From 1999 when I published my first book, Riding the Roller Coaster, I’ve tried to persuade readers that living with mental illness is not the end of the world. Despite our struggles, we can have a life worth living. If we trust God and the person he made us to be, we can do more than just survive.

It’s common knowledge that low self-esteem is a problem many of us share. Stigma is a big reason for this. It’s hard to feel good about ourselves when the whole world seems to be looking down on us. It’s hard to face the world with confidence.

I’m concerned, realizing that many with such low self-esteem are accepting that this is all life holds for them. They feel they have no worth. They feel they don’t belong. They don’t have the courage to try new things.

But listen to this: You are of great worth to God, your Father. You are his child and he wants you to get the most out of life. This is something you need to believe.

I’m writing this with the hopes that it will inspire you to gain confidence. I’m praying you will find things in my writings that will spur you on and help your level of confidence grow. If you already have confidence but are frustrated because of how the world is treating you, I’m hoping you’ll be encouraged to overcome the stigma that exists.

How can we lift ourselves up? How can we lift up the people we care about? Is it possible for a person who looks down on herself to change and become more self-assured?

The very fact that I’m writing shows that I believe it is. Yes. With God’s help and your faith, it is. Even when others don’t respect us, we can learn to respect ourselves. We can learn to think more positively about ourselves.

I’m including stories about some great individuals whose lives will hopefully provide inspiration to help you. The only reason I tell these stories is because we can learn from them. They may have traits that remind you of your own.

When you read about Gandhi, you will see that he became one of the greatest men in history, despite a fear of speaking in public. Nelson Mandela spent 27 years in prison, yet upon release he went on to bring racial peace and reconciliation to his deeply wounded nation of South Africa. Mother Teresa’s story and Martin Luther King Jr’s story are equally amazing, as are the others you’ll be reading about.

The first story I will feature is William Wilberforce and the abolition of the slave trade in Britain. The second is Charles Dickens and his efforts to show the evils of child labor during the Industrial Revolution. How did these men overcome the injustices of their day?

As you go through this series, I hope you will remember one important thing: You don’t have to do great things to lead a meaningful life. Not at all.

I’m hoping this series will one day become a book. But who knows if I’ll live long enough to finish it? And so, I’ll share with you–a day at a time–what I’ve written and continue writing. We’ll learn how some passionate individuals in history have overcome justices of all kinds, despite great obstacles. You’ll be inspired.

marja

 

This has been Part 1 of the series, JUSTICE FOR ALL. Read Part 2 – Stigma, the Struggle