I have an unusual lull in my schedule today and I want to use it to reflect and share some of the lessons I’ve learned this past year.
1.) It’s Okay To Not Be Okay
When my dad passed, I had trouble grieving. I didn’t even know how to do it. I felt like a robot when I asked my therapist, “How do people grieve? What should I be feeling right now?”
Although death and grief is inevitable. Grief talk doesn’t feel that kosher. Especially in our instagram-curated world.
People want you to bounce back right away and work through the pain. And although, I agree, motion and momentum is important to recover from loss. Stillness is under-appreciated. Which leads me to the next lesson.
2.) Silence Is Healing
Silence is healing - even if you don’t understand why. This is hard for me because I want answers. I want studies, reports, and data supporting why something works. But when you’re hurting, the means aren’t as important as the results. You may not like to take aspirin, but if you have a crushing headache, just take the freaking aspirin already!
Once I finished a couple books on how to grieve (Again, because I’m a robot that’s just learning how to feel), nothing made me feel better than taking some time for myself to just breathe. Not meditate per-say. Just headphone free silence.
I don’t give my faith away easily, but I have a faith in silence.
3.) Self-Help Is An Oxymoron
I have a bigger self-help library than anyone I know. I consume the stuff like hippos and ping pong balls. But what if self-help isn’t that helpful? What if it just makes you feel bad for not doing more? What if it makes you feel like “how to be a person” is a secret?
That’s how it made me feel. I overloaded my plate with this nutrition free advice and felt worse for it.
Here’s the thing: If you need help, then that means you need to connect with someone outside yourself. If you can just help your self, then you don’t need help!
If you don’t know who to ask for help, then ask the person you trust the most to help you find the right person.
4.) You Lose Loved Ones More Than Once
Anytime I have a random memory of my dad, I then remember that he passed away, and I feel like I have to lose him all over again.
On the flip side, it gives me a chance to be grateful for our memories together.
5.) It Doesn’t Matter What I Think
I’ve been in and out of therapy for the past 10 years. At some point, I’d always close off from my therapist and start thinking I knew more than they did. Then I’d get mad about how stupid they are. After that I’d ghost on them, have a meltdown 6 months later, and start the process over again.
I seriously stopped seeing one therapist because he wouldn’t laugh at my jokes. Actually, I still feel justified about that one.
Amanda finally called me out on my pattern. She hit her breaking point when I came home with 10 books on how to meditate saying I was quitting therapy again.
“You’ve never really given medication or therapy a real shot. What’s the longest you’ve lasted on medication or therapy? 3 Months?”
She was right. It was another lesson in, “it doesn’t matter what I think about the means,” I just needed to trust the process. I still think 99.9% of my therapy sessions are a waste. But it doesn’t matter what I think. All that matters is that I’m all in.
And so now I focus on that .1% that isn’t a waste. Because there’s always one phrase that will stick out from a session. And all I have to do is respect the value of that one phrase (or one word) I needed to hear.
That’s how I learned, “silence is healing — even if I don’t understand why.”
6.) Don’t Train Your Kids
I was terrified that Maya, my 3 year old, wouldn’t be potty trained in time for preschool. And I was getting upset when she wouldn’t use the potty. It felt like a personal attack. Eventually I bought 3 toddler potties. One for each room. And she still wouldn’t use them!
Then I talked to her pediatrician who asked,
“Does she have dry diapers when she wakes up?”
“Oh, she doesn’t have enough bladder control to be potty trained, yet. “
So here I was, getting red in the face at my daughter, for not doing something she wasn’t even physically capable of doing. I might as well have been yelling at her to flap her wings and fly.
Kids don’t grow up on our timelines. Say Maya wasn’t ready for preschool, then maybe I could have taken her to a daycare for a little while. My job isn’t to train my daughter, my job is to give her the right environment to grow in.
7.) Never Give Unsolicited Advice — Especially To Parents
Maybe something I'll figure out next year… ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Johnny Magz is a public speaker, health coach, INFJ, recovering perfectionist, and proud dad. He loves to share stories about health, self development, and comedy.