Mental Health and Professionalism: Hand in hand


Mental Health and Professionalism: Hand in hand

For the sake of this blog post, I would like to take a moment to talk about character and personhood differences when it comes to emotional self-regulation and the coping skills that provide people the means of having healthy, fruitful lives.

I do not understand many popular misconceptions about people’s differences. To me, knowing how to take care of oneself and take an active interest in those around you simply makes someone a well-rounded person. It implies passion and a willingness to attend to others needs that extend outside of oneself. It makes you a better employee, a better friend, family member, or partner. It makes you someone people enjoy being around.

Now, no one person is perfect. That was never the point. But there are many different facets to emotional health that are simply not valued in a traditional sense. Because many people who have traditional views about emotions are often less likely to confront their emotions in a healthy way, many do not accept them in others. Many people do not respect individual differences, and as a result, those individuals are generally a lot less happy.

I believe that the marks of a good friendship include having friends of all ages, to be someone you can trust despite shifting circumstances, and to genuinely appreciate one another. I have some friends like that, and I value them. But as I start a new semester and a new season in my life, having decided to grow up in a lot of ways that I had to actively work through and accept, I know that I need to focus on nonjudgmentally evaluating which relationships are healthy or not for me as a person.

That makes sense; we all want people to be able to accept us for who we are. However, you need to be able to accept others for who they are for that to happen. Whenever people talk about emotions, there is somehow this unspoken rule that a) you don’t talk about them or b) you are solely responsible for conflict that results from discussing them. That was how I was raised in a lot of ways, and it truly did hurt me. I have to let that go in little pieces every day, but when I say that I have forgiven, there is no looking back. Because I know personally what kind of scars denying such a large part of a person can cause, I talk about this stuff. I don’t do it for my own benefit necessarily, but I believe that in using myself as an example, I might be able to help others feel less alone who are living through similar situations, which are in no way their responsibility to walk through alone. I may not have to know people to achieve some sort of understanding or connection with them. I think in many ways, that might overwhelm me, as I learn to embrace being truly content and happy. But I know a lot about hard times. I try to share.

It bothers me that being willing to discuss emotions could potentially put me at a disadvantage to be hired for a decent job in traditional perspectives. In my family, we have a long history of “mental health issues”. That doesn’t scare me; I know those things can be overcome with time, proper communication, and life style changes to help account for what might be missing. I do not know what exactly is there, but I think it is interesting that communication and genetic material is passed down through families, and it would not surprise me whatsoever if the problems most people face when they are seeking help or treatment for mental health issues boil down to simple communication struggles.

We each deserve to define our own health using our own understanding. That may present problems in people who are aging in and out of health or have a disability, but that is something that people should be aware of, regardless of who decides to try to define what is and what is not good for someone.

Now, I am not advocating for misinformation here. I just know personally that a solution boils down to mostly what works for you and the ability to critically analyze well enough and self-motivate oneself to achieve the goals you have for yourself, regardless of if you have any kind of diagnosis or are just another person. As people transition further into the digital age, this is rather obvious. Many websites have a lot of information that is untrue, poorly told, or generally dangerous for people’s individual health. We’ve opened a Pandora’s box that we were not entirely prepared for, and if you are able to evaluate situations well, you will be much better able to address the obvious complications that discerning from large amounts of information may produce.

I am not a scientist. I have no credentials. But I believe that individual people need the opportunity to define their own success for it to truly matter. I believe those things are within each person’s reach that has the ability and access to the resources they need to have those become a reality. I believe that not everyone does. I know it matters to have networks of concerned citizens that have a healthy understanding of mental health concerns and issues. This cannot be a social worker issue any longer; this is an all persons, healthy families and community’s issue. It cannot be so simple.

I consider myself an advocate. Where I live in Kansas, people do not necessarily respect that any extra on the job market, unless you seek jobs by people who truly know the value of it. I understand that; people want employees they can trust to be accountable and responsible, to do their jobs to the best of their abilities and separate their professional responsibilities from their personal ones. That is obvious.

But I believe strongly that people who have these skills are much better equipped to do that given stressful situations, because they have had to have practice thinking critically, evaluating situations, and learning to respect differences. In my experience, people who live with mental health concerns are basically everyone else, but they may be more willing to talk about it or discuss what needs fixing. Most people deal with unpleasant emotions in their lives; if you don’t, I’m concerned for you somewhat but I respect your right to live your life however you please. I would ask the same thing for people like me.

Work ethic matters in the professional world, and usually, people who have had to struggle to maintain a strong performance in specific areas of their lives due to troubling circumstances have needed to build those skills in order to embrace health. Those skills are the same ones that guard against burnout. They smooth over differences and help problem solve and resolve conflicts. They are healthy to have in the workplace, and they improve the professional environment by simply being aware and attentive to things that are unhealthy. People don’t need megaphones or billboards for this; they just need to be there and able to deal with unpleasant realities.

Emotional self-regulation and coping skills help you become a better employee over time. They make you a valuable addition to any team, and they help promote collaboration and differences between people, which helps invest in others and eventually, lead from experience. From what I have seen, people with these skills are more able to have candid conversations, discussing benefits and negative aspects of decision making, and come to independent decisions respectfully. If you are aware of your emotions, you may be able to use that prior knowledge to be more sensitive to the needs of others during times of conflict or potential heart break that come with any work place. That is good and it good for others who are seeking that closure as life circumstances change. It helps minimize grudges during and after people work for a company or organization. It helps promote and attitude of success.

Often, people who live strong emotions can help others think about things in a slightly different light. They are creative, because they have a lot of material to draw upon. They understand that doing things differently isn’t always bad, and depending on the person, they can be more flexible with deadlines and harsh situations than people who have never experienced the tug and pull of having to just make it work on a daily, extensive basis. Every person goes through cycles with their health, and people who have experienced and pulled themselves out of harmful situations are not just better equipped to help others do the same, they are more in tune with the reality that everyone has struggles.


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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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