We live in a world that is hell-bent on telling you that you’re a victim. More than that, it tries to make you a victim. It tells you that you are awful, that you don’t matter. So many people want to tear you down for their own amusement. I know because I’ve seen it. I’ve been through it.

I still go through it.

But I’m still here. Despite the punches thrown at me, I keep getting up and going. I’m knocked down, sometimes for a while. But I don’t stay there. I stand back up, smile at the universe and spit right in it’s face. But I wasn’t always like that.

I used to get run over by life and the people in it. Like a lot of kids, I was bullied. I was often laughed at for a variety of things. I’ve been heavily ridiculed, not just when I was younger but even today. I’ve felt lonely and depressed to the point where I just knew nothing I ever did was going to help. I would always be hated, and nothing would get better.

I was wrong. And if you feel the same way, so are you.

Pain makes everything cloudy

When we’re upset it becomes difficult to see the truth. All we can see is the bad. All of the great things in our lives begin to fade away into the shadows cast by the terrible things happening to us. We get consumed in our own grief and can’t find a way out of it.

But this grief lies to us. It wants us to believe that we are done, that we have no hope to see the sunlight. It wants us to believe that darkness is all we have. I believed my grief to the point where I almost lost my life. I’m glad I didn’t.

And that’s something you’ll be able to say as well. Today, you may feel terrible. You may think that your life is over and nothing will get better. You may be tired of fighting, tired of trying, and just wanting everything to stop. But as much as you may be thinking that, one day you will be glad you didn’t listen to the grief.

One day, you will think back on these days and realize that you were stronger than you ever realized. You’ll look at these days like I do mine: a speed bump that knocked me around but couldn’t stop me.

In a song I wrote called “Mirror,” I said this:

Don’t be afraid of the scars that you’ve taken / They are proof that you’ll make it!

These are some of the most accurate words I’ve ever spoken. When you look at yourself, you may see pain or sadness. You may see loneliness or embarrassment. You may feel humiliated and hate yourself. These are the scars on our lives that I’m talking about. I see mine every day, but over time I’ve come to realize a very powerful truth about them: the things that scarred me could not break me.

What hurts us does not have to end us. Our lives are important, not just to others, but to us. Sometimes you’ll encounter a moment that makes you question that. You’ll feel like your life isn’t important, and that you have no future. I get that. I’ve felt that, many times. And as much as I’ve felt that way, I’m glad I realized how wrong I was. It’s why I’m here to write this for you to read.

Yes, for you. Specifically for you.

Please understand that the way you feel now is not forever. It may last a while, but you will get through it. Things in life can hurt, and they can feel like the end of the world. People may do things to you to make you hate who you are. Those people don’t matter, but you do.

You deserve better, and you will find better. You will make it to a place in your life where all of this pain is gone. And when you look in the mirror, you may see the scar from it, but you’ll also see the person who fought through it and won.

The truth is, you can make it through whatever is hurting you. And you will make it. You will fight, struggle, and finally get back up. You may go down again, but no matter what happens, you will get back up and keep going. The world will see you, a person who it punched into submission, but couldn’t take out.

You will think you’re weak. But you will find out you are tough.

You will think you can’t go on. But no one can stop you.

You will think this is your end, but you have a future.

And no matter what happens in your life, you won’t let anyone take that away from you.