Finding your WHY
I recently facilitated an anxiety support group and shared a video. It featured motivational speakers, albeit talking loudly, trying to inspire people to fight through the pain we all have to find their WHY-their reason for staying focused and pushing through toward their end goal. I gave the example before showing the video of imagining it being half-time during a football game against your favorite rivals (insert name here) and your team is down 20 points. At this point, it is the coach’s job to say something to inspire you―to get you going. Through it, you can find your WHY-your reason for pushing forward.
I actually thought of that phrase a few weeks ago, “finding your WHY”. It was ironic, I thought, that I then found a video sharing the same message. The video was very inspiring to me. I grew up with a dad who was a Commander in the military. He talked like the people in the video. It “lit a fire under me”. It is what I am used to.
I was not prepared for the reaction of a few of the people in attendance in the group. It shook a few of them to their core. We discussed the video as a collective. The discussion was inspiring. Some shared what their WHY was. To get mentally better. To secure a job. Others shared they did not enjoy the video because of the tone of the message. The delivery made hearing the actual narrative difficult for some.
During the discussion, I learned first-hand what being “trauma-informed” meant. Being sensitive and realizing that what works to inspire me may not work for you for various reasons (of course) and to focus on that when pulling together session material. It was a new experience. One participant shared she grew up with a severely abusive father and the way the messages were delivered reminded her of the trauma (the raised voices). But, she was also self-aware enough to realize that when she stopped and listened to the messages, the threatened state she may have felt because of the elevated voices subsided, and the words she heard were incredibly powerful and motivating. Her biggest takeaway, life is 10 percent of what happens to you and ninety percent of how you react to it.
Another quite shy participant shared the video really helped her. It made her remember a comment her mother made to her once about admiring how mentally strong she was. The words her mother used came to life when she saw the video. She realized that, through her words, her mother was trying to motivate her (in a much quieter voice of course). And it worked. She has never forgotten those words. She relies on them whenever she feels like giving up.
For me, the video worked. I need to hear messages loudly and at a fast pace. It cuts across any brain clutter and gets my blood going. It motivates me to move! Several participants felt the same.
I believe each of us has to find our WHY in life. That ‘thing’ that helps keep us going and motivates us to push forward when we simply do not want to, especially in the age of COVID. Life can be a challenge. Finding your WHY will uplift you when you feel like giving up. Being open to messaging that helps catapult us toward our WHY is half the battle. Sometimes those hard messages are unpleasant to hear but they are designed to help, not hurt. We just need to be able to hear them without the internal background noise.
My goal as an RPSV virtual group facilitator is to help people smile, laugh, find encouragement, make friends, and be genuinely happier―and it is working. We are like a family! Sometimes, as with all things, we discuss “stuff” we would all rather avoid. That “stuff” that makes us uncomfortable. Yet, working through it individually and as a collective helps us overcome the hesitation we may have to just get started moving toward goals that may to date have been unobtainable. Together, we find our motivation. Together, we are finding our WHY.
In fact, recently, one of our group members secured employment. She shared she used the techniques she learned in the Anxiety group (and others RPSV offers) to negotiate and advocate for herself with her new employer! She said, “Through RPSV’s virtual support groups I am becoming the person I’ve always wanted to be!” #beautiful! Her WHY was to secure employment and she succeeded by finding and focusing on her end goal!
If you find your WHY and allow it to motivate you during those times when you’d rather just give up―you too will realize (if you don’t already) that you are mentally strong. You’ve truly got this no matter the circumstance (that includes COVID)!
It’s through life’s trials that we learn the most about ourselves. And, although we’d all prefer to skip the trials, they help us grow and develop.
Each trial is like rain. Nothing can grow without it. Don’t look at the rain (or life trials) as negatives. Look at them as opportunities to shine. You are being tested. Grab your resolve and plow through to get to your reward on the other side! As the song says, “joy and pain are like sunshine and rain”. When you are facing a trial simply pull on your rain parka and your most comfy boots, find something within you to rally through the pain, and move forward by focusing on your WHY, your end goal.
If you get stuck in the ‘mud’ and need help, just reach out. RPSV is here for you. Our in-person and virtual programs (including our support groups and Warm Line) are designed to help individuals recover. For ten years now we have helped thousands of Northern Virginians pursue their recovery and are honored to have done so.
Below is the video I mentioned earlier. Let me know what you think. I hope it motivates you. Just remember, no matter what, focus on what the right here and now, (not on what’s behind you that may be holding you back or the concern for what’s ahead, i.e., fear of the unknown). Just take steps every day to find or achieve your WHY! And, please remember, if you need help, RPSV’s “got you”. Our programs are all free and available to all who can benefit. In fact, beginning April 1, our Overcoming Anxiety group is now offered every Tuesday at 7 pm, and our Overcoming Loneliness group is now offered Thursday at 7 pm. We have also added a Saturday session at 3 pm titled the ABC’s of Recovery. We are offering evening and weekend sessions to reach even more people in the community. Join us!
For a full list of our programs, please visit rpsva.org or call us at (800) 374-4198 today.
Here’s the video I referred to: https://youtu.be/X-2a6Z9S6qY