[This post was originally written for puttylike.com]
I never really grew out of childishness.
It’s just so fun. Children get to be curious, silly, and playful. And there’s something delightfully mindful about the capacity they have to get absorbed in an activity for hours on end.
Naturally, we can’t remain entirely childlike forever, but I’ve been thinking lately about which parts of childishness we might benefit from, even now we’re Definitely Responsible Adults. (Which I am.) (Honest.)
Recently, somebody asked me for advice about making a big decision.
Obviously, the fact they were asking me demonstrates terrible judgement, so I told them whatever decision they THOUGHT they should make, they should probably do the opposite.
Don’t hold onto a certain bad due to fear of an uncertain good
I haven’t yet figured out when to keep pushing through difficulties, and when to give up, stop and recharge.
But I’m trying this: if one approach isn’t working, use the other one.
[post status: a little rough, but there’s something useful buried in here!]
Here’s some advice you might hear if you’re dealing with anxiety:
“It doesn’t matter WHY you’re struggling, accept the feelings and focus instead on the present”
Sounds great. But, then, so does this: “we should confront and heal our past traumas so they stop bothering us in the present”!
And these good-sounding bits of advice seem to be contradictory..!
How are we supposed to know WHEN to confront past traumas, and when to let go and focus on the present?
(And I bet you’ve come across loads more of these seemingly-contradictory pairs of advice.)
Here’s an answer I often return to:
You might be interested in this talk I was invited to give recently at the University of Liverpool.
The occasion was “Working Conversations”, a conference intended to discuss what a better mental health service might look like.
I was invited to share my experiences with anxiety, some thoughts about custard, and to throw open a few questions for the ‘proper’ experts to consider during their discussions for the rest of the day.
Hopefully I did an alright job! You can see the talk via this link.
I’m very interested in your feedback, so please do let me know what you make of it below!