I can’t conquer this particular battle.
I’ve conditioned my mind to feel like I’ve won when I conceal,
so symmetrically I feel I’ve lost when I reveal.
I need to start framing self awareness as a strength.
I need to start framing healing my mind as a strength.
Not a weakness.
The man I want to be is first and foremost a good human.
One who is level-headed, and can navigate their emotional and mental problems, with logic, and rationale. Someone who is courageous enough to face their problems, instead of suffocating them, drowning them, or escaping them by endlessly distracting themselves in vice. One who lives in the present. One who spreads love, acts in accordance to their thoughts and not their feelings, and someone who can impact others.
By my own definition of what it means to be a “man”, I’m performing a task of utmost importance and integrity right now. I’m navigating my problems by exhibiting courage, resiliency, and strength.
To the imaginary person whose perception I seem to care so deeply about (sounds ridiculous right?), if it is weakness you perceive from my honesty, then perhaps I shouldn’t value your opinion.
That sentiment was more for myself, than it was for you, but I think it’s important to keep.
There’s no weakness in admitting you have a problem. There’s weakness in letting it bring you down. It’s courageous to be vulnerable, to be honest about your darkest thoughts, so as it is only with honesty that one can overcome these battles.
There’s a beautiful Japanese concept called kintsukuroi that has resonated with me.
kintsukuroi – “to repair with gold”; the art of repairing pottery with gold or silver lacquer and understanding that the piece is more beautiful for having been broken.
Some actionable items for me: