my sister sent me yet another email educating me on the mindfulness process. this time it came with a video.
the video has a premise that mindfulness is like living in blue sky. even in a hurricane, the blue sky is still there; it’s only a matter of finding the way back to it.
this is my response on how she could help me find a way back to my patch of blue sky.
the blue sky is always there. the question is how to get back. while in a hurricane, the thought of blue sky seems impossible. the swirl of the hurricane works to bind depressed people in. while in the hurricane the thought of mindfulness is just a pipe dream since energy seems to go almost exclusively to keeping one’s head above water.
something exists that can shorten or even make the trip to blue skies even possible, acknowledgments. they help to remind someone they are okay and even lovable as they are and where they are. not hearing this helps to keep them trapped in the whirling hurricane since they have such a great discomfort with who and where they are. surprisingly the message that, “you’re okay even though you’re troubled.”, serves to work on self-acceptance and helps to disperse the power of the hurricane.
unfortunately, one acknowledgment can not free someone from a hurricane, especially if it is a class 5 mega-hurricane. it takes many acknowledgments to allow for an escape from the hurricane. at times, straying from acknowledgments to other types of support such as solutions, devil’s advocate, comparison or measurement, and misplaced accountability, remind them of their flaws. these all remind the person struggling to get out of the hurricane of their brokenness. generally, people who get sucked in a hurricane are very good at piling on, so they hear the brokenness message and add some more to the brokenness message just for safe measure.
so, what’s the best way to acknowledge. i have come to recognize four types of acknowledgments. they are acknowledge the person, acknowledge the journey, both good and bad, acknowledge their accomplishments, and acknowledge hope. here’s some examples and why they work.
acknowledge the person
i’m glad your here.
i’m glad you’re my sister.
it’s good to see you.
i’m look forward to seeing you.
these statements help to humanize and recognize them as a being. not only a being, but someone who is worthy to be a friend/brother/lover just where they are.
acknowledge the journey, both good and bad
that sounds exciting.
way to go.
you handled that well.
you do ________/that well.
your struggle serves as an inspiration to me.
you are worthy of __________/being free of a given struggle.
your progress inspires awe.
so often in the hurricane, it becomes easy to lose track of the journey. acknowledging the good parts of the journey serves as a reminder that they have done good(sic). acknowledging the bad parts of the journey not only proves that you are listening, it lets them know the hurricane sucks, and their journey is important to you even though they struggle. and finally, that they are worthy of help.
acknowledge their accomplishments
i honor you for __________/doing that.
recognize that you made it through _________.
thanks for __________/what you do for me.
in the hurricane, much of our energy goes to survival. those people can’t see or recognize their accomplishments. by acknowledging their accomplishments, you say, you done good (sic). the reminds the person in the hurricane of their accomplishment. this serves double duty since they can then feel good for both the recognition and the accomplishment.
i am here to support you.
i hope you will get on top of yours struggles.
i hope you will persevere.
i have hope that you will rise above your struggles.
in the hurricane, thrashing about and gasping for air, the feeling of doom with every wave, rain drop and gust of wind increases. despair, the lack of most of their hope, becomes a true possibility. people who lose all hope, give up and sink into the abyss. someone’s got to fill the struggling people’s hope tank, remind them that they can make it through, be their rah rah.
with enough acknowledging the person can finally catch their breath and have some energy to spare. they can swim for a little while, and see a beach. now they can finally imagine laying on the beach. the thought of mindfulness becomes a possibility. they can now imagine laying out on a beach and taking in the blue sky.
i recognize this may be a lot to digest. these ideas are made even more foreign by our upbringing. unfortunately, or i guess fortunately, depending how you look at it, it has taken me many cycles of depression to accumulate this knowledge. i hope this helps you understand the process of recovering from depression a little bit more and can be an aid to you.
unfortunately, society works against us, too. our society has become a solution based society. we are taught to solve problems from a young age. acknowledgments are disappearing from society. people have forgotten about then or have minimized their importance. without the acknowledgments, people more easily lose track of who and where they are. if you ask me, that becomes a detriment to the very society we live it.
if you take only one thing from this, remember, emotions carry no value of right or wrong; they just are. no matter how you try, they can’t be solved. they can be acknowledged, though, and that acknowledgment helps to calm the storm.
p.s. acknowledgments are equally effective for all. they serve as a little pick me up. they don’t only help depressed people.