Not all heroes wear capes.

There has been some great progress in how we talk about mental health. Many high-profile celebrities and sports people have come out and spoken about their struggles with mental health. They get words of praise, enthusiastic respect and often invitations to speak to captive audiences about their experience. Only good things can come from this as we realise that life is a great leveler. I also believe the more we talk about mental health the more likely people are to seek help if they are struggling. Overall, I can’t see a down side to this.

However, it got me thinking, what about the average person who battles everyday with depression, anxiety or suicidal thoughts. Or what about those average people who face some of life’s greatest challenges and battle on with no fanfare or recognition of what they have achieved. In Arthur Millers, Death of a Salesman there is the famous quote “A small man can be just as exhausted as a great man”. Let me clear, I don’t think any life or person is more important than another. I just wanted to make the distinction between those who are able to share their experiences because of their social or celebrity status and those who for the most part suffer and recover in silence.

I speak to and hear about so many people who have battled for years and not only dealt with their mental health issues but also many who have overcome them. Everyday people who overcame their own challenges and many who start programs and charities to help others who are struggling. You know who you are and what you have accomplished. So, I would like to congratulate you on your achievements, away from the fanfare and admiration of peers and the public. You are the true heroes.

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Phil Miranda

Source: Death of a Salesman: Certain Private Conversations in Two Acts and a Requiem (Penguin Modern Classics)

Can you change the past?

This is not a post about physics or time travel. However, the short answer to the question, can you change the past is yes, albeit a tentative yes, but still a yes. Now I know that sounds like a bold statement but hang in there and hopefully I can show you what I mean. As the year comes to a close it is often a time when we reflect on the year that has been. I hope 2018 has been a wonderful year for you and your loved ones. It is likely however there are things that happened that are not pleasant memories.

The key word in that last sentence is “memories”. The past is just a thought about something that has happened. We can’t go back to the past, there is no physical place called the past, it is just a thought. Thoughts are what create our world. Look around at any man-made object in this world and realise that it started with a thought. Thoughts are creative, they create objects, they create emotions which in turn create actions. All of life is lived between the ears. What if you were to reframe the thoughts of the past that were not so pleasant by looking for the positive and then as best you can let go completely of those thoughts from the past where you can’t find a positive.

Obviously, some major life events, such as the passing of a loved one or a major relationship breakup are not something that can be forgotten. This is not about denying sad feelings or telling people to just get over something. Grief and loss are very real and need to be worked through and processed in your own time, nobody else’s. But what about all those other life experiences. How we choose to remember them can not only have a huge influence of the way we feel now but can essentially change the past. After all the past is just a memory, just a series of thoughts. Try choosing thoughts about the past that are peaceful, pleasant and empowering. Maybe like many people your childhood wasn’t ideal, but I bet there were many good times. Why not focus solely on the good times and see how that feels. Looking back over 2018 think about all the good times even if they seem small and insignificant and maybe just maybe, it can change your past.  

Wishing you all the best in your journey

Phil Miranda       

The Untrue Story of You: How to Let Go of the Past that Creates You, and Become Fully Alive in the Present