The term “stuck in a rut” is one of those terms that so amply describes how you feel when you’re….well….stuck in a rut. I always knew it was appropriate, but never really thought too much about it until I googled the definition, to which it says "a long deep track made by the repeated passage of the wheels of vehicles”.
This struck a bit of a chord with me, as I have a history of being stuck in ruts frequently (although, not so much anymore thankfully), and it can sometimes be a deep one that lasts for days. Nobody else is responsible for laying this track, and therefore I cannot ask that person to stop the wheels from digging it deeper, making it so much harder to climb out of.
The vehicle is ME, and the wheels are my own terrible, self-destructing thoughts.
You are shit.
You are nothing.
You aren’t good at or for anything.
I hate you.
Nobody else likes you.
You are so ugly and fat and horrible.
Can you ever in your wildest dreams imagine saying this to your best friend?! So why is it that we say these things to ourselves, often repeatedly?! My goodness, no wonder past years were full of self-doubt and hatred, unhappiness and loneliness - with a support crew like that, what could I expect?
From the outside, you would be forgiven for thinking of me as being “healthy”, as I would always continue to exercise through these ruts. And I probably thought as much myself. But my definition of healthy is not so narrow-minded anymore and I am sad to say to past Emily that she was not a healthy person. I genuinely do not believe that we can be healthy in body without being healthy in mind.
In this Ted Talk, Guy Winch discusses the importance of emotional first aid and emotional resilience. This is something that we can all benefit from, and not because I believe we all think the same or face the same issues (far from it!) but because we are all physical AND psychological beings. We humans are so wonderfully dynamic and so much more than muscle and bone, but we often fail to honour that fact. We say “mind over matter” with such conviction, like our minds should be these totally unstoppable forces, yet we never actually give our minds a head (no pun intended) start, nor any special service or attention. We just continue to train our bodies at the gym, and think that that’s enough. Side note: don’t get me wrong, I greatly value exercise (duh, BASE 3 is my baby), but there must be a good balance.
I, in no way, think that my personal story is uncommon, nor do I think that it is particularly special or noteworthy. But I do want to use it to highlight the importance of a subject that is too often neglected, but that is thankfully becoming more popular and paid attention to.
The power of the mind, our thoughts and our feelings. Emotional resilience.
My wish for our community is that we start to be a bit more mindful (pun intended) of ourselves.
PS. If my personal story resonates with anyone, please feel free to get in touch with me. I would be so happy to sit down and chat.
How to practice emotional first aid | Guy Winch