I remember, as a teenager becoming so angry that I let someone bring me so far out of character that I was ready to physically harm them. This happened twice. Once a good friend pulled me away and took me to a teacher who knocked sense back into my head. The second, I had to be pulled off the other person. I hated that feeling and that was the last time I got to that point.
I remember one day as a teenager being so scared. I never felt so alone or so worthless as I did in the years that followed. I beat myself up for that one day. I let myself down, I lost respect for myself and looked for happiness in things and held on to the nearest person for dear life.
One day while sitting at my friend Eri’s house, I realized that I was in a bad place and that I had some work to do to fix me. However, it was after my older brother’s words that I began to realize that only I had the power to change who I am and how I handle things. Standing outside, in the dark, feeling hurt and alone, his words began to sink in.
Why was I looking towards someone else to give me strength?
Why was I allowing someone else to dictate my mood? My happiness?
I was doing these things because I didn’t know that I had the strength within me to change. I realized that night that I do.
I went through so many struggles during that time. I questioned my decisions. I second-guessed my every step. I worried that I would fail. But I never stopped moving forward.
I realized that the only person that I have to count on is me. Yes, I believe in a higher power. Yes, I have my family. Yes, I have friends that love me. However, before I can reach out to any one of them, I had to believe in myself enough to know that I could ask for help. I had to believe in myself enough to handle whatever judgement they attempted to pass before helping me. I had to believe in myself enough to know that I could handle what was going on around me. Whether I handled it on my own or with help, I could handle it.
Flash forward 20 years and I am a different person. I’ve allowed all of those challenges to change me. I am often told how much people admire my strength because I handled cancer 3 times. Truth be told, I’m more impressed with the strength I found before cancer. I’m happy with myself for the lessons that I learned and continue to learn.
I am not perfect, but I’ve realized that I am the only one who controls my outlook on things. My happiness lies within me. The ability to change the way things are going lies in me. I cannot find it in others, nor will I be able to give it to anyone else.
When you allow someone to steal your joy, make you angry, make you feel uncomfortable, or change your character, you are giving them control over the one thing that is truly yours...YOU. Be blessed in who you are, place responsibility where it should be placed, and find the confidence in yourself to be happy, truly happy.
My journey is, hopefully, nowhere near over, but until it is, I will enjoy what I can, for each day that I can.