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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Facing Challenges

Challenges.  We all have so many of them in our lives.  I know I have certainly had my fair share.  I used to think I was dealt more crap than the average person.  Looking back on it, I'm not sure that was necessarily true.  I think I just wasn't sure how to deal with everyday challenges.  

One of my biggest challenges has been finally coming to the conclusion that I love who I am.  Struggles, challenges and successes.  Over the years, I think I've overlooked everything I've achieved because I always chose to dwell on the bad stuff.  Hey, by the age of 24, I had a Bachelor's and a Master's Degree, had landed a job in the field I wanted and so many other things.  Don't ask me why, but, despite all of these accomplishments, I struggled to find a lot of positive things in my life.  

I used to get sick all the time.  (I'm sick right now but, who's counting??)  I think some of that was the depression I was feeling.  Yep, I finally said the word.  It took me awhile to actually use that word.  But, now that I have used it over the last several months, I realize there's nothing to be ashamed of with depression.  So many people experience this mental health disorder for many different reasons.  For some, it is temporary, for others it is a lifelong struggle.  I think I am one of the lucky ones.  I just needed to find myself in order to find my way out of my depression.  It's something I work on every day and I'm sure I will work on it for the rest of my life.  But, shouldn't everyone constantly be trying to be a better version of themselves?  I mean, I know there are always things about me, how I react to situations and people and many other things about my life that could be better.  Part of life is learning, growing and changing every day, right?  It's amazing how much of that I have packed into the last 9 months.  

I've heard people say that different phases of your life are supposed to be the best years of your life.  I think that gets said about high school, college, your 20's and other different times.  I think the best time of your life has to be when you figure out who you are.  That happens at different times for everyone.  For me, just recently I've started to understand what makes me happy.  I've had to take some chances, make a lot of changes and really try to figure myself out.  Easier said than done.  But, with the right support system in place, anything is possible.  And I'm definitely still working on it and will be for a long time.

As I was watching TV today, I saw a show about people who had lost weight getting revenge on people who had been horrible to them when they were overweight.  While I totally get it - people can be really cruel in a lot of ways they don't even realize at times - I am so happy I'm not that kind of person.  I don't need to get revenge on anyone.  I'm doing this for me, and only me.  As much as the love and support of my family means the world to me, I had to make the choice to change my life for myself.  Took some pushing for sure, but no one could make me do something I didn't really want to do.  

Whatever your challenges are in life, I've learned that it is so much better to just face them rather than hide from them.   Find people who will support you, no matter what and you will find that every day of your life can be part of the best years of your life.  Sometimes I wish I would have figured that out sooner but, there's a time and a place for everything.

Life's challenges are not supposed to paralyze you, they're supposed to help you discover who you are.