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more compassion; for yourself & the world

I've been doing that whole questioning myself thing again. Wondering if I'm good enough to continue this blog, wondering if I'm articulate enough for my readers to understand the points I’m trying to make, wondering if what I say even makes any difference at all. But then I attended the I Am Not Anonymous event in DC and I had an a-ha moment.

I sat in a room full of people in recovery. A room full of my mentors, friends and strangers, and I felt calm… safe… I felt like me. I remembered why I started this blog and how much it means to me that others might find solace in my story through their own recovery journey. I literally didn't have a choice but to start this blog. I knew that this is my calling, my passion project, my service.

I don't consider myself to be a writer, but I do consider myself to be a very creative and expressive person. So when I blog, every word I write comes from the heart as if you’re sitting in the same room as I am. I want to paint the picture of how I feel in this very moment with my words.

Lately it's been very hard to exist in a world full of hatred. It brings tears to my eyes just to write that. But I'm reminded of a quote by Thich Nhat Hanh that says:

“When another person makes you suffer, it is because he suffers deeply within himself, and his suffering is spilling over. He does not need punishment; he needs help. That's the message he is sending.”

I can't control what's going on in this world: politically, Paris, Dallas, Baton Rouge, next door or any other awful thing that's happening. I can still have peace in my heart despite all this, and do the right thing. I can extend my hand and my shoulder to those who are suffering. I can tell them that everything's going to be okay. And I can listen. Because only in listening, we can truly begin to try and understand what lies beneath all this hatred.

I’m reminded of a coaching session I had with my Girls on the Run group about gossip. We talked about how one of the reasons people possibly gossip is because there might be something going on at home. I asked them if instead of being mad or sad or upset or yelling or reacting in a negative way when I confronted them about gossiping about me, what if I showed them compassion? What if I asked if everything was ok? Everyone kind of looked at me like all of a sudden I had snake heads coming out of my neck. It was a very foreign concept to them.

To be honest with you, sometimes it's very foreign concept to me as well. When someone hurts my feelings, it's a very natural and very human to react defensively. But the thing is, as humans we have the choice to react differently. We have the choice to not be upset, to maybe see a little deeper into this person's life and to realize that maybe they're going through something that we don't know about. And maybe today all they need is a little bit of compassion shown to them.

I think this whole world needs a little more compassion instead of reaction. I think we need to stop lashing out and picking on each other and listen to the real problems underneath. We have to be the change we want to see, so let’s start fighting all this hate with love. Let’s start looking into the mirror and start being the kindest version of ourselves we can be.

Today, I can tell you that I remain steadfast in my own recovery and I’m expanding my journey even more every day. Despite feeling “less than” at times, I continue to insert gratitude for all I have. Am I sad and anxious at times, absolutely. But I don’t allow those thoughts consume me because I have created a positive support system that I can turn to for reminders if I feel too low. Do I often look at people's drinks and say maybe just one, you betcha. But in my heart and soul, I know that moderation is not an option, so more often than not those thoughts are easily dismissed. Have I been walking around and smelled someone’s cigarette and wanted just a puff? More often than I'd like to admit. But I know that none of these activities will change anything for the betterment of my life. None of these things will help me grow and nourish and move on.

So here I am to tell you that I’m working on it. I’m perfectly imperfect, just like you. No matter how much I doubt myself or look to others for approval or think about quitting writing because I think I’m not good enough… I’m working on it. And I’m ok, just as I am.

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