When I was 25 I was assisting in the management of a 50 bedroom Motor Inn central Wellington. Looking back it was a pretty big responsibility for someone so young. It was a live in position which meant I got up and close to what really goes on inside a motor inn after dark. Consequently I learnt a lot about human behaviour that I had previously never encountered! Fast forward another 24 years and although I still get a little surprised at the unpredictability of people, I have come to accept it. Relationships and our environment definitely have an impact on how we act, whether we are aware of it or not. We all get influenced by others around us so it's always good to do a bit of an audit now and then to look at who is in our lives and who we choose to spend time with. We are all a bit chameleon like as we mould, adapt and relate to our surroundings and those who are in it, and the sooner we accept that there will always be uncertainty the sooner we can start living in the moment. Intimate relationships are especially fertile grounds for all sorts of unknown behaviours to surface, not only in ourselves but with our partners. We don't know what we are capable of until it's triggered, the sinner or the saint, the pussycat or the tiger. There is a psychological term called the Johari window and whilst I make no claim to fully understand it, and neither have I studied it to any great depth, my laymens understanding is this. The Johari window is 4 'rooms' which are symbolic of our inner most workings. One room symbolises the stuff that we know about ourselves, are fully aware of and we are happy to exhibit to those around us, another is things that we are aware of about ourselves but we would never admit to anyone else, another room is about how others perceive us which affects their interaction with us and we with them. The last room is the abyss. For some people it's the most exciting room, for others it's incredibly frightning, as it's the unknown. No one, not even ourselves are aware of what's lurking in there until something happens or we put ourselves into situations to bring things up to the surface. When we live with this unknown quantity then our only form of defence is to ensure we have a good sense of ourselves and the ability to not be deferred to some default defence mechanism which may have helped us survive as little children but as adults holds us back. Perhaps this is why Im so passionate about health promotion and self efficacy, I would like to see more programmes in mental health building on peoples identifiable strengths, which encourages growth and forward movement, versus identifying whats wrong and staying stuck in the past. People can also put us in a holding pattern which stems from the past and it might not be conducive for our own wellbeing. I realise my approach to wellbeing doesn't change any situation but it equips us to handle things better and perhaps have a little more control of our responses through increased awareness. I've been down the the long lonely road of post natal depression, it claimed too many good years of my life. I chose not to medicate but instead went on a counselling course, not to become one, but to learn about my own thinking and how I could manage it better. Whilst it wasn't an instant fix it certainly propelled me forward enough to start taking bigger steps towards the freedom of mind which I now have and have worked extremely hard to achieve. I couldnt have got this freedom if I hadnt have learnt that I bound and limited my own thinking. Because of my own lived experience I found that taking charge of my own life was the best remedy for me. Sometimes we need help, which can often include medication for some people. We need to learn how to build some good solid foundations when the ground below us is shaky, which for some people does not come naturally. There is always a way out of the darkness it often just needs a little light shined on it.