By Jeremy Godwin
Welcome to Let’s Talk About Mental Health; I’m Jeremy Godwin and every week I look at one aspect of better mental health and I share practical and straightforward advice that you can apply immediately to improve your wellbeing.
This episode is a bit different than usual, because I’m taking a look at how some of my favourite quotes can help you to really think about better mental health — so get comfortable, and Let’s Talk About Mental Health…
Listen to the podcast episode now in the Spotify player below (or using your preferred podcast service; see below for links) or continue reading for the full transcript.
Watch Episode 50 of Better Mental Health on YouTube — in this latest episode I’m answering your questions about better mental health!
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This podcast episode was originally released on 2 January, 2022.
Hello and welcome to Episode 112, and thanks so much for joining me! And more importantly… welcome to 2022! I hope this new year is full of joy and wonderful opportunities for you, and I wish you fulfilment and meaning (which, if you listened to last week’s episode about abundance, Episode 111, you’ll know that means I’m wishing you an abundant and prosperous year!).
This is a very different style of episode than what I usually do, because today I’m going to be sharing a number of my all-time favourite quotes — mostly ones I haven’t shared before — as a way of encouraging you to spend a bit of time thinking about where you are today and planning for the future. I’m a big fan of reflection and since this episode goes out on January 2nd 2022, it seemed like a good way to ease into the new year with an episode that might (hopefully!) fire your imagination, although it will do that at any time of the year in case you’re listening to this later! And also, full disclosure here, I wrote this episode in November 2021 so that I could take a couple of weeks off at the end of the year, so if you’re listening to this when it first goes out then think of me at home, hopefully with my feet up while enjoying a good book!
I’ll be back to my usual episode style next week; for now this is a simple way for us to take some time together to reflect and consider how you can plan for a fantastic future that is full of personal growth and better mental health.
Quotes are something I use a lot in my work, and I’ve said in past episodes that quotes are kind-of pointless unless you take time to sit and think about what they mean to you and how you might be able to learn from them (which is the entire point of what I say at the end of every episode!) so that’s the focus today; I’m going to dig into each of them to talk about the lessons they have to teach us and I’ll be exploring how you can apply them to your own life for better mental health by sharing my thoughts as well as the big message I take away from each of them (and I’d love to hear from you what any of these mean to you, so feel free to shout out to me on Instagram @ltamentalhealth!).
You’ll notice that this week’s episode title is Let’s Think About Mental Health and I did that because I want to encourage you to take some time out for yourself to get inspired and think about how you are going to make your mental health and overall wellbeing a priority this year and beyond.
All but one of these quotes today are ones that I have not used in the podcast previously (and even the one that I have is expanded from what I originally shared). If you’ve ever wondered where I get all of these quotes from… the majority come from a massive book I picked up many, many years ago called The Complete Pocket Positives (by Summit Press) that is now very dog-eared and battered, yet still incredibly helpful. Since this is a book from before the era of dodgy memes attributing almost every saying possible to the same three people (apparently Gandhi, Abraham Lincoln and Maya Angelou had a lot to say about a lot of topics if you believe all the fake quotes out there!), this is a trusted book that has actually been well-researched and which cites the authors (and what they are known for) as much as possible. Anything else I use that’s not in the book gets cross-referenced using Quote Investigator online, and if there’s no evidence that it’s a real quote then I don’t use it. So, just a bit of an explanation there because I do make sure I use quality sources throughout all of my work!
So without any further ado, let’s jump in with quote number one…
This one is by Eckhart Tolle, and it is:
“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing”Eckhart Tolle
And I chose that one because I’m sure I’m not the only person who has a whole bunch of stuff from the past left unresolved; the older you get, the harder it is to go through life without a whole bunch of situations and relationships where you’re left scratching your head and wondering “what the hell happened?!”. But, as much as we would probably all love to have nice, neat closure on those events… the reality is that most of the time you won’t know, and even if you do get some type of answer, it’s likely not to be particularly satisfying (and, often, it can just raise more questions). I’m not saying that you don’t try to get answers when you need them, but I do encourage you to remember that if you don’t get them then it’s OK. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: sometimes, you have to be comfortable with not knowing.
Alright, so my next quote is by Joan L. Curcio, and it is…
“Courageous risks are life-giving. They help you grow, make you brave and better than you think you are.”Joan L. Curcio
So, I chose this quote because this episode is going out at the start of 2022 and I want to encourage you to think about how you can take more considered risks in life… because they are what will help you to grow so that you can turn your dreams into reality. It’s so easy to play it safe (and I talked about that in Episode 106, about saying yes), but ‘safe’ doesn’t get you anywhere other than safe, and nobody won any Olympic medals in swimming by staying in the shallow end the entire time. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: don’t be reckless, but do push yourself to take more chances in life (and if you’d like some more thoughts on taking chances, check out Episode 5 where I covered that topic and also managed to quote Mel & Kim, one of my favourite groups from the 1980’s).
And before I continue, just a quick reminder that you can find the full transcript for free at letstalkaboutmentalhealth.com.au/episodes (so you’ll find all these quotes in the transcript) and if you sign up to my free mailing list on my website you’ll receive the transcript in your inbox each Sunday plus my weekly newsletter, Thursday Thoughts, every Thursday (funny that) — you’ll also find the subscription link in the episode description on whatever podcast service you’re currently listening to me on.
OK, so my next quote is by an unknown author and it is…
“We spend so much time yearning for that special item that will finally make us happy, that we don’t take the time to look around and discover that we already are.”Unknown
This one is very much about being mindful about our attitude towards happiness (a topic I covered back in Episode 61); it’s so easy to become caught up in trying to find happiness in things or thinking that just achieving a particular milestone or accolade will make us happy, and perhaps they will for a moment or two… however that type of happiness tends to fade very quickly, as we adapt to whatever the new thing is and then find ourselves looking around for what’s next. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: we need to learn how to find satisfaction and happiness in where we are today, by being grateful for the simple things that contribute to our overall life satisfaction. I talked about gratitude back in Episode 46 and simplicity in Episode 63 (along with ‘stuff’ in Episode 107) if you’d like to explore those ideas in more detail.
So my next quote is by the author of Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll, and it is:
“The secret… is to surround yourself with people who make your heart smile. It’s then, only then, that you’ll find Wonderland.”Lewis Carroll
This is a great one because it serves to remind us that the quality of our relationships can go a long way to helping us find greater satisfaction in life. Having said that… we can’t change the people around us, but we can change the people around us (which I just had to say because I do love a good play on words!). What I mean there is that you can choose who is or is not in your life, and if a relationship is not a positive one then you can change the situation. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: sometimes the relationships in our life are not healthy, and we can make changes to prioritise our wellbeing. And I know that can be tough, but it’s definitely worth doing. I’ve talked about a few topics relevant to this subject before: self respect in Episode 96, difficult choices in Episode 89, relationships (as in romantic ones) in Episode 38, family in Episode 19 and toxic people in Episode 75 (plus I’m going to be covering friendship in a few week’s time, so stay tuned for that one).
OK, so my next quote is by another unknown author and it is:
“Sit with it. Instead of trying to drink it away, smoke it away, sleep it away, eat it away or run away from it… just sit with it. You have to feel to heal.”Unknown
This is one that someone sent to me (thanks for that!) and it’s a good reminder that as ‘yuck’ as some feelings can be, they serve a purpose; we have to feel what we have to feel in order to heal. If you try to suppress your emotions or mask your pain with unhealthy coping mechanisms, then those negative emotions are still there and they are waiting to come back and bite you in the butt when you least expect it. This is why working with a professional, like a counsellor or therapist, is so helpful because it allows us to get all of those feelings out so that we can begin to process them and let them go (and the less you carry around inside you, the better you will feel). So here’s the big point I take from this quote: sometimes we experience horrible emotions like pain, anger, grief, hurt, betrayal… and those emotions suck, but the only way through them is to work through them. I’ve covered a few relevant topics in past episodes, like feelings in Episode 28, grief in Episode 26, emotions in Episode 57 and healing in Episode 97, so check some or all of those out to explore the subject in more detail.
OK, that brings me to another quote and this one is — surprise, surprise! — also by an unknown author (I tell you what, there are an awful lot of these out there by unknown sources!); the quote is:
“Life’s greatest riches have nothing to do with money.”Unknown
And this is a throwback to last week’s topic about abundance (Episode 111) as well as Episode 74, about success, and Episode 107, about stuff. The majority of the things that I am grateful for in my life have absolutely no monetary value whatsoever, but to me they are priceless; my partner, our cat and our home (I’m not talking about the physical structure of the house, which is of course worth something, but the sense of home and security that we have). So here’s the big point I take from this quote: true abundance is not measured in dollars or numbers, but in feelings.
OK, so the next quote is by Ralph Waldo Emerson and it is:
“What lies behind us, and what lies before us are tiny matters, compared to what lies within us.”Ralph Waldo Emerson
This one is all about ability and potential, and I love that it’s a fantastic reminder that the future is what you shape it to be (and I talked about the future in Episode 100) as well as highlighting that the past has passed, so it cannot be changed (and I covered the past in Episode 94). We each have the potential to be whatever we want to be; it’s just up to us to turn that potential into reality. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: you are not your past and your future is determined by what you do today, so make choices that set you up for greater life satisfaction.
OK, moving on with another point and this one is from an unknown author; and the quote is:
“Wisdom is to live in the present, plan for the future and profit from the past.”Unknown
So this one is a continuation of the previous theme I covered but I interpret this as a timely reminder to be present as much as possible (something I covered in Episode 83, about being present!). It’s so easy to get caught up in what did or didn’t happen in the past, or what may or may not happen in the future, but all we have for certain is this moment, here and now, and so when we learn how to be more present we allow ourselves to live more fully. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: sometimes we might be worried about the future or dwell on the past, but life is lived here and now… so live here and now.
Alright, the next quote is by Lauren Bacall and it is:
“Imagination is the highest kite one can fly.”Lauren Bacall
I thought it would be worthwhile to have a little chat about imagination, as it goes hand-in-hand with hope (which I talked about back in Episode 17); because, being able to hope and dream for the future is an incredibly valuable way of processing our thoughts and working through how we can turn our desires into reality. Last week when I talked about abundance in Episode 111, I mentioned that we really can create any future we want for ourselves — provided that we understand it’s not going to just magically appear because we wished for it; all things require time, lots of effort and perseverance in order to create them, and imagination helps you to consider the infinite possibilities that you can pursue and create. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: dreaming is healthy, because it allows us to imagine all of the possible futures we can create for ourselves given enough time, effort and perseverance. And that serves as a wonderful reminder that your circumstances today are just one tiny little sentence in the bigger story of your life.
And with that in mind, my final quote today is actually one that I’ve shared several times in past episodes, and it is a line from my favourite Madonna song of all time, Nothing Really Matters (which was on her fantastic Ray of Light album from 1998). The line is:
“Nothing takes the past away like the future”Madonna
And the reason why I’m sharing it again is that I usually stop there, but this time I want to share the next line as well which is…
“Nothing makes the darkness go like the light”Madonna
Here’s the message from this quote: anything is possible. You are not a victim of your circumstances and you are most definitely not defined by your past. You can be and do absolutely anything you want and each new day gives you an opportunity to wake up and be whoever you want to be… so be whoever you want to be! Doing that requires you to shine a light into those areas of darkness that need to be illuminated, and to do the work little by little to confront them, process them and release them. So here’s the big point I take from this quote: sometimes it can seem like our darkest times are going to hold us back, but all seeds begin to grow in the darkness before they burst through to the light. Nothing takes the past away like the future, and nothing makes the darkness go like the light… so think about how you can choose to begin to do the work today and every day to confront your own challenges.
The choice is yours, as it is with all things related to your wellbeing… so, what choice will YOU make today?
Summary and Close-Out
And so that is nearly it for today! I usually close out with a quote for you to reflect on and at first that seemed a bit redundant, given that I’ve just spent the entire episode talking about a whole bunch of them, but then as I was writing this someone I know sent me a quote that just seemed like the perfect way to wrap up this entire theme of thinking about mental health, so who am I to ignore the Universe on this stuff? So the final quote I’d like to share (and which I encourage you to reflect on) is by the great poet and speaker Maya Angelou, and it is…
“We delight in the beauty of the butterfly, but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.”Maya Angelou
Alright, so that’s nearly it for this week. Next week I’ll be talking about planning. Planning is one of those topics we all seem to talk about a lot (you only have to do a quick search for the word on YouTube and you’ll be inundated with millions of videos on the subject) but it’s one of those things that requires a balanced and considered approach in order to ensure you’re looking after your mental health and wellbeing; too much planning and you’re setting yourself up to fail, and too little planning also serves to set you up to fail! So how can you approach the idea of planning (in general) in a thoughtful and mindful way? Well that’s what I’m talking about next week! I’ll be discussing what planning is (and what it isn’t), why it matters and how to plan in a healthy way.
I hope you’ll join me for that episode, which will be released on Sunday the 9th of January, 2022. And on Wednesday, catch the latest episode of Better Mental Health on YouTube or IGTV or head to letstalkaboutmentalhealth.com.au where you can also join my free mailing list for podcast transcripts and my weekly newsletter. You’ll also find the link in the episode description on whatever podcast service you’re currently listening to me on.
I hope you’ll join me for that episode, which will be released on Sunday the 26th of December, 2021. And on Wednesday you’ll also find another brand-new episode of Better Mental Health landing on YouTube (so take a moment to subscribe to my channel using the link in the episode description) or head to letstalkaboutmentalhealth.com.au where you can also join my free mailing list for my weekly newsletter (and my website is also linked in the episode description on whatever podcast service you’re currently listening to me on).
And, as always, find me on Instagram at @ltamentalhealth where I post extra content daily.
Thank you very much for joining me today — look after yourself and make a conscious effort to share positivity and kindness in the world, because you get back what you put out. Take care and talk to you next time!
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