“Who am I?” That’s a question most of us struggle with for years. We’re molded into the fighters of tomorrow based on the battles of today; that’s something I’ve learned over the years and I learned it the hard way. Let’s steer this in a slightly different direction for a bit. The key to leadership is not only knowing you’re right, but convincing others that you are. What if the situation you’re in won’t allow you to do that? You know you’re right, however, you’re unable to convince others to believe that. I’d hate to think what that means, but ultimately, it simply means that other people have defined you as a human all on their own.

Empowerment

You can learn a lot from someone you hate; it’s amazing to learn how someone’s thoughts can influence their behavior, isn’t it? When I was a child, I often felt alone. So, to fill that void, I used the empowerment that the gift of my imagination gave me; force of will. I’d write stories and paint myself as if I’d been the happiest child ever, painting pictures of having friends that I never had in real life. In a strange way, it allowed me to grow and learn a lot about myself. As I grew older, I thought I was weird for having done that, until I realized that Napoleon did something similar. When his mother wasn’t able to attend his ceremony, he told David to paint his mother in the picture, as if she were actually there during the ceremony. Even the most fearless of leaders at one point felt vulnerable — then they destroyed their vulnerability in the name of money, power, fear and respect. As understandable as the coping mechanism is, it only molds us into versions of ourselves that we soon may not recognize. 

Purpose

Our purpose is directly linked to the health state of our mind. A lot of people who suffer from PTSD, Depression and other mental disorders often feel that their illness makes an attack on their purpose and therefore, they have, in a way, lost their purpose. Don’t doubt yourself! I believe that we make our own destiny. Our mental illness may make things more difficult, but you’re here. What does that mean? It means that you didn’t wake up with the mental illness you had today, which means you’ve had the illness for a while and are still fighting it.

Things to remember

  • You deserve to be heard, understood and accepted. Sometimes, though, we’re heard and not understood, and that can only make matters worse. Don’t worry; read on.
  • Your recovery isn’t based on someone else’s approval or understanding.
  • You’re kind, worthy and you have worked really hard to get to where you are today. Don’t let anyone’s lack of acknowledgement of the matter take that away from you. C’mon, now! You’re (bleep) amazing! You went through a difficult thing and survived. You’re like… 100x cooler than James Bond. That (bleep) has millions of dollars and he still wouldn’t be able to survive all you’ve gone through without his fancy gadgets and billions of dollars. You are the new James Bond.
  • A diagnosis is just a name, at the end of the day.
  • We all fight our battles; therapists, as well as psychiatrists, often love a diagnosis because it gives them a design in how they should pursue a treatment. It helps them make a plan. Remember, they treat you, not your illness. These symptoms don’t make you a bad person. Mental health is a serious matter, but with all the labeling, it may make us feel like we’re bad or that something’s wrong with us. No. It’s your brain’s way of coping because you’ve been strong for so long and need some rest. We all need a little help, sometimes, there’s no shame in that. Some of us need different approaches in treatment; some more serious than others. There’s nothing wrong with that either.
  • Look at you now, reading this. If you woke up today without hurting yourself even though you wanted to, be proud of yourself. If you ate a little more than you have on other days, be proud of yourself. If you woke up today, be proud of yourself. It means you were strong enough to make it through the difficulties you face and you can do it again. Don’t be so hard on yourself. Live for yourself, not for the world. Do what makes you happy, what helps you be the version of yourself you’re happier with. Screw what the rest of the world expects. The only person’s approval you need is your own. Happiness comes when you realize that you’re enough in this world, you don’t need external factors to prove your worth or make you happy.

Life is a journey; don’t go through it with a roadmap. A lot of people rush to get older, do big things — then when their time comes, they realized through it all, they truly forgot to live. You only get one chance at life. Someone dies each day; the sad part is that they probably didn’t know it was their last day alive. They probably had plans of being a writer, getting married, having children. Being an actor. Whatever it may be. That teaches us a valuable lesson; live your life as if it were your last day alive and learn as if you were going to be alive forever. Take advantage of time, because time is already killing you.

The past always influences the present. There’s nothing we can do about that, except try to understand it. Just make sure that your future doesn’t repeat the past. You have more power than you think you do.

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