So I have a hunch about this.
And before I dive in, I’m not talking about people who have clinically diagnosed mental illness. I’m talking about us lay people who potter about life kind of fine but also kind of meh most of the time.
Yeh, maybe you? And definitely me back in the day.
So there are a couple of pieces to this and it would be impossible for me to touch on all of them at once but I’ll dive into the bit which I think is the very first KEY.
WE HAVE NO IDEA HOW TO BE A HUMAN.
We have these beautiful periods in childhood of being looked after, nurtured, fed, watered and then suddenly, we’re flung out into the world.
Flung out into the world of jobs, relationships, bosses, stress, mortgages, you know… all the adult stuff.
Are we have NEVER BEEN TAUGHT HOW TO BE HUMAN.
Sure, we know how to dress, we know how to wash, we know, maybe, how to cook.
But what about the minutiae of human-ness? What about how to handle ourselves? What about how to deal with the really icky uncomfortable emotions we all feel? What about managing the relative mania of our minds?
Like we would NEVER allow someone to drive a car on their own just by giving them a mini intro into how to change gears and how to stop and start. We have to go through a whole long period of learning, practising, going through different real time situations and figuring out how to manage in different circumstances.
But then with humans, it’s like… here you go, here is a body and a mind which is potentially the most powerful thing on earth and has the potential to create both joy and absolute hell, enjoy.
How does it work, you ask? Ahh no idea, you’ll figure it out. Off you go.
Nobody tells us how food impacts how we feel.
Nobody tells us how important nature is to feel vaguely ok.
Nobody tells us that we all have different parts of our brains that pop out to say hi at various points.
Nobody tells us that we all have a child inside us that is perpetually terrified or stroppy and will hijack our mind periodically until we learn to work with him/her.
Nobody tells us that we also have a bossy narcissist who is also terrified but will also appear and take the reigns and that we’ll then feel super guilty afterwards and then not know how to cope with the guilt.
Nobody tells us that the voice in our heads isn’t always actually us… and that most of the time it’s a voice we’ve learnt from what we’ve absorbed around it.
Nobody tells us that we ALL feel every range of emotion pretty much daily and that emotion is basically just energy that needs to be moved around the body and allowed to be expressed.
We’re driving a plane BLIND.
So this is why I think a lot of us are a little bit miserable. Because we haven’t been taught anything about how to manage this magical piece of kit we’ve been gifted.
We’re feeding the unleaded car diesel and are confused that it’s tired and a bit cranky.
We’re caging the dog that really just needs to go out and go for a walk.
We’re blocking the every flowing emotional energy that just wants to flow through us, up and out.
We’re listening to the voice in our minds believing it to be true, when really, it’s just an old CD that’s a bit scratched and keeps jumping back over the same portion of the song over and over again.
Commit to learning about yourself. Seriously. There’s nothing that will serve you more. There’s nothing that will serve your relationships more. There is nothing that will serve your work more.
Nothing. Nada. Rien.
Everything felt infused with irritation. I was doing all the things for everyone else that I thought I should be doing. I was doing all the acts of service. I was, technically, loving those people. And yet. It felt like every act I did, rather than being infused with love, was infused with a shards of glass shooting out of every plate I stacked.
It was a Thursday back in February 2018. The rain hadn’t stopped for months and London was right in the depths of what felt like the longest winter we’d ever had. The dark, damp days had started to getting to me so I’d taken refuge in a hot yoga class to warm up. The scent of palo santo blended with the sweat of 50 people pervaded the room. It was bonus day at work. They’d told us it had been a bad year and not to expect much. I peaked into the envelope, hopeful, as soon as they slid it across the table: £130k. But there I lay, in savasana, with hot, salty tears streaming down my face: I’d never felt emptier.
I always thought it was down to my mildly intense anxious attachment stuff playing out... that and just low key hating dating apps. But then as I started to date a little bit more than I usually do... I was faced with some of the real reasons I'd been avoiding it for so long... and here they are..
It’s been 2.5 years since I hop, skipped and jumped out of the trading floor and into self employed life. In all honesty, I never thought I’d have the courage to do it - I used to wake up in the middle of the night at times in a cold sweat, equally panicked about the prospect of leaving as I was about the prospect of never fully claiming my life.