For this year’s mental health awareness month, NAMI is featuring the “More Than Enough” campaign, challenging people to embrace and share the affirmation “I am more than enough.” In a modern society centered around social media posts and passing validations, we live in a culture that has taught us to believe our inherent worth is tied to our accomplishments or how others view our success. This undoubtedly impacts our mental health; we are prone to emotional distress and eye-averting shame when we don’t live up to traditional standards of success or when we are struggling.
Choosing to say “I am more than enough” challenges the conventional perspective that we are defined by internal perception and external validation. This proud statement reminds us that we are worthy of love and compassion simply because we exist. The concept of “enough” must come from within — and shifting our attitudes on the subject will make great strides in changing the mental health conversation.
Young People are Changing the Narrative
This campaign emboldens us to improve our internal monologue. For Davy, being more than enough means knowing that his multidimensional, individualistic complexity will result in a rich, thriving life despite any mental health challenges that may arise. For Sophie, being more than enough means recognizing that her very existence makes her worthy of love and compassion.
As NAMI Next Gen advisors, we wanted to further embrace this campaign by hearing the lived experience of our peers. We reached out to young adults from NAMI affiliates across the country and asked them to tell us why they believe they are more than enough. In doing so, we hoped to better understand how our fellow young adults view themselves — and how we can encourage other young adults to embrace their inherent value.
Asking this question encourages a realignment of perspective to accept that we are more than enough. It provides an opportunity to search in our lived experience for plenty of reasons of why that might be. To encourage young people to embrace their value, we suggest methods like facilitating creating vision boards from accumulated hopes/dreams, as well as drawing out a life map to understand what potential the future holds. Through the support of the NAMI community, young adults can tackle some of life’s hardest questions.
In addition, asking the question “Why are you more than enough?” requires us to grapple with not only how we express our own self-love and self-compassion, but also how we even determine our self-worth. This month, we challenge everyone to ask themselves why they are more than enough. To help jumpstart your brainstorming, here are some of the illuminating responses we received from throughout our NAMI community: “I am more than enough because…
- I exist.”
- I am able to use my skills and learned experience to better myself and assist others in bettering themselves.”
- of what I have been through, and how I came out on the other side.”
- I am alive; there's no special reason. I am and you are, and that's beautiful. No one has to prove their worth.”
- productivity and production do not define my worth!”
- of nothing. My value as a person isn't dependent on any condition. I am always going to be more than enough beyond any reason anyone can possibly give.”
- I have learned to accept myself for who I really am, and I have gained so much confidence in the process.”
- I live today in such a way that tomorrow will be better.”
- I know my worth and have learned to love myself and to love my journey.”
- I work hard to achieve my goals.”
- I am not defined by my mental illness, and instead, I am working toward understanding it better.”
These statements serve the purpose of reminding us that there are more than enough reasons to work toward embracing the practices that advance our mental wellness. And there are more than enough reasons to keep fighting for the resources and systems to support our mental health.
Sophie Szew and Davy Yue are NAMI Next Gen Advisors.
Sophie is also a poet, speaker, advocate and first year student at Stanford University. She strives to use the power of storytelling to inspire systemic change within the mental health care system.
Davy is a creative innovator who uses origami and the alto saxophone to advocate for mental health. He volunteers with his local affiliate, NAMI Palm Beach County, on local campaigns to empower and uplift young adults in South Florida.