Choose To Rise Above The Negativity

One of my favorite slogans is ‘be better, not bitter’ because it’s a constant reminder that when we foster negativity within our hearts, it only spirals us down instead of up.

When someone wrongs us, the easiest thing to do is to be angry, to feel spiteful, to want to seek revenge. It’s hard to let go, to breathe, to forgive, to move on. But when we choose to do those positive things, we bring and build light within our hearts and rise above.

Forgiveness is powerful. When we choose to forgive, we are choosing to not let the circumstances of this life define us. We are choosing to grow beyond pain. We are choosing to remove toxicity and bring ourselves onto productive, empowering paths, rather than ones that destroy our hearts, leaving us empty and unfulfilled.

How many times have you tried to seek revenge and only ended up feeling immature? How many times have you expended time and emotion on your anger, only to leave yourself exhausted and worse off than before?

‘Be better, not bitter.’ This means that you are choosing to better yourself, to better your situation, to better your next step instead of wasting energy on ‘getting back’ at someone.

When you choose to be better you choose to let someone’s words roll off your back. You choose to acknowledge the humanness within all of us, and though that doesn’t necessarily lessen the pain this person has caused you, you accept mistakes and sinfulness as a part of this world and don’t let what someone says, does, or implies about you ruin the way you see yourself.

When you choose to be better, you choose to forgive because forgiveness sets yourself free. Continue reading

The Single Greatest Gift You Can Give Yourself Is Forgiveness

We are so hard on ourselves. We are continually comparing, constantly looking outward at where everyone else is and what they’re doing, rather than smiling at the inherent wonder and beauty that is within us.

We are so quick to point out our own faults before recognizing these same characteristics in someone else. We are unwilling to accept that we are capable of change or new beginnings, even though we have no qualms about granting this patience and love to someone else.

When it comes to our mistakes, we hang onto them, holding them above our own heads. We are all too comfortable sitting with our guilt and shame, as opposed to letting go and learning to become stronger from this moment forward. We are unwilling to forgive ourselves, even though we can fully acknowledge how powerful this redemption is when we give it to someone else.

We are so tough on our little hearts.
And why?

This soul within us, this skin we embody—this is ours—for as long as we’re here. We will make mistakes. We will hurt the people we love. We will fall short, break, do the breaking. We will be powerless to the storms that rage around and within us. We will jump into arms that don’t care to catch us, and press our lips to mouths all too willing to kiss, and take, and leave. We will do and say things, get angry, lose our way.

But none of this defines us; none of these moments determine who we are. Continue reading

I Don’t Want To Lose What Was, But I’m Not Willing To Stay Stagnant

Tonight I’m in my own head. I think this is natural in moments of transition—we start to question because we’re walking in uncharted territory, because we’re afraid, because everything is unfamiliar so the little voice in the back of our minds becomes louder.

We scroll through social media, look back at old photographs and memories, try to figure out where we are now in comparison. We remember people and places we should have tucked away long ago. We sit and wonder what could have been.

And this hurts. Oh, it hurts. It hurts to picture the trajectory of our lives suddenly changed, to imagine ourselves in someone else’s arms, to realize that each and every moment we move forward, we’re slipping farther and farther away from what was.

This is what happens as we grow; we leave little pieces behind.
Continue reading

Being Positive Does Not Mean Ignoring Your Pain

There is a difference between being positive and masking your pain, a difference between ‘putting on a good face’ and genuinely letting your soul dance, even in the worst of circumstances. There is a difference between hiding your emotions and setting them free, between pretending and allowing yourself to feel.

And I am here to tell you that being a person who shines with joy does not mean you have to walk around with a smile plastered to your face. It does not mean that life always goes your way. It does not mean that you’re a ‘better Christian,’ ‘stronger person,’ or that your life is ‘simpler’ in comparison to the person standing next to you. It does not mean that you don’t feel pain, or that it’s easier for you to let things go.

I am here to tell you that everyone will break, and bleed, and ache, and hurt. And being a positive person does not mean you don’t experience or feel those things. It just means you choose to continue, to find beauty and hope, to believe you will survive, and then, as a result, begin to heal in the best way you can. Continue reading

On Leaving The Past Behind

The summer after I stopped playing softball, the earth felt different. It was a lazy June afternoon and I recognized this feeling halfway through my run. I was headed along Hanson drive, the road that twisted around the sports complex where the gravel crunched dry and gritty beneath my feet. Since the end of my season I hadn’t wandered down this way, purposely avoiding the path to the practice area where I spent most of my days playing victim to a bat and a ball.

I held my breath as I turned the corner, the athletic center looming in the distance and coming into view with every stride. I thought, as I passed, I would ache for the familiar, for the sound of metal cleats on concrete, the thud of a composite bat against a ball. I thought I would yearn for the smell of dirt on my palms, or the wild beat of my heart as I stepped forward onto that pitching mound.

I thought that in passing I would be reminded of the woman I used to be.

But to my surprise I felt nothing. A hollow absence—not the desperation to go back, to rewind and bring myself to the sun beaming down on my forehead and the sweat dripping from my brow; not the desire to open those double doors and step onto that turf again; not the longing to get away and never look back. Nothing.

Nothing but a deep breath of peace, the acknowledgement of something left behind. Continue reading

Let It Be, Let It Go

Like the wind chimes dance in the breeze, like the birds sway gently between the afternoon clouds, like the leaves fall and the sun rises—there is an ebb and flow, a shift and change to this life. Sometimes we fit naturally into the pattern of what is happening around us. Sometimes we laugh and the world smiles right along with. Sometimes we close our eyes and the earth hums to our melody. And sometimes what happens is unlike anything we ever imagined or planned—and that is both beautiful and frightening.

But there is a rhythm, a natural order to things. There is a sense of peace that we find when we let the universe speak the answers to us, instead of trying to hear our voices first and foremost in our minds. There is a purpose, a plan that we discover when we stop trying to desperately to seek.

But instead to stay, to lean in, to let it be, let it go. Continue reading

Maybe You Learn How To Live When Stop Trying To Figure Everything Out

Sometimes the most refreshing moments are the ones where you stop trying to have all the answers, stop trying to predict the future, stop trying to navigate the places you haven’t yet reached and just exist right where you are. Continue reading

Let It All Go

What is on your heart right now? Is it frustration that a dream didn’t, or hasn’t panned out? Is it the fact that you’re still single, still searching for someone whose heart aligns with yours? Is it the purposelessness you feel within you as you stumble through your days? Is it the fact that it seems like everyone else around you is figuring themselves out and there you are, just floating?

Sometimes we’re so damn hard on ourselves.

This can be a good thing, don’t get me wrong. When we’re our own critics, we push ourselves to greater heights. We stop settling for less. We motivate, and challenge, and change. But then sometimes we go to the extremes, too. We never take time to pat ourselves on the back, to appreciate who we are or where we’ve been. We’re just so damn focused on all the ways we’re still falling short. And we obsess until we feel as if we’re inadequate, unworthy.

Sometimes we just need to take a deep breath and let it all go. Continue reading

Learning To Accept Life’s Curveballs

Five years ago, I never thought I’d be here. I never thought I’d be living by myself across the country, that I’d have published a poetry collection and be working on releasing a Christian book, that I’d be in a relationship with someone living 2,500 miles away, or that I’d be this happy. I never imagined that I’d lose one of my best friends, that my heart would be so broken, that I’d watch one of my biggest role models head to heaven, that I’d be so frustrated with myself at times.

I never imagined my little world would be as messy, as confusing, as up-and-down, as beautiful as it is right now.

But even though life’s switched, moved, shifted, changed, and spun me in circles, even though everything that’s happened has been completely out of my plan—I wouldn’t change a single thing.

When I was in high school, I thought I’d marry my high school sweetheart. God had other ideas. Now I’ve watched our relationship become a friendship, one of the most valued ones in my life, to this day. When I was in college, I thought I wanted to settle down. Little did I know one of the most painful heartbreaks, and an unexpected job opportunity would push me into becoming the absolute best version of myself in a few years’ time.

I had so many plans. I wanted life to look a certain way, I wanted to be with certain people, wanted to chase certain dreams. I thought I had it all figured out: the goals, the future, the way things would look down the road.

But life threw me curveballs. And I had to learn to change my approach, my stance, my position, and go to bat again.

And I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for the way certain things have fallen apart to teach me how to push forward, even when others doubted I could. I’m thankful for the jobs I’ve worked hard for, even if and when that meant saying ‘no’ to other opportunities I wanted at the time. I’m thankful for the times I was let down, bruised, or shattered by people I loved, by change, by loss—because each of these painful moments have shaped my character, my resilience, my strength.

Life hasn’t gone the way I planned, but honestly, this is the biggest blessing of all.

Because sometimes unanswered prayers lead to better opportunities. Sometimes closed doors force you to turn around and see the open ones. Sometimes you have to strike out before you hit the damn ball.

And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s not about the home runs, the grand slams, even the simple contact of ball and bat—it’s about getting up there, readying yourself, and looking for the next pitch.