There is a way things work. Everyone knows this. We might not always know or fully understand the science behind something like a light bulb or the way electricity works. But at minimum, we know that if we flip the switch, the light goes on. The same can be said about a car. We might not fully understand the work behind auto mechanics, but, it’s safe to say that we know what happens when we turn the ignition, start the car, step on the gas, and go. I simplify this, not to be silly, basic or to insult anyone’s intelligence. Instead, I simplify this to create an easy example.
I have been part of the regular working world for about three decades. I have worked as a salesman. I have had easy jobs and tough jobs. However, for the last 23 years, I have what I call my “Day job,” which is what I use to feed my family. Over the last five years, I have been working an extra job to feed my heart. One job feeds my family and the other job feeds my sanity. For me, it’s that simple.
I put it this way to explain the difference between the two. However, in my day job, my work consists of basic machinery. I am in the field of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning. I am good at what I do. I certainly understand my need for improvement. But yet, my job consists of basic mechanics. I understand the basic refrigeration cycle. I know where things go. I know a little bit about how plumbing works. I understand the order of a job and what happens when the order of operations are misprioritized.
I found out what happens when I put the wrong refrigerant in a system. I learned what happens when air disrupts the vacuum of a machine that can only operate in a vacuum. I know that all components must run in a certain order for an application to work correctly. I also understand the benefit of preventative maintenance.
Firsthand, I can say that I know what happens when people fail to read instructions or follow directions. I can say this because I have been on jobs where grown men fought like babies and took 45 minutes to assemble something that was supposed to be installed in 10 minutes.
The ego is an amazing thing here. Trust me. I heard every curse word, watched tools fly and saw people rip hair out of their head. I heard every complaint. I heard every excuse about why there were so many extra parts.
I spent an hour in a bathroom, bantering back and forth with a supervisor about an automatic faucet that is supposed to turn on when it senses hand movement. We argued about the order of installation until finally, one of us was smart enough to read the directions. And then we were fine. The job moved quickly. And we laughed too. Saying, “If we only just read the instructions.”
Now, here’s the connection. Put simply, I have been part of the mental health system throughout my entire life. I have been on one side of the table or the other in both therapeutic roles or even in interrogation rooms.
I have been involved in self-help models, weight loss programs, personal empowerment programs and training seminars. I have been on both sides of the classroom; whether this was in a seat as a student or in front of a classroom as a presenter in a lecture. Although the positions are very different; the same as with refrigeration and basic mechanics, there is an order to life. There is an order to the way things work. There is an order to the way we live. There is an order to mental health, physical health and personal sanity.
The same as there are mechanics to a machine and instructions to repair machines; the same logic works with us. We all have our own personal makeup. We all have our own pathology, or science, which is how we work.
When I walked into the doors of treatment and entered into my recovery, I learned the steps to rebuild my life. I had to learn the order of operation. I had to learn what worked for me, what I interacted with and what was counterproductive.
One of my previous paragraphs explained that I made the mistake of charging the wrong refrigerant into an air-conditioning system. This was a mistake but I learned from it. I learned that not all things mix properly. I also learned not to assume and to read labels before doing things, but this goes without saying. We all have our own chemical makeup, which means we interact with things on a unique and individual basis.
We all have our own proper mechanics. We all have an order of operations and when we mix the wrong components or when we take the easy way out, or if we relax on our personal maintenance, the machine we call our mind will face the consequences.
I have heard people tell me, “I just want to be happy.”
I’m not sure of our instructions are the same but . . . the one thing I know is to reach our goals, we have to find the right mechanical procedure. We have to follow a guide that works appropriately, and then keep what we have in a good working order. We have to maintain this to the best of our ability.
I can say that I have seen what happens when good machines go bad. I can say that I have seen this with people as well. The culprit is always the same; poor attention to the mechanical procedure, or know-it-alls, and pride. None of this works.
Basic mechanics will always be as simple as basic mechanics. Overthinking and over complicating is not helpful. Keep it simple. Understand the steps and the order of your operation. Take care of what you have. Feed your machine properly and trust me, you’ll do just fine!