Your Shadows Are Your Strength, Not Your Enemy

No matter where we go, our shadows follow us. On the other hand, so does our light.

Can we dispel this notion that shadows are despicable? We all have them, so why do we degrade them so? They’re a simple element of our humanity. Yet still, with all our intelligence, we attempt to suppress that which we deem imperfect and unworthy of esteem. 

What if the only issue when it comes to our shadows is our perspective of them? 

What if instead of our light, someone long ago decided that the shadows were what should be found notable? Perspectives change. Attitudes change. Realities change. Everything in this world is subjective. 

I propose, then, that we quit maligning our shadows and begin embracing them. 

Everything is energy, and as such, our shadows are simply a manifestation of our stuck or blocked energy. A shadow is a tool—in actuality, a corner of intrigue on the path, an insight to what we need to examine more closely in order to free ourselves. The shadow itself is the light. 

Instead of constantly trying to conceal our shadows, we must declare them proudly. Perhaps if we do so, everyone will feel less lonely. Perhaps we can all stop bearing these false burdens of shame, guilt and fear alone. Perhaps we can release them together in the undeniable knowledge that we have more similarities than we tend to believe. 

When we stride directly into our shadows, holding them up to the light, then we begin to liberate our souls. When we hold ourselves in unconditional grace and compassion, we find true love. Love with no rules or limits. If we can find the courage to stand brazenly in our full truths, it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks. We accept ourselves, and that is all that matters. Once we break through this barrier, we start to see that when we love ourselves, others love us even more.

There is no inherent good and bad in the human condition. There is only what is. We shape whatever already exists with our perceptions, colored by so many elements beyond our control. If we are to be happy, we cannot deign to judge others. We also cannot afford to allow the judgments of others to influence how we ourselves live. There is no truth in such a life.

We must uplift ourselves into a reality with expansive space. Space for each of us to live as who we are, in all entirety. Space for both the light and the dark, the shadow and the sunshine. We deserve this for ourselves. We deserve this for each other. 

Hiding our darkness away keeps it in the dark. Bringing it out allows the light to transmute it. When we create safety and acceptance, we create space for all parts of ourselves. We create space for each other. Nothing is more beautiful. How do we begin? By accepting all parts of ourselves first and setting the example. If we become a safe space for ourselves, we are in turn a safe space for those around us. This security expands with each and every one of us who steps up and decides to no longer hide. 

I have a vision for a world where we no longer feel the need to deny any part of ourselves. I have a vision for a world where nothing is seen as dark or light, but simply what is. A world where we are free to express all of who we are, in complete safety. We can move into compassion, acceptance, and understanding. It can be so, if we only begin. 

Someday You’ll Finally Realize That You Are Enough

I know in the past you have had to defend yourself and it has been a long road to get to this point. You are tired and I want you to know you will get to a space where you no longer have to. In the past, you have had to defend your choices, your privacy, and your emotions.

Even though the choices you made were aligned to what you needed, you felt you had to defend others when they questioned your decision. This made you unsure and doubtful of yourself.

Even though having your own space and privacy is healthy, you were made to feel that you didn’t deserve those things. This made you feel like you weren’t important.

Even though your emotions were okay because they were coming from your heart, you were made to feel that it was wrong to feel how you felt. This made you feel ashamed and wrong.

You will get to a space where you learn that what you choose is enough and that what you need and how you feel is acceptable. You will be able to confidently believe that you are enough.

You will get to a space where there are no explanations owed and there is no need for a defense strategy. You will be able to simplify and truly ground yourself with the basics that you need and deserve.

You will be able to recognize what you need and how to find it in yourself and in others. You will not need to prove any of these.

You will be so sure that these values are important that you will follow through with yourself and remain consistent in finding them. You will not give up on yourself because you are confident.

You are resilient. You are brave. You are loved beyond measure.

Some Opportunities Are Worth A Shot, Even If You’re Not Fully Ready

Some opportunities are worth a shot even if you’re not fully ready. Some opportunities don’t come around very often so you have to jump in with both feet when they come to you, because you will not be fully ready for certain things in life, but the price you pay for not taking a risk on these opportunities is far greater than trying, even if you’re not sure of yourself.

The truth is, you will never be ready for the big things in life, like a promotion, marriage, starting a family, or moving to another country. You will never be fully ready to leave your comfort zone because that means there will be more challenges and there’s nothing us humans dread more than starting over and going through the anxiety, the fear, and the apprehension that accompany anything novel or foreign to us.

So the only thing you can really do is to just go for it and the rest will follow. You will slowly start to get the hang of things, you will slowly adapt to the new transition, you will slowly grasp what it’s all about and it will slowly become the new norm to you. Sometimes you are ready but your insecurities or fear of failure make you feel like you’re not. You don’t want to feel like you weren’t up to the challenge or you weren’t the right person for it. You don’t want to live with the disappointment that comes after letting yourself and others down when things don’t work out the way you anticipated.

Some opportunities are actually meant for you even though you never thought about them, but it’s how God leads you to your calling or how God leads you to a new chapter in your life. You may not always connect the dots in the beginning, but after a while, you will realize that it was exactly what you needed and that it eventually led you where you belong. Sometimes you don’t even realize your own potential until you’re faced with circumstances that allow you to get over your own fears and limitations or unleash your maximum potential. Sometimes you don’t even know how good or talented you are until you’re presented with an opportunity to showcase your talents or do something different.

So while you’ll never be fully ready for everything in life, some jobs are worth relocating for or getting out of your comfort zone for. Some relationships are worth investing in and nurturing because you know it’s hard to find that kind of connection or love anywhere else. Sometimes you need to go find yourself somewhere else because being stuck in your own bubble is slowly killing you. Sometimes the opportunities you’re not ready for are exactly what you need to feel alive again, to accomplish something extraordinary, and sometimes you think you’re not ready for something but you find yourself blending in perfectly.

Sometimes you use not being ready as an excuse because you’re just scared of what might happen next, but even if you’re not ready, if you want something, you deserve to at least try, because you deserve to have everything you want in life and you have to believe that somehow you can make them happen against all odds. 

When Playing It Safe Is No Longer Enough For You

Some of us have gotten to the point where we are searching for change every day. Every day we’re tapping into something to help us get to the next level. Whether writing positive affirmations, reading a motivational book, listening to inspiring audio, or watching an educational video, some of us have said just enough is no longer enough.

Then there’s those of us who’ve reached a point of being good with where we are in life. But are you really good with you, or are you just playing it safe? Have you been faced with so many challenges that you’re afraid to take any risks? Are you comfortable at a place where you aren’t meant to be comfortable? Are you really settling because you don’t think you deserve more?

Don’t get me wrong, there’s great satisfaction in knowing that you reached a point in your life where you’re able to be at peace with where you are. Being able to say, “I’m good with where I am” is great and it’s something that we all should strive for, but as long as you have breath in your body, it’s not the final chapter of your story. Every second we’re alive is another opportunity to tap into the next level of our potential. I’m a firm believer that there aren’t enough lifetimes for us to reach our full potential, so every day is truly a gift. It’s okay to be okay, but don’t “okay” yourself into accepting a life that wasn’t meant to be yours. Don’t settle for this level when you know that you are one move away from the next one.

Every day we are supporting someone who stopped playing it safe and took a leap of faith. Whether scrolling through social media, reading a new book, online shopping, or even brushing our teeth, we see what happens when someone decides that just enough is no longer enough. It’s okay to support people and cheer them on, but it’s time to stop doing it from the sidelines and get in the game. It’s time to start making your own leaps and supporting your dreams. Someone is depending on you to stop playing it safe and do what’s in your heart. Someone is depending on you to step out of your comfort zone so that they can be inspired to do the same. Someone is depending on you to be the best version of yourself so that they can start being the best version of themselves.

Here’s How Self-Love Will Set You Free

Have you ever heard the saying “You can’t love someone else until you love yourself”? Cliché, isn’t it? Yes. But it’s also true. Think of it this way: If you love someone without loving yourself, you really aren’t giving someone genuine love, are you? There might be people saying, “Maybe someone is teaching you how to love yourself.” Well, that could be true. And those people are to be cherished. Hold them in the highest regard possible.

Those people are called soulmates for a reason. You still need to learn to love yourself though, because you can’t depend on others to give you love. That’s not healthy for anyone. Why is self-love so important? Well, there are a few reasons for this, and they may seem silly but they’re important.

The first reason is that you are worthy of self-love and you are the only one that’s going to have your heart for life. Think about it, you get to spend forever with yourself, and that’s a beautiful thing!

The second reason is that you won’t be able to give someone else genuine love if you don’t love yourself first. And as I’ve said before, sometimes we meet people that teach us how to love ourselves, and that’s a gift. But how can you truly love someone else if you don’t love yourself?

The third reason is that you’ll know what you won’t accept and will accept in a relationship. You need to be able to articulate these things to someone. How else are you going to find the right person? You need to be able to stand up for yourself if needed. That’s why self-love is so important.

When you learn this, you’ll feel so free. And you’ll stop accepting idiots into your life. Your social circle may be smaller, but that’s okay! You only want good people in your life, right? Not crappy people who will take advantage of you and hurt you in the end. You deserve better than that anyway. You deserve great people in your life who will support you every day and love you unconditionally. How long will it take you to learn this? It could take years or months. Don’t rush. Time will reveal all. I know we wish we could have a crystal ball but we don’t get that privilege sadly.

Nothing Holds You Back More Than Taking On Other People’s Fears And Insecurities

There’s nothing holding you back from getting what you want but your own insecurities and fears. No one has the power to put you down or talk you out of something without your consent. No one can tell you that you can’t do something or discourage you from taking a risk if they know you won’t listen to them because your inner voice is stronger. People know you’re not afraid of failure and others have failed to change your mind before. 

Sometimes you need to show people that you’re not someone who is going to take no for an answer. Sometimes you just need to believe in what your gut is telling you, even if it goes against what everyone else thinks. Sometimes you just have to be okay with making mistakes or making wrong decisions because this is what builds your character and this is how you gain wisdom and confidence in yourself. The truth is, without confidence and experience, your life will be stagnant, led by the opinions and choices of others. 

Sometimes you just have to dare more and dream bigger, even if you have to face criticism or judgments from others, because if you’re always afraid of the outcome or what people may think of you, you will never truly go after what you want or what could be right for you and you will never make a big move that could change your life. Sometimes you just need to let people know you appreciate their opinions and concerns but you will do what you want either way, and most importantly, you need to stop waiting for people’s approval and validation, because when you stop seeking their approval, you become more powerful, more mindful, and more assertive in your own decisions. You take back control of your life.

Nothing holds you back more than comparing yourself to others, you only have who you were yesterday to compare yourself to. Nothing holds you back more than trusting others instead of trusting yourself. Why do you believe that people know better than you? And even if they do, you will never know what you’re capable of doing until you try and know for yourself. What makes you think that your experience won’t be different than theirs? Why are you afraid of what someone else went through? Nothing holds you back more than taking on other people’s fears and insecurities. 

And last but not least, nothing holds you back more than being too hard on yourself. The world is already too hard on you, and most people are not going to lift you up when you need it most, so you have to repeatedly do that for yourself. You cannot lose if you keep betting on yourself after every defeat. You cannot lose if you keep investing in yourself every time someone discredits you. You cannot lose if you’re no longer afraid of losing or trying again when things don’t work out for you the first time. You cannot lose if every time someone abandons you, you choose yourself without hesitation.

This Is Your Reminder To Slow Down And Trust Your Timing

There’s no rush.

Naturally, we compare ourselves and our journey to other people’s paths. It’s our instinctual human tendency to be loved, adored, and cherished; thus, we judge our own worth by the external validation that we receive from others while not fully realizing that our lives are no longer our own to figure out.

But this is your reminder to breathe, slow down, and go at your own pace.

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in life because you’re not exactly where you want to be right now. This enormous pressure that we create for ourselves may carry a heavy burden on our shoulders and ultimately affect the things in our lives that matter most — our health, our relationships, our passions, and our ability to be present in this moment. All the things cannot be replaced as time goes on.

In my own life, there have been so many times where I’ve caught myself becoming anxious over a future version of myself that I wish to dictate and control the outcome of. This feeling of ‘control’ often stems from a lack of true metrics in which we are judging ourselves by. We desperately want to live up to other people’s standards of what they believe to be happiness and success, when really, we need to foster and cultivate our own standards for what we want to know as success and happiness.

You do not need to prove anything to anyone — you are more than enough as you are now. While you can always grow to become a better individual — a better version of who you are now — let’s not take away the fact that you deserve to be proud of who you are today and who you’ve become through all the tribulations of your life thus far.

Breathe. Slow down. Take a moment for yourself. Gain perspective. Trust your path. Trust yourself. These are the foundations of a life well-lived that stems from your worth being based on who you are now inside, not from what’s outside of you.

Because at the end of the day, what’s the rush?

In the end, we all end up in the exact same place. And while this may be a scary thing to think about at first, it’s also enlightening to know that we don’t need to be so hard on ourselves — we just need to be real with ourselves and what we really want in our lives.

Choose your life. Don’t allow others to choose it for you.

One Day, You’ll Realize You Were On The Right Path All Along

You were never meant to predict the ebbs and flows.

As you navigate the open waters of your life, there’s no telling where the sails of your boat may direct you; what’s far more important than knowing how you’ll get somewhere in the end is having faith that you’ll get there without knowing how. That in and of itself is perhaps the hardest part of the journey—believing in yourself when the path is unclear, and perhaps when no one else currently does.

As I navigate my own scary waters, I’ve questioned, doubted, and wondered whether I was making the right decisions in my life. It’s so difficult to trust your gut while believing in the uncertainty that lies ahead. But what I can tell you from personal experience is that trusting your gut and allowing yourself to drift with the current is perhaps the best decision I’ve ever made.

As long as you know where you want to go, there is nothing more liberating than realizing that anything is possible if you’re willing to stay committed to your journey, believe that you are receiving the growth that you need in this moment now, and persevere through the seemingly rough times in your life that lie ahead for you. Those difficult times will help you become the person you’ve always wanted to be.

So give yourself permission to grow into the person you’ve always aspired to be.

Give yourself permission to take a risk in your life on something that you truly believe in because you see what your life could be if you’re willing to just go out there and try.

The only way we fail in life is if we give up entirely. Be brave enough to bet on yourself when times get hard, knowing that in the end, you will be okay no matter what. You will always be okay. There are no wrong turns in life.

Every moment has led you into the person you are today.

You are exactly where you are meant to be.

It Will Fall Apart Before It Falls Into Place

You might wake up one day in agony at the life that is now yours, thinking to yourself: How did I get here? How did one or two or several bad decisions lead to this? Will I ever feel the way I once did?

Us humans, we take things for granted. Although we try our best to savour the good times, it only takes a perspective shift a year later for us to compare every risk we’ve taken, every mistake we’ve made, every person we should’ve parted ways with, every conversation that should’ve ended earlier. And it’s normal to feel this way. Sometimes our struggles amplify and we aren’t equipped to deal with them because they shake us to our core.

Adulthood comes with its own sets of challenges and the reality is they can break us. And there will be many times you’re laying on your bedroom floor staring into space in disbelief that you’re living this way. You might dissociate as a coping mechanism when everything gets overwhelming.

But this sequence of events is not permanent.

You will adapt; you will grow. You will learn to manage your new normal and you will become stronger because of it. When it feels like everything has come crashing down, it’s because something better is coming and you are being prepared for this next stage of your life.

Allow yourself patience, understanding, and grace. Sit with your suffering until the rebirth ensues, because it will. Once you’ve experienced the lowest of emotions, there emerges a resilience that cannot be bought—a force so powerful it will set the tone moving forward for all the challenges life will bring in the future.

You’ll need to trust this process, as difficult as that could be. Believe that better things are coming and that everything is falling apart so better things can come into your life—so situations, people, and places that are aligned with your values can find you.

And they will. Just give it time.

This struggle is not permanent.

Nothing Is Ever A Waste Of Time

How often do we spend copious amounts of time on completing a certain task, bonding in a friendship, loving in a relationship, or living in a certain place, and when it ends on a note that we would have preferred it not to, our immediate reaction and thought is, “What a mistake, that was a waste of time.”

All the time spent, with millions of good moments peppered with a few bad ones, is erased in a single outcome—an outcome that either we had pre-empted and didn’t want or an outcome that we hadn’t even thought of. And with this outcome, a perceived ending takes place.

How often do we look back at something being a waste of time because we believe it was a mistake? We take a single moment and write off a 10-year friendship or 15-year relationship or 20-year job because it ended in a way that caused us pain. We look back and only see the peppered bad moments and never the sprinkles of joys that surrounded them—the sprinkles that kept us going all that time for all those years.

When we only focus on the perceived ending or the outcome, we forget about all the learnings along the way. We learn so much about ourselves—the darkest sides of ourselves, the lightest sides of ourselves—and the same of others during these times, and somehow it doesn’t seem to matter because it turned out in a way we didn’t want.

And maybe this is where we go wrong. We forget that we cannot control the future, and even if we follow a certain criterion of steps, it brings us closer to the wanted outcome but cannot guarantee it. There are always external factors that cannot be taken into account because they are unknown; then there are the internal factors (the way we allow life experiences to change our thinking, how we process our emotions, or how we show our feelings).

We fool ourselves into thinking that the way we are now is the same way we will be in 10 years. But the only constant is change, and in as much as our essence doesn’t change, the superficial parts of us do change—the parts that we are meant to outgrow, learn from, or adapt. And we sum all this up to a waste of time and it all being a mistake because we didn’t anticipate a particular outcome.

What we lose sight of is that the steps done during the time, the living we do, or the choices we make during the journey is where all the important stuff happens. If I didn’t have toxic friendships or perceived waste of time relationships, I would have missed out on all the learnings. I wouldn’t have learned how patient I can be, how cold my being goes when facing a difficult decision, or how much love exists within me. I wouldn’t have learned that no matter how much we may want to believe it, some people’s behaviour will never change; some people will surprise you for the better, and others will teach you the biggest lessons you’ll learn.

We also lose sight of the fact that when something ends, it’s an opportunity for the beginning of something else; and if we took the time to reflect on our learnings, we’d be able to use it to make the next thing, regardless of what it is—a job, a relationship, a friendship, a hobby, only that much more memorable.

The decision always lies in our view, our point of reference, and the way we react, not just at that moment but all the moments after.