Isn’t it so interesting how the human mind functions in all its complexity? How we perceive things, internalize them, and then act out of that deep place of emotion. We are unpredictable, easily shaped and influenced. We let people down, make mistakes, disappoint, fall and get back up; then we do it all over again. We are human beings. We are imperfect, we are moody at best, we cry out and demand to be heard.

Over the last decade of my life my ability to act rationally has been tainted by mental illness. Add booze and drugs into the mix and we have the perfect recipe for disaster. My thinking, feeling, mood, ability to relate to others, and even my daily functioning has been disrupted. This has resulted in a diminished capacity for coping with the ordinary demands of life.

As of late, I have been able to step back and actually take a look inside. Inside my heart, inside my head. Once I got my head on straight enough to function, took away the substance abuse, opened up and spoke out: I healed. I know I am not alone in this journey and so I want to share a few things with you that I have learned along the way; things that have really helped shape me. Some of these points are my own, and some are quotes. There’s always someone out there who can articulate my feelings better than I can; thank goodness for Pinterest! So without further adieu…

  1. WEIRD PEOPLE ARE THE BEST PEOPLE. The people who are labelled: crazy, messed up, broken, weird, different, loner, etc. THEY are the most beautiful and creative people out there. Their life experiences, the way their minds function; this allows them to freely and creatively express themselves and the world around them. They are often Artists, Musicians, Visionaries, and extremely gifted and original people. As Elizabeth Gilbert once said “Embrace the glorious mess that you are”; because you view the world through a lens that others don’t, and that makes you special, beautiful, and unique. Being “normal” is never fun. It’s quite boring in fact, and who want’s to lead a boring life.
  2. FIND YOUR VOICE AND USE IT. “You must strive to find your own voice because the longer you wait to begin, the less likely you are to find it at all” – Robin Williams. If not now, then when? I’ve spent too many years letting people voice my opinions for me. I feared speaking up for what I believe in because I wanted to “fit in”; I wanted to please everyone else. There is no happiness in that. There is no shame in sharing your story, or your emotions. You are beautiful because you let yourself feel. You are brave because you vocalize those feelings. You see, as I’ve said so many times before, that’s the thing about emotions: they demand to be heard. If you do not find your voice, it will find you – and it might find you when you are least ready.
  3.  DON’T APOLOGIZE FOR DOING YOUR THING: You do you, unapologetically. “Don’t be discouraged by criticism. You probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure, it’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances, and have fun. No matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing” – Asher Roth. Don’t go and become someone your not just to please others. People pleasing only hides the real you, and the world needs the REAL you. You have so much to offer, and you are capable of great things. Not one drop of your self-worth depends on someone else’s acceptance of you.
  4. CHECK YOURSELF. Sometimes we are toxic, we can be mean and negative. We can push people away. This does not make us less worthy. Recognizing and acknowledging our poor choices and behaviors builds character and strength. Mistakes are opportunities for us to grow. Learn from them, move forward, do better, be better. Your human. It’s okay. Don’t let anyone force you into acknowledgment of your ways, that does not help you grow. Rather look inwards and figure it out for yourself. You are smart and wise. You’ve got this!
  5. KNOW WHAT YOU DESERVE. Always know the difference between what you are getting and what you deserve. You don’t need people to save you – you need people who appreciate you for exactly who you are. You deserve the same effort afforded to you that you give. People will always have their own perception of you, but that doesn’t mean that is who you are, or what you deserve. Their perception is actually a reflection of them, so don’t waste your time trying to explain yourself. You are too full of life to be half loved. If you constantly have to tell someone how you feel and they don’t change, understand they don’t respect you. You deserve better.
  6. DISCOMFORT IS A GOOD THING. Sometimes when it feels like everything is falling apart, the truth is that everything is actually falling into place. “Normality is a paved road; It’s comfortable to walk, but no flowers grow” – Vincent van Gogh. There’s a famous AA saying, if nothing changes – nothing changes. Change can be uncomfortable and painful, but it is necessary to move onto the next season of your life. Each season will demand a different you, so you must change and grow with the ups and downs of life – because nothing is as painful as staying stuck somewhere you don’t belong.
  7. CELEBRATE EVERY TINY VICTORY. Life should not only be lived, it should be celebrated! Wake up every morning and just rejoice in the fact that you are able to breath, your heart is beating, your day has infinite potential. If you are doing the best you can under your current circumstances – than kick up your heels and dance! Don’t let someone else tell you what is worth celebrating, you decide. Every tiny achievement in your life is a step closer to becoming the person you are meant to be. The more we encourage movement towards greatness, the easier the journey is. So stop, think about every tiny goal you have reached, and tell yourself how great you are doing! YOU did it!

We have the capacity for so much greatness. We have been blessed with a heart that is deep and wide, and it feels. It feels good, and bad, and sad, and mad (Dr.Suess vibes :P). Feelings are a sign that we are alive, a confirmation that we are living. So whenever you find yourself doubting how far you can go, what you can achieve, or what you deserve, just remember how far you have come. Remember everything that you have faced, the battles you have won (and lost) and all the lies you have overcome. Surround yourself with the dreamers and the doers, the believers and the thinkers; but most of all, surround yourself with those who see greatness within you, even in your darkest days. Even when you don’t see it in yourself. You are worth everything and anything that you want, because you deserve it all.

Until next time,
xo Nik