Life is hard. That is no secret. No matter who you are, what you have, life has its way of testing you, testing your limits. It can cause misery and heartbreak, but also love and joy. No life is perfect, it may seem that way but underneath the surface, there are the wounds that we have all been given. What separates people is how they choose to deal with their pain. To create strength from their experience or to give in to the suffering.
I have been through my fair share of tough times but I choose to leave that in the past and not hold on to the pain. There are things that I could hold onto like certain experiences because of my addiction or other difficult times but I keep moving forward. I acknowledge that I have been through some shit and I tell myself it is time to start a new chapter.
My experiences have shaped who I am today. Yes, I suffered but no, I would never change the past. I have lost people in my life and I wish I could bring them back but I know dealing with that loss has made me stronger.
My point is, I have been able to start a life I never thought would be possible. All the hardship and pain has brought me to a place where I have taken these "tests" from life and grown from every situation.
There are a few things that are very important to me that continue to give me strength. Whether it is people or practices, I rely heavily on what these mean to me to keep me going. Reminding myself as often as I need, who I am, what I stand for, and what I love. This is what gives me strength. This is how I get through those days that are harder than others.
My list is my heart. These are the things closest to me that gives me strength. What is yours?
1. My love for my parents, for Matt, my friends and Winnie (of course ;) ). When I think about these people my heart explodes. They are the ones that have stood by me no matter what and accept me for who I am. I would not be the person I am today without them. Their patience and kindness is an example to me of how I should be every single day. They have taught me what unconditional love means and this I will cherish for the rest of my life.
2. Practicing gratitude. It truly is an action word. I remind myself as often as possible how grateful I am for my life. To be grateful is to honour the world around you, this is what I do. Things could have turned out very different for me and by the grace of the universe, I was awakened to see that I was strong enough to get sober. I don't know why but all I know is that it happened and for the first time I was given the gift of awareness.
3. Forgiveness: To myself and others. This one is very significant. In order to live in the present, I must forgive those who wronged me. It may be difficult but holding onto resentment will eat you up. Most importantly, I must forgive myself. I am my biggest critic, I will hold onto the guilt and shame of the things I did. By loving myself and moving on from the past, this is me forgiving myself. At the end of the day, it comes down to just you. Treat yourself with the love and kindness you deserve.
4. Physical and Spiritual Wellness: My body gives me strength. I find fitness to be a huge outlet that allows me to feel strong every day. My body is my temple and I must give it what it needs. Whether that means hitting the gym or taking a rest day, I always listen.
Spirituality is something that is a huge part of my life. Not religious spirituality but an energy in this universe. This came to me at a time when my life was in crisis and gave me the strength to keep going. This is something that is very personal to me but I try to always be open. I don't like to go into much detail as people have their own views on this. If you would like to know more, just ask :)
5. Honesty: With myself and others. Being honest is one of the cornerstones of who I am today. Being able to take pride in the kind of person I am now is something that gives me strength. I was not proud of the person I used to be. I was not my genuine self, I would lie and be manipulative. Now, I made a promise to myself that I will always be truthful to myself and others every single day. It is the key to who I am today.
I hope this list can help you on your own path to finding your strength. Take some time and write out somethings that keep you strong. Cherish it like I do and see if it helps you get through the hard days.