Moody Sunday: Is selflessness the final stage of recovery?

“If you can heal yourself, you can heal others.”

Dolph Lundgren

The last week has been immensely trying, as I wrote about on Medium: “Staying Mentally Strong at Christmas and Fighting Negative Feelings.” It’s my daughter’s turn to struggle with mental health now and my turn to be strong for her and my new grandson.

Is there anything more selfless than giving up Christmas in the Caribbean to be back here in Idaho dealing with winter? I do not like it one bit. My first northern winter in close to a decade and I did not miss it. Plus, things here in Idaho are just in an upheaval right now.

However, I’ve lived on this here earth long enough to know that tomorrow will bring a new day and things will get better. Is this good mental health or just true insanity? Who knows, but optimism feels much better than pessimism, that is for certain.


The topic of selflessness has been on my mind a lot lately. I consider myself recovered from the worst of my mental health woes of the past, yet I’ve had this feeling like there is something still missing. What is it?

If you haven’t seen this incredible Ted Talk by Dolph Lundgren you really should. I’d been mulling over this concept of selflessness and how it relates to mental health for a little while, but it wasn’t until I listened to him talk about this very thing that it all really started to jell in my mind. Is this the missing piece of the puzzle I’ve been searching for? I believe so.

Paying it forward

Bottom line: If we have been bestowed the blessing of good mental health, especially after not having it for so long, it’s essential to pay it forward and pass it on to other people. Having learned the important lesson of how to treat our inner selves well, we must then try and help others do the same.

To be sure, this will never be achieved by forcing other people to do something they are not ready to do. It will never be achieved by getting mad or frustrated that someone isn’t accepting help the way we think they should. It’s not about delivering advice simply for our own need to feel smart and superior.

This is not what selflessness is about. It’s about teaching through example and being patient with people until they are able to achieve good mental health for themselves. Perhaps this process will take them a very long time or perhaps they will never fully get there. We have to make peace with this and continue to be strong for those who cannot be strong for themselves for whatever reason. This is true selflessness.

“We have to be strong for those who cannot.”

Source unknown

This is indeed the final step in the process of recovery!

Hope everyone is doing well and having a great holiday season! It hasn’t been easy, but I am a survivor!

Idaho-poo winter – JoAnn Ryan

14 thoughts on “Moody Sunday: Is selflessness the final stage of recovery?

  1. How fortunate for your daughter that you’re in her life, JoAnn. Seeing the snow you traded for Trinidad sunshine really speaks to what you’re doing for her. Someday, she in turn will pay it forward to someone else in need.

    And so on, and so on… This is what makes civilization happen. Optimism isn’t optional; it’s a requirement.

    Tomorrow may restore the balmy climes, but today you’re being a good person. It’s because of people like you a brighter, happier future always is an aspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much. You have been blessed with the gift of encouragement and support. I appreciate your kind words so much! It hasn’t been easy! Hopefully things will just keep getting better and better.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. My prayers goes out to you and your daughter. Mental illness is no joke. I also have a sister who suffers with mental health issues. Thank goodness she hasn’t had a breakdown for a while now. Be well, take of each other. I was waiting for the post on your first trini Christmas – but this is more important – Christmas will come again.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s