The other day, I had a conversation with a woman grappling with her career satisfaction. Despite her impressive credentials, which included a Ph.D. and valuable job experiences, she was not fulfilled. As she inquired about my own career transition, I shared an article I had written. To my surprise, she responded, “You were just lucky to be in the right place at the right time!”
Her interpretation couldn’t be further from the truth. But it made me realize how often we perceive others’ lives as easier than our own. One of the reasons could be the prevailing culture of constant showcasing of our accomplishments and accolades, fearing that acknowledging our vulnerabilities might tarnish our reputation.
To change this culture of exaggerating success, influential thought leaders like Brené Brown, Michelle Obama, Arianna Huffington, and many others have become role models by embracing and sharing their imperfections. They have taught us that life is a series of ups and downs, and the sooner we accept and embrace this reality, the healthier we become as individuals and as a society.
Moreover, during challenging times, it is common to experience mental health issues such as depression and anxiety. I, too, have personally navigated through several episodes of these conditions. For example, 6-7 years ago, I hit a low point in my life that I couldn’t get out of with sheer grit and hard work. After silently suffering, I finally confided to a colleague who was also a coach. She agreed to work with me and advised that I consult a doctor, suspecting that I might require medical attention if I had depression. However, knowing my reservation, she said, “It would be like getting extra help in addition to your resilience to navigate this challenging time.” This turned out to be an invaluable advice.
My doctor diagnosed me with depression and prescribed medication. With the support of my coach and engaging in other healthy activities, such as regular physical exercise and fostering meaningful connections with friends and family, and the medication, I overcame that critical phase in only three months. This episode became a turning point, leading me to reevaluate my priorities and shed the burden of societal expectations. I stopped striving to fit in and began expressing myself more confidently and authentically. Although the journey was long, it was profoundly meaningful.
Through my experiences, I have learned that,
It is not a matter of whether we will encounter struggles or mental health challenges but rather when they arise. So we need to proactively cultivate resilience through healthy habits, meaningful relationships, and a reliable support system. Doing so not only helps to overcome struggles and avert crises; it also ensures more sustainable success in the long run.
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[This article is my tribute to mental health awareness month.] The feature image is from Pixabay.com