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  • Writer's picturePiper Harris

Navigating Your Journey: The Art of Setting Guardrails in Your Mental Health Path

In the tender expedition of self-discovery and healing, it's not uncommon to find ourselves at a crossroads, grappling with the heavy cloak of expectations—both the ones set by ourselves and those imposed on us by the world around us. Reflecting upon the poignant question posed by Charles Bukowski, "Can you remember who you were before the world told you who you should be?" opens up a profound dialogue about self-awareness and growth.

I understand these questions aren't merely philosophical musings but vital checkpoints on your mental health journey. They serve as beacons, or what I like to call "guardrails," helping you navigate through the tumultuous terrains of anxiety, stress, trauma, or grief.

Understanding the Guardrails

Guardrails are boundaries or markers that help you stay aligned with your authentic self amidst the chaos of external voices and internal turmoil. Consider these three pivotal identities:

  1. Who You Were Before: Reflecting on who you were before a significant event or a series of stressful circumstances can help you understand how your experiences have shaped or altered your perceptions. This insight isn't to yearn for a past version of yourself but to acknowledge the strength and resilience that was inherently a part of you, even before the trials.

  2. Your Future Healed Self: Visualization of your future self, who has moved through the healing process, is a powerful motivator. It's about setting a compass to the version of you that embodies resilience, growth, and healing. This consideration acts not only as a goal but also as a reminder that change and healing are possible.

  3. Who The World Says You Should Be: It's almost instinctual to mold ourselves into what others expect from us or to fall prey to self-defeating thoughts that we aren't doing 'enough.' Recognizing these external pressures and internal sabotages is the first step in asserting your boundaries — deciphering what's truly aligned with your values and well-being.

Setting Your Guardrails

Establishing these guardrails involves introspection and gently acknowledging your feelings and thoughts. Here’s how you can begin:

  • Acknowledgment: Start by acknowledging where you are on your mental health journey. Recognizing the progress made and the hurdles faced without judgment can foster a nurturing space for growth. No matter where you are on the journey, you will have days of great strides and others when you feel stuck. You're still on the right track; it's natural for healing to ebb and flow.

  • Journaling: Writing down your thoughts on who you were, who you wish to be, and who you are pressured to be can provide clarity. It's a therapeutic process that allows you to sift through the noise and connect deeply with your inner self. I suggest Jordan Peterson's self-authoring program, where you can explore your past, present, and future self.

  • CBT techniques: Incorporating Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) techniques can assist in challenging negative thought patterns and beliefs that deter you from your path. It's about calibrating your internal compass to stay guided by your authentic desires and values.

  • Seek Support: Whether it's from trusted friends, family, or a professional therapist, surrounding yourself with a supportive network can bolster your strength and resolve.

At Untangled Mind, I'm dedicated to walking alongside you and providing a compassionate, supportive, professional guiding hand. My approach, rooted in scientifically proven therapeutic methods like CBT, aims not just to navigate but to illuminate your path toward healing and self-discovery.


A Journey Together

As you embark or continue on your mental health journey, remember that setting these guardrails is not about erecting barriers but about guiding your way through the complexities of self and societal expectations. It's about creating a compassionate space within you that honors your past, cherishes your present, and looks forward to your future with hope and resilience.

If you’re feeling the weight of expectations or if you’re searching for a semblance of your authentic self amidst chaos, I invite you to reach out. Let's explore together how we can set meaningful guardrails to guide you toward a future where you feel whole, healed, and unequivocally you.

770-317-1126 | 1501 Johnson Ferry Ste 104 | Mariettta, GA 30062 |

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