Monday, April 16, 2012

Guest Post: Appreciating the Hard Times

Today I want to introduce Ashley who blogs over at After Nine to Five.  Just a couple weeks ago, you may remember me blogging several times about "Blog Positivity Week".  Ashley is the lady behind that theme!  First, I want to thank Ashley for this incredibly inspiring series.  I truly enjoyed being a part of it and I am so glad that through this experience I've gotten to know her a little more as well!  Second, I also want to thank her for the traffic that she's brought to my blog.  She was one of just a few blogs which {according to Google Analytics} were in the top 10 for referrals to my blog.  As a blogger who is trying to get the word out about their own blog, it really means a lot to me when someone works as hard as she does to promote bloggers like me!  Thank you!!  And, third, I want to thank her for being gracious enough to guest post for me here today!!

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When I was younger, I asked myself a question every single day: Why me?

I wondered what I did wrong in a previous life to deserve being affected by alcoholism, cheaters, addicts, depression, suicide, and the loss of family members. I wondered why I couldn’t be one of the “lucky” ones that didn’t see sadness or loneliness on a regular basis. I wondered what I could do to get off the path of emptiness that I felt like I was doomed for.

I wondered, and I wondered, and I wondered some more. Lost in my thoughts, guiding myself straight towards even more sadness. I thought I was locked in some vicious cycle with no way out. I was convinced I had no choice but to keep going until I couldn’t go anymore and then who knew what I would face.

Approximately three years ago – shortly before I turned 22 – it hit me. I may have been set on the path, but I chose to follow it. I had continued to choose sadness, and drama, and loneliness over happiness because it’s all I knew. And I thought that it was all that I deserved.

And that was all that it took.

I looked back and chose forgiveness. I forgave my loved ones. I forgave my enemies. And most importantly, I forgave myself.

All of the people that I thought set me up for failure (myself included) had paved the way for a strong and dependable person to grow from the chaos. I was still able to trust, forgive, and stand tall after everything so the damage wasn’t as deep as I believed it to be for years and years before then.

Now? I’m incredibly thankful for all of those moments in my life that I was convinced defined me at one point. They never defined me – they only defined brief portions of a life I’m grateful for today. And they only made me appreciate everything I’ve come to be today that much more. My husband. My family. My attitude. My life. All of it is so much better when you’ve seen the other side.

I still face challenges on a regular basis now. Maybe not quite the same ones that I did in the past, but challenges nonetheless. And now they’re just a bump in the road. Sometimes inconvenient, but just a small part of my journey in life. I refuse to let these bumps take away my ability to be thankful, and grateful, for everything I have worked for and been given today.


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Thank you so much Ashley!!

Friends, please be sure to visit Ashley over at After Nine to Five and show her some love!
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