View profile

3 Important Questions--Risk Being YOU

A month ago, I wrote about three questions. They were questions that got to the heart of a pain and l
3 Important Questions--Risk Being YOU
A month ago, I wrote about three questions.
They were questions that got to the heart of a pain and longing that most of us feel.
The longing to feel heard–to feel understood.
Here are the questions:

  1. Why do I need others to understand me?
  2. What if nobody understands me ever?
  3. Do I even understand myself?

Now I want to take a step back and explain why we ask these kinds of questions in the first place.
There’s an important lesson in zooming out and taking the 30,000-foot view.
It’s not just about the questions themselves.

The Quest to Be Understood
Even lone travelers find meaning in relation to others.
Even lone travelers find meaning in relation to others.
Imagine you’re a pioneer hundreds of years ago. Your task in life is to survive, to roam around, and to make the most of what you have.
For the most part, you’re on your own.
You may come across the random person here or there, but, largely, you’re exploring the vast landscape before you and in your mind.
Now imagine that you’re that same pioneer and traveler, but you’re a bit older.
You can’t fend for yourself as well as you used to. You need to find others to support you in your journey.
You’re still you, but now you need to work with others to survive and get the most out of life.
How might your perspective change?
Most people go through circular journeys of solitude and seeking mixed with community and camraderie.
One is not necessarily better than the other.
But what happens inside the mind of the pioneer who is used to spending most of her time alone and figuring it out for herself?
She’s always going to have her experiences and thoughts to fall back on.
But does her newfound community know that? Do her experiences and thoughts matter to them?
It’s a scary idea.
This is the challenge when you’re tasked with being part of a group.
How much of your own life experiences can you safely share with others?
I struggled with this throughout my teens, into college, and even through most of my adult life.
I thought I could go it alone and figure out the world all by myself. I thought I could be totally self-sufficient.
I couldn’t.
Because I needed others to help me make sense of what I was experiencing.
And to connect with others, I felt that I needed to put who I was–the Real Me–in the background. I didn’t feel good enough, and I didn’t feel like people would appreciate my unique take on life.
I felt like a loner, an oddball, a weirdo–you name it.
It was a label I slapped on myself, and it was my reality at the time.
But, over time, it hurt too much to not be myself. It was soul-crushing and zapping my energy in the process.
And so I took the risk to share my innermost thoughts with the world through my writing at first, and then, later, through speaking in front of–and with–groups of people.
What I learned is that we all have a need to be understood. And it’s not about the nature of what I was sharing.
It was something else entirely, and this shocked me.
Simply putting myself out there and being vulnerable gave others permission to do the same.
My experiences were unique to me, yes, but they pointed to a reality that we all share: the belief that no can ever know who we truly are.
By talking about my quest, I gave people permission to think deeply and speak openly about theirs.
It was–and is–an indirect way to other people’s unique truths.
So when you ask yourself the three questions I listed above, you’re not only inquiring for yourself.
You’re tapping into something that we all share.
What you choose to share with the world is unique to you, but the process is universal.
The desire to be understood exists within all of us.
When you shine a light on who you are, others can choose to step into that light if they wish. They can borrow that light to share their own stories. Or they can use your courage to create some of their own and switch on their own light at some point in the future.
Your individual experiences are unique, and your choice to share them is yours.
But if you do–and I hope you do–you make it brighter, and therefore, safer, for others to do the same.
How you use your light is up to you.
How you use your light is up to you.
Does this idea resonate with you? Do you ever feel like a loner who will never feel understood? I hope you’ll think about this, write about this, or talk about this at some point this week.


P.S. Please share this newsletter with whomever needs it. Forward it to a friend or colleague. Talk about your favorite part with a family member. One small discussion can be life-changing.

Did someone forward this to you? They must think highly of you. If you liked what you read, you can sign up here.
Did you enjoy this issue?
Become a member for $10 per month
Don’t miss out on the other issues by Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate
Jordan Brown - Mental Health Newsletter Writer, Poet, Social Worker, and Advocate

The Mental Health Update provides you with authentic mental health articles that make mental health issues like depression, anxiety, and OCD meaningful AND accessible.

This is different from typical mental health newsletters and articles.

It's not just an Anxiety Email Newsletter or a Depression Email Newsletter - It's three weekly articles packed with timeless mental health wisdom and inspiration to start your day in a thoughtful, uplifting way.

I was tired of other newsletters blasting out generic lists of links and articles. And I was especially tired of them not focusing on the everyday reality of mental health issues.

So I decided to come up with something I wanted to read.

This health newsletter is like a caring friend that just wants you to feel better.

Mental health awareness articles don't need to be all doom and gloom and filled with jargon.

With The Mental Health Update, you'll get practical mental health information, tips, and new ways to view the world. Especially now, with people reeling from the effects of the COVID 19 pandemic, we need trusted voices telling it like it is.

We discuss topics like anxiety, depression, OCD, the mental health to mental illness spectrum, social and communication skills, and much, much more.

This is what a few subscribers had to say about The Mental Health Update:

"If you haven't yet subscribed to Jordan's mental health newsletter, you absolutely should. It's chock full of good stuff to read and will help make your day better. Not unlike a daily vitamin for your mental health and soul..." - JR

"Encouragement from someone who has “been there” when it comes to mental health struggles. Comes in the form of stories and simple, actionable tips for reframing and working with - and through - your issues. One of the few newsletters that has survived my ruthless inbox decluttering sprees. Highly recommended!" - Kelila

"Jordan's mental health update is a welcomed email in my inbox. It often provides me with a chance to break from the mundane tasks of working in an office and take a moment for myself to hear his thoughtful and well put together thoughts on many aspects of mental health. As someone who works in the psychology field it's often a nice reminder and way of grounding myself to all the great work that's going on and the journey we all must take in supporting mental health. Thank you Jordan!" - Rob

I take my no-spam policy very seriously. I consider it a mental health obligation to not abuse your trust.

Newsletter articles sent on Monday and Wednesday.

Members receive detailed information from those articles on Tuesday and Thursday AND an exclusive Friday email as well.

You can manage your subscription here
If you were forwarded this newsletter and you like it, you can subscribe here.
Powered by Revue
Missoula, MT