Learn Today, Lead Tomorrow, but Never Follow

 By Diem Tran on September 9, 2022

A visual representation of what happens when you push yourself too far to be at a state of mind you are not in: exhaustion and back to square one.
(Photo Credit: Unsplash)

SAN JOSE, CALIF. — Younger, older, no matter the age, every person in the world struggles with their mental health at some point in their life, and it is important to know that it will be okay if you move at your own pace.

A person’s mental health can be quite a controversial, and a touchy subject to speak about, but it is more crucial than ever when an immeasurable amount of people struggle with it on a daily basis. So, don’t wait. Don’t wait to speak up for mental health until you have to face the consequences and they are sitting at your front door steps. 

From my personal experiences growing up, it almost felt as if when healing from pain and the issues that an unstable mental health prompts, you must follow a process of linear, step-by-step instructions, but that isn’t how healing works. Healing is not linear nor the same for everyone. Move at your own speed. Heal in the places that need it. 

In school, we are often taught to “learn today and lead tomorrow,” meaning to learn in the moment and lead everyone around you tomorrow. But, what about the ones being led? What isn’t taught enough is that you do not have to follow everyone around you. Do not follow their ways of living if it doesn’t match up to yours. It would be like racing a car that doesn’t reach the same speed maximum as another car. Your car would burn out from the pressure you’re putting onto it in hopes of speeding up to your opponent the same way you yourself are going to burn out if you try to be like the ones around in a mental, and physical, manner. Do not exhaust yourself from trying to catch up in comparison. 

And though they often promote the idea of “learn today and lead tomorrow”, not all schools are well-educated on the causes, effects, and consequences of an unbalanced state of mind in a child, but Silver Creek High School students are fortunate enough to have staff members who truly do care about the wellbeing of their students. Our school’s Mental Health and Wellness Center is always open for students to catch a break, take a moment to breathe, and attempt to ease their thoughts during school hours. Allowing us students to have a moment or two to ourselves and talk to an adult if needed encourages the concept of students moving at their own pace when it comes to any struggles involving their mental state of mind. 

“It’s okay to not be okay.” A cheesy quote I got from a Korean Drama I often re-binge? Yes. But is it true? Absolutely. In the K-Drama “It’s Okay to Not Be Okay”, the male lead Moon Gang-Tae consoles the female lead Ko Moon-Young during a breakdown that she tried to suppress. To make Ko Moon-Young feel seen and to assure her that it is okay that she is not 100% content in that moment, Moon Gang-Tae lets her know that she does not have to be. You cannot help what you feel; it is nothing but human nature. 

It’s okay to not be at your absolute best every second of your life; it’s actually even great not to be sometimes. These “lows” make your “highs” that much more valuable. You do not ever need to be at the same level of mental capacity or wellness as the people around you or people you see on such things as social platforms. This unhealthy comparison will only do you harm. So, save yourself the hurt. Don’t try to catch up to others, but instead, put your own mental health first. Do this and wait for the abundance of happiness and goodness come into your life, if you’ll allow it. 

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