On the World Mental Health day, I would not really know where to start from. This topic, which we all have come across either through our own personal experience or through our observations and interactions with others, has been discussed thoroughly.
Several ideas and slogans concerning the decrease of stigma for mental health are spread all over the walls of our social media. But is that actually leading to minimizing stigma?
In the end, we might still be in the pursue of so-called "happiness" – like a dog after its own tail- through positive thoughts and mottos such as “if you really want something, you must and can get it” or “everything is up to you, as long as you change the way you are thinking about and dealing with it”.
And no doubt, our own way of thinking is an important tool among others, however does it consist of the driving force we need towards change – personally as well as a society overall – in order to open up new pathways of more essential communication within, but also with the world around?
Throughout the years of my professional and personal experience so far, what I often find missing, it is this sense of acceptance before there is even room for any attempt to change things.
Acceptance means space.
Space to be whoever you are, without packed solutions and decisions to change or cope with anything, without often the mood to move things within or outside of you, such as a messy room where you just need little or more time to observe the chaos before fixing it, so that you can just feel what you want to be different and why.
Acceptance means reconciling with the sense of shame created when an inner voice -developed throughout the years of development and social interactions - tells you “who I am is not good/right/as it should be”. How can you get along with such an emotion which discourages you, pushes you away from the mirror and demands direct shadowing of who you are?
The answer might come through dialogue, internal as much external. To listen very carefully to what your shame has to say, why it is afraid so much of us moving away from what we’ve learned is right, and to embrace the underlying fear. To find people and images and places where there is common ground and the distinctions based on “right and wrong” emotions are not as much important as it is to pay genuine attention to our needs.
Acceptance often means suffering, sadness and pain. All these emotions normally come out when things we once expected end up being different from what we’d thought or wished for, especially when this is experienced internally and shakes the ground of calmness and superficial happiness.
Acceptance means making in-depth peace with opposite drives which – by nature and place – we contain. In a society which is full of contradictions, diverse colours and voices, how would it be possible that we ‘d be – and we’d perceive our own self – as either happy or problematic? Therefore, instead of moving either towards one of those 2 directions – the one of either joy or sadness – maybe acceptance would mean to realize how much interconnected those two are, how many opportunities and little treasures they entail and how they both, together and hand in hand, evolve and develop throughout our life.