Our lives are mostly governed by norms or rules of social engagement, individual and collective behaviours that are brought on by cultural and socio/economic contexts.
Whether pressured by peers, family, school, or media, the fact is that we are made to adhere to these norms and indeed end up exerting pressure onto others for the same purpose.
Our constant adaptation especially in our coming of age years, present a conundrum, one that often leads us to ask, who are we? Are we mere automatons that comply with who we are told to be or do we actually choose per our individuality?
In my opinion, both paths are taken and both of them carry with them their consequences. We adapt to belong and in doing so we give some of our individuality to the collective. This can be seen in the way we talk, the words we use to be part of the lingo, the clothes we use, the people we hang out with.
After some time we tend to make “better” choices that are more in tune with who we are and so we may change our surroundings, lingos and clothes. In any case, these are still messengers that highlight our “status” in the social world.
All is well and good when these adaptations and transfers go smoothly. However, that is not the case when the collective pressure tells us that we are transgressing what is allowed.
Mental health or more explicitly, being able to talk and be open about our issues, has been a huge transgression since ever. Mostly because we are supposed to be these ridiculous superheroes that are brave all the time and are made to not talk about our insecurities, problems and anxieties, believing they will go away if we make a huge effort to put them in the back of our mind.
I have news for that norm. You are more often than not the root cause of many miss communications between peers, siblings, and even the working environment. You suck. Go away.
It is only nowadays that platforms are being created so that individuals can talk freely about what goes on with them and thus create awareness around our collective wellbeing.
There is still a long way to go to “normalise” this dimension of human existence, which is, “what goes on inside our minds when no one is looking”.
One has but to remember the Simone Biles or Naomi Osaka who dared to speak about their minds. The mixed reactions seen on social media were of praise and berate.
Most of us are not famous and our individual voices only go as far as they can. I think that we owe it to at least ourselves to talk, listen and engage in this fascinating endeavour that is our mental space.
I believe in the individual much more than I trust in big groups of people. They need to let go of the idea that vulnerability is weakness and see it for the courageous act it really is.
That is the reason why I write about it and I encourage everyone to allow the normalisation of mental health.
Be kind, it’s nice and cool.