I talk about my diagnosis because I want others like me to know they are not alone and that they can accomplish great things if they keep trying – and show themselves a little self-love. We are taught by society to be ashamed of ourselves or live in fear of ourselves, but if we own who we are and love who we are we can not only make ourselves feel better, we can move the needle on eradicating stigma. – Patrick A. Roland
Patrick A. Roland is author of ‘Unpacked Sparkle’, a book chronicling his transformative journey through grief, addiction and a bipolar diagnosis.
The author hopes that by sharing his experience and strength with readers, they will find hope. He believes everyone deserves to sparkle. In this interview extract, Patrick shares his thoughts on self-love, and how he made it possible for himself.
Why do so many of us not feel ‘good enough’?
Because society tells us we are not! Look at every advertisement! Every movie star! Every popular singer in videos! They are glamorous, beautiful, carefree – their lives are easy, carefree, happy. It’s a lot to aspire to. And NO ONE really can! It’s a pipe dream; a lie.
Happiness comes from within, not people, places or things, but society makes us think it’s the opposite so that we never feel good enough, so that we are always wanting more, so that we are always seeking.
So I just started to love myself, and I started feeling good enough. I don’t need a one else to tell me how to be or do me. I am enough!
Many people feel shame in struggling with mental illness. How can we help combat those feelings of shame?
Stop it! Own who you are and love who you are. There shouldn’t be any shame in something that is a part of you. I’ve discovered that the more open and honest I am, the more people respond positively toward it. It’s like “I like myself and this is why” and then they do too.
Often, you hear advice telling you to “just be yourself”. Why is it so hard? How can we just be ourselves?
It’s actually easier than you think. Stop listening to all the haters – especially the ones inside your head – and love yourself boldly and bravely and live like you’ve never lived before. Everybody has their own sparkle, and everyone deserves to thrive in and own it. I hope you find yours and let yourself live the powerful life you deserve!
How do you practise self-care?
Everything I do is now built around self-care and self-love. It took the entirety of my life to get here, but now that I am here, I’m not backing down on my commitment to myself. That means walking away from unhealthy people, jobs, situations, etc. If it affects my serenity – the bubble of joy and love I’ve built around myself – I’m not having it.
Happiness is an inside job and it’s my job to fight for myself. This also means that when the lows come, I ride those out too. It’s all cyclical, a part of my rhythms, and I know how to love, nurture and take care of myself. If I can’t do that for myself, I can’t do it for anyone else, and I have to know and believe I am worth it.
Can you offer an affirmation or quote that has helped you in difficult times?
“Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” – Whitney Houston
For more information, visit www.unpackedsparkle.com.
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