“Life will only change when you become more committed to your dreams than you are to your comfort zone.” ~Billy Cox

It might sound like a senseless paradox to say that the “bad” or “dark” things about you are actually your “light” or “positive” qualities. However, this isn’t just a feel-good platitude; it’s literally true. The things we struggle with the most are our greatest sources of empowerment.

Because this process is not exactly front and center of modern mental health and wellness movements, committing to your own healing can seem daunting and hopeless. Few people have truly learned how to welcome their painful, suppressed emotions, listen to what they have to say, and come out the other side stronger.

But in today’s world, it’s become increasingly difficult to avoid, suppress, and force ourselves into fake states of positivity. Clearly, our “negative” emotions are bubbling to the surface where they cannot be ignored any longer.

We see anger and pain overflowing into the social and political sphere, in schools where violence occurs, and all over the news. According to ScienceDaily, “121 million people worldwide are impacted by depression, and 850,000 commit suicide every year.”

It’s no wonder so many of us get stuck in apathy, pessimism, and distractions. Life is challenging us right now, and the first necessary step is to actually acknowledge that we are in pain. This sounds incredibly simple, yet so many people choose to fight their symptoms rather than committing to understanding them.

On social media I see a lot of hashtags exemplifying our resistance to pain, like #depressionwarrior and #fightanxiety. And while it’s totally understandable to want to conquer the pain you’ve felt for so long, mental illness is not something to be battled and conquered. It doesn’t need to be fought, but rather, listened to and respected.

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