Written by Crystal Miranda
IWD is an annual celebration where countries all over the world celebrate the women who have made history, as well as the ones who continue to champion change and encourage future generations.
Each year, organizers choose a new theme as a banner under which they can unify the direction of everyone’s efforts and help raise awareness on matters that still need attention.
This year’s theme is #ChooseToChallenge.
The idea is that a challenged world is an alert world because from challenge comes change.
We can choose to challenge and call out stigmas, biases and inequalities. We can choose to help create an inclusive world. We can choose to prioritize our physical and mental wellbeing so that we can become who we want to be and more importantly, who we deserve to be.
We can choose to make changes because we are all responsible for our own thoughts and actions - all day, every day.
Girls Who Powerlift was founded on community and education. The Healthy Mind Movement was founded on education and community. Both founded and ran by women.
For this reason, Girls Who Powerlift and The Healthy Mind Movement have teamed up for this year’s IWD. We wanted to come together to educate and to empower our community of strong women to choose to challenge the stigmas and biases that surround mental health in order encourage them to unapologetically prioritize their wellbeing.
Mental health struggles DO NOT discriminate. They affect EVERYONE, directly or indirectly. Yet there is still a significant amount of stigma attached to it.
When we talk about mental health we are NOT talking about being “crazy”, we are talking about being human.
Mental health is our emotional, psychological, and social well-being. It is how we think, feel, and act.
It is how we handle stress and other uncomfortable emotions, how we overcome difficulties. It is our ability to solve problems. It is how we relate to others and make choices. Basically, mental health is our handling and understanding of the world we live in.
Everyone wants to change the world around them, but no one thinks of changing themselves.
As humans, we cannot expect long lasting external change if something internal does not change too.
True change, is an INSIDE JOB.
Although we can be a powerful and intervening force in people’s lives, we do not have control of their actions or outside conditions. What we DO have control over, is ourselves.
If we want to change reality, we need to start with ourselves first and attend to our own personal development and the ripple effects will follow.
This starts with vulnerability. We need to do things differently to expect a different result. We need to think differently. We need to see alternatives and be open to being wrong. We need to explore and develop our psyche.
When we develop psychologically, we generally become more skillful in dealing with the problems that come from being human. We become attuned to ourselves, working with rather than against our unique nature, learning how we really function and operate, what we prefer, enjoy, and long for, and what we want out of the human experience.
In a world that needs so much repair, we can do our part by healing what needs repair inside each of us.
Internal change allows for more kindness and positivity to be introduced into our homes, our neighborhoods, our workplaces, and by default, the world.
A little light has the potential to chase away a lot of darkness, injustices, and inequalities.
CHOOSE TO CHALLENGE how you show up for yourself.
If you struggle to show up for yourself, whether due to lack of education, support, resources, or fear, you are not alone.
We all need help and support once in a while.
Life is really tough at times and we cannot and should not expect that we can do it all on our own.
Sometimes we need a little guidance, a bit of advice, a helping hand, a doctor, a mentor, a friend – and that is okay.
Help does not make us weak. Support does not make us dependent. Guidance does not mean we cannot face this world’s chaos alone.
It means that we are strong enough to know when we need help. Speaking up and reaching out is one of the most courageous things that we can do.
But despite its widespread prevalence, mental health care is one of the most neglected areas of public health.
From Girls Who Powerlift and The Healthy Mind Movement, Happy IWD to all our fellow beautiful, strong, and all around badass women out there.
Let us continue to grow, both collectively and individually, and continue to change the world by choosing to challenge stigmas, inequalities, and unapologetically showing up for ourselves.
Show your support and solidarity
Raise your hand high to show you're in and that you commit to choose to challenge and call out stigma and inequality.
All gender identities are invited to send in a #ChooseToChallenge selfie with your hand high to show your commitment to choosing to challenge how you show up for yourself and for the world.