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Welcome to The Human Race

“Welcome to the human race, dear.”

My mom (who passed from ovarian cancer nearly 14 years ago, God bless her soul) would say this when I, or anyone she cared about, made a mistake. My mom understood the messiness of the human condition. She knew that each person is different and that we are all intentionally flawed. She taught me that expecting perfection is a set-up for disaster.

I was reminded of this a few weeks ago when my 14-year-old was tasked to mow the lawn and spent an hour attempting to start the lawnmower. When I finally went out and intervened, he was overheated, frustrated, and close to tears. He was mad at himself for not remembering how to start the mower and for wasting his time, and his arm hurt from pulling the cord repeatedly. Then, things got even worse when his mom showed him up by starting it right up. I gave him a hug, told him not to be so hard on himself, and then found myself repeating a familiar phrase: “Welcome to the human race.”

I’m unsure if my son had an “a-ha moment” when I passed down the generational wisdom, but I hope I planted a seed with him that day.

In this world that is obsessed with perfection, I wanted the message to resonate that:

  • It is OK to ask for help. No one needs to struggle alone, and solving things together can build relationships.
  • You can admit you don’t know it all. This provides an opportunity to develop coping strategies and decreases stress that can affect physical and mental health.
  • There are people who will always be there to help you. It’s important to know your supporters and identify friends and family who are concerned about you.
  • Failure is inevitable. You don’t have to be afraid of it. It helps to have a plan when it occurs; having perspective and a safety net provides security and calm.
  • Please watch out for self-sabotage. Don’t be so hard on yourself— do your best, put forth a good effort, and learn from your mistakes.

As you navigate your day, remember to be gentle with yourself and know that you have the power within you to overcome many obstacles. When you mess up (and you will) fix it, don’t stress, and give yourself grace. Welcome to the human race.

Colleen Eusterwiemann, Suicide Pre & Postvention Coordinator for
The Kim Foundation

Colleen earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology and Sociology from Northwest Missouri State University and her Master’s Degree in Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Colleen has previous experience working for local non-profits focusing on consulting, coordinating, planning, and providing direct care. Colleen joined The Kim Foundation in January of 2022.