Being Mentally And Emotionally Strong.. For The Sake Of It
Many kept saying how mentally and emotionally strong I was, virtually running from pillar to post but, here’s the truth.
I was part of a Non-Profit organisation for 22 years; very contented. Grew it while I personally grew and travelled as a trainer, speaker, award winner and the fancy names, perks, and benefits, which came with the title of a CEO.
When I quit unexpectedly in 2020, many said I made the right decision. That, I must have been mentally and emotionally strong to give up everything I loved doing for two decades. Then, when some heard I was pursuing my Doctorate last year, (regardless of why) many again said I must be mentally strong, to embarking on a back-to-school journey with research, university lectures and writings.
When I co-founded the Health on a World Foundation or Yayasan HOW (YHOW), right smack during the pandemic mid-2020, many applauded and said it was timely. Since the Foundation is advocating mental, emotional and physical well-being, I became the ‘go to’ person to answer and solve suicidal issues, domestic problems, poverty, abuse, job placements, hunger, financial advice and the endless requests that haven’t stopped the past one year. I was like the walking ‘yellow pages’.
Don’t get me wrong, I was and am glad to assist. As a multitasker I juggled. I connected, collaborated, opened doors, counselled, financed, raised funds, coached, mentored, taught, trained, listened, advised and accomplished numerous things with the help of many kind people. If I could get a dollar for every virtual pat on the back, thumbs up, ‘thank you’ messages, gifts or complimentary posts the past year, I would be able to buy a new iPhone now.
Many kept saying how mentally and emotionally strong I was, virtually running from pillar to post. (After all, I was like a one-stop-shop centre).
But, here’s the truth...
I went to bed very late and tired. Worried for the many I couldn’t assist and fell asleep making plans on how to help them. It’s like I owed so many people so many things. I had my research to do and papers to submit. Meanwhile, I took on some consultancy work since last year, had training, talks, meetings and sessions. I had to follow strict timelines some days to fit in the many other things I needed and wanted to do.
Hence I had to ask myself. How am I doing? Am I ok? Am I over-burdened? While I was tired and a little drained, I had no complaints about what I had to do. Just the support from some people lacked, which meant I had to do more than what I had pledged to do. That was irritating and often created some tension in my system. So was I endlessly doing things because everyone said I was mentally and emotionally strong? But, I was happy doing it no?
Wanting reaffirmation, that I was on the right track with the right intentions, I decided to speak to a professional who didn’t know me personally. I wanted an honestly honest opinion from someone who would just call it as they saw it.
He listened and finally shot straight with a question “what would you actually like to know because you have justified so clearly and precisely, why you do, everything that you do? Do you have a question?”
Stunned (very rare for me), I was silent. He asked, “what would make you sit down and not move for two hours?”
“Colouring” I replied.
He gave me some homework. In the past two weeks, I have started to colour. I have many of those adult colouring books with intricate designs, which need patience and superb skills. It takes my mind off everything else and it’s therapeutic. (plus I do a good job I must say).
I completed the task at hand diligently (while colouring) and we concluded with some insightful insights.