Bones of Kindness

Approaching my front doorstep, I could see the multicolors from afar, the familiar shape staring back at me, as it lay atop a small box waiting for me. It was a bone; a simple, basic Milkbone, a commonplace treat fed to countless dogs throughout the country on any given day of the week. It was a treat I rarely serve to my own dog, Daisy, in favor of others she prefers, yet, seeing it immediately brought a smile to my face and feelings of joy.

In a sour mood for much of the day, seeing that bone stacked on the box immediately shifted my mood. The local UPS driver, a man I’ve seen numerous times before while taking a walk with Daisy, was the culprit, delivering not only a box to be, but more importantly, a caring, thoughtful action. So many times, more often than not, I traverse through life believing or feeling as though, I’m rarely seen or noticed, walking in and out of rooms without so much as an acknowledgement. Yet, on this occasion just a few days prior, it was the opposite. It is an action still on my mind today, which led me to this very post about it.

It was an action so thoughtful, kind and considerate that I felt it would be a disservice to the UPS worker not to share about it, even if he never sees it, which he most likely won’t. The moral of this post is that we truly never know how what we say or do can make someone feel, or how it can bring someone back from a dark place or moment in time, which this occasion did for me. Noticing someone or realizing their situation is something not to be taken lightly, for we live in a world of immense distractions. Distractions are a core presence in society, with ringing and dinging phones, doorbells, various alerts, TV, streaming devices and more. At any given time, someone or something is demanding or competing for people’s attention. Yet, merely days ago, there I was, standing in my house placing the box on the table with the Milkbone next to it, with a smile on my face and my mood uplifted.

Though he may never know how he made me feel that day and even today, as I look back, I sure am grateful for his gesture and appreciative of his kindness and recognition of my fellow family member and canine companion, Daisy.

Hands, Hearts and Memories

It doesn’t feel right to let this day pass without an utterance of words; without a reflection, without an acknowledgment, without an awareness of those who are hurting, grieving, struggling, remembering, sobbing and still trying to understand. In many ways, it is all of us, even those who were not yet born on that day.

Today as I struggle to find my own words to make sense of this day or to find the words to offer comfort, I am letting this passage I saw shared recently, speak instead. In this passage, many today are missing that very person it speaks of; many are missing that person or people because of this very day, for others, it is a result of other days and moments, but equally as painful and deserving of honoring and respect. There isn’t much else I can say to anesthetize the pain of this day, of the aftermath, and scale of all that transpired, but my heart is heavy today, as it has been in the preceding weeks as I reflected 20 years back.

Reach out to someone today; let someone feel seen and heard.

A Value of One

The call started at roughly 3:44pm and by 5:07pm, the call was completed and much of the damage was already done. Though, unlike in years past, I was prepared and half expected the words to be said. Even despite my knowledge going into it, I’d be lying if I said it didn’t hurt nearly as much as it did years ago. The criticism, the questioning, the blatant disregard and lack of care and concern; the equating of my worth based upon employment status and the size of my bank account.

The truth is, not everyone is going to always see our worth or value who we are as a person. Not everyone is going to acknowledge our growth or healing or what we’ve achieved or overcome, despite our struggles. We don’t need outward validation for all of it to be true and though I strongly believe this, it is still challenging and requires much effort to internalize it and apply it to myself.

It is the same person who told me many years ago, when I was a college student, that “anything I ever tried to do never worked out.” It is also the same person who wanted to make their presence known at my college graduation, when they doubted and felt I would never achieve that very degree/diploma. That day, May 14, 2010, was my own and my life, as a 33-year-old woman, is my own. We don’t owe anyone explanations or justifications for how we choose to live our lives, for the steps we take, or how we heal ourselves. Not all growth is easily seen or visible, but as long as WE, ourselves feel it, that is all that truly matters.

Today, I’m looking back on yesterday, but reminding myself, I don’t need someone else to choose me, I can choose myself; I can be the one who is proud of what I’ve done, the scars that healed and where I am going. We cannot change others’ thoughts of us, but we can realize we don’t need their approval. Our worth is not based on the acceptance of others, or nod that we are worthy.

Maybe I will always be a work in progress, but as long as I keep moving ahead, I’m okay with that and for me, that is enough.

“Not everyone is always going to see your worth.. don’t let it be you.”

Wading Through Water

The past several days have been ones filled with much nostalgia and reflection, with me at times feeling as though I’ve been transported years back, as I take in current events and my surroundings. It started while watching a poignant, harrowing and firsthand National Geographic documentary detailing the events of September 11th. A 13-year-old 8th grader when that agonizing, tragic day occurred, my experience and how I obtained knowledge of the event, crystalized as I took in what actually transpired. In a way, as I watched the documentary as an adult, I felt ignorant and at some points, ashamed; I couldn’t fathom how I couldn’t have known or realized the shear magnitude of it; how excruciating that day was not only for those who succumbed to their injuries and what they were up against, but also to the survivors. Of all they endured and witnessed, it made me realize how many of the demons I face each day are actually much more bearable and easier to navigate than I initially thought.

Growing up, the first house I lived in with my family was a modest, suburban townhouse, one filled with many positive memories. In that home, many holiday meals, celebrations and birthday parties were celebrated. Some of my earliest memories are of baking with my mom and sister and enjoying many of the homemade meals my mom would make. It was the only house filled with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins before many of them either passed away or otherwise distanced themselves. In a way, that house was the forefront and main composition of my childhood. Much of the time, I felt safe there until some of the storms we would experience, which looking back now, were of little magnitude compared to the present time.

After several rains and storms, I remember hearing my parents fearfully strategizing about what they should do about the immense water building in our basement. A fairly large basement, there was one area, used primarily as the laundry room, where much of the flooding would transpire. On one occasion, I recall, it was particularly troubling. Eventually, the flooding issues were fixed by professionals, as fortunate as my family was, but for others who experience that or much, much worse, the potential of fixing or salvaging themselves or their belongings and home is impossible.
Yesterday, for much of the morning into the early afternoon, I sat at my computer, as I typically do, though this time, with the TV news blaring, watching in horror as neighbors merely miles from me and others a bit of a longer distance away suffered tragic loss, both of life and belongings. Watching them detail their loss or seeing it unravel firsthand, I was speechless and unable to tear my eyes away from watching the building waters and seeing the intense water rescues. The first responders, who have been on my mind since first watching the aforementioned documentary days ago, put themselves in harm’s way, in favor of saving or rescuing others. It was something I, myself, even experienced firsthand as a teenager, one time when I fell at a large outdoor gathering. They wheeled me away to safety, keeping me in pleasant spirits as they chatted with me, distracting me from my immense pain and did what they could to best support me.

Routinely, I think a lot about what it means to be grateful and what it means to be otherwise safe, emerging from situations unscathed, or at least free of havoc. Sometimes I hear and see all that happens and when night falls, there is a heaviness in my chest, making it near impossible to sleep as I think of those attempting to sleep sans a bed or safe place to rest. It gives me hope, though, when I think and see all the people who mobilize and give it their all to help those in need. There are some people who embody what it means to be selfless, to be forthcoming and set aside their differences, heading into the unknown because to them, letting someone fall or succumb is not an option.

This week also makes me think and reflect a lot about what it means to exist and live, as I’ve always noted a difference. Anyone can exist, but not everyone lives, isn’t that what a famous quote, even states? To live is to be vulnerable, to step outside of comfort zones because we desire more or seek to feel and experience all we can. To live is to acknowledge some pain and disappointment is inevitable, but not impossible to overcome. To live is to desire and seek happiness, forge connections and achieve and partake in what makes us feel best and is aligned with who we are.
Truth be told, there is a lot I cannot do, or haven’t done, or haven’t taken the chances to do. Truth be told, sometimes I shun vulnerability and venturing outside of my cocoon at times, but when I write in this blog, I write not only for myself, but for those who may feel alone, trapped, or in need of a reminder of their significance in this world.

From what I’ve seen and experienced, for all the pain, suffering, violence and natural disasters in this world, there is still so much good, even if we have to look a little bit harder for it. There is something to be said for the many first responders conducting water rescues as we speak, or the many officials who are consistently advocating for funding and relief to those in need. There is something to be said for the many restaurants, chefs and other business owners who mobilize and provide sustenance, belongings, care and concern to those in need. At the end of the day, even when grave tragedy strikes, there can still be light on the other side. What is always important to remember is: one day your struggles may become the pages of another’s survival guide.

A Canine Confidence

There is so much to be learned from dogs; they can and do teach us about life, love, healing, grief, pain, enjoyment, disconnecting from what brings us down, how to appreciate and make the most of all we have and to appreciate our days. For me, my dog, Daisy, teaches me what means to accept who I am; she gives me a safe and secure place to be me, to let myself sing as loud and as long as I can, to let myself dance to the beat of my own drum even when I stumble, and reminds me that it is perfectly okay to take a break and rest when I need to because “doing nothing,” is actually the opposite.

Having a dog changed my life. It changed and developed who I am as a person, reminds me that I am more than capable of loving another, canine or not. Having a dog reminds me that no matter how alone or unsuccessful I may feel inside, when my dog is beside me, the loneliness can and does lessen. Having a dog reminds me every day that life does not need to be perfect, or filled with triumphs and successes to still be wonderful and enjoyed. Sometimes, it is a hug, a walk outside on a sunny day and a quick conversation with a friend, neighbor or family member, that can instantly boost a mood or a day.

Taking photographs of myself is one feat I’ve never been comfortable with, or at least not as an adult. Taking photos of myself often results in chastising and criticizing all the parts of me deemed, “wrong.” Instead of seeing a photo of a woman who tries her best, I’ll often see the damaged parts of me I try to change. That was until Daisy. About two years ago, I snapped a photo of her and I. It was the first one of the two of us and taken on a day where I spent the majority of the morning and early afternoon in tears, feeling trapped, afraid and unsure as to where my life was actually heading. For whatever reason, with her cuddled up beside me, I opted to snap a photo of her and I and it has since become one of my favorites.

Several months ago, on a similar type of day, I snapped another photo of Daisy and I and that, too, is a beloved favorite of mine.

Then two days ago, after readying myself for the day, I bravely decided to snap a photo of myself, only. It was an action that to some may be commonplace and nothing to write about, but for me, it was huge. Struggling with body image and appearance on a regular basis, it was something I did with fear and discomfort, but thought of Daisy all the while doing it. To me, Daisy embodies a confidence that is difficult to ignore. She rarely, if ever, waits to be helped. If she wants to act on something, she will, with bravery. Her inviting and fearless spirit inspires me and though she may be canine, I truly believe and am convinced that some of our greatest and most valuable lessons we can ever learn are those demonstrated and taught by dogs or animals, in general. Some of them embody patience, wisdom and love often not seen in others.

So today, in honor of International Dog Day, I’m bravely sharing my affinity for dogs and in particular my own dog, Daisy, who brings me joy and happiness each day. In addition, I’m sharing the photos of her and I from past months and years and the photo I recently took of myself, in honor of her.

A Transformative Teaching

It was this month, 25 years ago, when my family and I made the short distance move from one town in our county to the next. Only minutes, probably around 20 or so away, depending upon traffic, it wasn’t far in distance, but as an 8-year-old, it sure felt like it was. Leaving my friends and school behind, I was curious, apprehensive and unsure as to what I should expect. Months prior to moving, I’d started experiencing a lot of fears related to the actual school building, not the academics, itself, but the building. Perhaps it was the idea of moving and change in general that sparked these fears, but in any case, that summer was a tumultuous one.

In the midst of our move, my grandparents both became ill and so coupled with my fears of moving was also the health and wellbeing of my grandparents, especially my grandmother who I nearly idolized, given her sophistication and flair. A few weeks after settling into our new home, my third grade year began. Even years and decades later, I still recall how I felt that day, the process of selecting my outfit – a matching skirt and top, my hair in a ponytail, with a bow. Reluctantly, I made my way into the building alongside my mom, unsure if I’d be able to build friendships or even adjust at all. Life, in general, felt uncertain and despite my young age, I could feel the worries and concerns mounting.

Upon entering the classroom, one adorned to the nines with various decor and signs, I was instantly greeted by my teacher, who I’ll refer to as Mrs. F, for privacy reasons. She was animated, but also gentle and calm in her words and motions. She wore a long dress and turquoise jewelry, red matte lipstick and a warm smile on her face. She welcomed me into her classroom, asked my name and encouraged me to have a seat at the chair/desk labeled as mine.

As fellow students began piling in, I took in my surroundings, calculating to myself whether or not I could envision building friendships, trying to decide what I’d say and attempting to appear busy by fishing through the school supplies in my pencil case. My teacher that year, Mrs. F, is one I still think fondly of today, as someone who shaped much of what I do now. It was she who taught me how to construct a complete sentence, emphasizing its importance in portraying what we seek to get across to our readers or audience. It was she who made the days inside the classroom adventures, weaving interesting stories into the lessons she taught, many of which centered around her Native American heritage. It was she, who emphasized the importance of writing in general, beginning each morning with a short exercise of writing in a journal. It was she who made the classroom a safe and welcoming place for me, even as I struggled for much of that school year.

That year, my 8th one, was the height of the “Beanie Baby” craze. So many of us would covet buying the latest ones, always leaving the tags on and searching for the “rare” ones. Upon receiving report cards or for a random surprise, my sister and I were often gifted them. Little did I know, however, it was those very Beanie Babies that would help to carry me through the rest of the school year. Up until the Spring of that school year, my struggles intensified and I would often stay home from school, with various illnesses, fears and worries. Again, it wasn’t the schoolwork or academics, overall that kept me frightened, but rather the school building and fears of being distanced from family, who were ill or otherwise ailing. It was only when my teacher started to discuss Beanie Babies and encouraged all of us to bring ours inside and gather them on the back table in the classroom when I found myself starting to soften and ease my worries.
From that day forward, I piled all of my Beanie Babies into a large bag adorned with Disney Princesses, a “souvenir” from one of my family’s first trips to Disney World and would tote them into the school building each day. For the first time, each morning, I emerged happily and quickly from my mom’s car and scurried into the building, eager to arrange my Beanie Babies on that back table, along with my fellow classmates’. I’m not sure she even realized it, but my teacher, Mrs. F, paved the way to freedom for me, that year. It was because of her encouragement, choices and ability to meet me where I was, that I was able to successfully complete the school year. It may have seemed simple and maybe even strange to some, but having her recognize what I needed and making the classroom feel a little more like “home” for me, was really all I needed and sought all along.

My reason for traveling back in time to my third grade year is in honor of the impending school year for many in my local area, which includes my niece, who will be starting the second grade in a little over a week. Many students in other states have already begun school, but I felt it was important to recognize the significance of teachers and educators, in general. Raised by a teacher, from a young age, my mom always taught and instilled in me the importance of education, reading and knowledge. Libraries, books, arts and crafts and activities were always commonplace at home. So many teachers and educators teach and inspire their students in ways they could never imagine. There are other teachers beyond Mrs. F, who I also look back on fondly and recognize their significant impact upon my life.

Those who know me well, are aware of my enthrallment with French culture and France, completely enamored with the language, the locale and the cuisine. Prior to my middle school years, I had little, if any knowledge of France and French culture, overall. Watching and seeing my sister study the French language, I knew that when it was my turn, that would be the language I would choose. Finally, my time came and as I intended, I selected French to study. From the moment I walked through the classroom door, my French teacher who I was fortunate to have for numerous years, made each class occasion feel like I’d walked into France. She embodied the culture of France, emphasizing not only the language, but the various spots throughout the country, the slang, the foods and the overall feeling.

It can be easy to forget where we came from, how we got to where we are today, what sculpted or shaped us and it can also be easy to fixate on the troubling times versus those that were more uplifting and positive. Though those positive times for some may be far and few between, it is when we reflect on them and recall them as closely as we can, that we can sometimes see, as I recount in this post today, of how positively impactful and influential they can be and are on our lives.

Words and actions matter, all of ours do and even when they feel minuscule, there is something we can all say and do that makes a difference. Providing a safe place for someone, figuratively or literally, can span an impact that can persist for decades; in my third grade year, that person was Mrs. F and though I wish I’d had the insight back then to tell her so, today, through this blog post, is my little way of commemorating her and all the teachers/educators who made positive/influential impacts on my life, as a new school year begins or is already underway for many.

Times of Trial and Error

Sometimes in life, we have to first fall or falter in order to fly and succeed. Not everything is achieved or celebrated the first time around. Whether it’s a driver’s license test, a marriage, a friendship, a foray into college, a first job, a second, third or fourth job, sometimes multiple tries and attempts are necessary.

There are countless benefits to second tries and multiple attempts in general. With each attempt, we go into them with greater knowledge than previous and often, more confidence. We learn what worked and what didn’t, the way we felt, different routes to take, or with new found strength. Sometimes, a second or multiple attempt confirms we truly want what we are working towards. With past experience comes more insight into ourselves and our choices.

For me, most things in my life have not come easy. Whether it was joining a teen writing panel from my local newspaper during my high school years, my driver’s learner permit, careers, friendships/relationships, college and more, multiple attempts were necessary and still are. Sure, they may bring frustration, agitation and sometimes even the intense desire to give up or succumb to my struggles, when I’ve picked myself up and tried again, I’ve never regretted it, even despite all I encountered. Maybe I experienced doubts, some intense, but what I’ve come to learn is that during those times, I didn’t know then what I know now. Each time we fall, we walk away with a strength we couldn’t have had unless we struggled; we walk away with scars, but they are not restrictive; they are not there to keep us down, but rather remind us of how capable we are.

One of my favorite and most poignant quotes I’ve encountered reads, “Our strength is not measured in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Every time we stand up after encountering challenges or loss, we look fear or struggles in the face, provide motivation, courage and bravery for ourselves and others and remind ourselves of the capabilities we have.

On a final note, I look back on my college years and what stands out most to me is not my transcript, grades, or even my degree, but in how no matter how many struggles and challenges I faced; hospitalizations/illness, a desire to walk away, and feeling defeated, I rose again, even with the manifestations of doubt and ambivalence.

Take a break, care for yourself and do what you feel you need to in order to build your strength, but always remember, the struggles and challenges faced do not need to dictate your life or life’s path; they can merely serve as a compass to succeeding and mapping out what means most on the journey that is life, no matter how tumultuous.

Holding a Heart in a Hand

Maybe they’re a relative; a brother or sister, a cousin, a mother, a father, an aunt or uncle, niece or nephew, maybe even a child. Or, maybe they’re not related at all, but rather a friend or even acquaintance, a gift appearing in one’s life, maybe in an expected or typical way, or perhaps not. Maybe they surface at the time when they are needed most, serving as a support, a lifeline, a safe place for confiding and reflection and ultimately, reprieve and solace.

This time of year always makes me reflect a bit more than others, as we come upon September, which is often associated with new beginnings. Almost 16 years ago, my life changed in what felt like the blink of eye, walking into a school building as a teenager on the brink of senior year and walking out later one day, a changed adult, forced to shift my priorities, goals and life, overall. Many days were spent reflecting, looking back on my life, looking back on the people I thought were my confidantes, the ones I could turn to and know they’d still be there even if I was struggling. Though when I reached back for a hand, I realized that hand was no longer there.

Instead, I had to continuously unpack the pain and hurt, trying to not allow myself to be wounded time and time again by their desire to move on without an acknowledgement or callous words and silence. Sometimes, it is the ones who we believe will be there no matter what, who leave us behind. Then there are others who will stay, those who will remain and persist; those who will be the safe haven, maybe in person, maybe remotely, but with a heart and a gentleness that can be felt and seen even from afar, even from a screen or a voice through the phone.

No matter what, I’ve always felt we meet and encounter people for a reason. Sometimes they become a lesson; sometimes they serve as a reminder, sometimes we meet them for a short time and they give us what we needed at the time, other times they become a longtime companion or confidante. In any case, they all serve a reason. We may never know the significance we have upon anothers’ life and it isn’t about the length of time or the way we know someone, but rather the way we can make them feel, the way they make us feel, what we give back and what we can share that means the most.

Hidden Gems and Places That Find Us

It was an innocent, unassuming suggestion on behalf of my mom, but one whose effects ultimately proved to be bountiful. This past Saturday, an overcast, humid afternoon with a soupy and steamy feel lingering in the air, my mom casually suggested taking a roughly 20-25 minute drive out to a shopping center we’ve passed by numerous times previously, but ceased to visit. In a sour mood leaving me lamenting about the series of hardships I’d experienced throughout the week, reluctantly, I obliged.

Stuffing myself into the passenger seat of my mom’s car, I gazed out the window, watching the swarms of corn lining the open fields and farms scurry by. It wasn’t until I suddenly noticed a commanding presence to the left; a plethora of some of the tallest sunflowers I’d ever laid eyes on. There they stood, proud and confident, owning their presence in the grassy field, amidst a sky covered in thick cloud cover with the threat of rain and storms lingering. Their presence was unapologetic and I couldn’t bear to look away or forget them as we drove another 10 minutes or so. To me, unexpectedly noticing those sunflowers was symbolic and nearly a metaphor for life in a way. A sign of how life does not have to be perfect for it to be beautiful and how sometimes it takes a minute or even seconds to change a day, a mood or a life around.

The sunflowers I spotted from the car en route to our destination

As we continued driving those next few minutes, the cloud cover thickened and the droplets of rain followed suit. A day initially forecast to be one filled with rain and storms, I braced myself for a downpour upon exiting the car at our final destination. Minutes later as we turned a quick left into the longtime standing shopping center, somehow, again catching me by surprise, the sky began to clear as I set my sights on a small, old-fashioned appearing pharmacy. Noticing it initially upon pulling in to the shopping center, something about it stood out and called to me, drawing me in with intrigue and curiosity. Perhaps it was the nostalgia it’s design, outward composition and sign gave me, bringing me back to childhood and the years of carefree innocence. Questioning what we’d actually find inside as I read the words lining their windows, promising candy displays, toys, other gems and more, my mom and I agreed to explore.

Pushing open the glass doors, I quickly glanced to my right, as my full attention suddenly focused and settled on the pristine glass case, filled impeccably and neatly to the brim with Asher’s Chocolates. Brightly-colored gummy candies and sugary, vibrant delights lined the cases, drawing me back to the days of perusing the Jersey Shore boardwalk, where my most difficult decisions existed as choosing between candies – gummies, chocolate bark, fudge, ice cream or a combination of everything.

Decorated to near perfection, chocolate-covered pretzels, chocolate-soaked graham crackers, truffles and nearly any and every sweet treat one could imagine commanded my attention. With the sweet, familiar aroma of chocolate gently scenting the air, my mom and I perused the other aisles, taking in the gifts and trinkets, in both amazement and awe of the gems lining the shelves. Everything from delicate to costume jewelry, to meaningful cards and mugs, nostalgic toys and games, filled the store, inviting us to explore further. As we walked through the store, a small, yet also expansive establishment, with its offerings more than plentiful, I felt transported in time. As I took in all I saw, recounting memories with my mom, I could feel my mood lifting and my spirits brightening, embracing life and the current moment. Walking the aisles, I couldn’t help but be amazed by how a small pharmacy sitting unassuming in a suburban shopping center could prove so capable of such an impact. In existence for years, I’d seen the pharmacy before in passing, but never so much had given much thought, writing it off as nothing more than a simple, independent pharmacy filled with medicine and not much else.

Sometimes, life is like that. We quickly write off or dismiss people, places or opportunities solely because of how they appear, ceasing to give them a chance. Sometimes, we search so far and wide for something or someone, not realizing it is right under our noses and within our grasp. That day, my mom and I left the store just as the clouds broke and the sun began to emerge, while toting a small, cellophane bag filled to the brim with my niece’s favorite sweet treats, a complement to her other gifts to be given for her birthday the subsequent day. As we continued the short steps to my mom’s car, a newfound sense of calm and confidence washed over me; an unfamiliar and foreign, yet vastly welcoming feeling. It was proof to me that sometimes we find what we need on our own, or other times, what or we need, finds us – or maybe, like on this occasion, it’s both.

This occasion, one that transpired merely days ago, serves as a reminder I couldn’t let pass without sharing; no matter how challenging or impossible life or days throughout our lives may feel, no matter how excruciating, painful or stagnant, continue living and pursuing the moments bringing joy, no matter what they may be for you.

Maybe it is the presence of a sunflower like those I suddenly saw lining the fields, letting themselves be seen and acknowledged with a commanding presence. Maybe its the sweet taste of a favorite treat or the comfort of a loved one’s embrace. In any case, live for those moments because we all have the ability to find them and also for them to find us, as it is proved to be true for me on that overcast Saturday, summer day in the heat of the soupy afternoon air.

Stepping Stones of Strength

Every choice and decision often comes with the desire to try. Sometimes and maybe even more often than not, when we decide to make a change in our lives, no matter how small, we encounter a host of challenges, struggles and/or roadblocks. Many of these struggles could be reasons to step back and reevaluate or maybe even summon the desire to give up. It’s important to remember that small steps, small changes, maybe even changing certain thoughts, are steps forward. When we make a commitment to change, or try something new, big steps and actions are not required.

Each change and adjustment in life can be achieved through the smallest of steps and actions. There is a quote that states, “Slow and steady wins the race,” and while it may not always be true, for me, many of the changes or decisions to try something new were done in a way that was slower and maybe even appeared stagnant to some. Many may have questioned (and still do, if I changed at all). So often we can base changes or proof of growth on what we see externally, not realizing that much of the work, adapting, changes, and growing has been done internally. It’s not our responsibility to prove these changes to others; what we feel internally is evidence enough of our change and our hard work.

Some of the greatest developments and changes were achieved over months, years, or even decades and though it may appear “slow” to some, to those involved, it is a journey and series of weathering through storms, potential defeat and struggles. Like this quote below describes, we may start small and it may take awhile, but in the end, what we achieve and feel through the process and final result, will be worth it. It’s not about how long it takes or how many battles and potential defeat we face along the way, but rather that we continue on in spite of it. That we keep believing we can and that we are capable and ultimately, that we are well worth the time and effort it may take to achieve the changes, feelings and life we aspire to and that feels best to us.