Mental health is the ability to free your self from passivity.
Author Ruth Jhabvala once wrote these lines of passivity, “Take me, make what you will of me, I have joy in my submission.”
That’s how a psychotherapy patient, Jill, would think and feel in the way she acts with men.
She feels she’d lose if she becomes assertive. So she chooses to be passive and silent.
One time, Jill caught her boyfriend dating other women from a dating app. She backed out and kept silent about it.
She deals the same way with her negative emotions and fears in her relationship with her mother: passivity and crying spells.
Jill’s mother has always prevented Jill to get ahead with her dreams.
“My mother does not want me to advance and support me to medical school. I feel worthless and anxious whenever she says it’s crazy to have that dream,” Jill told me over Zoom.
She just keeps passive and silent whenever her mother discourages or puts her down.
“What can you do, Jill?” I asked.
She said, “Nothing. I’ll just cry in my room whenever my boyfriend or mother makes me feel bad.”
Passivity is a form of self sabotage.
It comes from the word “passive” which means lacking initiative, self assertion, or forceful qualities. It’s inert, not active.
If you are passive, it harms no one but your self. Yet that is bad enough.
With passivity, your life is a series of missed opportunities for growth. Or, “cruel omissions,” as British writer Beth Taylor states.
Jill can defeat her passivity. Her self sabotage. If she does not beat herself up … and if she’s willing to replace her negative emotions with nurturant voices.
In therapy, she learned to face her feelings and accept them. As they are, without judging and blaming herself.
Then, she learned to take healthy steps to heal her inner wounds and play to win instead of losing through passivity and silence.
Free your self from passivity.
“People who soar are those who refuse to sit back, sigh and wish things would change. They neither complain of their lot nor passively dream of some distant ship coming in. Rather, they visualize in their minds that they are not quitters; they will not allow life’s circumstances to push them down and hold them under.”— Dr. Charles R. Swindoll