This is Not Your Average “Toolkit”
Look. I get it. The idea of a Toolkit sounds so, well, tool-ish. So dry. Uninteresting. Therapy-like. That’s what I used to think anyway, before I looked back over the last decade and realized, in hindsight, that I’d been crafting a set of behaviors for myself, based on certain principles, through trial and error, that actually made me feel better about myself. And thereby better, as well, about my relationships with others.
But here’s the thing about the “TYC Toolkit”: Behavior is just the tip of the iceberg. Meaningful, sustained growth requires more of us than the doing of rote activity. (Think about all those aborted New Year’s resolutions!) And feeling better is altogether different from forcing oneself to exude happiness. Relationship–deep, intimate human connection, romantic or not–is where we thrive. In other words, how and why we use the tools, it took me a long time to figure out, is as important as having tools to begin with.
Below are 3 core values that weave throughout the TYC Toolkit, and my real life.
Creativity is the foundational tenet of this Toolkit. Creative endeavors of all kinds give voice to parts deep inside us that long to be heard. By learning to pay attention to thoughts, feelings, and emotions around our creativity, we uncover patterns, desires, and needs, and, eventually, authenticity. On our own terms, we begin to let go and to embrace. We reconnect our head to our heart for a fuller, clearer, more embodied life experience. And it’s fun!
Connection is where the rubber meets the road. As Brené Brown says, “People are wired for connection.” We live, work, play, and most importantly love in connection. Much of the time, though, faulty patterns and old conditioning get in the way of our ability to thrive and connect as deeply as we want. The landscape of my past is littered with failed friendships and difficult familial dynamics that severely impacted my sense of belonging, which lead to much pain and discomfort. No longer!
Taking care of ourselves is the greatest gift we have to offer, to our own self and to others. Too often, we neglect mental health and wellness because we were taught to equate struggle with weakness. But purpose and meaning–a sense of contribution, freedom, and liberation–flow from clarity. Our ability to be clear, to engage, to be content, and to feel satisfied is tied as much (or more) to mental health as to physical health. We cannot flourish without attention and action directed to mental wellness.
“Breaking the cycle of self-judgment and shame is hard, incredibly valuable work that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Opening, selecting, and using a Toolkit, on our own and within a community who cares, is a deliberate and practical approach to self-care.”