Everyone we meet is just an adult version of the child they once were.
We are all just carrying our trauma and experiences and navigating through life around others who are also dealing with their own trauma and learned behavior.
We’re all walking around seeing the world through perspectives based on our experiences and grappling with issues that began in our childhood.
Not to mention, at any given moment, everyone you meet is dealing with something they may not choose to share with you.
We collide into one another. It can get messy.
My experiences have really made me love children and believe in doing everything we can to support children in those early years.
Helping kids is my favorite cause. After all, childhood serves as the foundation for your entire life. It can make or break you.
There are so many causes out there. I have some friends who like animals a lot more than people. And sometimes I can’t really blame them.
For me, it’s all about kids.
Little children don’t have any control over being here on this planet, have no resources of their own, and are completely dependent on their parents or whoever’s raising them.
They are truly at fate’s mercy.
Those formative years when you’re a child are so critical; they control everything. Everything stems from childhood … your educational foundation, your possible future job, your entire future.
And truly our entire sense of humanity is affected by our childhood experiences.
By the love we receive or don’t receive, the nurturing we get or miss out on, the things we witness, the things we are exposed to. It all affects us as adults.
While we can’t control the messages we received as kids, we can control what we consume as adults. So much of it today comes from a social media feed on our smartphones.
THE SOCIAL MEDIA PLAYGROUND
People have always had mental health issues, but I think that social media and technology has amplified things.
We’re connected globally and news travels like never before.
Social media makes it easy to connect with thousands of people loosely known as “friends” — yet we are less connected than ever.
There was an article I read recently about us being the lonely generation. Today there are reportedly more lonely people than ever in history and it just seems so ironic.
The article cites a Cigna study that found that almost half of Americans report sometimes or always feeling alone (46 percent) or left out (47 percent).
And two in five Americans said that they sometimes or always feel that their relationships are not meaningful (43 percent) and that they are isolated from other people (43 percent).
How can we be so lonely when we can connect with millions of other people on the Internet within a few swipes on our smartphones?
Technology is making us lose our ability to relate on a deeper level. We are so immersed in this virtual reality, we don’t know how to be real.
This is having a profound effect on our mental health.
And I don’t just mean fear of missing out or being jealous of someone’s highlight reel. I think that people are craving real conversation and real friendships.
While there are definitely opportunities, benefits, and advantages offered by the Internet, the tradeoff is that we’ve lost our ability to bond with other people in a real way. Not through comments, shares and DMs, but real connections and conversations.
And I believe that we’re really noticing this impact on young people.
I have met so many teenagers, college students, and even young professionals who can’t communicate.
They don’t know how to introduce themselves or how to keep the conversation going. They’re completely engrossed in the virtual world on their smartphone.
Earlier this year, the American Psychological Association identified striking increases in the number of young people (born in 1995 or later) who reported experiencing negative psychological symptoms.
The greatest spike in symptoms occurred in 2011. This is around the time that Instagram (2010) and Snapchat (2012) emerged.
But teens and young adults aren’t the only ones who can be negatively affected by social media.
FOMO, social envy, miscommunication, Facebook fights — these affect older adults as well.
I think we all need therapy. And lots of it.
GROWING THROUGH THERAPY
I really wish that therapy was affordable and available to everyone. I wish it was something you could do every day.
After first visiting a therapist a few years ago, I slowly started realizing the tremendous amount of work required to become a better person, a better wife, and a better mom.
Therapy helped me understand others and why they act the way they do.
Sometimes it’s so frustrating. Understanding the cause of someone’s behavior doesn’t excuse it and it doesn’t change the past or erase the pain caused by that behavior.
Sometimes we want answers, validation, apologies, and closure. And we often will never get those things.
The more you learn about mental wellness, the more you realize how much there is to learn.
I think therapy is like that, too.
The more that you learn about your feelings and behaviors, the more you begin to identify your triggers. Then you realize that you’ve just barely scratched the surface.
There was a meme that I saw recently that said, “I go to therapy to deal with the people who refuse to go to therapy,” and I thought, “Ain’t that the truth!”
The discoveries you uncover in therapy are blessings, but also curses.
When you uncover truths about yourself and others, then it’s almost as if you HAVE to act. Sometimes this involves making tough decisions, removing toxic people from your life, having hard conversations, setting boundaries for the first time, etc.
And as mad as you may be at someone, through therapy, you may slowly begin to understand why they may act the way they do. That understanding can make it difficult to stay mad.
People often say, “Oh, forgiveness is not for the other person, it’s for you.”
Still, that doesn’t make it easier, especially when you are hurting and feel like the other person isn’t deserving of forgiveness.
You may even feel like they are getting away with poor behavior.
Here’s the thing … hurt people hurt people.
People who hurt you may not even know that they hurt you or how much.
They are just going about in the world and trying to survive with their own issues.
We get frustrated by others because of our expectations of them, because of our own issues we project onto them, and when we can’t accept them for who they are and where they are.
It’s easy to get frustrated with a loved one because we want them to behave the way we want or believe what we believe.
We keep trying to make them be what we need or want them to be.
(I’m not talking about dangerous or abusive relationships … This is more about friendships and relationships with family.)
But the only person you truly have control over is yourself.
We absolutely cannot change people. We can barely change ourselves.
Yet our continuous pursuit of working on ourselves and healing from our wounds is critical.
It affects our happiness and anyone who loves us.
We have to make mental health education a true priority.
The same way we teach kids to be proactive in caring for their teeth, washing their face, getting sleep, and eating healthy foods, we need to teach them how to proactively care for their mental health.
It’s an essential life skill.
The world can be cruel, and we have to give kids a fighting chance to cope and even thrive in the midst of adversity.
We can stop generational traumas before they start.
What do you think of therapy? Have you tried it before? Let me know in the comments.