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Why This Word Is So Empowering to People With Mental Health Struggles

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There are words out there whose very utterance empowers people. Smart, strong, adventurous, triumphant, victorious and so many other words convey power and strength. Those are great words, but when you’re in the depths of depression, bound by anxiety or overcome by the pain of trauma, those words can seem impossible.

In fact, those words often trip up those who are struggling. Rather than feel adventurous, we often feel trapped by the weight of our struggles. No one feels triumphant when they have to fight to get out of bed or walk into a crowded store. The internal dialogue that comes with mental health issues takes any hope of what the world considers victory and beats it into the ground. 

It’s hard to feel empowered when every day, sometimes every minute, is a fight.

Today, I want to challenge you to accept a new word as the most empowering word in your vocabulary: try.

Modern society doesn’t consider the word “try” to be an empowering word. Most people would see it as a “weak” word that implies you’re not determined to succeed.

But, they’re wrong.

To try means you’re attempting something knowing there’s a chance you’ll fail. It means you’re making yourself vulnerable. You’re attempting something you might not succeed at, yet you’re doing it anyway.

When you try, you know you might not make it, but you’re going to attempt it. I think that is the most powerful thing you can do. Being vulnerable and giving it a chance, even when you know it might not work out, is more powerful than doing what is safe.

The world looks at successful habits as being empowered, yet I find there’s no power behind doing the same things with ease every single day. The power comes when you have to look a possible failure in the eye and do it anyway. 

So hear me when I say this: If all you can do today is try, you are fighting and you are powerful. 

If today you woke up and all you want to do is go back to bed, but you’re willing to try to take a shower and try to get something to eat, you are a superhero. Keep trying. If at some point you can’t make it anymore, that’s OK. Try again tomorrow.

If right now you’re having a hard time and you feel lost in a confusing myriad of emotions and all you can do is try to breathe through the pain, you are amazing. Very few people will ever know how much power it takes to survive through deep emotional pain, but you do and you’re willing to keep trying. That’s powerful.

If going into a crowded store is a battle for you and you only make it halfway to the door before you turn and get back in your car, you tried! Don’t beat up on yourself for not being able to do what it seems like others can do with ease. Don’t compare yourself to them because they’re not fighting the same battle as you. You tried, and next time you can try again. Embrace the power in that attempt. Embrace what you did do when there’s a thousand voices in your head telling you that you can’t do it. You are a rockstar.

Trying is more powerful than easily accomplishing something with a guaranteed result.

If all you can do each morning is gently tell yourself you’re willing to try again to make it through the day, you are courageous. The outcome of that day doesn’t matter, it’s the willingness to try that brings the power from within you.

Embrace the power in the words, “I will try.” And if those words have to change to, “I will try again tomorrow,” embrace the power in your willingness to keep going. You are not a failure. You are trying, and that’s more than enough.

You are so powerful, where you are and as you are. If all you can do each day is try, you have done enough.

Unsplash image by Olivia Snow

Originally published: March 30, 2020
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