I believe we are all on a journey. For some of us, we are in a place of utter chaos, burdened by misfortune and carrying the dead weight of our past. For others, we are dwelling within middle ground, not quite fulfilled but we have reached a level of self-satisfaction. But even within that, we are always longing for something more, for something to shift our atmosphere, for something to invite us into going deeper and experiencing more of ourselves.
I’ve been that girl on both sides of the spectrum. For most of my life I would say I lived in utter chaos. The battle wounds on my wrist are evidence of the fights I’ve fought and the victories that I have overcome. I used to believe that going through the fire only got you burned, yet others believe it helps you to come out refined.
Being the woman I am today has shown me that all pleasure, happiness, joy and peace must all pass through stages of discomfort, pain and struggle. You don’t get to be refined unless you first experience what it feels to be burned. Being burned is something I am truly familiar with. Those battle wounds exist on my wrist for a reason, and although my story is one of pain and sorrow, it is also not in vain.
From childhood I always doubted my capabilities and frowned upon every inch of myself that made me woman. I always pointed out what I felt was wrong with me, I was too slim or too fat, unattractive, unworthy, and unloved. It was so easy for to me narrow in on what seemed like flaws rather than appreciate everything that made me beautiful. As I matured I developed a negative sense of self and this fragmented perception that I had about myself led to destructive thoughts, major depression, suicide ideation and an addiction to self-harm.
My story is of a woman who was once broken and now whole, lost, but now found. And I want to give you three things that I found on my journey that has helped to guide me towards the direction of hope and healing.
- Own Your Feelings
For most of my life I ran from my emotion, I never allowed myself to actually feel what my body was trying to purge out of its system. I always regarded myself as someone who “cried too much” and was simply out of touch when it came to experiencing negative emotion. I want you to know that it is okay to own your feelings. There is no such thing as “crying too much” and as a human you have every right to be mad, sad and angry just as much as you are allowed to be happy, or joyful. No one has the right to rob you of your feelings. If we do not own our feelings we do not own our truths, and if you believe the truth is what sets you free then you must learn how to practice honesty with yourself or you will forever remain in bondage.
- Clean Your Space
I find it important to be mindful of ones surroundings. The energy we share with people and the connections we build can either give life to prosperity or it can possibly give life to destruction. I had to remove myself not only from people, but also from places, and my involvement in things that were not edifying for my soul. If what you partake in does not lift you up it will only leave you stagnant or tear you down. It’s not hard to decipher what is wrong for you, what’s hard is letting go. But letting go will mark the beginning of your journey into protecting your sacred space and immersing yourself in self-love.
- Respect Your Struggles
I struggled in life; there is no doubt about that. I’ve failed a few times, I’ve made plenty mistakes, I’ve messed-up a few times, I’ve had moments where I felt too weak to survive and too fragile to carry my burdens. But in the midst of my struggles I learned what it truly means to be human. Often, people believe that our life journey is supposed to be an easy road, a path that leads you to wholeness and fulfillment without having to endure the bumps along the way. Unfortunately life isn’t that easy, but it’s not as hard as we make it out to be either. Life is about learning from every experience you pass through. To be human, is to endure a struggle, because survival is all about fighting to stay alive. We get our strength and our resilience from the fights we endure, our failures and our mistakes teach us the lessons we need in life in order to prosper. We need our struggles in order to survive. So as it is written within the Respect Your Struggle motto, don’t allow your struggles to define you, they are only here to equip you for the journey.
Practice the art of loving yourself daily. Be who you are, own who you are, accept who you are and be content with where you are within your journey. I promise there is peace at the end of the road despite the struggles you may endure trying to get there. We all have to pass through the fire, but you will rise out of what was meant to destroy as the whole-hearted human being you created to be.
Minaa B is a social entrepreneur and founder of RespectYourStruggle.com, a movement dedicated to providing hope for people struggling with depression, mental health and life related issues.