embrace the strength within

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What is strength?

I define someone whom has strength to be a person that is muscular and able to move heavy objects (in proportion to their body size).

What is inner strength?

My definition- someone whom is able to get themselves through hard times and personal struggles. Usually, I think of someone who I feel has it worse off than me, for whatever reason, and has been able to lift themselves back up time and time again.

But you know what I was thinking today? That everyone, all of us, have inner strength. Even little ol’ susie who. It does not matter how big or small the struggles are.

Am I alone here in thinking  just because I feel like I have not been through a huge catastrophic tragedy in my life that my inner strength should be any less celebrated by me than those who have? Am I the only one who when someone says “I couldn’t have gotten through what you have gone through”, just takes the comment as a glib remark and thinks it wasn’t anything really? Why are some of us so quick to brush off making our way through personal struggles- things that have made us stronger in life to get us to where we are ultimately going? I answer you (or myself really) in this way, ” Heck if I know!”.

Going forward I am willing to try and embrace the hard times I have been through, no longer wanting to suppress them (for what reason I know of none) and learn from them so I can become the BEST “me” I have to offer to the world.  I share with you, if only to make them more real for myself, my major life events I believe have given me the inner strength I need to keep pushing forward:

-Growing up I was chronically ill, from about 8 or 9 years of age through early adulthood.

-My father went through a drastic life change which as a child alienated me towards him.

-My parents separated (and ultimately divorced) which put a strain on my relationship with my mother when I was a teenager.

-I became gravely ill at the age of 20 (unrelated to the above mentioned illness) and almost died. Left behind is a 4″ scar from my navel down.

-I moved to a town where the only person I knew was my boyfriend, and my closet family was hundreds of miles away.

-I was married to a man who loved me with all his heart for 6 years when I was finally honest with him and myself that I was never in love with him. The kicker is nothing bad ever happened – we did not fight, we were not jealous for any reason, we shared the same interests, had a beautiful home, an adorable cat, loving families (I could go on…) we should have been perfect for one another.

-I have broken many a heart and my heart has been broken.

Well that’s it, that’s the list (up until now at least). To me, and maybe to you, some of those events seem trivial because so many of us have been through, not the same, but similar scenarios. These events, and countless others, had all been personally gift wrapped “just for me”, to mold me into who I have become today- someone who is caring and kind, empathetic, resourceful, courageous, trusting; someone who gives all of myself because I expect no less from others; someone who takes no family member, friend or anyone I meet, for that matter, for granted; someone who does not hold a grudge to anyone and forgives easily even without an apology; someone who understands that we all are human and all have our inner struggles which have molded us to who we are; someone who is STRONG (and not just from lifting weights- yeah I do that) but whom has inner strength and knows in every depth of my soul that you do too. Just search and you will find it, trust me. Embrace your strength within. Embrace those difficult times, the times you have asked God “why me?”, take them for what they are and become the being you are meant to be because of them, not in spite of them.

Please remember- it is not what we have been through in our lives, it is how we choose to live our lives because of what we have been through (I’m sure that should be quoted or referenced~ could I really come up with something so profound?)

Feel free to share and celebrate your inner strength in the comment section below.

~As always- Live. Love. Laugh. Be Strong. Most of all BT2U~

a-ha

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Have you ever had one of those “a-ha” moments? No I’m not speaking of the of the 80’s Norwegian pop band we (or I) rocked out to back in the day “take on meeeee, take me onnnn…”. Just one of those moments so many people speak of in a nonchalant manner, but on a grander more deeper level than an everyday “a-ha” moment. I had one of those today, and just in time, really.

You see, without getting into the background right now, I’ve been going through a hard time lately. Just kind of feeling stuck in my circumstances and not knowing where I wanted go, what I wanted to do or even how to cope with some feelings and hurts I’ve been dealt lately. I try to stay positive and listen to my friends & family and grasp the  meaning of “have patience, you are where you need to be right now; something better is ahead.” But when you are feeling stuck, patience is not a virtue that comes easily, trust me I have been asking for patience for months now and really getting no where with it.

A couple of days ago I came upon the reason why seeking patience wasn’t working for me, and today it was truly affirmed in a couple of ways. But I’ll get back to those affirmations.

First off, on Monday evening I was just sitting around and I asked myself “Susan, why do you keep going around & around with your emotions.” One minute I would be happy and on top of the world, things are going to be fine, I can see the light. Yeah! Then WHAM-MO!! The sadness and anger would hit again out of nowhere; the cycle would start all over. Then the answer hit me like a brick~”You are going through the 5 stages of grief: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance.” We’ve all heard of them, and many of us have been through these stages but what I came to realize is that until you get to the acceptance stage you don’t realize that you were caught up in a never ending cycle of the first four.

Acceptance. I wanted to once and for all be stuck on the acceptance stage for a longer period than any combination of the first four. My problem with learning patience was that I would forget to finish the saying of what I was hearing and reading which I quoted above “have patience, you are where you need to be right now; something better is ahead; you just need to accept your current circumstances“. Wow, that was a pretty big realization for me. So for the next couple of days, if I would feel down and catch myself heading in reverse I would repeat the word “acceptance.” Trust me it wasn’t a magic word. I wasn’t automatically lifted up, feeling perky and ready to take on the world but it helped.

Right now there are so many things that I need to accept. I must accept that am not living where I want to live, that I don’t have the answers to so many questions in my head and accepting that I may and probably will never have those answers (that’s the big one for me: accepting the not knowing why), and accept that I’m not necessarily doing what I want to do with my life/career. I’m not saying that right now I’m in complete acceptance, but I’m heading that way. WIP – work in process- right? If I was in complete acceptance maybe I would just stop where I am and not continue to move forward to where I want to be. I just need to accept where I am and continue moving in the direction I am going, which is the right direction for me, the one where I break the cycle and make the changes needed to keep moving onward.

So, back to the affirmations I received today.  Remember, I had been saying “acceptance” to myself since Monday when needed. Today after lunch I checked out Facebook and one of my friends had posted the Serenity Prayer:

“God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And wisdom to know the difference.”

Wow! It’s as though she was reaching out directly to me! And who knows she could have posted it because she was frustrated with a co-worker, which we all feel at times and I’m not down playing the need for prayer in those times. It doesn’t matter why she posted it, all I know is I really needed those words right then. Amazing how such a little act such as someone else status update on Facebook can affect one person. I should thank her, really.

My second affirmation came while I was listening to an online conversation between Mastin Kipp and Panache Desai. Very briefly, if you don’t know, Mastin Kipp started this amazing site called “TDL:The Daily Love“. Any way, a friend turned me on to his site a few months back when she felt I really needed it, which I did, but I wasn’t truly accepting of everything he was writing all the time. Some days I would totally agree and others I was like “nope, I don’t want to hear that BS today”, (but only because I wanted to dwell in my anger, denial, depression, etc, etc). Earlier this week I signed up, for free, to listen to some conversations he was making available with different life coaches, self helpers, gurus, whatever you want to call them. Today I tuned in to the interview with Panache Desai, whom I had never heard of before. Twice. Guess what one of his biggest beliefs is: ACCEPTANCE. So I am listening to this guy stream through my phone while at work, the whole time thinking he’s speaking directly to me. I’m not going to get into his whole beliefs about acceptance, I’m not hear to do that, just check his site out if you want or need. I just wanted to share how much his words resonated with me today and that finally something clicked inside.

I guess I am sharing this because being open with myself and others is one of the reasons I started this blog. Not only do I want to share things that I enjoy- writing, fitness/ health and fashion topics, but my main goal was to start getting real, with myself and others. I thought maybe if I share my feelings and a-ha’s, not only would it help me to express myself, maybe my words will resonate with someone else. Truly, I want to become the best person I can be and I want to help others do the same. Don’t we all?

Enjoy. Laugh. Live. Accept. Most of all~ BT2U