Maybe you plan to ring in 2011 with a new resolve to quit smoking, lose weight, exercise more, not sweat the small stuff. And maybe these resolutions sound familiar — maybe just like the ones you made a year ago!
Does this sound familiar? I’ll go to the gym four times a week starting tomorrow. Sure I will. I’ll drive there, sit in my car, pound back an extra large Timmy Ho’s ‘double-double’ (that’s Canada speak for coffee with 2 sugars and creams) while I wrestle with the elastic waistband of the new yoga pants I’m wearing. Who said anything about working out? Heaving jumbo coffee cups have gotta be weight training, right?
I make goals or ‘success steps’ throughout the year. But what happens when I’m depressed or was recovering from a psychotic episode? Accomplishing goals when in the midst of mental illness is very different than when my mood’s stable for some time or you’ve never wrestled with psychiatric disorder period.
From living with bipolar disorder and anxiety, and much trial and error, I now know I must keep these key points in mind if I’m to have a decent chance of reaching targets:
•Psychiatric disorders are illnesses. And like any illness, I must readjust expectations daily, sometimes hourly, in relation to my health and needs.
•Goals easily accomplished previously may be unrealistic, but perhaps not in the future.
•Tiny, tiny steps are crucial to achieving success, self-esteem and recovery.
•Address a hidden but significant barrier: my reaction to the ‘smallness’, the apparent insignificance of these first goals.
1. Problems are bad. You spent your school years solving arbitrary problems imposed by boring authority figures. You learned that problems—comment se dit?—suck. But people without real problems go mad and invent things like base jumping and wedding planning. Real problems are wonderful, each carrying the seeds of its own solution. Job burnout? It’s steering you toward your perfect career. An awful relationship? It’s teaching you what love means. Confusing tax forms? They’re suggesting you hire an accountant, so you can focus on more interesting tasks, such as flossing. Finding the solution to each problem is what gives life its gusto.
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Self-Appreciation is the foundation of a healthy self-image and goes hand in hand with self-esteem and self-confidence. It starts with accepting the self and the way in which it is showing up in this life. This might not happen over night but as a process of self-discovery. Developing self-appreciation will lead to a fuller, healthier and happier life.
Self-judgment and the judgment of others happen as the product of a consciousness developing to certain level of self-awareness. Self-judgment diminishes self-appreciation when the individual internalizes the consequences that stem from these judgments. Therefore it is crucial to nurture self-esteem and practice self-appreciation to assure the health and well-being of the individual.