There was a time in my life when I thought a lot about ending it. When I chose to be numb and stop feeling because it was too much to be here. There was a time in my life when I stole and smoked and rarely went to school. When I was drinking and talking about where to get drugs with “friends” I barely knew. There was a time when I was desperate for love from the wrong people. When I let someone push me around and control me so much that I lost all sense of myself.
There were many times in my life when it was simply too much for me to handle. When I would spin out in uncontrollable tears from an inability to handle the day to day. There were many times when I wanted to give up… and maybe for a moment or a day or a month, I did. I stopped trying. I stopped caring. I sunk into the darkness and let hopelessness consume me completely.
There have been many times in my life when I’ve done things I’m not proud of. When I broke trust with people I loved. When I lied, stole, or cheated. Times when I used my gifts to hurt people, because I knew exactly how to unravel them. Times when I was harsh and cruel to people who just needed love or understanding.
Take a close look at my life and you’ll see a simple truth: I’m human, just like you. I mess up, just like you. I’ve struggled, just like you.
Sometimes people like to look at my life and business and think there must be something different or special about me that allows me to be where I am despite all this. That I must be stronger in ways they’ll never know.
But the fact is:
I’m where I stand today because I was once weak and broken and incapable of handling life. Because I once made really bad decisions and hurt the people around me. Because I let myself sink to rock bottom more times than I care to count.
I’m where I stand today because, despite this, I never stopped chasing purpose and fulfillment. To live life fully expressed and aligned and true to who I was. I never stopped heeding the calling to do more with myself and my life.
Something deep inside me kept whispering, “you’re here for more than this, you’re here to make a difference.” Even though I didn’t know what that meant, and while sometimes it would only make me angry and frustrated, I never stopped listening. I never stopped trying to understand who I was and what my life was for.
So I started on a path that was challenging and trying and filled with more tears and mistakes and heartache than I could ever have imagined myself being capable of handling. I fell, a lot. I slipped up, a lot. I made things worse, a lot.
And you know what? I thought about giving up a lot too.
Because it was hard. Every step forward felt like it was accompanied by five crashing steps back, taking out everything around me on the way.
But I never gave up. I never let go of the commitment to figure out who the hell I was here to be and how I was supposed to contribute to the world. I never stopped picking myself back up off the ground… whether that was moments or weeks after a bad fall. I never wrote off the tiny whisper or tucked it deep inside.
I never stopped.
I never stopped learning or reading or trying something new. I never stopped asking questions about life and love and purpose. I never stopped listening to that which resonated with my soul, even if I didn’t fully understand it. I never stopped facing down what needed to die inside of me, even when it scared me out of my mind. Even when I had no idea what I was supposed to do next. I never stopped trusting my intuition to guide me to where I needed to be.
I didn’t get to where I stand today — filled with a deep trust and faith and clear sense of who I’m here to be in life and work — because I was born stronger or with more willpower than any other person living their life today.
Every single day, I chose to continue searching and trying.
Moment after moment, I chose to be a little more uncomfortable.
Fall after fall, I chose to get back up on my feet and try again.
And through this I gained strength. I found faith. I cultivated trust.
During the darkest moments of my grief this past year, one truth came tumbling out in a hard conversation with someone I never thought I’d sit with. “I’m glad it happened to me…” I said to him, “because I know I’m equipped to survive it.”
Even in the first twenty-four hours, when I laid in bed so devastated and shattered that my mom had to come in and force me to eat a couple grapes and drink a sip of water, I knew I would survive it. When she held me by the arms in tears and told me that I have to be strong, I have to get through it (because I can only imagine how terrifying it was to see me in that state), I knew I would survive it.
And as I walked through the final stretch of the hardest year of my life, I continued to choose it. I continued to choose to learn the lessons and receive the gifts. I continued to get back up every time I fall… because I still fall. I still spin out in a mess of tears and feel incapable of making anything happen. I’m human and sometimes I’m weak and tired and have no interest in working on the hard stuff.
But regardless, I keep choosing it.
Over and over again.
If you’re struggling right now or feeling lost… if you feeling like “choosing it” is a thing that’s foreign and impossible, I understand. There have been many moments (and still are) where “choosing it” felt insurmountable. When I didn’t even know what it meant or looked like. When it felt like it was too much to bear.
“Choosing it” isn’t always big dramatic steps or shifts or changes. Sometimes it’s subtle. Sometimes it’s just choosing to get out of bed in the morning, and maybe putting on some real clothes. Maybe it’s checking the mail and paying one single bill. Maybe it’s returning one of the many voicemails that have piled up. Maybe it’s just declaring to God or the Universe that you’re ready to know what needs to happen next. Some of the tiniest choices have been the most significant for me.
What will you choose today?
Stephenie Zamora is the founder of www.stepheniezamora.com, a full-service, life-purpose development, design and branding boutique and author of Awesome Life Tips. Through her Mastery program, she merges the worlds of personal development and branding to help men and women build passion-based lives and businesses they love. Her articles have been featured in The Huffington Post, Yahoo Shine, Positively Positive & Brian Tracy International. Click here to access her free Foundations for Unshakable Joy™ video training series and learn the unexpected trick to transforming your life with one single question! Connect with Stephenie on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter!
Image courtesy of Darren Johnson / iDJ Photography via Compfight cc
February 10, 2016