How Positive Role Models Help Your Mental Health
When most people think of role models, they might think of kids who look up to their favorite celebrity or TV show character. Maybe you think of a parent, an older sibling, or a friend. No matter who comes to mind, role models come in all forms, shapes, ages, and sizes. They can be strangers, acquaintances, or close family members or friends. You can be a role model and have a role model at any age. In fact, having someone to look up to is incredibly good for your mental health.
While you may not personally know your role model, they can still help you through hard times. Sometimes having a role model isn’t enough to make you feel better. This is completely normal, but extra support and help is available. You can access resources like MyTherapist to get connected with a mental health professional. Therapy combined with a positive role model in your life can be just what you need to get your life back on track. So, how exactly can role models improve your mental health?
They Help You Overcome Weaknesses
The more someone gets to know you, the better they’re able to see your strengths and weaknesses. Good role models won’t view these traits as positive or negative necessarily, they’ll just see them for what they are. After all, weaknesses can easily become strengths if they’re utilized to your advantage. On the flip side, too much of anything can be unpleasant, so overusing strengths can quickly create problems. You need honest people in your life, not people who will just tell you what you want to hear. Good role models point out your weaknesses, often relating to you in some way, and then help you move past them.
They Share Their Stories
Everyone has stories of times they succeeded and times they failed. Your role models are no different. Hopefully, you have a role model who is open about their life and struggles. Through these stories, you will be able to see that your role model isn’t perfect, but that success was still possible in their life. It can be very encouraging to hear that someone so accomplished had their own obstacles they had to jump over. Plus, you’ll be able to learn from their mistakes and not repeat them in your own life.
They Encourage You
When you’re feeling down, sometimes all it takes is remembering that someone else has been in your shoes before. This is especially helpful when you find yourself stuck, not sure where to turn next. While it can be tempting to just give up on your goals and dreams, role models can remind you of why you want to accomplish those goals so badly. They can be an inspiration to never give up and may even encourage you to seek help, such as from a therapist. They’ll offer advice right when you need it most.
They Find Extra Support for You
Oftentimes, it takes another person telling us what they observe to convince us we need more help. Therapy can improve mental health significantly, so if a role model in your life is suggesting it and has your best interest in mind, it may just be your best option. You may think of your role model as a superhero who can fix all your problems, but keep in mind no one has the power to do that. Healing is possible, but it takes effort, patience, and lots of support.
It can be easy to think you know what’s best for you, but sometimes an outside perspective is more helpful than you realize. While your role model may contribute to better mental health for you, a therapist may be able to improve your mental state even further. After all, a therapist is specifically trained to do so while your role model might not be.
Not everyone has the chance to have a positive role model in their life. If you have one, consider yourself very lucky. If you don’t have one, it’s never too late to find one and, if possible, pursue a relationship with that person. A role model should be someone you admire and look up to. You may look up to them for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’re successful, have the career you’re after, have a tight-knit family, or were the first person to accomplish something meaningful.
Whatever the reason, rest assured role models can have a positive influence on your mental health. Just make sure you aren’t comparing yourself too much to them. As unique individuals, we all have different limitations, weaknesses, stressors, and strengths. For this reason, it’s not realistic to hold yourself to the exact same path as another person. While it’s great to strive for greatness, be careful in your approach and value your unique potential as an individual. Success looks different for all of us, so embrace your own for what it is.