We all have them. Sometimes they're glaring us in the face... but other times, they're invisible yet mighty. Can you identify barriers in your life that are pushing against you as you try to live a value-driven life?
Maybe you'd like to attend your upcoming holiday party, but there's something telling you that you shouldn't go. We should listen to our gut, right? What if it isn't your gut talking, but anxiety or depression? Sometimes anxiety and depression can prevent us from doing the things we deem important, like socializing with others and feeling connected.
So what can we do? Are we helpless to continue letting the voice of depression or anxiety be in charge of what we do? Of course not! It is not an easy path, but it is more than possible, especially with the support of a counsellor.
It might be helpful to create a symbolic image for your depression or anxiety (or whatever else may be in your way of living a value-driven life). For example, the stereotypical image of a rain cloud above you might feel like representation of depression. Each time you notice your depression, anxiety, etc. informing your actions, remind yourself of this image. Picture it as an entity separate from yourself. You are not your depression/anxiety/etc. and it is not you. It is a force that is acting upon you and you are a force that can act upon it with varying degrees of intensity.
So who are you? I like to think about who I am in terms of what I value and how often I act on those values. Sometimes anxiety, depression, stress, trauma, etc. can influence how often we are fully able to express who we are. It's important to challenge their influence on us as much as we can so that we can live a value-driven life (so we can be ourselves!).
You may have heard this quote before:
We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit. -Aristotle
I like to think about this quote in terms of personal excellence- the degree to which we are living a value driven life. It is not an effortless path to be ourselves, especially if we have symptoms of a mental health disorder pushing against us constantly.
So, be gentle on yourself. And continue on with creating those wonderful value-driven habits.