Today we celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr. Known for his peaceable protests and dreams of equality for all, King has been a leader and inspiration for a countless many through the years.
While the battle for rights and civil liberties for all continues, today I would like to take his teachings on change, peace, love, and hope and apply them towards mental health. This battle for fair treatment and a lack of discrimination is sadly still in motion.
I hope that you find the same inspiration from his messages that I do, and may they inspire you to take action to make peaceable changes in your own life.
“If you can’t fly, then run. If you can’t run, then walk. If you can’t walk, then crawl. But whatever you do, you have to keep moving forward.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
If you have experienced any kind of sorrow, doubt, or worry, then you know just how hard it can be to hold your head up and to try to keep going at times. There are many moments when it may seem easier to just let it all go. It may seem easier to forget your goals of a happier future. It may seem easier to stop pushing yourself to heal and keep trying.
But the pain won’t go away on its own. Some days, it feels like you are slowly crawling inch by inch towards hope and healing.
But keep moving forward. Whatever you do. Don’t give up. That’s when the pain and worry will subside- as you keep going forward. It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you may move. The peace will come.
“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great of a burden to bear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Love can be a four letter word at times. Some of life’s hardest decisions, situations, and battles center around love. Often, the reason some people find it hard to love isn’t because they are so consumed with hate. It’s because they don’t know how to love. Love represents being vulnerable. And that can lead to pain and heartache. So they remain locked and immobile.
Be willing to open yourself up to love. While there are some risks, the rewards outweigh the risks.
Let go of the burden. It’s worth it.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
So you finally decide to keep moving forward. To try to love others, and more importantly, yourself. But how do you do it? How do you change? Where do you start?
The hardest part of the journey is deciding to embark and try. After that, it gets easier, provided you surround yourself with people who believe in you or who know how to go on the journey.
So just decide, “Yes, I’m worth it! Yes, I want to try.” Once you make this decision, you’ll start to notice who is supportive of you and your goal. You’ll also start to notice those who can help you, or you’ll be inspired to know just where to look to find them.
All you have to do is to take the first step: faith.
“We must build dikes of courage to hold back the flood of fear.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
On the journey to being healthy, happier, and less stressed, there is a lot of fear that arises. If the path were easy, everyone would do it. But it takes consistent effort. In fact, that’s what the dike of courage is built of. It’s easy to look at others who are taking bold actions- or even just trying in any way- and to think that courage comes easily to them. The fact is, it’s a stretch for everyone. They don’t have any secrets or strength that you don’t. They, too, know fear. They just keep going in spite of it.
Next time the doubt comes in, build your wall of courage by continuing on instead of quitting. That’s how you’ll keep the fear at bay.
This leads us perfectly to our next inspirational quote:
“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Just do it. Just try. It’s that simple. Don’t make it harder than it already is by trying to see what’s at the top of the stairs. Just know that it’s better than doing nothing or letting things get worse, and for it! Adventures are what life is all about!
“Love is the only force capable of transforming an enemy into a friend.” Martin Luther King, Jr.
Something that has always amazed me is how much effort people can put into loving and pleasing others- at the expense of loving and pleasing their own self. If you want to help others, if you want to be healthier (physically and emotionally), and make your goal happen, you have to stop hating yourself. You have to stop believing that it won’t happen to you or that you aren’t worthy.
If the first step of the staircase is just taking some kind of action or believing that it’s possible, then the second is turning yourself from an enemy into a friend.
You do this by speaking kindly to yourself and mumbling motivational words instead. You do this by not muttering the names that are harsh to yourself. You can look at your strengths and really begin to let those work for you, instead of focusing on the things that come a little bit harder to you.
Today I am inviting you to take one of Martin Luther King, Jr’s ideas and to put it into practice in your life. Write down one of them. Read over it. Commit to making peaceable changes in your own life. And like always, let me know how it goes!