Life can move fast when you are growing up. When I look back 20 years ago, growing up was much different because there was no social media. We used to have to guess who is most popular. Now the youth have social media metrics that are capable of telling us just who the most popular kid is. It is easy to see when others are getting married, having kids, buying houses, buying cars and going on vacation. All of this makes you feel left out, but I am writing to tell you that you are enough just as you are.
You are enough because you are thankful.
You are enough because you don't need to compare yourself.
You are enough because you know and accept the truth.
I remember speaking at a high school, and after I was finished many of the students decided to follow me on Instagram and I followed them all back -- only to wish I didn't. One girl in particular direct messaged me to tell me about how she enjoyed my talk because she is dealing with depression.
We chatted about this, and I felt really good about our talk until I started scrolling through her Instagram. Her entire account was projecting an image that her life was amazing and that she had no problems at all. I realized that she felt pressure to present her life in a positive light at all times.
Unfortunately, this can create a cycle of unhappiness for both her and her friends, making them feel like they have to appear "more" than they are in order to feel special or important -- even if that's not how they feel inside. The more I thought about it, the more I realized this type of thinking is very prevalent among our youth.
On the journey to figure these things out, we can get lost and forget just how amazing we are.
The feeling of not being enough is a lie that many of us end up believing at some point. It can send us on a dangerous chase to find external things to make us feel satisfied, but there is no such thing. If we can't find happiness within, we will never be able to find it externally.
The chase for success is never ending.
The chase for money is never ending.
The chase for status is never ending.
The chase for fame is never ending.
The chase for sex is never ending.
If we need more of the things above, we will never be satisfied. We will live much of our lives lost and feeling empty because we can never get enough.
The only thing that can fill us up is an appreciation for all that we do, have and love -- and the kindness in all our relationships. It is a simple formula, but it is one that never fails. We just get distracted in life, and we forget what matters.
You are enough because you are thankful
What brings sweetness to the soul is to start with gratitude. Start off by remembering what you have accomplished and be thankful for it. Remember the things you do and be thankful for them. There are things in your life that other people would kill to have, and you can't lose sight of that.
When you are in your youth, it is all about establishing the direction of your life. Figuring out who you are and what impact you want to make on the world. On the journey to figure these things out, we can get lost and forget just how amazing we are.
If you stop right at this moment and think of what you are thankful for, your happiness increases instantly.
Later in life, you may feel like everyone else is making significant moves. They are getting in relationships, getting accepted to college and attending all of the coolest parties. Feeling left out and lost is the best time to start expressing gratitude.
If you stop right at this moment and think of what you are thankful for, your happiness increases instantly. If you think of all, you don't have your happiness decreases, and this is a choice you have to make daily.
You are enough because you don't need to compare
It is so easy to see what everyone else is doing. You start to compare the struggle you know so well with other people's highlight reels. Then you feel like you need to keep up, so you stage pictures and try your best to show off the best parts of your life to feel better about yourself. The front that you put up is just a temporary fix, though -- it never lasts.
You feel like you're suffocating a bit because every time you look at social media or run into an old friend, it seems as if their life is fantastic. When they ask you how you are doing, you have to lie and cover up your pain because you feel the need to keep up. Little do you know that they are also covering up their pain.
You have a unique life and a path that was made especially for you. It can't match up with anyone else's.
When you measure your life by someone else's standard of living, you will never be enough. The comparison is one competition that you will always find a way to lose. There will always be someone out there who seems like they have it better. There will always be someone out there who looks like they have more.
The way to be a winner is to stay in your lane. Staying in your lane takes an understanding that you have a unique life and a path that was made especially for you. It can't match up with anyone else's.
You are enough because you know and accept the truth
The truth really will set you free. When you can accept that you are where you are for a reason, life becomes so much easier to live. Where you are today does not mean that you can't be in a better spot tomorrow.
A young student was once brave enough to ask me in front of the whole school what my advice was to get a girlfriend. Others laughed, but I applauded him for his braveness. I told him that all he had to do was worry about being the best version of him. He wanted to know how he could change himself and I explained to him that to become something different is not authentic and it would not produce real love. He is awesome just as he is, but he needs someone else to realize that. You could see the smile crack on his face and the weight of wanting to be someone else lift off of him.
Be honest with yourself, and you will be able to be honest with others.
When you can accept the truth, you start to realize that much of the social media that was hurting your feelings in the first place is fake.
When you can accept the truth, you realize that most people are hurting inside, but they are just too scared to say it.
When you can accept the truth, you understand that people around you need love and kindness even though they don't act like it.
People are not unhappy because they have horrible lives, they are unhappy because they can no longer see the truth. They are unhappy because the lie that they are not enough has become their reality.
The only way to fight fakeness in a hurting world is to be real about who you are. Be honest with yourself, and you will be able to be honest with others. If you are scared, admit it because we have all been there before.
If you feel like you're a failure, there are tons of people across the city who feel the same way.
If you feel like you're job sucks, remember that you're so much more than what you do for a living.
If you just feel down just know that there are others who feel the same way.
We can never help each other by looking down or acting like everything is amazing in life. Acting is a cover up and far from the truth. We can only help by facing and spreading the truth of our lives and giving others the strength to do the same.
You are enough.
You are enough not because I say you are enough. You are enough not because anyone else says you are enough. You are enough because you say that you are enough. That is all that matters. From this day forward.
You are thankful!
You only compete with yourself!
You know and accept the truth!
and you are ENOUGH!
Frame Of Mind is a new series inspired by The Maddie Project that focuses on teens and mental health. The series will aim to raise awareness and spark a conversation by speaking directly to teens who are going through a tough time, as well as their families, teachers and community leaders. We want to ensure that teens who are struggling with mental illness get the help, support and compassion they need. If you would like to contribute a blog to this series, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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Also on HuffPost:
One in five Canadians will experience mental illness in their lifetime Source: Canadian Mental Health Association
Nearly half of those who feel they have suffered from depression or anxiety have never gone to see a doctor about this problem. Source: CMHA
Latest studies showed more than 1.3 million young Canadians have a mood disorder or addiction. Two-thirds had symptoms before the age of 15. Source: Statistics Canada, Government of Canada
Suicide is among the leading causes of death in 15- to 24-year-old Canadians, second only to accidents. In 2012, 261 Canadian kids and teens took their own lives. Source: CMHA, Statistics Canada
LGBTQ youth face about 14 times the risk of suicide and substance abuse than their heterosexual peers Source: CMHA Ontario
First Nations youth are at a higher risk. The suicide rate among First Nations youth is roughly five to seven times higher than that of the general population. Source: Parliament of Canada study, 2014
People with mental illness and addictions are more likely to die prematurely than those without. Mental illness can cut 10 to 20 years from a person’s life expectancy. Source: Centre for Addiction and Mental Health
Contending with her bipolar disorder brought Yashi Brown to poetry, and with it, she's trying to end the stigma of mental illness.
If you need help, visit ementalhealth.ca to search for services in your area. Or call the Kids' Help Phone at 1-800-668-6868, it's Canada's only free phone counselling service for youth under 20.
More From Frame Of Mind:
- Our Daughter Fell Through The Cracks Of Our Mental Health System
- Depression Is More Than Being Sad
- Suicide Prevention: I Want Other Families To Know What Ours Didn't
- False Self Syndrome: The Dangers Of Living A Lie To Fit In
- Depression Isn't A Personality Flaw
- Asking For Help Is The Most Important Step
Follow Ian Warner on Twitter: www.twitter.com/ianwarner310