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The streams and swamps of our psyche

Mental health is a complex topic, and it's easy to feel overwhelmed by it. One of the things I'm constantly looking for when engaging in complex topics/issues, is to identify the one or two thing/s we can do which will have an outsized impact on the issue at hand.

On the topic of mental health, I believe that one thing we can do which will have an outsized impact, is talking to others - taking the issues which live in the shadows of our psyche where we feel shame/embarrassment/confusion/resentment/uncertainty/pain/betrayal/insecurity and so on, and bringing them into the light through conversation with people we trust.

It sounds rather simplistic, but sometimes there are simple answers to complex issues.

One of the team members at Valenture Institute made a comment in which I absolutely loved:

"Nature has an amazing way of explaining some of our own life patterns".

In nature, when a stream is flowing, it stays clean, oxygenated and vibrant. When it stagnates, it quickly turns into a swamp. If our mental health is a stream, then the free flow of our emotions through personal acknowledgement and conversation with others is akin to the vibrant flowing stream. When we suppress or repress our emotions, or refuse to acknowledge shadow aspects of our psyche, this is akin to the stagnation which causes the stream to turn into a swamp. To extend the analogy, sometimes if the swamp gets deep enough, we need to treat it chemically to bring it back into balance and allow us to create a healthy ecosystem, but if we lose the flow again in the future, the swamp will always reestablish itself.

We can't escape our shadow. If we want to transcend it, we have to integrate it, and we can only integrate it by acknowledging it and talking about it to people around us who we trust. The aspects of our psyche which are repressed will turn into a swamp, and bit by bit, day after day, poison the rest of our system.

Every single one of us has aspects of our lives which we struggle with and would prefer the rest of the world not to know about. It's scary to acknowledge these to ourselves, and it’s even more terrifying to share them with others. Fear is an excellent compass in our lives, and the fact that it scares us, at least in my opinion, is the very reason you should run at it.

Today, I want to encourage you to experiment with a different way of living – all it takes is one bold decision to live your life differently, to stop trying to run away from the parts of yourself which need to be acknowledged or expressed. To talk about the traumas which you carry and are waiting to be acknowledged.

Stop trying to create a curated version of yourself for the world to see, and start presenting yourself authentically as your perfectly imperfect self. This free flowing of your psyche will allow you to step into your true power at a level you never knew possible.

You can make the decision right now.


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