When I’m working with children, I use a very simple analogy of the weather to help them understand how human emotions work. All humans are born perfectly psychologically well. This might seem like a radical idea, but as I’ve said before, have you ever seen a depressed baby? Our psychological wellbeing is part of our innate nature and just like the sun is always shining in the sky, our mental health is always shining within us.
But just like the sun gets obscured by the clouds as different weather occurs, our wellbeing also gets covered up from time to time as we experience our human weather, in other words our thoughts and feelings. The darker the clouds, the more we feel disconnected from our mental health. It’s important to remember however, that no matter how far from wellbeing we feel, it truly doesn’t go anywhere. It’s always there, just like the sun is always there shining behind the clouds.
When we really start to see this to be true, it means we are free to experience any weather without getting caught up in it. Just like watching a storm from a cosy living room, we can feel safe experiencing it, but knowing that we’re not in it. We are separate and much bigger from that which we feel. Seems a strange idea when we’re in the thick of an emotional storm but how can you be and feel something at the same time? It’s like saying you’re acting in a movie and watching it simultaneously.
When we know that what we’re experiencing is passing through, we don’t have to go looking for external ‘solutions’ such as food, drugs, alcohol, shopping, self-harming, etc to make us feel better. Once we know that the nature of weather is to keep on moving, we can rely on our emotions to do the same (nobody gets stuck in a feeling forever). Nothing to do. Nothing to fix. Just knowing. It makes all the difference.