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Each year we take time to remember a man who inspired millions with his courage, perseverance, and eloquence. Martin Luther King Jr. was well known for his social activism and inspirational speeches and for the pivotal role he played in ending the legal segregation of African-American citizens in the United States. Today we reflect on some of his most well-known quotes, and how they can serve as further inspiration in our own lives to stand up for ourselves when it matters most.

1. “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”

Martin Luther King Jr. was a huge supporter of taking action. He knew that it was the driving force behind change and without it, we wouldn’t make any progress. It can be difficult to take the first step, especially when it comes to our own health or wellbeing. When we are struggling with the intense feelings that come with depression, anxiety, PTSD, or another mental health disorder, it may be necessary to take a leap of faith. The first step is admitting to yourself that you need help, and confiding in someone, whether it’s a friend or loved one, or a mental health professional. If you are feeling unsure whether your symptoms warrant a visit to a professional, take an anonymous self-assessment at
2. “There comes a time when silence is betrayal.”

For those who struggle with mental illness, remaining silent is often a choice we think we should make. We think that by admitting that we are struggling, we are admitting a weakness of character. MLK Jr.’s words tell us that by remaining silent when you are suffering, you are betraying your own heart and you are causing further pain to yourself. Finding your voice and the courage in the most difficult of moments to seek help can show how strong you really are.
3. “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving forward.”
Not all of us move at the same speed which is why it’s so important to set goals for ourselves that are specific to our own lifestyles. Whether it’s trying to exercise more to see if it helps reduce your anxiety or depression symptoms, setting aside more time to devote to things you are passionate about, or researching a local counselor, every positive action you take yourself is one toward a happier, healthier life.

If you have been living with a mental health issue that’s impacting your everyday life, it’s time to take action. It can be difficult to see past your disorder, but once you do, you’ll be able to see that hope and help are available, and that you can move forward to a healthier, happier life.