I know firsthand what it is to struggle with a multitude of challenges. From molestation and sexual abuse to obesity, bullying, and discrimination. Trust me; there’s a lot we’re going to cover on this journey. But what I know for certain is that change is absolutely possible, and a person can reconcile the past and move forward freely–in an amazing way.
If you take nothing else away from this, at least take that.
Simply put, I’m not just spreading a message of hope and change; I am the message. I am walking, talking, living proof that transformation is possible from the inside out. The key? Your mind. Mindset and attitude are everything. I believe that, when we know better, we do better, and then, we have better.
“Mind Over Matter,” Matters
When you can no longer think of a reason to continue, you have reached a crucial standstill. This is where you must make a decision–a decision to start over. Indeed, there is a big difference between giving up and starting over in the right direction. With three little words, you can release yourself from past regrets and guide yourself forward: “From now on…”
From Now On
- Let go of the things you cannot control. Most things (especially the negative) are only a part of your life because you keep thinking about them. Positive things happen in your life too, especially when you emotionally distance yourself from the negative things. So, stop holding on to what hurts, and make room for what feels right. Do not let what is out of your control interfere with all the things you can control.
- Accept and embrace reality. Life is simple. Everything happens for you, not to you. Everything happens at exactly the right moment, neither too soon nor too late. For everything you lose, you gain something else; and for everything you gain, you lose something else. You don’t have to like it, but it’s just easier if you do. So, pay attention to your outlook on life. You can either regret or rejoice; it’s your choice.
- Change your mind. Change is like breath–it isn’t part of the process, it is the process. In reality, the only thing we can count on is change. And the first step toward positive change is to change your outlook. Prepare for the positive. Prepare for the new. Allow the unknown to take you to fresh and unforeseen areas in yourself. Growth is impossible without change. If you cannot change your mind, you cannot change your life. Sometimes, all you need to do is look at things from a different perspective.
- Hold tight to the good things. When life’s struggles trap you in a pit so deep that you can only see darkness, don’t waste energy trying to dig your way out. If you hastily dig in the dark, you’re likely to head in the wrong direction and only dig it deeper. Instead, use what energy you have to reach out and pull something good in with you. Goodness is bright, and its radiance will show you which way is up and illuminate the correct path that will take you there.
- Rest and regroup. Strength isn’t about bearing a cross of grief or shame. Strength is about choosing your path, living with the consequences, and learning from them. Sometimes, you do your best and end up with a mess. When this happens, don’t be discouraged. You tried. That’s really all you can ever do. You have not failed; you just learned what not to do. So rest, regroup, and begin again with what you now know.
- Take chances. Making a big life change or trying something new can be scary. But do you know what’s even scarier? Regret. So, realize that most of your fears are much bigger in your mind than they are in reality; you’ll see this for yourself as soon as you face them. Don’t let them stop you. Live your life so that you never have to regret the chances you never took, the love you never let in, and the gifts you never gave out.
- Keep climbing. Every person who is at the top of the mountain didn’t fall there from the sky. Good things come to those who work for them. You gain confidence and grow stronger by every experience in which you truly push yourself. If you are standing in that in-between place, unable or unwilling to go backwards but too afraid to move forward, remember that you can’t enjoy the view without being willing to climb.
- Appreciate what you have learned. Nothing is more beautiful and powerful than a smile that has struggled through the tears. Don’t regret your time, even the moments that were filled with hurt. Smile because you learned from it and gained the strength to rise above it. In the end, it’s not what you have been through that defines who you are; it’s how you got through it that has made you the person you are today, and the person you are capable of being tomorrow.
In the end, realize that every step is necessary. Nothing is ever wrong. We learn from every step we take. Whatever you did today was a necessary step to get to tomorrow. So, be proud of yourself. Maybe you are not as good as you want to be or as great as you will be, but thanks to all the lessons you’ve learned along the way, you are so much better than you used to be!