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John O’Leary reminds us that we all feel we don’t fit in sometimes and shares new ways to talk about mental health and suicide prevention.

I want to share a touching story with you.

I feel called to share it after recently experiencing the painful and shocking loss of two personal friends as the result of suicide.

The touching story I want to share today is that of one of my heroes, Amy Crawford.

Amy is someone who sees goodness in others, empowers them to discover it in themselves and can inspire us all to see more value in our lives than we thought possible.

Amy is a 5th grade teacher with a passion for not only elevating the kids in her classroom, but inspiring other teachers to recognize the profound meaning and power within their work…

Increase suicide prevention awareness: Don’t allow mental health to be a taboo topic.

Early in her career, though, she struggled mightily with one child. He was disengaged, rude and indifferent. He seemed to ignore her lessons, turned assignments in late and was generally disrespectful. In short, he was the kind of kid, the kind of person, who is easy to give up on. After all, if someone isn’t willing to try, why should we be the one trying for them, right?

One day while Amy cleaned up papers near his desk, she found a poem he’d written. This poem changed Amy’s professional journey and it may have saved this child’s life. In reading it today, I hope it inspires enormous compassion and connection within you.

A Child’s poem about not fitting in and what it means for all of us

I Am The Piece That Never Fits

I am the piece that never fits.
I wonder why people hate me for who I am
I hear the cry of loneliness that comes from me
I see my sad, strange, different self in the mirror
I want someone on my side
I am the piece that never fits.
I pretend that words can never hurt me
I feel the urge to run away from myself
I touch the wet tear from my eye rolling down my face
I worry my future will be me, myself, and I
I cry because I am the cheese; everyone is the mouse
I am the piece that never fits.
I understand that no one likes me
I say that there is no place for people like me in the world
I dream of a place where I actually fit in
I try to make new friends,
And I hope to, but still
I am the piece that never fit.

This tragic, passionate, muted cry for help from a kid who had no one else to share it with was heard clearly by Amy.

Addressing mental health issues – it takes a village.

She began focusing attention and pouring out an abundance of love on the boy who never felt he fit in. She became a friend to a little guy who felt he had no one. She encouraged, challenged, loved and coaxed the boy who felt he didn’t fit in, to realize the beauty of all of our jagged edges.

In time, with love, with grace, with intentional focus, by surrounding him with supportive friends and introducing him to new mentors, the little author of the poem began to fit in.

Today, he’s a college graduate, gainfully employed, happily married, and passionate about life. Without a doubt, he most certainly fits.

My friend, many times in my life I, too, have felt as if I am the piece that doesn’t fit. As a kid on the end of a bench. As an adolescent without a date. As a man who puts himself out there publicly – and frequently deals with the stares and isolation that comes with it. And it’s not just me.

Coming from a large family, enjoying lots of honest friends, traveling around the world as a speaker (and having the opportunity to listen to the stories of others after speaking) I know many of us feel as if we do not fit.

Here’s the truth: In this enormous human family, within the massive mosaic of our communities, there is no such thing as an individual that has no value. There is no such thing as an accidental life. There is no such thing as a piece that doesn’t fit. Knowing we aren’t intended to do life by ourselves doesn’t make the journey forward easy, but will make it possible. [Tweet this.] | [Share on Facebook.]

Our edges may be rough and ragged and scarred and we may deal with seasons of great pain and loneliness and struggle. But we do fit.


And the best is yet to come.
Today is your day. Live Inspired.

[We’re kicking off a new “Monday Moment” weekly segment on the Live Inspired Podcast. Today’s episode features Dennis Gillan. After losing both his older and younger brothers to suicide, Dennis is a champion building awareness for this pervasive issue. Join us for tips on how to notice those struggling, how to advocate for them and how to ask for help when you’re in need. Listen here.] 

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