“Freedom is nothing else but a chance to be better.”
– Albert Camus
So many people are using their experiences to help others overcome afflictions in their lives. It made me admire them for their wisdom and the trials they must have surmounted to acquire the knowledge they have. It is heartening to know that there are people out there who want to take time out of their days, despite their own struggles, to uplift others.
Which got me to think about something someone told me before she passed away. “Stop looking for your own inspiration, and be an inspiration.”
I never gave too much thought to what she said until recently when I realized my own troubled journey was being watched. Through the publicity of social media, I was slowly gaining a group of “followers.” I would use the internet to vent about my adversities, not knowing I was making an impact on others. People I have never met, have messaged me to tell me that they admired my strength and courage. I was stunned to read so many words of support from all types of strangers as they admitted that, because of some of the things I have posted online of my struggles, they were encouraged to battle their own difficulties.
I am amazed at the candidness of these people who openly discuss with me through messages and emails, their battles, ranging from eating disorders, PTSD, infidelity, abuse, etc., all things I post about on my page. One, in particular, that stands out the most, is a young woman from England who confessed to me that she was in a physically abusive relationship and, because of what she has read of my life, she was encouraged to leave that situation and seek out a better future for herself.
That was a very humbling moment for me. It was then I realized everything I was going through, despite how grim it seemed at moments, had a purpose. Even during my darkest moments, someone was watching, living with struggles worse than mine, yet finding strength in my trials and tribulations.
That was a very pivotal day for me. My son and I were homeless, we were penniless, and we didn’t have a vehicle for transportation. We sometimes only ate once a day, if even that, to make our food stretch an entire week. Our future was bleak, to say the least. Just when I felt like giving up, I learned that I had a small audience, looking at me, watching, waiting to see how I would overcome these obstacles. How could I give up?
I decided to let my hardships work for me, instead of against me. I stood up straight, pulled my shoulders back, held my head high, and conquered another day…and another, and another. Each time, I spoke to these “viewers” about what I was going through, feeling, and thinking. I admitted I was scared for myself and my son. I raged when I allowed bitterness to seep into my chest. I wept when the weight of the world seemed too hard to bear. But I never gave up, not knowing some of these strangers were actually looking up to me.
Not a day goes by that I don’t hear my friend’s words in my head. Every time I feel like throwing in the towel, I think of, “Stop looking for your own inspiration, and be an inspiration.”
I know most of you out there are dealing with heartaches I will never experience. There are days when the pain and confusion are overwhelming and feel too burdensome. Before you give in to the temptation of defeat, however, stop and think about how you could use your story to help someone else to not feel those same despair. Who is watching you, looking for inspiration? Who is learning to be a survivor and fight another day because you were strong and courageous?
By being a leader to those less fortunate than you, you will quickly learn how to cope with your own emotions better. It is self-therapeutic, in a way. It forces you to face your problems. As a result, you start to heal. You won’t notice it right away, but eventually, you’re going to look back and realize how far you’ve come. In the process, you’ve managed to help others overcome their issues and grow stronger so that, perhaps, they, too, can start mentoring to those around them. If you could help even one person from not enduring the same afflictions as yourself, isn’t it worth it?
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