This picture is from NAMI, the National Alliance on Mental Illness. They have a huge campaign going on to end the stigma against people, like me, who live with mental health challenges.
When I saw it, I was immediately reminded of how we can build a bubble of self-esteem to ward off the negative things people say and think about us.
Just because someone believes and says, either verbally or non-verbally, that we are losers, doesn’t make it true. However, because we do not believe in ourselves and often have low self-esteem, we are open to seeing ourselves through the eyes of people who either do not understand or those who do not wish to understand.
If you have been around the mental health community a long time, like I have, you soon realize that those who struggle with their mental health are the wisest, kindest and most productive people around.
We are marvelous people and can be an inspiration to many, yet we look in the mirror and hear the voices of those who would tear us down.
When I hear someone put me down in some way, I find myself asking in my mind, “Why do they feel so badly about themselves?”
My reason? Because only people who are unsure about and do not like themselves expend the energy to put down others. Only the wise call others weak. Only those who have failed try to tell someone else they are a failure.
The fact is, we are winners. No matter how the world describes us, we who struggle with mental health issues are successful because we never, ever give up. We fight on even when others say we should roll over and die.
So, the message I am sending out to all who are reading this today is to look inside not outside to define who you are. Even though your self-messages may be all messed up right now, they can only get worse if you allow other people to project their feelings of how they feel onto you.
All humans, I don’t care who you are, are valuable and worthwhile. You don’t have to accomplish a damn thing, except being alive. That is the truth. Take that kernel and allow it to grow in your soul.
If you do, soon you will find a blossoming tree that will protect you against the negativity of others. Under this umbrella, you can write your own story throughout your lifetime.
Who I am, what I am, is the culmination of a lifetime of reading, a lifetime of stories. And there are still so many more books to read. I’m a work in progress. ~Sarah Addison Allen