Mental Health

On Bringing Someone Back to Life (and other impossible goals)

On Bringing Someone Back to Life (and other impossible goals) | Libero Magazine

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So what would you think of me now? So lucky, so strong, so proud…I never said thank-you for that; now I’ll never have the chance…” *

Tonight I was out for coffee with a friend and I was discussing a friend of mine who is going through some stuff. He suggested that I could offer some encouragement to her by sharing some of my experiences, but I said I wasn’t sure I was comfortable doing that. He asked me why. I explained that if I ‘failed’ at helping her, then I couldn’t live with myself.

“You don’t need to save the world,” he said.

“I don’t want to save the world,” I replied, “I just want to save one person.”


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He asked me who this ‘one person’ was. I said the name – he didn’t know who I was talking about.

Earlier this year, one of the ‘followers’ of the Libero Network took her own life. She was only thirteen. I wrote a tribute to her, grieved for a period, and then tried to move on. But I didn’t.

Now here I am, almost a year later, saying that the only person I want to save is her.

I looked my friend in the eyes and said, “So, if saving someone who can’t be brought back is my only goal, then I suppose that means everything I ever do will be in vain.”

“It wasn’t your fault, you know that right?” he said with sincerity.

I kept talking. He repeated himself.

“It wasn’t your fault.”

I remember this girl. She was one of the few who added me on Facebook. And at the time, as I tried to balance my personal life and my ‘blogging’ life, I chose to “unfollow” the posts from anyone who I didn’t know personally (meaning their status updates etc… would not appear in my news feed).

I didn’t know that this girl had made multiple cries for help via Facebook status – at least I didn’t know until it was too late.

What if I hadn’t been so selfish? What if I hadn’t blocked her updates? What if I had seen her cries for help?

These questions would create a deep-rooted sense of guilt that would follow me up until now, and they would leave me haunted by what could have been.

If only I’d known – I could have said something, I could have helped, I could have saved her…

But how proud I was.

I cannot save anybody. And my aim should never be to do that. We are not called to save each other, and I am no exception to this. To think that I held the power to save another life and that if only I had been there, things would be different –

How proud I was…

And now, here I sit, still chained to this one desire, this one goal – I will never be satisfied until she is back.

It is impossible. Unattainable. Unfair.

Of course, I know this is something I can and will never be able to do. So why can’t I give up this obsession?

It’s simple: because I don’t want to.

As long as I set my goal to something unfeasible such as this, then I can always justify viewing myself as a failure. And I won’t ever need to feel that I am more than that.

And based on the guilt I’ve been carrying with me, being a permanent failure seems like fair punishment.

The truth is, setting impossible goals is a cop-out.

I’m copping out of forgiving myself, I’m copping out of seeing value in my life, I’m copping out of loving myself.

And this is not OK.

As long as I remain within this mindset, then the rest of my life will be a sprint to a finish line that doesn’t exist. It will be exhausting, painful, and, most importantly, self-defeating.

Unfortunately, I am not sitting here tonight telling you that I have it all figured out – this is something I am working on. But what I am doing is encouraging you to look for the impossible goals you have set in your life – the goals that will keep you back from ever feeling like you are good enough. The goals that will give you an excuse to view yourself as a perpetual failure.

Maybe you are in a similar situation as me – blaming yourself for a life lost and hanging on to ‘if only’s…” OR maybe you are striving for acceptance from (and only from) a person (or people) that you know you will never receive it from – I have this tendency too – using their value of you as the only way you measure your personal worth. OR maybe your goals are to look like someone else – a model, a singer, a friend, a sister – and until you do, you don’t have to see yourself as ‘beautiful’.

Whatever your goals are, I ask that you realize that they are impossible, and then throw them away. Throw them far away. Don’t let these impossible desires justify your feelings of self-hatred; don’t let them justify seeing yourself as a failure. Don’t let them become a cop-out..

What I am realizing is that in the same way that I can’t save a life, I can’t be responsible for a life that ended. And in the same way that I can’t be liked by everyone, I can’t feel responsible for those who choose not to like me.

You are human, and that’s Ok. You are imperfect, and that’s OK. You are not a superhero, and that’s OK.

You can’t be loved by everyone. You can’t succeed at everything. And you can’t save a life…

* Jimmy Eat World “Hear You Me

Lauren is the Founder and Editor of Libero. She started Libero in April 2010, when she shared her story about her struggles with an eating disorder and depression. Now Lauren uses her writing and videos to advocate mental health and body positivity. In her spare time, she enjoys makeup artistry, playing Nintendo, and taking selfies with her furbaby, Zoey.

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