When I was in a key developmental stage (teens) I was granted many “mental health days.” Sounds helpful, right? Sounds like my folks were cool, compassionate, and understanding. That was the intent but the concept was…misleading. And, as it turns out, debilitating.
Hindsight is 20/20 (or close to it maybe, but that’s another post) so I can’t be certain, but here’s what I acquired from those days. I gained:
–Temporary relief; taken off the hook
–Escapism and distractions
–Wallowing in my problems
Here’s what I lost:
–Healthy anxiety and pressure
–Chances to develop a growth mindset by learning how to overcome a real problem.
–Focus on the issues instead of me as the issue.
–Being forced to discover passions, what really matters to me, and striving to reach goals.
I don’t know if I’m bitter or just plain angry, but I really feel a loss. I feel duped. Not that I’m blaming them, but rather I am seeing the choices I made myself. I feel so much regret that I missed the forest for the trees over and over and over. Instead of reinforcing success and stretching, I was reinforcing negativity and quitting.
Sometimes one of the greatest things you can do for your children (or friends, employees, students) is to keep their feet to the flame. Instead of removing the pressure, encourage them and help just enough so that they can know that they did it.