A Realization About Life

I have tried most of my life to be positive, happy and optimistic. I was taught the importance of being kind, caring and respectful by my parents, siblings, leaders and teachers. I learned the value of hard work and that failure does not mean the end. I have felt victory, triumph, as well as loss and defeat. I am blessed to have been taught that emotions are real and it’s okay to be emotional.

I have tried to be a good friend, loving husband, father, son, uncle and human. I have missed the mark on many occasions. I have offended people by word and/or action for which I am sorry. I have let people down. I have tried to always comfort those who need it. I strive to live what I believe but still have a ways to go.

With all that said, I have come to a very real and unapologetic realization, mental health matters.

Now, by no means is the a new topic but because it has really played quite a role in my personal life over the past while, I have felt the need to share my reality.

I have found that depression is so powerful and influential in ones life. What was once a life of that I assumed was simply a rollercoaster of emotions was identified as anxiety. Sure, I felt labeled at first but then got comfortable with my reality. Upon becoming with my new normal, something more was about to hit me head on. I did not realize nor was I really prepared for depression to be a part of my life.

I remember taking one of those assessments to see if you are depressed. The doctor looked at my report and said, “interesting, based on these results, you are one happy person.” So you can imagine my feelings as I came to an understanding of my depression. Every emotion from hurt, pain, loneliness, anger, frustration and sadness. Why? Probably because my initial human instincts was that I was damaged goods and people would look at me in way that was not, well good.

In truth, depression is not about an individual feeling broken, it’s about an individual having a breakthrough. Being honest about how you feel is not a weakness, it is a blessing and a strength. For me I continue to struggle with so much of what is associated with depression. I have some pretty down days. I have feelings of falling short of my potential, minimal motivation to do things, sadness, loneliness among other emotions. Trust me, it’s not fun. But I am learning more and more on how to manage my emotions. This often comes by observing others who are dealing with similar mental health challenges.

As I look back on my life and all the things I have done, the jobs I have had, the places I have traveled, the knowledge I have gained, the one thing that has helped me make it through tough days are thinking about the people.

The students I taught, the players I coached, the people I hired, the leaders I developed, the leaders who taught me. I miss these people. It is something I have struggled with my entire life. I get attached to the people because I genuinely love and care about them. They have brought so much good into my life. But ironically, there are times I feel as though I did not do enough for those around me, care enough, teach enough, and those thoughts start me down a path I don’t enjoy. I can only control what lies ahead, not what is behind.

I find so much joy and happiness helping and serving others. I love listening to others so they know I care. I know there are many amazing people in my life but that can be difficult to realize when you are dealing with depression. I have never wanted to feel like a burden on others, which doesn’t help with feelings associated with depression.

So the big realization in my life is this, I am human. I will continue to press forward with determination and resolve. I will keep my head up and when it falls, I will muster the strength to lift my head again. I will never stop my love and caring for others. I will continue to find time to do those things I enjoy. I will not allow depression to be something that defines me or how I live.

I share this not for a “whoa is me” but rather a “this is me.” I extend my deepest love, empathy and support to all those who struggle with mental health. You are awesome. You are cared about. Even though you may not feel or see it, there are people in your life who love you and want to be there for you. Let them in. It has been one of the hardest things for me but I can see how it will help in so many good ways.

Finally, the world we currently live in is broken in so many ways. This is feeding into the stereo typing, labeling and judging when it comes to mental health. People are using it as a weapon. We cannot allow that to happen. We must replace the world of negativity and fear with compassion and care. Never pass up an opportunity to ask how someone is doing. You may never know how much it means but trust me, it can be a life changer.

We can do this, we are all heroes!

You Are Awesome

Okay, I need to give it to you straight, without sugar coating my words, YOU ARE AWESOME.I am serious. Whether I know you personally or not, I admire you. You inspire others in ways you may not even know. As someone who is reading this, you inspire me. I appreciate you being you.

When you feel down, lonely, anxious, depressed, sad or any other feelings that don’t allow you to be you, remember this, I CARE ABOUT YOU. Never underestimate the power of knowing that others truly care about you. Let nothing in your life let you forget that. You are awesome.

I came across the following poem that I love. I hope you will not just read it but think about the message.

You’re More Than Awesome

A poem by Noel S. Williams

You’re more than awesome
You are one of a kind
Your personality blossoms
and your bright soul is not confined

You’re smile is beautiful
You’re hope is bright
Your spirit is lovable
You shine through with your light

Sometimes you’ll forget these things
When your life gets tough
You’ll feel as if you’re tied up by strings
You feel like your life is rough

But when you get to that point
When you can’t remeber all the good
When you’re being torn apart joint by joint
Look back at this and remember what you should

You’re perfect in every way
You are the light in the dark
Your spirit is yellow not grey
And you are the start of a hopeful spark

You’re more than awesome
You’re one of a kind
You’re beautiful like a blossom
and your soul is not confined.

You are a hero and heroes rock.

 

Inner Strength-Part 6

Press forward with determination

I absolutely love this quote by the great coach and legend Vince Lombardi, “the difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather in a lack of will.”

As you ponder those words, you cannot help but feel the power of determination. We are all going face challenges and setbacks in our life. For those that find the inner strength and determination to press forward, they will see great blessings enter their life.

As you look at those people you admire most, I would venture a guess that one of the characteristics they have is determination. They are successful in some way and that success did not come easy. They had to apply themselves, work hard and do the things that that would lead them to their goals. It is that determination to act and make it happen that sets them apart.

You deserve to find that determination and then make great things happen. A hero never sits around waiting for someone else to get things done. A hero never sits around and gives up when the road gets bumpy. A hero takes a determined attitude, sets the course then presses forward to make great things happen. That is one of the keys to building and maintaining inner strength.

Be a hero today.