Mind the Gap—No Pain, No Gain? (Part 1 of 2)
/ Author: Quentin Steen
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Mind the Gap—No Pain, No Gain? (Part 1 of 2)

It takes work to leave what was and move into what is ahead, to release the past and reach into the future, with the opportunities and choices we find in the present moment.

By Quentin Steen, Representative

No pain, no gain. The mantra of the gym rat (like myself).

It’s more than a mantra for physical transformation. It speaks to the reality of our personal transformation in body, mind, and spirit as well.

But my point is bigger than that.

Whenever you gain something, you lose something else. Sometimes, the changes are not always harmful but could be characterized by the gain of something positive.

When there is a change, there is a need to grieve. It’s in the letting go of that which no longer serves you that you may need to grieve.

No two people grieve the same because grief can look very different from person to person. But there is often one constant: the struggle to let go of what is/was good to gain something that is excellent or better.

Your ability to metabolize and integrate the new with the need to release the old can be tricky. It starts with realizing that what might have served you in the past no longer serves you today.

In fact, you might discover that not only does it no longer serve you, but it might just be the space in which you are losing the most power. This is all about personal transformation.

Sometimes, I just want to go back to the way things were before they got all messed up (insert whatever word works best for your reality). But the sober truth is that’s just not possible.

It’s a truth best captured in a sound bite from a trailer for a TV drama series that caught my ear’s attention a year ago. “It’s like a piece of tape that we peel off and then try to reapply. It might stick, but it will never be like the first time.”

Stop wishing for the past and keep moving forward. It takes work to leave what was and move into what is ahead, to release the past and reach into the future, with the opportunities and choices we find in the present moment.

If you fog a mirror, you can probably relate to what I’m about to say. It can be difficult and unsettling to wait, without manipulation, for the emergence of the next version of yourself. And part of the process is connected to the permissions you give yourself to grieve what no longer serves you.

There is always a better version of yourself just around the corner. And as you make the turn, your internal inertia to grab what could be is energized when you give yourself permission to be patient, compassionate, and kind as you fill in the gaps.

What are the things that fill those gaps for you?

Quentin Steen is a certified mental health first aid instructor for the Mental Health Commission of Canada.

Get your BRAIN right and your MIND will follow!

4 Mental Health Resources to Help You

  1. If you or someone you know is struggling with a mental health issue, CLAC has a number of resources and interactive tools available to help you at My Health and Wellness.
  2. Stronger Minds features videos and quick reads from mental health experts, activities to help you gain resilience, and ask-an-expert videos in response to questions.
  3. WellCan offers free well-being resources to help Canadians develop coping strategies and build resilience to help deal with uncertainty, mental health, and substance abuse concerns.
  4. Wellness Together Canada: Mental Health and Substance Use Support provides free online resources, tools, apps, and connections to trained volunteers and qualified mental health professionals.
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