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I. Still. Struggle.

Ask my boyfriend how many times he's heard me say, "I'm so fat. I'm such a worthless dancer. What a joke I am. I don't deserve to be on the stage," and he will probably roll his eyes. Thank goodness he's more of an intellectual than a mathematician and probably doesn't have a running tally in his head...because the number would be embarrassingly high.

But, the truth is, I still struggle. At 35 years old, after decades in this career, all the research I've done, self-improvements I've fought for, gurus I've searched out, lessons I've learned and advice I've given out...I still get stuck. Stuck in a dark hole battling my mental demons. Sometimes you can have all the right knowledge and tools at your fingertips, but it can still be brutally hard to dig yourself out.

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Just knowing you are not alone in the struggle can be enough sometimes. We all struggle. It's part of our human journey. And it's actually a good sign. The struggle means you are keeping yourself on the edge and that you are challenging yourself. It's an indicator that you are pushing for your next level rather than settling and numbing.

As difficult and soul-crushing as these times may be, the two words I ask you to hold onto while you are in the thick of it: keep fighting. There is a way out. It may not seem like it at the time when things are dark and dreary and demoralizing, but just keep fighting. Put one foot in front of the other. Reach out to a close friend. Journal about the swirling thoughts in your head. Take one action to push you closer to climbing out.

Realistically, what choice do you have? Give up and relinquish your life and your freedom to your mental demons? Or, own your power, stand up and fight. One option leaves you a shattered shell of a human being; a coward afraid to take control of your own life. The other option empowers you as a courageous hero; a Spartan fighter who keeps getting back up despite being kicked in the face. The choice is yours. Choose wisely.

"It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat." - Theodore Roosevelt

The victory is in the struggle. Don't be afraid of the battle. Be afraid of never stepping into the arena. And, once you are there, just keep fighting.