When the lovely gems at The Rising Tide Society asked me if I would be interested in contributing a post for Mental Health Awareness Month, I was incredibly honored. This is a community that has provided me with so much love and support throughout the growth of my business.
I wrote about my battle with mental health; where my struggle started and how it affected being an entrepreneur. I then talked about the strategies and coping skills I’ve learned, and continue to use time and time again, that help get me through this crazy thing called life. I made a point to mention how necessary it is for us to get comfortable living in our own mental spaces and finished off on a note about self-development.
I promise, it’s a really powerful piece and you should go read it here.
I used to see my depression and anxiety as a burden – like it was holding me back from the life I could be living. But when I finished the post and read it over, I was overcome with a flood of appreciation, which was, well… odd.
And then I starting to think about it it…
Had I not been dealt this hand (more on my story and all that jazz here), I would have never taken the time to explore my own head – to not only know, but also understand my doubts, fears, and stress triggers. I understand myself, what I want, and what I need better than I did before, which gives me a baseline to latch onto when I’m in a state of “not okay” so that I can address the source, rather than the symptom.
I think I understand other people better too. When a client (or anyone else) takes their frustration out on me, I no longer think, “why are they doing this to me?”, now my thought process is, “I have no idea what they’re dealing with personally.”
Plus, my conflicts internally were ultimately what led me to create our #GemNation community for entrepreneurs (if you own a business, you can get access to the Facebook Group by signing up here), which is quite possibly the best business decision I’ve made thus far. What I’ve been through allows me to relate to you guys. Every day, our community is what gives me the support I need to continue starting conversations about this difficult topic (because let me tell you, vulnerability is not always easy).
I also have more empathy and compassion because I learned that being supportive on the days when I feel empty, where I think I have nothing left to give, actually fuels the fire in my soul rather than emptying out my cup.
I can (most, not all, of the time) stay grounded, observe my emotions before reacting, and find value (instead of frustration) in both good and bad situations.
In complete honestly, I think I would have given up on this journey of owning a business a long time ago if this “baggage” wasn’t a part of my load.
So you know what, Gem? Whatever you’re going through, it’s probably not going to go away. But, the load will get lighter. You will find a way to fold your shit into a pretty, snazzy suitcase (examples below) that you don’t mind carrying around with you. That way, when a robber, hater, failure, or whatever else life wants to throw in your face comes at you, you can stand up and fight back by smacking it with your lovely, color coordinated luggage rather than having to turn your back and run away. Your baggage provides the necessary structure for you to carry around the rest of your life stuff in. Without your luggage, where are you going to put all the good things and how will you keep them with you?
Don’t leave your baggage behind. Just learn to fold it and haul it around a bit differently. Get a different suitcase. You’ll be surprised how much it can support and protect you.