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The Catalyst: How valuing yourself and your self image can improve your mental health.

By Luke Cavanaugh



I recently returned from a trip to Southern Florida. On my happy little drive down to Sebring, I noticed a billboard for a notoriously cheap breakfast food chain. I’m not going to say what company because I don’t want to get sued, but it rhymes with “Scuttle Mouse.” While writing this testimony, I decided to poll a diverse group of people in my immediate network about the worst breakfast chain restaurant. As it turns out, “Scuttle Mouse” makes Waffle House and Denny’s look like the Riviera. I could have told you that myself, but I decided to ask the experts. 


Why am I telling you this? Well, it caught my eye because the sign had a plate of food on it (that you'd never get at that restaurant), followed by a boasting statement that read, "Clean Bathrooms!" Imagine owning a restaurant chain, and your marketing team tries to sell your product by telling everyone the bathrooms are clean- an implied and EXPECTED trait of a trade that serves FOOD. Everyone here, including the corporate structure that somehow allowed that advertisement, knows how ridiculous it is. 


But what if I asked you to market yourself? Would you say, “I keep my bathrooms clean,” or “I don’t put full effort into everything I do?” Our society and veteran community are collectively undergoing a slow but steady raising of their standards, and I do believe that despite outrage headlines and atrocity propaganda polluting every screen we lock eyes with. So, what’s missing? Well, I’d argue there’s quite a bit we can still improve on, but for the sake of my aforementioned metaphor, let’s stick to a couple:


  1. Showing ourselves grace when evaluating our self-worth.

  2. No more settling. Everything worth doing is worth doing 


How often do you hear our veterans (Rightfully) praise the men and women around them? I'd say it's pretty common. Now, how often do they do the same for their traits? Probably a lot less common. Today, there is a clear distinction between marketing yourself regarding your contributions to your community and society as a whole and sheer arrogance. We all know a veteran or two who probably has a large social media following that comes off as arrogant and vain. Although there may be validity to the consensus on those people, they are putting themselves out there and projecting their value and contributions whether we agree or not. I'm not saying we all need to get on TikTok and gloat about how badass we were/are, but it is okay to boast about your accomplishments and achievements to the people who matter to you. Chances are those people have been waiting for it- because they love you and want you to love yourself.


Thinking man statue. Meant to convey deep thoughts and stoicism


No more settling. I understand burnout, and I truly relate to task overload- but if you’re feeling yourself “Half-assed” about anything, you need to re-evaluate. Am I using my time wisely? Do I need to put more effort into this? Am I lying to myself and staying in a comfort zone of bare minimums? I can’t answer this for you, but I can tell you that these questions are important in self-assessment. Additionally, if you don’t like the answer, then you need to rethink your strategy. Here at Security Halt Media, we preach lifelong recovery and continuous healthy habits for mind, body, and spirit. But only you can determine whether or not the self-evaluation questions hit home. And if they do, adjust and continue your journey. Many people, including myself, are depending on you to succeed and we’re all rooting for you. 

So, if this resonated with you, maybe ask someone trustworthy to identify the blind spots in how you advertise yourself to the world. Do you give yourself grace? Do you engage every task and challenge to the best of your ability- or do you allow those who care about you to observe a half-ass job at taking care of yourself? We all need to be called out on our BS from time to time; I'm no stranger to my friends and family telling me what I need to hear. So, I challenge us all to find out what matters to you, give it everything you have, and show us the value we all know you’re capable of. Most of all, ensure that your pitch to what you contribute isn’t "I keep my bathrooms clean." 




Stoic character meant to convey a message of self work as a central pillar of being a man

Veteran mental health, mindset, vetvaluesues coaching

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