Hello, everyone. Thank you so much for joining me for another episode of the More Than You See podcast hosted by me, actor, filmmaker, mental health advocate Deborah Lee Smith. Every Monday, I come to you to share some resources, have a conversation, and generally just dive into all sorts of topics around mental health. I am not a licensed practitioner or therapist, but just a woman exploring my own mental health journey, and sharing it with you, my listeners. My hope is that this podcast brings you some joy, some understanding, and some tools so that you can build your own mental health toolbox.
Hi everyone, welcome back to season three of the podcast and January 2022. Yay, insert happy dance here. I want to first off say that I'm not going to apologize for taking a two week hiatus, an unexpected two week hiatus. But I am going to share my gratitude for everyone who reached out and who asked when the next episode was going to come out, I really needed the last two weeks off. And that's definitely something that I am focusing a lot on this coming year is listening to myself, to my mental health, to my mind my body and not leaning into things when it comes to peer pressure when something isn't serving me. And I want to, again, thank you for bearing with me, and I hope that everyone was able to get through the last couple of weeks with grace and self compassion, and hopefully some happiness and some joy. Although I do know that the holidays can be, you know, very triggering and very difficult. And if you experienced that, and you have not listened to my episode all about the holidays, I strongly recommend that you go back and listen to it. It was in the beginning of season three.
Now, I was supposed to start off a three part series, talking about different mental health treatments. But we are going to be doing that starting next week instead. And this week, I actually want to talk about the new year when we come into the new year. There's all sorts of like, new you new resolutions new whatever, blah, blah, blah. And that mentality is damaging for anyone who isn't necessarily plagued with mental health difficulties. But for those of us with anxiety, struggling with depression, struggling with OCD, and just all of the different elements that make up this community, I think that New Year's resolution thing can be 100 times more triggering and more difficult as we look at this 2022 New Year.
So I want to call kibosh on all that. I want to say bullshit. And I would like to share some things that I'm doing as I look forward into the coming year, and some ways that I am looking to work on self awareness and self improvement, while also focusing on that self compassion, and that grace for myself and my whole self, not just my physical self, but my mental health and all of those things. And I hope that some of the suggestions, some of the homework, some of the little topics that I'm going to discuss over this episode will be helpful for you as well. And as always, please reach out to me and let me know if something I said resonated with you. And if you do have some resolutions or anything that you want to share with me, please reach ou,t follow on all the socials, you know the drill, all the information is in the show notes. The end.
Okay, let's actually get started. First of all, I think the biggest issue with resolutions or this like new year new me mentality is a few things. Number one, it discounts who we are as people right now, it discounts all of the positives and negatives and I don't even mean negatives as in like that we're bad people or that there's bad parts of our personality but more that there are sometimes some habits or some things that aren't necessarily serving us. And that's what I mean by negative and so it's not kind of taking us as we are right now, and then allowing us to try and build upon who we are, in order to be a bigger, greater version of ourselves. I am going through this journal that a friend gave me for my birthday. And I really liked some of the questions that it has in there. And I'm going to share these questions. And if this is something that resonates with you, I encourage you to check it out as well. Or to to write in a journal as well with these things.
One of the questions is it asks you, "how did you evolve in this past year?" And then "how do you hope to evolve in this coming year?" Me for myself, I have really come into my voice in this past year and really allowed myself to speak my truth and support myself and speak up for myself when something is harming me, or harming a member of my greater community. And it's ironic, or it make sense perfectly, in that this is actually the one year anniversary of the podcast.
I started the podcast a year ago. And the reason that I started it was I was listening to another podcast and the podcast host was talking about us as actors have the ability to use our voice, and help change the world in some capacity, but that we often feel like we can't make that change until we reach a certain level. And she reminded me and everyone who was listening, that we have a voice right now. And that we can use that voice to help society or to, you know, pull away from society in some ways. And that her talking about that just really reminded me that mental health is so so incredibly important for me, and that I was able to or, that I have the tools right now to start sharing about my own mental health journey and the mental health journey of people around me. So this past year, finding my voice in the podcast, finding my voice in other ways, that is 100% the way that I evolved in this past year.
But the thing, the next part of the question, in this journal is "how do I want to evolve in this coming year?" And the way that I want to evolve in this coming year, is to now not doubt my voice. Because I think that sometimes we speak and then we second guess ourselves or we we make bold actions on things. And then we, you know, go back and think that oh, you know, that was the wrong thing. Or we just began to doubt our intuitive gut reaction to something. And so the way that I am focusing on evolving this coming year, is to continue to, you know, stand in my voice, stand in my strength, but also to not doubt my voice and to not doubt my strength. Because I think that sometimes that doubt can take away from the power of what you're saying or speaking or whatever. And I think that this idea of self doubt, and self criticism, is the crucial thing that we all need to work on. And I am making a blanket statement there. But I do think that self criticism, self doubt is our biggest issue in a lot of ways because it leads to - and I'm speaking about society as a whole - I think that it leads to people thinking that they are the people when people react to that idea of self doubt, they react in a few different ways. And I feel like it's often just harmful to themselves and others so like either they react by being overly grandiose and pushing their mentality or their views on on other people. I think it it results in intolerance. I think it results in people not listening and being compassionate for others. And I think that if we just learn to really stand in the amazing people that we are, and give ourselves more self compassion that will allow us to have more compassion for others. So that's definitely the way that I want to focus this year is to focus on not only speaking, but also not doubting that my voice has purpose, and giving myself compassion for that. So if that's something that you want to do, again, you ask the question, "How did you evolve last year?", and then you ask yourself as well, "how do you wish to evolve in the coming year?".
Additionally, in the same book, they had another exercise that I am also going to share that I think is really, really incredible. And it has this idea of you take a piece of paper, and on one side, you draw a little picture of yourself, and you say who you are, right now. And then you draw a picture of yourself, and you write down who you wish to be in the future. And the idea is that you are kind of having a lot of self awareness about who you are, the good and the things that you need to work on. And then you have this kind of like vision board for yourself, not about external factors, but about the things that you want to work on for yourself.
So if I was going to use that same example, on my "now me" on my "current me", I would draw a little picture of myself and I would say, "uses my voice, but doubt the validity of that voice and doubts the whether or not I'm doing the right thing". And then on the new me, or future me I would I would write down "uses my voice and does not doubt that voice." Now you can also have things on there, like your current job and a future job that you want to do, or has trouble getting out of bed in the morning and wants to be better about, you know, tackling the day, first thing, you know. I think that you can have a lot of different ideas of your current me and the way that you want to continue to evolve into this future me. But I think that it just again, forces us to have self awareness and a full understanding of who we are right now. What is our baseline? Who are we and who do we want to be? And I think that analyzing who we are right now allows us to have some self compassion and allows us to remind ourselves that we are incredible people and we are full fledged fleshed out human beings right now. And are there things that we want to improve? Absolutely. But I think that it's just so important to put some reverence and some focus on who we are today, before you try and think about this, you know, imaginary future self that you want to become.
I think that another thing that can be very triggering when it comes to holidays right now, and this new year new me thing, is it focuses on finite actions and drastic changes. So this whole thing about, for example, like a lot of people do dry January, and I have no arguments, I'm not gonna have any, you know, negative speak around dry January, I think that it's a wonderful idea for some people. But this idea of doing something so aggressively in a specific amount of time, or just doing something so aggressively period, kind of takes away that self compassion, because let's say you're doing dry January, and this also applies to diet fads and all sorts of stuff that happens in the new year. This is like prime diet marketing time for people to think that they need to improve themselves in some capacity. And it's this idea that if you fall off the wagon in quotes, and you decide to have a glass of wine at some point in January, or you are saying that you're going to you know, follow this diet and then you take take a day off in order to eat a slice of pizza or whatever, the self criticism that then comes with that the blame and the negative feelings, I feel are more harmful. And it just allows us to self criticize and go down spirals of thinking that like, we are not good enough in some capacity, or we did something that was that makes us a bad person, or it just leads to a lot of self criticism. And I think that it's just so important to instead, think about a few different habits that you want to try and curb, or a few different things that you want to try and implement in your life and allow those to be things that lead to greater change, instead of putting this like strict rule upon yourself that you're only going to do this thing, you know, for this specific amount of time. And if you fall off the wagon, then you have all sorts of self criticism and negative feelings towards yourself. I hope that makes sense.
But I think that that is definitely something that has a lot greater capacity for change. And again, that self compassion, which I think is so incredibly important. So if you have some ways that you want to evolve in a, you know, physical mindset, whatever kind of way, I think that it's important, again, to focus on those little habits that you can do. And remind yourself that we are all so different. And so what might work for someone else, for some people, the dry January thing works great, and they love it and this is like their thing. I know that myself that doesn't work for me for a lot of different reasons. And again, it's just a really important reminder that we are all unique, and that the most important thing is to give ourselves that self compassion.
Now, I know that I'm rambling a little bit today. But I just want to kind of dispel these myths of this idea that we aren't worthy until we become this greater version of ourselves. Again, I just want to call bullshit on that. And remind you that wherever you are today, whoever you are, you are enough exactly the way that you are. And do we always want to improve and learn and grow and educate ourselves? Absolutely, I think that that's one of the best parts about being a self aware human is that we can continue to grow and evolve, but you are perfect, exactly as you are.
Now I want to end with a final comment that is going to lead us into the next three episodes that are all about treatment. Because I think that everything that I've just been talking about is very digestible, and easy for some people to comprehend when it comes to their mental health, when they are in a fairly healthy mental health state. So if you have depression, anxiety, OCD, borderline, personality is anything any anything that you have that makes up who you are, when it comes to mental health, I think that if it's in control, and you have control over over that aspect of yourself in some capacity, then this idea of like who I am and who I can evolve to be to be, seems possible and seems not easy, but at least seems something that you can tackle, like when you're in a good mental health state. It's easy to think about, like who I am right now and who I want to be, but I would not be serving this community, if I didn't also address this idea that if you are in a difficult mental health state right now, this idea of evolving into something else might be absolutely impossible, and very triggering even when I'm saying just, you know, do some small little things to try and evolve into a different version of ourselves.
For some people, they might be listening to this and going, that's crap, I can't even get out of bed. I can't even - I can't do anything. How am I supposed to evolve? And I want to say that I hear you and that I have been there 100%. I would say that I've even been there in the past couple of months, and been unable to think about any goals in my life besides getting through the day in some capacity. So I want to say first of all, thank you for still being part of this community. Thank you for being with us. Thank you for showing up for yourself in some capacity because you listening to this podcast and being a part of this community and being a part of the world that is already a wonderful step in an evolution of your mental health journey. So first of all, thank you for being here.
Second of all, I think that this is why the next three episodes about treatment are going to be really incredibly important. Because this whole idea around treatment of mental health disorders or difficulties is this idea that people who struggle with mental health difficulties like don't have a good baseline. That's the thing. They don't have a good foundation and are able to wake up every day and feel happy and feel ready to tackle the day feel fulfilled feel like their full selves, they feel off in some capacity. And that is why I think that it's so important for us to look at these ideas of treatment. And again, I'm going to talk about a few different types of treatment. I also have a really incredible interview with a friend that I'm going to bring on who has just started some, some medication in the past couple months. And so we're going to talk talk to her about her journey with medication and how much this has helped her. And I think that this idea is that it is reminding us that sometimes we just need to get back to neutral. And when we get back to that neutral, then we can start to do that self awareness, that self work and look at how we can evolve in the future. But sometimes just getting to that neutral, is enough.
And so if right now you're feeling like this next year seems impossible and these ideas about New Year's resolutions seem damaging and triggering and just absolutely terrible, let me tell you that I hear you. And that all you really need to focus on right now is just getting back to you. Getting back to your neutral, your basic foundation, and then from there, you can start to work on other aspects of yourself. I hope that makes sense and I hope that these little mini rambles are helpful to everyone.
I am really excited about this community. And I just want to thank everyone again for a year of the podcast and just express my eternal gratitude for you all seriously, I really hope that you practice a lot of self love and self compassion this week. And that that is one of your goals for this year. Or the only goal that could be your only goal and that would be the best freaking goal in the world. To focus on self compassion. Please remember that you and everyone around you is more than you see. Thank you so much for listening, and I am really excited to chat with you again next week.