My faith entered the dark room the first Wednesday in January of 2008. Since then I have been locked in on the wildest most exhilarating and excruciating journey of my life. There have been mind-blowing mountain top experiences and lows so low I felt I was on my spiritual death bed. I want to encourage you in a big way, today. You might be feeling emptier than the deepest part of the ocean without hope to hold onto. I’m telling you, everything you need is deep within you–but you will have to pull it out from wherever it is hiding. You might not be able to wrap your head around how you will heal. I promise you, with time and perseverance you will make it through whatever you are facing. Regardless of where you find yourself on the spectrum of life, I am going to tell you a few things I’ve learned in the last ten years and why you are going to be just fine. I promise you regardless of your situation, everything will be okay and here is how I can back that promise up.
- Being authentically yourself is the most freeing thing ever. There are few things I’m terrified of but letting my mask down and being vulnerable scares the mess out of me. The best thing I did was confront my fears head on, facing them with real vulnerability. Everyone says, “love yourself”. Cute, but it didn’t make sense until it made sense, and even now I have my insecurities! Sometimes I find myself holding onto things I must let go of. The truth is it feels good to LET GO of the RIGHT things. Don’t get me wrong, I am still far from the highest truths of self-love, which are being revealed day by day. It’s not until we can open this area of our life that we truly begin to feel free. Regardless of where this finds you, keep forging your way to this truth. I promise you; you will land on it if you seek it, and when you do, you will be forever glad you did.
- The more you love yourself, the more others around you will love you. The degree to which you can love and accept yourself is the degree to which you can give and receive love– and your relationships and friendships will reflect that life-giving truth. Drop fear, rebuke shame, and pursue peace in every area of your life, especially if it involves your mental health. You deserve to live in peace. Don’t believe the lie that everything should be perfect in your life. Social media is one of the greatest vehicles of deception. It’s so easy to compare yourself to others whether in insecurity or pride. Nobody will fight for your healing like you will, so invest in your health. Taking care of your mental health requires persistence, patience and stick-to-it-iveness. Lastly, finding peace of mind has made it easier to love and accept myself. (and that’s come with a lot of gratitude, prayer, and radical self-acceptance) I acknowledge I’m human and will make mistakes but if I run from them, I build walls. When I run towards them, I win EVERY TIME. I have found that I’m less afraid to look people in the eye. I’m not apologizing for every little thing. You can’t lose when you give yourself permission to take up space while making room for others.
- Listening is respect. Relationship with others must be selfless. I serve as a better friend and person when I’m listening and ultimately it is the highest form respect you can give someone.
- Being in a healthy, growing, romantic relationship is thrilling. I used to fear commitment and never gave myself to my relationships. Relationships were such a sticking point for me. I was always looking for love in the wrong places. It took a long time, but I came to the realization that I was accepting pain and hurt that I didn’t have. Learning to say no to myself and others was one of the best gifts I gave to myself! As difficult as setting and maintaining healthy boundaries may be, it is necessary. A healthy relationship can be a calming force while also a mirror which can reflect truth. Relationships are not easy, they are work, but love is choosing an imperfect person you wouldn’t want to journey through life without.
- I am a world changer, and so are you! WE have the power to change our sphere of influence with every breath we take, and every second afforded to us. Every choice is either making a positive or negative contribution. My goal is to be a conduit of grace, compassion, kindness and positivity. If I can use every one of my strengths for good, why wouldn’t I? I once heard it said that the richest place in the world is the cemetery, because of all the buried potential. Live your life to the last drop and don’t be afraid to dream BIG. Put your plans into action. Don’t get to the end of your life and realize you could have done things differently. YOU are a world changer.
- We truly have the power to control emotions by changing the way we think. Do not get it twisted, this is a discipline and will take a lot of practice. Joyce Meyers, in the book Battlefield of the Mind, states you should think about what you are thinking about. When you set your mind to possessing self-control over your emotions by changing your thinking, you can literally become a powerful force. Eleanor Roosevelt wrote, nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent. This is a powerful statement. This world needs YOU, and don’t be afraid to take a seat at the table! Raise your hand! Speak up!
- Sometimes you must do it alone. It seems like nobody these days likes to be alone with themselves. Think about it, a lot of people self-medicate so they don’t have to face themselves and sit with their reality. People avoid restaurants and movie theatres if they are alone! Sometimes in life the answers don’t come right away and the only way through it is to walk alone. Know that Jesus Christ will never leave or forsake you although love from others can be elusive. I remember a long stretch where I had trouble making meaningful connections. I had many dark nights, tear stained pillows, and moments where I couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. Those days I felt I was truly alone. You are strengthened through moments like these, embrace them the best way you know how and trust the process.
- Stop apologizing for your light! God created you. You are incredibly intricate and you are fearfully and wonderfully made. God does not make mistakes. He designed you, not mass produced you. Stand out, give yourself permission to learn and grow from your imperfections. Lastly, you SHOULD be different from everybody else, not because it’s something to do, but because you truly are unique, and blossom into all you can be.
- You made it through 100% of every bad day, moment, screw up, financial difficulty etc. etc. etc.! you will make it through this one too. If you pay attention to God and be on the lookout for what he is doing, you will see his hand in everything at work around you.
- God never took away my pain. He was with me, but also, he permitted it. I see those as blessings in disguise. Life is full of pain, but there is always opportunity for joy. Say yes to things that scare you. Say yes to dreams that are too big, they require more than just you. Say no to things that waste your time and use your life wisely. Don’t get to the end only to be surrounded by regret. Do it NOW.
xo with love, Alicia