A quote by N.R. Walker says, “Whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything you have faced, all the battles you have won, and all the fears you have overcome.”
There was once a time that I couldn’t fully comprehend much less appreciate what it meant to celebrate progression, hope, peace, and blessings in life. I was always so busy anticipating the challenges ahead or agonizing over failures, upsets, and frustrations. The fear of the unknown resounded greater than the faith of what I knew to be true. The truth being that I possess the necessary tools to make it through anything. I had the testimonies to prove that, yet I treated each new test as though it could be the thing that would ultimately defeat me.
Just to be clear, I was not living. I was barely existing. Sadly, my own negative thinking canceled out the good that came my way. Trust me, there is good in life. It may come in the simplest of forms, but it’s there. All we have to do is accept it no matter how it’s packaged. I desperately needed joy and happiness, but repeatedly closed the door in it’s face each and every time it arrived. I treated the very thing that I needed the most like an unwelcome guest. How ironic that we’ll search the world expecting the worst possibilities, but won’t even walk across the room to accept the best.
It has taken me many years, honestly until very recently, to finally understand that life is about more than just putting all of my energy and effort into fighting one battle after another. I have to allow myself to appreciate surviving the storms and the valuable lessons each one has taught me. I’m learning to tell myself, “Takechia, taking the time to stop and dance in the rain is much better than running for shelter at the first sign of a cloud hanging low.”
No, it’s not always easy to do, but it is absolutely necessary. Without the balance you will find yourself in a constant cycle of defeat. That isn’t what life is about. In order to sustain soundness, wholeness, and wellness, you also have to gladly accept the nuggets dropped from each and every experience.
It’s so important to realize that the winds didn’t destroy you, rather they have honed a strength within you. Overcoming the storm means that it didn’t defeat you. You have defeated it. Every wind that it blew, rain that caused to pour, and claps of thunder that it sent were the motivations that you needed to take on the next phase of life with greater strength, knowledge, and understanding.
Oftentimes, that’s the part that we miss. We become so overzealous about anticipating the next hardship that we literally become storm chasers and fear seekers in our own lives. We utilize our time and energy on mastering how to detect what’s going wrong or will go wrong and miss all that is actually going right. Guess what? It’s not ALL bad! There is so much good in life, but it’s about conditioning your mind to think it, your eyes to see it, and your heart to receive it.
I wake up each morning with the mentality that no matter what the day brings, I have what it takes to make it. I also remind myself of all that I’ve made it through thus far. I make up my mind that I’m going to laugh, love, dance, encourage, and live above the place of defeat. You have to speak to your own mind, because that’s where many of the storms start. It’s honestly a choice, and I choose not to forget that I’m well able to make it through life and truly enjoy the process and every bit of the progress that I’ve made.
Recovery is about more than mastering the next meal or accepting what you see when you look into the mirror. It’s about learning healthy ways to navigate life, so that you don’t fall into the familiarity of what the eating disorder provided for you in the first place-an unhealthy escape.
Yes, there is so much that can make you feel overwhelmed. The world has a lot of opposition, uncertainties, and conflict, but hope remains. Where you ask? Hope remains within you. You can be a catalyst for the very thing that you seek. It’s not impossible. It’s about reframing your thoughts and reminding yourself over and over again that you add value to this world and you can be the change that you want to see.
I made a choice that living the defeated life just isn’t for me. I want to move forward with so much vigor that I have enough to motivate and help someone else. One of the greatest fulfillments in life is giving back. When I started to share my story and listen to others in the process, it blessed me tremendously. Someone needed to hear that they too could make it through. I realized that as hard as the past storms were to endure, they weren’t just for me. Now, I can appreciate the storms, heartbreaks, disappointments, fears, and defeats. They pushed me to where I am, because I’m better.
Experience has taught me that left unchecked, my eyes will become fixed on the horizon in search of the slightest indication of dark clouds, unsettled winds, and turbulent atmospheric pressures. It is up to me to set my sights on the hope before me, confidently knowing that I have already survived many, many storms behind me.
Takechia M. Jackson is an educator, an enterpenuer, a survivor, and an all around inspiring human.