Mental Health | 7 min read
How You Feel About Yourself
Are There Really Any Straight Lines?
Buckminster Fuller, one of the greatest minds of humanity, famously stated quite simply “there are no straight lines”. It’s the universal law that all lines are made of peaks and dips.
Although things may look straight, if you look close enough, you will always find the ups and downs, the wiggles and curves on every path. This is a great way to understand how we feel about ourselves and what naturally we are built to experience.
Picture a graph of property prices. We know over time prices trend upwards and if we zoom out to a simplified view, the line may even look quite smooth and straight. But the reality is, there are a lot of ups and downs making up this line when we look closely.
In those moments, it feels volatile, bumpy and unpredictable, with many challenging times needing to be overcome to maintain that upward trend. In hindsight, however, we know the line is quite predictable and the drama of the volatility was just a moment in time.
We humans are just the same. We have many challenges to overcome and although we aim to maintain an upward trend in our lives, the ride can be very bumpy indeed. Life is full of peaks and dips and it is some of these deeper dips which can sometimes make us feel like we just cannot go on.
In such a place and moment of despair, it can be hard to believe that with each dip there is always a peak just around the corner. It’s the way the universe works… it challenges us, put’s us under pressure and forces us to find our way out to again lift ourselves back on the upward path.
It’s the way we learn, the way we grow and the way we become a better person.
My friend felt like he was “bad” and “wasn’t good enough” when to those around him, nothing could have been further from the truth.
He was a tradie and a brilliant one at that.
Like many tradies however, particularly from an earlier generation, school wasnt the best measure for his true talents. His contempt for school, his unwillingness to fit in and the way in which he challenged himself and others to think differently, deemed him less than “studious”.
This and the many knock on experiences, can make someone feel inferior. This perceived lack of fit combined with taking the so called ‘second tier choice’ of a trade, sets a false path of limited belief in one’s self, which continues well beyond school years. This see-saw of amazing ability versus deep self doubt was something I noticed in my friend and something I spent a lot of time trying to support him with in years gone by.
What if in a moment of darkness we can’t find our way back?
What is the answer to this question and how do we function when the weight of this darkness seems too much to bare?
As the writer of this short tale and one who has recently lost a dear friend to such a weight, the only possible answer I can find is to…
“Forget making sense of the weight itself.
Decide only to bare this weight with the help of others”
Just like continuously trying and failing to lift a heavy object whilst others stand around in anticipation of helping, you must let them in. You must let them help shift this heavy weight, as together the burden shared is so much easier to move.
Why then do many people in this situation not ask for help?
Why do they continue to try alone when they know they are just not capable of doing it alone?
Do they feel embarrassed or ashamed? Do they feel unworthy or weak? Do they lack the courage to speak up?
Maybe they just see asking for help is trouble or a bother to others.
If I ask you now, which is more important to you… giving or receiving?
I am betting that without even a second thought, you immediately answered “giving”.
It’s important to know that the gift of giving is something we all enjoy and whenever we have the opportunity to help others, we are also given an opportunity to feel good about ourselves.
We all desire this feeling.
If you yourself are feeling trapped in a dip, full of negative emotions and you cannot see a way out for yourself, I implore you please… know that asking someone to help you is an opportunity we are all seeking and awaiting, and it will be greatly appreciated.
Be it a close family member, a neighbour, a work colleague or even a total stranger, we all desire the need to help others and to rob us of that opportunity is more of a burden than the act of helping itself.
We are not too busy.
It’s not a burden.
You are not a distraction.
You are worthy… and yes, we dearly appreciate you for allowing us the opportunity to help.
We are all travellers on one little blue spaceship in a very large empty expanse we call the universe and we all have a duty to love and care for one another above all else. In fact, without this, we all feel a little lonely and less human.
I am lucky enough to travel the world and experience many people and many cultures, and this I know is a basic universal truth.
Will you continue to experience life’s peaks and dips?
Of course you will. That’s life and that’s the way it all works.
But please have faith and trust that with every dip and every challenge presented, there is always a peak to come and an opportunity to grow waiting just around the corner. It’s all part of life’s wiggles and twists. Just choose to allow others in and to do it much easier together.
Remember always to take a much wider view of the very long life you are here to live.
Allow others the wonderful opportunity of helping you in your time of need. And, if you are lucky enough, they may just allow you that very same opportunity at some point in their life too.
Written in memory of Steven William Lovett.
A great mate who will forever be missed.
If you are caught in a dip right now, please allow someone the opportunity of helping you. Please use these resources below to take a small step forward: