We've come to a point where the discussion about mental health and well-being is reducing the time and effort spent dealing with challenges, living with challenges and working our way through them to the other side. Mental wellness includes the ability to successfully face and deal with complications and difficult times, too, and not just being happy.
When we say, 'I just want to be happy,' or even of your child, 'I just want them to be happy,' it's a little sociopathic, right? Instead, we should be aiming to experience the appropriate emotional at the appropriate time and have the strength to weather it. That's the true definition of mental health.
We want, as parents, to tuck our little chicks under our wings, protecting them at all costs. here's the thing though: that denies them the opportunity to learn from those challenges, to fill their toolbox with the necessary skills and tricks, 'hacks' if you will, that they can turn to when their mother hen is not there to save them from the challenge.
Let's equate mental wellness with wholeness.
In fact, I cringe at the concept of happiness. The idea that—I don’t mind people being happy—but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down three things that made you happy today before you go to sleep” and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position. It’s rubbish. Experiencing and knowing the full range of emotions is so important.
Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much.
Yeah, shit happens. Ask yourself, “Is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.