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Everyday Bravery Pins Celebrate Big and Small Life Accomplishments

It might seem strange rewarding yourself for partaking in an act of self-care, but that’s what Emily McDowell’s Everyday Bravery Pins were designed for — celebrating all of life’s victories.

McDowell, a Los Angeles based illustrator and designer known for her Empathy Cards – greeting cards for people with cancer, infertility, mental illnesses and other chronic conditions – created the line of pins to help people celebrate some of life’s biggest and hardest achievements. Different pins highlight self-care items like “Put myself first” and “Spoke my mind” to more profound accomplishments such as “Getting sober” and “Kicking cancer’s a**.” Blue pin which reads "Survived indescribable guilt."

“We recognize the hard work that goes into achieving traditional, external goals like promotions and graduations, but we don’t tend to give ourselves and each other credit for accomplishing our internal goals,” McDowell told The Mighty. “A ton of hard work goes into making these kinds of tough changes, and I wanted to create something that would help honor that success.”

McDowell, 40, uses knowledge from her own life experiences as inspiration for her work. These experiences include living with clinical depression for almost three decades and being diagnosed with cancer in her 20s. “Antidepressants saved my life, and I’ll probably be on them forever, and I’m totally cool with that,” she said. “Because I’ve had this specific set of experiences, I’m really interested in and aware of the ways in which we’re taught to talk about illness — or not talk about it.”

Green pin reads "Someone didn't like me and it was ok."

Her work also allows her to start an important conversation about illness, self-care and what it means to be “normal.”

“I believe self-care should be one of our top priorities, because if we’re not taking care of ourselves first, it’s impossible to create an internal foundation that’s strong enough to effectively care for anyone else,” she said. “It takes a lot of energy to show up in the world for the people and things we care about, and we can’t sustain that energy if we’re not taking care of our own needs first.”

Red pin reads "Saved my own life."

To see more of McDowell’s work, check out her website Emily McDowell Studio

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