Photographer: Josh Garrett (@itsdannygphoto)
So, honestly I have not been feeling much peace for the last few weeks or so. Really, 2018 has been off to an interesting start…and for a while I was worried.
When I wrote Because I’m Happy! back in June of 2017, I was in a really great place. I was so excited about the work I had done on myself, the progress I had made, and the happiness I was blessed with. For the most part everything was going right, and I was dealing with the things that were less than desirable in a healthy way. So I am sure you can imagine my frustration when life started throwing its challenges at me toward the end of February. Now that I feel like I am on the other side of the storm, a few things have been put into perspective for me:
- God never said the weapons would not form. He said they will not prosper.
I think I got so comfortable in my “happy place” that I felt like I was untouchable. So when challenges started presenting themselves, it threw me completely off of my game. I began to question a lot of things and wondered why God was putting me through what felt like so many tests. I kept asking a lot of the “why me” questions, feeling like I did not deserve any of what was happening to me. This “level” of happiness I was experiencing made me think that I would no longer have to suffer through drama, disfunction, and negativity anymore. Boy, was I wrong. However, in the midst of each challenge, I have come out victorious on the other side. Every situation or outcome has not been ideal, honestly, but each was necessary for my growth. Though I was very uncomfortable, experiencing frequent anxiety, and very stressed, I am good. I have not suffered any losses. I wish I could keep this mindset while I am in “it”, but it is refreshing to have this perspective now that the dust has settled.
2. Always be the bigger person.
We all have those moments when we get tired of being the “bigger” person, always having to rise above, “go high”, etc. If you’re reading/listening to this and telling yourself you do not have those moments, you are lying, beloved. I had quite a few of these moments over the last few weeks. I felt like I was being put in situations where I had to be the bigger person, when everything inside of me wanted to be mean and petty…but I am not a mean and petty person. So why would I even waste my energy resorting to that type of behavior? I am not perfect, by any means, but I know that I have done the work to be sure that I no longer intentionally cut people with my actions or my words. So changing the very nature of who I am for a temporary game of tit for tat is not worth it to me anymore. I had to remind myself that getting even, proving a point, etc. could potentially do more damage than what was already done. Regardless of whether I was right or wrong, what matters most is that I can go to sleep each night with a clean conscience. And I do not want to sacrifice my peace of mind gambling in a game of revenge. At the end of the day, I can only control myself. I have the right to feel how I feel and even express how I feel, but the goal is to do so with tact. This can be easier said than done sometimes though. There are moments where I still yell, curse, and say things out of frustration, but thankfully those moments are few and far in between. When I am feeling the pressure to act out of character, I literally just close my mouth or stop myself from typing a message. Hopefully, once I have given myself a moment to calm down, I can handle things the right way.
3. Never give up.
Sounds cliche, but it is the truth. Here I am about to graduate from law school, and it seems like life is challenging me the same way it was when I was preparing to graduate from college. The part I have to remind myself, though, is that I made it through those experiences. They were also uncomfortable, stressful, and caused anxiety. However, they were conquered. I try not to spend too much time reflecting on my past, but it can be quite the teacher. Your past shows your strength. When you think about all that God carried you through, you ought to be able to keep pushing and stay the course. So I try to remind myself that if I “just keep swimming” everything will be okay. I will come out on the other side, I will get through whatever it is, and life will continue. Happiness is a journey, not a destination. There will always be things that will come to steal your joy, but if you keep seeking the light, happiness will always be there.
So I am continuing to do the work. I wish I could tell you the many ways I put my self-care routine to use during this time, but in the midst of the chaos all I could do was call my parents a thousand times a day, do a lot of deep breathing, shed a lot of tears, pray a lot, and try to have a few YOLO moments along the way…but now that I have typed this, I am realizing that all of those things are self-care, too.
How do you find the balance within yourself during difficult times? Think about the last time that you were faced with a challenge, and how you handled it. Think about how you felt, the things you said, and the things you did. Was there a sense of peace within you regardless of what you were being faced with? Were you able to return to that sense of peace after you freaked out or got upset? Try to figure out at least one thing that will be your go-to when you start to lose the balance within yourself. My goal is to be more intentional about meditating and breathing through things and to trust God and the capabilities He gave me.
“Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart.” x Unknown