Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It matters, and you matter.
What gets you out of bed in the morning? Coffee? The agonizing buzz of an alarm clock? The thought that today could be the day you get your dream job? The idea that today could be the day you find your true love?
I’ve only recently come to realize one of my passions in this world, and that is to make other people feel like they are enough.
I spent so much of my life thinking that I was never enough, I’d never be that successful, that smart, that funny, that likeable, that loved. Sure, I could probably accomplish some of those things or a bit of all of them, but I never thought that I’d be someone people listened to or admired. Even though I knew I’d learned a lot of lessons in my crazy life and felt like I had a lot to say, I couldn’t fathom that I was someone who could reach others on a deeper level.
Then at some point I got tired and restless, and honestly fed up with the bitterness I was carrying around. I started asking myself why I felt that way. Why did I feel like I wasn’t good enough? Who was I trying to please? Next thing I knew, I heard this quote from none other than Oprah Winfrey: “You are not your circumstances. You are what’s possible for you.”
You are what’s possible for you. That struck a chord. I had a lot to say and I wanted to say it, so I was going to change the energy myself. I began noticing the way I carried myself changing. I stopped slouching and stood tall, and walked with purpose. I started speaking up and stopped being so wary of being judged for my opinions. I’ve always been a positive person but somewhere along the way I made it a priority to spread it around if I could. I stopped being afraid to give compliments – why are we hesitant to do that to begin with? When I could lend a listening ear, I did. When I could be a voice of encouragement, I was. I learned that even a simple “I’m glad you’re here today” can go a long way. So I made the switch and slowly started living up to my potential. And you know what happened? It worked.
People’s energy around me changed. They could see that I was determined to live my life the way that I wanted to, and complimented me for it. I started making plans to do things I’d wanted to do for a long time but never took the leap. I was told I was a good friend, a good listener, and brave to be unabashedly me.
A while back my friend was going through a rough time, and asked me to hang out and have some drinks. I stayed with her, listened to her story, and ended up sharing something I’d written a while ago about a similar situation I’d experienced in my life. She has since told me that that meant so much to her that I’d shared something vulnerable about myself, and that made her feel like she wasn’t alone and that there was light at the end of the tunnel. The next thing she said pierced my heart. “I want to be as strong as you are.” I put my hands on her shoulders and said emphatically, “You are.”
Obviously nobody’s perfect. There are certainly days when I can still be my own worst enemy, and God knows there are times I definitely do not feel strong. Sometimes life seems completely overwhelming – when you’re trying to pay all the bills, stay in shape, grocery shop, meal prep, take all your vitamins, shower regularly, keep the house clean, make time to socialize and be there for your friends, have an active dating life or relationship, keep up with the latest news, do the laundry, do the yardwork, fix that leaky toilet, keep in touch with family, keep up with your hobbies so you don’t feel like a total workaholic – the list could be endless depending on what is happening in your life, right?
But the fact is that it’s not about what’s on your to-do list, it’s about how you hold yourself and bounce back. You can bounce back, and you are not alone. Every day is an opportunity to grow and change and help one another out.
You are what’s possible for you. So who do you want to be?