Respecting Ourselves and Everyone We Meet Graciously

“I wondered what it would be like to be just myself all the time, but my self seemed to be far away, and made up of all sorts of things that didn’t really exist.” — Jane Devin (Elephant Girl: A Human Story)

Every day our lives are progressing, growing, and unfolding in divine timing. While it may well be at odds with your expectations, your life and journey are still faultless,  beautiful, and bounteous no matter what season of transformation you currently find yourself navigating. There will always be irreplaceable lessons and revelations in the confusion, madness, and unknown.

As community members, positive difference-makers, and leaders, we should all remain mindful of recognizing depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Each of us is battling something that another person knows absolutely nothing about. No one is impervious. Devising resolutions, formulating solutions, and changing the narrative on mental wellness will necessitate a profound level of trust, purpose, encouragement, active listening, empathy, bravery, and vulnerability. What if our methods, culture, and unchanging messaging do not impress upon people that they genuinely matter and have a rightful place in our community? In that case, we fall short of an inimitable occasion to change a life and, in some cases, save a life.

That’s why respecting ourselves and everyone we meet graciously, with dignity and compassion, is now more relevant than ever in these capricious, fleeting, ever-changing times. We can start today as positive-difference makers by not undervaluing the potential of that compliment, kind word, high five, hug, or smile. People will never forget and always remember how you made them feel.

—Brian Nadon


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