Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Tribe Life Tuesday: The Raw Reality

Being health conscious is a normative practice in our U.S. culture these days.  Among the millennials and Gen Xers there is this craze to eat organic, raw, clean, natural, etc. This is great! But what I’m even more excited about is that this is a type and shadow of what is going on emotionally in these 2 generations. The awareness of emotional and mental health is on the rise and I, for one, am grateful. For all the “feelers” out there like yours truly, this is a WIN for us.

So, today I want to invite you to sit at my dining room table with me, with all the fall décor up and the crisp, cool breeze swimming through the open windows. Please, come in and join me and let’s talk.

Emotional wellness is vital to our health, though it is sometimes treated as a burden.

So what is it? I’m so glad you asked!

Mental or emotional health refers to your overall psychological well-being. It includes the way you feel about yourself, the quality of your relationships, your ability to manage feelings and deal with difficulties, and how much meaning and joy you derive from life.

Good mental health isn't just the absence of mental health problems such as depression or anxiety. Rather, it's the presence of positive characteristics, such as being able to cope with life's challenges, handle stress, build strong relationships, and recover from setbacks.
Here’s the science: mental and emotional health problems often arise when your nervous system has been compromised by overwhelming amounts of stress.

Neuroscience shows that the body's natural and most efficient method for coping with stress is face-to-face social contact with a trusted person.

This is why mental and emotional health is so closely linked with social health: helping yourself involves reaching out and connecting emotionally to others. (Click here to read the reference for this).

Let’s just pause for a minute to think about that one……….

All I can say is: Thank God for my TRIBE!!!

Reading the article referenced above caused me to ask myself what holds me back from connection and emotional intimacy? I generally am attracted to people who are authentic and raw, because I see tremendous beauty in that. I am attracted to their willingness to be open and to trust me with intangible, fragile places in their mind and heart. What an invaluable gift!

Millennials, my generation, aren’t looking for polished, refined people who appear to have it all together; we’re ok with mess and process. A fellow blogger and dear friend of mine put it so eloquently, “our generation, the millennials, can smell the bull from a mile away.” There is a low tolerance for the “polished”.  We all have mess and it’s ok, but hiding the mess is not ok. And let me be clear when I say hiding our mess is not ok- I mean hiding it from EVERYONE is not ok. Find your tribe: the ones who want what’s best for you, the ones who graciously hold you accountable, and the ones who speak the truth in love. Once you find them, let them in. Pain is hard enough, walking it out alone is sure to make it harder.

We are made for relationship, it makes us better by growing our greatness and minimizing our weakness. A motto I have grown to love is: community/ tribe is where we get to multiply joys and divide sorrows. Have you found this to be true in your life?

To truly be part of a community, to have real relationships, requires some rawness. Your tribe will be the ones who’ve seen the best and worst of you, the most raw parts of you, but still accept you as you are. For some of you this is terrifying, and that’s ok, just start somewhere. For me, being raw and authentic has never been an issue; at my core I have always valued authenticity and organic relationship. I’ve always thought that being emotionally healthy takes some level of rawness. So, let’s see raw defined:

(of food) uncooked, fresh
            (of a material or substance) in its natural state; not yet processed or purified.
            (of a part of the body) red and painful, especially as the result of skin abrasion.
                        (of the weather) bleak, cold, and damp.
                        (of an emotion or quality) strong and undisguised.

As we read those definitions would you say they were pretty accurate? Even the ones that are not referring directly to emotion are applicable.

Some of us work hard on our physical health, we push our bodies in workouts to get stronger and test our endurance. We are food conscious, mostly ingesting foods that contribute positively to our health. And when we see progress, when we’ve lost those extra pounds and were starting to see our muscles' definition, it feels great. While working out and taking care of our physical bodies is incredibly important, I encourage you to always be working on your emotional health as well. Do we ever “arrive” and coast at perfect emotional health? Probably not. It’s something I will always be working on, and on the especially hard days, I’ll remember it’s a process, trust it, embrace the journey, and, most importantly, stay with your Tribe.

Hope to see you next Tuesday!

No comments: