Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Get real

Life seen through social media seems to imply that most people are buoyantly happy.  The words “epic”, “awesome” and “amazing” abound in tweets, status updates and blogs.  No one posts selfies when they are tired, stressed, overwhelmed or at wits end, much less when times of suffering or sadness are more debilitating than seems manageable in a lifetime.  

And while positivity is certainly engaging, and conventional wisdom will tell you that "everything will be OK" in the long run, the reality is that life is not always positive at all times.  It is even further daunting when the seeming “norm” is of unicorns, baskets of puppies, savasana and love, love, love. 

Most of us hold ourselves to pretty high standards – at work, and at play.  Faster, stronger, higher, smarter.  And that pressure can come at a price.

Today is Bell’s “Let’s Talk Day” – a day dedicated to creating a positive conversation about mental health.   And yet, as much as initiatives like this one encourages awareness, understanding and treatment of mental illness….the fact is that most people do not talk openly about the stuff that’s real. 

So for today….be real.  Spreading sunshine is lovely, but take it one step further and engage in the conversation.  We can all learn to stop asking “how are you” without expecting a real answer, learn to ask better questions, and learn to listen rather than speak. You might be surprised what you hear.  

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