What you think you become. Written by Wesley Kew, Clinical Psychologist and NLP Master Practitioner
Many times in life I find myself delighting in my own downfall and indulging in my hardships and plight. It is here that I so often turn to nature to learn how to navigate tough times. The humble ant continually acts as a source of inspiration as it goes about thinking always of summer during the winter and thinking about winter during the summer.
During my times of strife, I begin to think about what it is causing me this underlying nagging irritability and frustration. Could it be mama and papa that don’t live up to my expectations, the solitude I surround myself with or is it in fact my lack of direction and purpose? As I continually engage with what can only be termed fleeting distractions, I slip further into oblivion. Lacking the discipline required to flourish as I indulge my story I find all sorts of justifications for this depressive state.
As I hear Florence and the machine echo through the background I can relate as I too feel ‘heavy in your arms’. Who’s arms? I begin to think, who’s arms am I engulfed by? The only logical conclusion is that it’s my old pal, depression. She, like many other vices, are always welcoming, with open arms looking to embrace all company when called upon.
As I have so often done before, I begin to flourish in my depressing state, engaging with my victim mentality and rationalising my debilitating actions and lack of empathy for others. It’s here that I begin to notice that I’m slipping into the all too familiar basement of rock bottom.
Thanks to prior experience and training, I hear a soft voice reminding me that I’m in control of my mind, my state and ultimately my results. Soon I recognise behaviours that I have flagged as warning signs and realise, I’m slipping deep into the night.
Standing on the brink of oblivion is not a pretty sight. In fact, it is so ugly and dark that I actually feel the pull to give up. Many of my friends have fallen victim to the pull of destruction as they dove head first into death. My only rationalisation is that they were convinced that death can not be as torturous as trudging along this life.
I wish that I could adequately tell you what keeps me strong and willing to fight the pull of destruction, yet I fail in my desire. What I can tell you is that once I begin to channel something greater than myself and begin to fine-tune my purpose, it does become easier. There are two great pains in life – one the pain of regret and two the pain of discipline. Life is not easy at times, but if you are wiling to get up when you get hit, that is half the battle won!
I begin to realise that I have lost sight of my vision and desired outcomes. Unlike the humble ant, I forgot to focus on the summer during winter. I have been focusing only on the dark grey skies and ignored the silver lining. I begin to focus on how I have overcome this plight before and how I have the power to shape my existence!
Remember that pressure turns coal into diamonds, but that same pressure turns diamonds into dust. As Nietzsche reminds me, a man that has a clear purpose is able to withstand almost any torment.
Soon I begin to feel the darkness abate as dawn approaches. As I turn from the dark and focus on the suns’ warm and comforting embrace, I’m filled with belief that there is good in the bad. Again I’m filled with the promise of future success and joy; it may be in the distance but I’m again able to see it with my minds eye.
Tough times don’t last tough people do!
And I remember my own advice for a friend who called me from the UK recently. He told me he was devastated as he lost a sporting match he felt he should have won. Immediately I asked him if he was focusing on the “win” before the end? Yes, of course he was. Life asks us to be in the present tense, to get the most out of it. To feel, see and hear what’s going on.
In life to get understanding from any pain (or pleasure), in sport to keep getting feedback from the now, rather than the ‘then’. It is always good to have a focus, an end game, a future vison. Yet once you know what the target is, it’s time to refocus into what is happening now.
And that feedback is like becoming one with the soil if you were a gardener. Each season has a specific way of being that is called for. To be a good gardener, you have to be looking outwards, to the land, not inward in your own head.
There are times for introspection, to make sense of the day and the season – yet that is the night. The liver in the body works by action and work. The night works by clearing and rejuvenation via the spleen.
Therefore we don’t always have to be reliant on the sun for our good energy. Just to know what the season is and whether it’s daytime or night time.
Written by Wesley Kew firstname.lastname@example.org