pillars of self
Have you ever just laid in bed and cried?
For no apparent reason, the chaos of the world has died down and in the crippling silence you feel this overwhelming emotional flood sweep you away and you no longer have control?
This is me.
This was me.
This will be me.
I go through these emotional floods every so often and I can’t help but try and dissect them and figure out why. Vulnerable mental health in males is something that I feel is vastly overlooked for many reasons that society has somehow conditioned us to think.
“Be a man”, “Emotions are for women”, “You have to be strong for your family.” We’ve all heard it and probably said something in this capacity before. But there’s a different approach that should be taken when addressing our own vulnerable thoughts and feelings as a man.
Balance. Sanity. Creativity.
These are the pillars of my being that I have identified within the last couple of years and the way that I directly manage these three things is dependent on not only my happiness, but my overall energy, mood, and mental well-being. For years my life was like a slowing top on the surface of a table, spinning in disarray until it came to an inevitable halt. Finding balance in my life took work, discipline, and was a marathon, not a sprint. Balance looks different for everyone and what may work for me, may not work for you, etc. I discovered that routine is part of my balance. If I was traveling and couldn’t maintain my routine, then I would feel like my day was shot and I was aimlessly trying to “catch back up” on my day…pulling me further and further into the mental hole. It sucks. Everyday I wake up, the first thing I do is make my bed. Studies have shown that some of the most successful people in the world make their beds first thing in the morning. Almost daily I find myself saying to others, as well as myself, “details make the bigger picture.” And that’s very true in this case. A small win in the morning, such as making your bed, can build upon itself through the day like a snowball down a mountain and before you know it, you’ve crushed your to-do list and can rest easy knowing you’ve had a productive day, all of which started with the 2 minute task of making your bed.
They say the definition of insanity is doing the same things and expecting different results. Idk about insanity but if something in your life isn’t yielding the results you want then it’s probably time to change something. About 7 years ago or so, I made a pretty big fitness transformation, going from a gangly 6’5”, 180lbs to a fairly solid 248lbs. Through this experience it taught me a lot about not only myself in regards to physical capabilities, but more importantly, who I am WHEN THINGS GETS TOUGH. Our brains are programmed to put us into a fight or flight mode and majority of people are going to take the easy way out when the going gets tough. But this isn’t about lifting weights and pushing your physical being to the edge, and then finding a new normal. This is about relinquishing your mind to something that helps you work through all the nonsense that you have clouding your beautiful brainpower so that you can focus on NOW and what you need to be directing your efforts and energy towards. For me, it’s lifting or doing anything fitness related. This mental cleansing can take place in the forms of practically anything from yoga, writing, going for a walk, building something, cleaning, meditating....literally anything that you enjoy doing, preferably by yourself, but not always necessary. So figure out what triggers an emotional response, gets you in your zen place, and explore that calm that comes with the storm of our feelings and emotions.
Something that goes hand in hand with being in a state of zen for myself is being creative. I have been a full-time videographer and photographer for the last 4 years and it’s something that, just like fitness, has taught me so much about myself in regards to my perspective and how I view the world I live in. MY WORLD. This entire article is about the world that YOU live in, the one you’ve created, and how YOU ARE A PRODUCT OF YOUR ENVIRONMENT. One of my favorite quotes that I am constantly repeating to myself and others in times of struggle is “I am the creator of my reality, whatever I focus on, I create.” This speaks to me on so many levels but the main thing that I pull from it is that WE ARE IN CONTROL! Don’t plead insanity because you’re not willing to make some changes in your life and speak up. Details make the bigger picture. Remember?
Picking up my camera and being able to translate some of my thoughts, feelings, and visions into pieces of art via photos or videos is something that not only helps me get what’s inside, out. But it helps me to express myself in a unique and vulnerable way. Some of these forms of self expression go out to the public, some of which stay with me. Now you may be telling yourself, “i’m not the slightest bit creative.” And to that I say, if you keep telling yourself that, you’ll never be able to tap into it. Here’s my solution to that for you. Something that always helps me to get a better grasp on my emotions, feelings, and most importantly, how my heart feels, is simply putting pen to pad and getting that stuff out into the open universe so that it can work with me, not against me. Personally, I write down how I’m feeling, what the day holds for me, a couple tasks I’d like to get done, and finish it off with how my heart feels so that I can further tune in to who I am at the very core of my being.
Like I mentioned in the beginning of this article, being the best version of yourself everyday takes work, discipline, and doesn’t happen overnight. It is the details that make the bigger picture and that means that Rome wasn’t built in a day. Brick by brick you will begin to construct who you want to be in this world that YOU will create and before long, you will look in the mirror and realize that you have constructed something to be proud of and something you will be motivated to continue to grow and maintain. It’s perfectly ok to be vulnerable, openly express and communicate your true feelings. Don’t dim your light just because it could blind someone.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words and if it helped at all or you have any questions, feel free to reach out to me over @jtwiseguy across all platforms and remember...
YOU ARE THE CREATOR OF YOUR REALITY, WHAT YOU FOCUS ON, YOU CREATE.
Life is beautiful.