I heard a great analogy a few years ago when I trained to become a Mental Health First Aid Instructor.
Here is my take on it.*
Everyone has a metaphorical bucket inside them
Some people's bucket is small, some are large.
Some are made from strong, durable material; some are pretty flimsy.
Everything that comes up in our lives that is stressful starts to fill our bucket.
Stress can be positive or negative.
Exams, break-ups, illness, deaths, are all examples of negative stress that add to your bucket starting to fill up.
Positive things are stressful too, like holidays, a new relationship, a new job.
As more stressful things happen, your bucket becomes fuller.
When someone experiences a mental illness, it is because their bucket is full and has started to spill over.
Which mental illness (anxiety, depression, psychosis etc) you have is probably due to genetics, or other personal factors.
But why one person has a mental illness after a couple of stressful events, when the person next to them is fine, comes down to how big and strong your bucket is.
So anyway, over the last couple of months I have been trying to become a successful Thermomix consultant. I have been trying to excel in studying Law. I have been trying to be a good friend. I have been trying to be a good daughter, and sister. I have been trying to be a perfect mother and wife.
I have not felt like I have been doing any of these things as well as I would like to be. I talked earlier this year about wanting my word of the year to be Joy. I haven't been feeling much Joy at all this year. I've just been too busy.
So I decided that something had to give, and that thing is Thermomix. I'm not giving up cooking with it, that I love and it feeds my soul (and my family!).
But I just didn't feel like I took to the sales aspect of it, and it was taking up precious space in my bucket.
I felt like my bucket was starting to drip, so I tipped out the sales.
It wasn't an easy choice, because I felt like I had given up, like I had failed.
But it was the right thing to do.
I feel lighter now.
How full is your 'bucket' right now? I'd love you to share....
* Apologies to the owner if it is quite far from your initial description. Alternatively if you want to take credit for it, just drop me a line.
** And no, our poor little blue bucket didn't survive a couple of boys throwing bricks into it to make the splash. I hope no one ever throws a brick into my metaphorical bucket.