I am slowly learning that up until this point I have viewed myself in an unhealthy, negative light. I have always considered myself overly emotional, easily attached, vulnerable, broken. I have grown to think of myself as someone who needs saving, someone who is stumbling around feeling lost instead of found.
But there is no reason for me to feel that way.
I am slowly learning that all of the time I have spent crying does not make me weak. Getting my heart broken by boys who do not deserve me does not make me weak. Caring too much and being too nice and getting too invested does not make me weak.
I am slowly learning that it takes strength to survive a broken heart. Or losing a best friend. Or the death of a family member. It takes strength to get out of bed each morning when the universe feels like a scary, unsafe place. It takes strength to keep going when all you want to do is stop, surrender, collapse.
I am slowly realizing how much strength it took me to get from where I was back in high school — a young, confused girl with no self-worth — to the place where I am standing today. Of course, I still have some of that young girl’s qualities. I still feel insecure about my body and experience anxiety in social situations. I still have doubts about who I am and where I am heading in life. But today, I am more sure of myself. Today, I am stronger than I have ever been before.
I am strong enough to tell someone when they have crossed a line. I am strong enough to walk away from someone who fails to meet my expectations. I am strong enough to say that I matter, that I have value, that my life holds meaning.
I am slowly learning that my soft heart is not a flaw. It is okay for me to feel. It takes strength for me to go against the grain and admit what I am thinking when everyone is expecting me to keep my emotions locked up inside, to lie about being fine, to play pretend like the rest of the world has been doing. It takes strength for me to speak my mind, to stay in touch with my emotions.
I am slowly learning that venturing outside of my comfort zone, taking the leap into situations that I am deathly afraid of, takes strength. Every time I attend a job interview. Every time I have a conversation with a stranger. Every time I visit a new town alone. It doesn’t matter that those things are easy for everybody else. They are hard for me, so going through with them is brave. I can create my own definition of brave.
I am slowly learning that I am so much stronger than I give myself credit for and that I can never let myself forget that. I need to start seeing what everyone else sees — a beautiful, intelligent girl with an exciting future ahead of her. A girl who is destined to accomplish more than she ever thought possible.