Elements to Making a Meaningful Life Makeover – 4 of 5
The National Institutes of Health defines mental health as “how we think, feel and act as we cope with life. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others and make choices.”
The process of job seeking can be a pretty stressful life event. Remaining mentally healthy can be challenging when your job search goes on a bit longer than you expected or when you still have no offer after several interviews. When times get tough, it’s not easy to stave off obsessing about what isn’t working and it’s possible to succumb to depression and fear. From within the vortex of those states, we can begin to think of ourselves in pretty unhealthy ways, looping less-than-flattering messages to ourselves about how worthless we are.
To make matters worse, sometimes our closest friends or family members can say things that secretly feed and reiterate our already negative self-perceptions. We also diminish ourselves by always trying to keep the harmony, not to upset anyone or working very hard to be liked at all costs by our friends and family. While it’s definitely common, even admirable, to want the acceptance of others and build deeper relationships, we will succeed in building only deep resentments if we’re not careful.
You would likely be suprised to know that many people stuff their feelings and it really affects them in serious ways. Not wanting to talk to a friend, family member or mentor about your struggles with obsessive thoughts or negative feelings is normal, but it isn’t a safe place to stay for long. A little self-pity can go a long, long way and this is especially pronounced when you’re surrounded by those who appear to attain success and navigate life easily.
“What other people think of us is none of our business.” This quote has been attributed to several authors, but the bigger point is …Whatever someone else thinks of us is their issue, not ours.
There are people who appear to have the “Midas-touch.” You know the ones for whom everything seems to just work out naturally? Making comparisons of your “insides” to their outsides – or what you can see with your eyes, is really not the entire picture and can leave you thinking you’re inadequate when that really isn’t the case at all. In fact, upon deeper inquiry, it’s even likely that the “golden” boys or girls may have internal conflicts that they struggle with and that even the attainment of the greatest good fortune could not create within them a feeling of accomplishment, fulfillment, enthusiasm, excitement or joy.
As human beings, we are made to struggle bountifully! Disappointment, anger and resentment are hard-wired into our psyches as part of our makeup. But when we don’t have a good way to deal with these, we set the stage for long-term difficulties. One way to overcome our negative self-perceptions could be to plant “seeds” of positive ideals, goals, concepts and motivation toward a meaningful and worthwhile outcome. Writing a list of things we’re grateful for helps, as does reading nice things people have said about us or reflecting on past successes. Overall, believing that this moment is just one point in time on a continuum and, as my mother has always said, “This too shall pass.”
In 1957, Earl Nightengale wrote and spoke about “The Strangest Secret.” Here’s a relevant excerpt I hope will explain what I mean …
“Suppose a farmer has some land, and it’s good, fertile land. The land gives the farmer a choice; he may plant in that land whatever he chooses. The land doesn’t care. It’s up to the farmer to make the decision.
We’re comparing the human mind with the land because the mind, like the land, doesn’t care what you plant in it. It will return what you plant, but it doesn’t care what you plant.
Now, let’s say that the farmer has two seeds in his hand: one is a seed of corn, the other is nightshade, a deadly poison. He digs two little holes in the earth and he plants both seeds – one corn, the other nightshade. He covers up the holes, waters and takes care of the land … and what will happen? Invariably, the land will return what was planted.
Remember the land doesn’t care. It will return poison in just as wonderful abundance as it will corn. So up come the two plants – one corn, one poison.
The human mind is far more fertile, far more incredible and mysterious than the land, but it works the same way. It doesn’t care what we plant … success … or failure.” - Earl Nightengale, Author and Motivational Speaker, The Strangest Secret In The World.
Mental disorders are all too common these days. I don’t even mean the kind that we cannot help or that cripple our minds. I’m referring to the kinds of disorders of thinking that start as a small dig by someone whose opinion we esteem – even ourselves, that we cultivate and feed! These are looping messages in our minds that keep us from achieving our dreams, disbelieving of our immense potential and our limitless abilities as humans to be whatever we put our minds to.
It really is just as Mr. Nightengale stated, “Whatever a man thinks – he is!”
Steve Jobs said it like this: “Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice.”
And remember: “You affect your subconscious mind by verbal repetition.” – W. Clement Stone
Begin today making over the messages you play in your head about what you can achieve. And, lastly, if you feel that your doldrums and dark feelings are more than a passing phase and you’re unable to find any energy, hope or the necessary drive to move through this difficult phase, consider seeing a professional who can determine if your depressive symptoms are caused by chemical imbalances or are clinical in nature.
Do you think it’s possible to change our self-perceptions and reprogram our thoughts about ourselves? How could you makeover your thoughts so that they serve you instead of hinder your progress in life and in your career search?