I’m writing this post on the heels of what I wrote earlier this week, about the challenges of setting goals. I don’t know how, but in the last few years I’ve become fascinated with the concept of goal-setting. It might be the aspirational aspect of it, of self-improvement and wanting to get better. It could be that I enjoy the boost of serotonin I get when I accomplish that goal (however big or small). But I think what outranks all of that is how my goals remind me of who I am and who I want to be.
When it comes to my mental wellness, one of the most important things I can do is remind myself that I’m a person. I’m a living, breathing, doing-things-and-living-life person. Life has a way of remembering for us but I appreciate the ability to remind myself, too. The reason this is so important to me is because in the doldrums of every-day life, it can be easy to forget.
Our uniqueness can be lost or forgotten not only by others, but also ourselves. There are many ways I could describe who I am and what I’m about but above all, I’m a person. Not only that, but I am unique. I’m unique in my personality, in my likes and dislikes, in what I’m passionate about and what I choose to do. And that matters.
This uniqueness also means that my goals are unique. The things I want to accomplish, the goals I want to set and meet are unique to who I am and what my life is like right now. My goals don’t have to be realistic for anyone else except who I am, in this moment. And just like other habits and techniques for my mental health, these goals can change.
I know I can sound like a broken record at times, but that’s for a good reason. For many people, mental health is a challenge we face every single day. We face a challenge of getting out of bed in the morning. We face a challenge of choosing to engage with the world, even when we don’t know if we’re up to it. We face a challenge of acknowledging when our mental health is in a bad place, and when we need help.
All day long, people face challenges that they can either engage with and ignore. For people experiencing mental illness, the luxury to ignore isn’t always possible. There’s a chance that I accomplish my goals for today. That I can do everything I set out to do despite the ways my mental health might challenge me. But in the same way, there’s an equal chance that those challenges will exist again tomorrow. That’s why I lean on who I am. I lean on the person I want to be, and the person I am now. Mental illness can depersonalize us, it can make us not feel real. But I am, you are, we are, and we’ll continue down this road together.