My LPC Supervisor (shoutout Megan Garzaglass woohoo you’re amazing!) encourages me to no end. She likes to remind me about that popular story about how the honey bee aerodynamically should not be able to fly. It does anyway because it doesn’t care about what humans deem impossible. Apparently, some researchers say that this is a myth. They claim honeybees simply fly differently than other insects, flapping their wings back and forth instead of up and down. I think this makes it even more powerful, though, also somewhat proving it true. The honeybee works with what it has, because that’s all it can do. It may have to work harder than other insects, but nevertheless persists.
We’re all unique individuals
Sometimes we forget where we came from – the tools we were (or weren’t) born with or provided while growing up. We look around and we see our peers seeming to effortlessly leap over finish line after finish line. Meanwhile, we feel like we are trekking through quicksand. Determined to catch up, we keep our eye on the “prize” – straight ahead.
I’ve always felt I had to work way harder than everyone else around me simply to be seen as equal. It wasn’t until I looked back at my “starting line” that I finally realized why.
Your starting line
We don’t all begin at the same pretty little “GO” point in life. If you lived with someone that struggled with addiction, take two steps back. Parents divorced? Step back. If your guardian had depression, another step back. If your parent died by suicide, take five steps back. Molested? Seven steps back. If you were neglected, or emotionally or physically abused, take a few more steps back. Witness or victim to domestic violence? Take three steps back. If a family member went to prison, take two steps back. Mental or physical illness or challenge, yourself? Take several more steps back.
Flap your wings
….now, where are you in comparison to those other people? Those people that you were so desperately trying to “catch up to” in life? This is the only time I’ll encourage you to compare yourself to those around you. Research shows a strong correlation between the answer to these questions and long-term physical and mental health outcomes. If you’re fighting for health and success, you’re already breaking barriers. The key here is what this research doesn’t account for – resilience. Your resilience can act as a shield, helping you throughout your journey. Still, though, you can’t possibly expect yourself to compete when every single person begins their journey at a different point. Besides, your destination is your own, anyway. It’s truly not a race. Stop comparing yourself to all those other people on an entirely different track than you. Maybe you just have to “flap your wings” differently. Work with what you’ve got, just like the honeybee.
Together, we can #endthestigma.
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