Mentalhealth.gov provides this definition: “Mental health includes our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices.”
We can probably agree that estrangement affects our mental health.
We think that if our strained relationship mends, our mental wellness will return and be intact.
I’d ask you to consider:
Is that true?
Is that really healthy?
Handing over our well-being to any other person set us up for challenges. Lots of us do this. But it’s impossible for anyone to meet, or even know, our needs 100% of the time.
It’s impossible to control our child’s choice to estrange or desire to reconcile.
What we can do is heal, maintain, and improve emotionally, psychologically, and socially.
Our needs, our mental health, our response to estrangement? Our job.
Paths to mental wellness can seem vague. It’s unlike physical health: eat right and exercise. Fake a smile and act OK seems easier than dealing with mental chaos.
I’ve found with my clients, those most successful know WHY they value mental fitness.
Some reasons I’ve heard:
Better focus, less distracting thoughts and feelings sapping energy
Setting a good example/be a role model for kids
Being the best for work and family
Not be so stressed, weepy, irritable, angry, or anxious
Desire for more friends and social connection
Wanting to fully live and not “numb out” through life
Concerns about effects on physical health
Stop coping habits like over-eating or drinking
Just tired of drama and feeling bad — wanting to feel better
Their reasons come down to freedom.
Freedom to focus and give our best. Freedom from draining emotions and thoughts. Freedom to live a full, fulfilling life.
This has been my experience. I can’t help but want freedom for all estranged moms — which is my "why" for working as a coach!
Mental wellness isn't always intuitive or easy. It can feel so opposite from what we’ve learned — that others hold the keys to our happiness and worth. That our brains reliably feed us “right,” helpful, trustworthy information.
Freedom and health come from self-reliance and coping skills that support well-being. It’s totally possible for anyone. I’d suggest finding a “why” and committing to taking action.
Some questions to consider:
Why does mental health matter for anyone?
Why does it matter to you?
What could change for you by improving mental health?
If you don’t, will you have the future you want?
What can you do today to support your well-being?
No right or wrong answers — everyone’s situation is unique. If you don’t know if mental health is a journey for you, that’s fine. Estrangement is tough. Just know your well-being through it is up to you. You can choose.
Here's to the life you want, my estranged friends!