What do you do with the pain that you experience in life?
Everyone deals with their personal pain and suffering in different ways. Sometimes we internalize our pain as we feel that no one really understands it, or they don’t even realize that we are suffering. Sometimes our pain and hurt affects how we relate to others and how we treat ourselves. And then there are those times when our pain becomes a story to share that may help others overcome their own pain and hurt; to let them know they’re not alone – to encourage them with strength and support.
This is what world changer and motivator Justin Preston has done with his story. He has made it his mission in life to share his story and encourage others to be true to themselves. Justin has touched the lives and hearts of people all around the world through his amazing movement, Rise Against Bullying.
Justin took all the pain and hurt he experienced in his short life and turned it around to send love, respect, and courage to people throughout his community, the country, and the world. His heart’s desire is to reach people from all walks of life; to love them for who they are and teach them to show the same kindness to others.
The heartbreaking death of Jamie Hubley, a 15-year-old Ottawa student who committed suicide after years of being bullied by his classmates, spurred Justin to action. Justin was so deeply moved by this tragedy that he decided to share his own story online in the hopes of helping other people who have been bullied know that they are not alone.
His message of hope and kindness is what makes his movement Rise Against Bullying such an amazing cause; one that inspires people to look out for others. Justin leads by example, speaking words of encouragement and choosing to act with compassion every day. He believes that no matter what you are going through, you are not alone and that in time you, too, can find ways to help others.
I have had the honour to have Justin travel with me as our special guest with The Saidat Show for the past several months. In that time, Justin has been a breath of fresh air for me – encouraging the encourager as it were. I have watched him inspire thousands of students with his sincerity. After finishing a day of school shows with me, he can be found sitting at the table sending letters to those who have reached out to him; spending hours on his laptop searching for positive messages to share online; and finding more ways to partner with other movements that share his same vision of hope and acceptance.
Over the course of these past few months, I have had the privilege of watching Justin live his message. He is genuine, uplifting and charismatic. When Justin tells you that you look great today, he speaks with such confidence and honesty that you begin to feel your shoulders straighten; you stand up a little taller as if you were a fashion model that people adore. When he wants to encourage you to never give up on your dream, he makes you feel like you can conquer the world. And when you’re down, he always says just the right thing to bring you out of that funk and get you back on track moving onward and upward.
It is not that Justin’s life has been free from bullying or pain, in fact, Justin had been bullied for years, but instead of allowing his critics to define his future Justin chose to make a difference in the world. He has taken that heartache, those feelings of loneliness, that feeling of not belonging and transformed it all into the outreach that is Rise Against Bullying.
By stepping out of the shadows of victimhood Justin is paving his own path to a place where he knows he can have the most positive impact on the world. Along the way, he is choosing to live his life for good by helping others through their own pain. He has learned to face his fears and turn away from people who want to make him feel small. His confidence inspires me every day.
The LGBTQ community experiences so much rejection especially from the people who should love them the most. For anyone who feels isolated, anyone who longs to be accepted for who they are and not what society wants them to be having people like Justin speak up and breathe hope into their lives can be life-changing. And it’s something we need more of.
A world changer is a person who sees something in the world that needs to change and does just that – they change things!
Justin Preston has spent hours of his own time traveling across the country with me and The Saidat Show. He could see how tired I had become with all the coming and going. He knew I was struggling with the pressures of life that only those closest to me were witness to. True to his world-changer self, he took action, and changed things – for me and my family.
Justin has become part of our family. He’s traveled with me. He’s befriended my daughter. He’s kept Kristina company while I’ve been on the road. He took the time to learn how to understand and how to play with my child with autism. This is something I will always cherish about him as he always found ways to make Isaiah smile.
Helper, encourager, motivator and, yes, world changer are all words to describe the amazing Justin Preston. And I am grateful that he found his way into our lives.
Who are the people in your life who inspire you to become a world changer? Whoever they are, they are in your life for a reason. Take a moment today to acknowledge their contribution to your own greatness.
Live. Dream. Give. Live. Dream. Grow
For more information on what Justin does and ideas on what you can do to help spread his message, please visit Justin online:
Official Website: Rise Against Bullying
Facebook: Rise Against Bullying