Hey you, yeah you, I’m talking to you. It’s okay if you roll your eyes, sigh and cast your head down, I know you’re listening. I have got a few things I’d like to tell you…
Yes, you are tough. You are tough not because of your battle scars, your stoic emotional expression or the beginnings of your man beard. YOU ARE TOUGH because no matter how many unfortunate and unfair situations come your way, you keep moving forward and somehow in that moving forward you allow a little light of hope into your world. And no matter how terrifying that little light of hope may be, you allow it to grow, little by little and day by day until it becomes a small flame inside your soul.
I see you. I see who you are as a person, as a soul. Not your diagnosis, your behavioral history, your daily charting or even “your potential.” I see you now, in this moment. I see that you have developed strengths and uniqueness that no one else in this universe possesses. I see that the way you have developed has been in response to all sorts of adversity in a society that does not fully understand your needs. This way of developing has been in an attempt to survive, not in a manner to be hostile, manipulative or scary.
You are not bad. You are not “born bad.” You are not born broken. You are as whole and pure as me or any other human being. It’s just that your life experience hasn’t let you see or feel that. You carry a shame that is not yours to carry and I thank you for the moments you take that shame out of your heavy backpack and place it on the floor in front of us.
You make me laugh. You bring a joy into my heart that cannot be explained or experienced in any other way. You remind me to play and be silly, in a way that allows my stress to flow away from me and invites a sense of fun and curiosity that only you can bring.
You teach me. Yes, I learn from you. I learn how to trust. I learn from you how to be vulnerable. I learn from you how to believe in change, even when believing in that change shakes you to your core.
You always have a choice, young man. Yes, I am likely lecturing this to you each day, but only because it’s true. You have a personal power so great, it can change your world and the world around you.
You. Are. Loved.
Hillary Giller, MA, Mental Health Therapist