by Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW, Editor in Chief
It’s so hard to be the in-between generation, the one that breaks the cycle of abuse, mistreatment, or even plain-old cruelty (often minimized as political incorrectness).
You get to go through the process of acknowledging what has to change, grieving what was lost, learning how to make things better, and fighting against the current that tries to pull you back into the comfortable and familiar.
You get the satisfaction of “being the change,” ensuring that the next generation never knows that kind of pain and insecurity. You create a better life for them, but you can’t recapture any of the time you spent under the spell of what you believed to be normal. You can’t change the past, and you have to live with that.
This edition of Kelly Magazine is about relationships. It’s about the ones that define us, challenge us, excite us, and betray us. Relationships, after all, are the connections we have that define who we are and who we will become. We need healthy relationships to support us when we try to change our lives for the better, since we all know how hard it is go it alone, letting go of everything you knew for the chance to be something more. This edition is full of stories and advice about how to face tough issues with family and friends in a way that preserves your connection with them while remaining true to yourself.
Our hope, with this edition, is that every individual reading this will find something that helps them to make peace with the past, to learn how to cope with the present, and to give as good as they get to create healthier relationships and to be part of an open-minded, flexible, and adaptable community of people.
So if you decide to “be the change,” stepping out of your comfort zone with the hope of making life better for you and everyone around you, know that you’re not alone.
We’re with you.
By Linda Kelly, MSW, RSW, Editor in Chief
I've always noted the concept that like in video games, if you are encountering enemies, you’re going the right way. But it does become exhausting when you are genuinely striving to make the world a better place, and certain people cast you into the role of a villain.
Why? Perhaps it makes them feel like a victim, or like the good guy in the story. Maybe they don’t like change. They will use everything, your actions and lack of actions, to reinforce their view that you are cruel. And you can’t win or even reach an impasse because they are determined to maintain this dynamic.
It’s true that you don’t get to decide whether or not you hurt someone. Feelings aren’t wrong and people aren’t wrong to feel them. But their interpretation of what caused the hurt feelings can often be very wrong. That interpretation is often based on unfair assumptions, hurtful beliefs, and a perspective that leaves a lot of blind spots.
Being on the other side, cast as a villain to some, feels unjust and unnecessary (and confusing) when you spend your life taking care of others, trying to do all the right things, trying to make the right moves. But that’s their view. And you don’t have to share it.
Part of getting older comes with learning to accept, and not fighting, when someone decides that you are the cause of their problems. You can’t change their mind, because they need you to play the role. And there is no solution. Human interactions are complex and complicated, fraught with emotions and traumatic histories and multi-faceted dynamics that only become more complicated with time. And since you can’t fix it, you can only settle into an uncomfortable, tense sort of peace. But it’s still peace, because the story cannot continue.
Acceptance is about acknowledging that which you cannot change, and moving on. So for anyone who has had to make peace with the utterly unacceptable, here’s to us, moving on.
When I started Kelly Mental Health, I wanted to help people in a big way. I wanted to resolve the problems in our city, and the way that made the most sense was to start with individuals, because one person can change the lives of everyone around them.
I was once told that the definition of hell is when the person you are meets the person you could have become. I’ve always kept that in mind because it would be a tragedy to waste this terribly short life being held back by fear, thoughts of inadequacy, or the opinions of those who also struggle with those issues. You have to answer to yourself in the end, and I choose to make decisions that will leave me with the least amount of regret.
Starting KMH is one of the best things I have ever done. In two years, we have nearly outgrown our space, and are being recognized more often in the city for the work we do with individuals and families. I have learned that opportunities are there if you’re ready and willing to bet on yourself and the fire that burns within. I’ve also learned that some opportunities will veer you off track, and you must viciously guard your time and energy.
If I had to give advice to anyone starting out, I would tell you that Google is your best friend for the how-to’s. Emotionally, the hurdles affect people differently. Knowing what to expect certainly gives you the opportunity to have a game plan in mind. But there will be setbacks, weeks when the phone doesn’t seem to ring at all, and times you go home feeling like the only people who can make this work are smarter, richer, or better than you. But then you get some rest, savour your coffee or tea, notice the sunlight when it touches your skin, and know deep down that people are built to learn and develop, and this is just another opportunity to grow.
The best you can do is try to manage your own feelings, take care of yourself, sleep when you're tired, eat when you're hungry (the right foods), observe the law of diminishing returns, and enjoy the ride.
Written for you, by local therapists.
NWO’s source for all things relationships, mental health, wellness, and lifestyle: Kelly Magazine is a mental health outreach initiative created by Kelly Mental Health and supported by Kelly Mental Health Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the community in the area of mental health.
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