“Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something and has lost something.” This quote by Jackson Brown Jr. is one of my favorite because it breaks down walls and creates unity in our human experience. While reflecting back on successes and “yet-to-be” successes this past year, I recall a Speak Inspire Change challenge that we tried to launch based on this quote. We were asking people to participate in a movement to publicly name three things: something they fear, something they love, and something they have lost. Few people participated and the movement didn’t take off as we had hoped.
We do understand why…it’s not easy to name these very personal parts of our lives, they can trigger uncomfortable feelings and thoughts that we don’t typically bring forth in public. To name our fears could make us seem weak. We have been conditioned to hold our vulnerabilities in private, tuck them away and not burden others with them. And yet, I can’t help but wonder the shift that we would experience in a world that is desperate for change, if we all felt safer to be our true and whole selves. This is the very foundation of well-being.
Humanity is on the precipice of change with more research showing how we can reprogram the brain through positive thinking. We are seeing companies that support mental health amongst their employees decrease their total number of sick days. School boards are being proactive in wellness endeavours for students and staff. Governments are recognizing the need to invest dollars into mental health organizations and initiatives.
However, we still have a long way to go and so much work to be done with one in five experiencing mental health issues. It’s not surprising – these are very frightening and stressful times we are living in as we are seeing overwhelming human suffering. And yet, I believe we are gearing up for a shift in perception, and therefore a movement towards greater initiative and positive change.
It all starts with a willingness in each of us to use a tool that we all have within us – our voice. YouthSpeak has been built on the premise that giving a very personal voice to issues and challenges creates unity. This only occurs in a sustainable and meaningful way when we see ourselves united in our human experience…which of course, can only happen when we have the courage to name the things that we all have in common – our fears, our love and our losses.
Our Speak Inspire Change challenge that once was…I believe, is one of those “yet-to-be” successes!