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The Stuff of Heroes

By: Su Chen / Written: Sep 12, 2023 / For Letters Against Depression

The Stuff of Heroes

Image: "Kids with Capes" - Media From Wix

To you, dear stranger,

I don’t know you, but you’re probably suffering in some way, shape, or form as I write this. Perhaps you’ve been hit with an earth-shattering loss: the loss of a loved one, the death of a dream career, a life-changing diagnosis. Maybe you’re in a toxic workplace. Or you’re battling a chronic health issue such as insomnia, fibromyalgia, or IBS.

Society may have told you to try harder —- whether directly or indirectly. If you’re being knocked down by the whirlwind of grief years after the initial loss, society tells you to “move on”, as you’ve “grieved for too long” in their eyes. If you’re frazzled from being in a toxic workplace, society tells you to “quit your job and find another one”, not knowing it would cripple your only source of income to pay rent with. If you’re doubled over in pain because your guts decided to act up, people tell you “it’s just IBS, at least it’s nothing life-threatening” and expect you to continue being productive.

As a result, the pressure from others causes you to doubt yourself. It makes you question your worth, your resilience, and your efforts. Most strikingly of all, you doubt if you’re even a good person —- in a society that frequently equates industriousness with morality.

Oh, if only you knew the truth.

You are resilient. You are courageous. And I’ll say this a thousand times over: You’re enough, priceless —- just the way you are.

Don’t you ever listen to individuals who belittle your efforts, if they haven’t lived through your perspective. When you are battling your own personal hell, and you muster however little energy you have to soldier on, that is an act of tremendous courage. It is NOT a weakness, just because you are not doing as much as society expects.

When an injured soldier continues to fight despite their physical limitations, we don’t call him/her weak for not being as efficient as a healthy soldier. We call them valorous, courageous, admirable —- for persevering through the pain to do what they can.

When you continue to fight despite your wounded soul, you’re not weak either just because you aren’t as productive as others expect. You’re valorous, courageous, admirable — just like the metaphorical soldier — for giving YOUR best.

And that’s the stuff of heroes.

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