This Fall, I’ll release my new book, Your Turn: Ways to Celebrate Life Through Storytelling. In Your Turn, I invite readers to interact with and reflect on a variety of life topics including gratitude, addiction and spirituality. I challenge them to critically examine their relationship with some of the most influential moments in their lives and delve into their unique emotional histories through storytelling.
The book is borne of my own life’s experience. As an adult, I began to feel empowered to share some of the intimate and sometimes painful stories about the unique path that helped shaped the person I’ve become. By prompting others to open up and share their own personal stories, I hope to give them useful and therapeutic tools that can advance their own personal growth.
Since May is Mental Health Month, I thought it would be the right time to share a preview of a chapter of my book that addresses mental health. The chapter “Letting Go” (Ch. 11), outlines my struggle with embracing imperfection, living life in the present moment and accepting life as it comes.
Letting go is what I consider to be the concept of moving on from people, places, and things that no longer are aligned with my growth as an individual. Coming to this realization is often hard, but a major step in the development of one’s mental health. It begins by asking yourself, what is meaningful in your life? What are the things that are bringing you down? What is preventing you from being the best possible version of yourself?
I also talk about how willpower (the “I can do this all by myself” mentality) is not the same as letting go. Willpower, on its own, was never good enough for me to escape the perils of negative thinking or not being able to let go. Placing absolutes on thoughts and promises (“I must do this” or “I have to do that”) was rarely helpful in providing stability:
“The problem with the word never is that it extends from today until my death. Never is forever…If I promise myself that there is something I will never do and I then break that promise, I have set myself up for failure. But if I follow my own healthy inner voice one day at a time and I end up breaking that promise, I know that the next day is a new day a new start” (Your Turn, pg. 113).
It wasn’t until I started letting go, living in the present moment, that I broke free from the chains of willpower and absolutism. In order to improve one’s mental health, it’s also important to realize that letting go is just another word for acceptance:
“Letting go of any expectation that a day is going to go a particular way also means accepting that that day may proceed differently and accepting that we must find the tools to face that day whether things are going our way or not” (pg. 114).
Acceptance is not the same thing as giving in to apathy. Acceptance is an active choice to accept reality and address life’s given circumstances as best you can.
Readers interested in the topic of mental health will find that Your Turn embraces some of life’s challenging questions about acceptance and letting go. Allowing people to tell their stories as a powerful way to promote healing and moving forward in life is good for the soul and our minds.
© Tyra Manning 2019