Claim Your Own Mental Fitness

All it takes is a point of light, a ray of hope in the darkest night… Randy Travis

Do you ever have moments when you get what seems like a great idea, but later you reconsider and decide you’d be crazy to try to do that? Here I am to show you what crazy looks like! I put this costume together when my son was six and we were going to a Halloween costume party. I sewed him the clown costume he wanted and designed my Mrs. Fixit trappings to express the longing I had to find full-time work as a therapist. Here’s how Mrs. Fixit lights her candle and keeps it burning.

I had my Ph.D., but lacked the confidence to pursue a therapist job during the mental health climate of the time. So I did part-time jobs that grew me in new ways. The most powerful was two years of marketing the Dale Carnegie Course. I was never very good at it, but I got over my HSP self-consciousness. I’d cold-call on companies in the northwest Chicago area until the pain in my gut from fear made me go home to lie on the couch and regroup. Gradually, I realized that I shouldn’t take other people’s reactions to me personally and my gut became more comfortable for life. My favorite saying that our boss, Jim Bowen, gave us for this fear was “Nobody ever kicks a dead dog.” This helped me learn how to keep my candle burning indefinitely.

How do you decide when a “great” idea is great enough to pursue? Research to discover what else has been done in the field. Has your idea already been done; what came of it? Why? Maybe it wasn’t very well done, or you could do it in a different way to good effect. Or you might choose a different great idea to pursue. Get the training necessary for developing your idea. Finally, as Napoleon Hill advises in his book, The Master-Key to Riches, find a like-minded group to support you along the way.

If you’re confused about which direction you should take, because you have ideas in several areas, check out Pt. II Chapter 7 of my book, where there’s an exercise to help you set short- and long-term goals in key areas. Review your life to consider what you’ve loved doing and where you excel, then talk with trusted friends and mentors about how they see you for each of your goals. Try some smaller, related projects to see how they work for you. You’ll likely discover personal limitations that prevent you from pursuing some ideas. Your Wise Parent should be assuring your Child that you have all the talents you need to live a rich and meaningful life. If it’s not doing that well enough, it’s time to review Part I of my book for how your Adult can transform some unexamined Toxic Beliefs (especially toxic Belief #2) into Wise Parent guidance.

Elaine Aron ( is developing a video about HSPs to help them find the confidence and acceptance they need to bring their talents into a world that tends to overwhelm them and snuff out their candles. As an HSP I’m grateful for her work, but I know that many non-HSP’s also get discouraged. Too many distractions of daily living pull us away from our goals. There are too many people with unresolved grief and anger who want to crush anyone who expresses enthusiasm and confidence. I guess it makes them feel better about their own dead candles, but all they’d have to do to reignite them is build up their own Wise Parents.

Remember it’s good to be a living dog and embrace life with energy and a sense of purpose. Celebrate where you are on your journey with a costume, picture or symbol that expresses where you are and keep your candle burning.

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