Your responses to these “One Small Thing” notes have been deeply moving. People have written to me (as well as to important people in their lives) about how small actions greatly improved their sense of self.
One moving trend seems to be an increased willingness to be vulnerable, authentic and open about personal challenges, including mental illness.
That is a subject near and dear to my heart.
With that, I wanted to share a couple examples of how reframing mental illness into mental acceptance can begin to reduce stigma, and how sharing your challenges can open up other people to share theirs as well.
Together, we’re taking small actions to dissolve the embarrassment and shame that so often goes with challenges that so many of us face at some point in our lives.
A month ago, I hosted a Parlay House on the topic “Behind the Curtain of Success” which discussed mental illness and eating disorders. After the panel finished, a highly successful woman in the audience spoke up, “outing” herself as bipolar.
By doing this, she gave everyone (most of whom were more junior to her in terms of career success) insight into her truth, and hope that despite their own personal challenges, they too had potential to rise. She was not on the panel and had not been prompted to share her story. She simply realized that many of the women around the room were limiting their expectations of their own potential because they were afraid that their own struggles with mental health would hold them back.
By speaking up, she freed them to rise.
In another instance, a Marchex employee opened up his world to me. He was moved while reading some of the social media posts related to that same Parlay House event, and without prompting, he told me how touched he was that we addressed this issue.
“My daughter has autism and I don’t generally talk openly about it. I realized if I don’t talk about it, it adds to the stigma and prevents me from finding other people who are dealing with the same challenges that we are as a family. I now feel driven to share more, talk more, and connect more.”
Opening up about the things you’re challenged with makes other people feel less alone in their own struggles.
That is the power of small actions.
Here’s something you can do right now to shift others’ thinking: share a time when someone else’s authenticity or vulnerability freed you.
Share it big: post your story on social media.
Share it small: write to a friend who you see going through similar struggles and share your experience.
Share it with me: simply send me a note.
This small action could shift their perspective and create a positive reframe on these deeply held challenges.