The “A-Ha!” Moments in Life.

So, I write a LOT about overcoming adversity and daily life struggles. I want to switch it up and do a piece on when things come together; When they are right, when you are right.

Yes, on one major side of the fence, life is all about learning lessons and overcoming. The other is the in between and the aftermath. I’m the kind of person who, even through sobbing tears and heart-wrenching cries, can see the greater reason in whatever life has seemingly thrown at me. I’m most generally a pretty happy-go-lucky and positive person (not always, but most generally).

I’ve come to cherish inner peace, confidence in myself, and acceptance of everything that life has taught me. Once you achieve it, you can’t unlearn it; You can’t get away from it.

Sure, we all require a certain amount of drama in our lives. No one in this world has a drama-free life, regardless what they may claim. We all have it. I’ll be the first to admit, when I’m bored or unhappy, I revel in drama. If there is little to no drama, or problems to be solved, I’m questioning what I’m doing with my life. That being said, I can only handle so much. I’ve never been one who does well in constant states of chaos and negative energy. Even more-so, now that I’m older. I think it’s because I’ve learned to not sweat the small stuff. I’ve learned the difference of what is important and worthy of my energy, and simply what is not.

I’ve mastered the art of being my true self. If you ask many of my friends to describe me (and this has happened), they will tell you there really isn’t an easy description. I march to the beat of my own drum. I do what I want. I don’t do what I’m not interested in. I feel what I feel. I say what I say. I find interest and passion in the things that bring meaning to my life and make me think on a deeper level. I chronically analyze everything. I truly have zero regards on who likes me, or who likes what I do, or how I do it. I am me. Period.

I used to be a follower, believe it or not. I was very interested in others’ opinions and keeping up with the Jones’. I was also very unhappy. My life had little meaning of its own. I had very little love for myself (or confidence). I found pleasure in gossip and other people. I did things I absolutely hated because I wanted to be accepted. It sucked! I had no control over my own life. My perspective of myself could be crushed at the drop of someone’s rejection or critical word. My life literally revolved around everyone else, except the person who it should have–me.

Following a bad, real bad relationship, I rebuilt myself. I packed up and moved away from my hometown. I stayed single and refused to date for over a year. I combed through every single aspect of my life. If it didn’t bring me happiness or peace, if it wasn’t something I completely enjoyed and got excited about, it got left in the dirt. I figured out every. single. little. thing. in life that BETH loved and was passionate about. I removed the layers of expectations and other people’s opinions one by one, and I found myself. I found acceptance and peace with myself and exactly who I was.

I’ll tell you one thing: Once a person finds self love (not to be confused with selfishness), it’s over. No one and nothing can ever get in the way of that and destroy it. Ever. Even more powerful–acceptance.

Acceptance: Such a small, jumbled mess of letters on a page, with a meaning so large and so deep, that very few will ever learn what it means. Acceptance. And there are endless lessons that come with mastering it and its many facets.

Acceptance of self.

Acceptance of others.

Acceptance of life.

Acceptance that you, and only you, are in control of your life–your emotions, your happiness, your well being, your treatment of others, your response, your decisions, where you are in life, your thoughts, everything. It’s your life, your story. And no one else can or has any power to write it for you.

When I stopped blaming the world around me for things that happened or situations I found myself in, my whole life turned around. The fact of the matter, I made choices the entire way leading up to wherever I found myself. I made those choices. Whether it was staying too long in relationships that were detrimental to me, allowing negative people in my life longer than they should have been allowed, made poor financial decisions–at the end of the day whatever it was, there was a trail of my own poor judgement and choices.

Such a hard, dry pill to swallow, but also one of the most liberating. Once you accept your responsibility over your own life and the outcomes, once you accept that just because someone dehumanizes you or does you wrong, that if you return the favor you’re just as bad of a human and low as they are, once you give up seeing yourself as a victim to circumstances and other people, you gain all control. No one can interfere, no one can bring you down, no one can hurt you, no one can destroy you, no one can anger you, unless you allow them the control to do so. Acceptance. My life is mine.

If you’re not happy, only you can change that. Once you become happy with yourself, it’s a whole different world. You learn that you, too, are important. In fact, you are the most important. Your happiness matters, and you will refuse to let anyone or anything step in the way. Once you love and accept yourself, you’ll tolerate nothing less from the world around you. And it will not matter how the world around you thinks, feels or views you or your life. True happiness and peace within one’s self is an addiction you cannot overcome once you find it. Within it, you find your voice. You become empowered.

That’s the good through the pain.

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Let’s talk, Codependency: The Impossible Task: Fixing Other People.

When you finally wake up and after 10 years of trying to fix people and save them, you FINALLY understand that you cannot fix people. You finally, finally, finally grasp the concept.

Last summer, I was told something very important by someone I hold in very high regard, that I will never forget:

“A life jacket is only designed to save one person. You cannot share your life jacket. You can’t give away your life jacket to others. They will pull you under and you will drown, every time you try. You can throw them a rope, you can throw them their own life jacket, but at the end of the day, they have to save themselves for you both to survive it.”

Being through some of the things I’ve been through in life, I’ve felt responsible for people’s happiness; that the most unlovable people just need someone to believe in them, understand them, accept them and their flaws, and show them they are worthy. I will sacrifice myself, at any expense, to make sure someone doesn’t give up or feel like they are alone in this world. I will allow myself to be pushed and broken so that they can have pieces of me to fill the holes and cover the scars they bear. I don’t have to say this. You’ve all yelled at me or given me a reality check when I’ve gotten too deep and too lost in someone else’s troubled waters, with my efforts to pull them to the surface. I know unbearable pain. I also know overcoming. I also know that I have become dangerously codependent. I am a fixer. It’s my nature. Always has been. The thought that I can make someone’s life, and the quality of said life, easier and better defies any and all logical reasoning and stable rationale I possess. I go from being insanely intelligent to completely ignorant and blinded by it.

I know weakness and I know great strength. I know the disgusting truth of having your soul and mind broken. Not this 2018 romanticized version of “broken” on InstaGram; the reality of what it really is. But I also know the empowerment of picking yourself up and rebuilding yourself. I know loss and grief in ways I hope no one else ever has to feel, but I also know what it’s like to heal and the peace that comes with it. I understand the lowest points and the darkest corners that life has to offer. I also know more than that–the beauty that life offers on the other side of the darkness–and have learned how to keep a stronghold on it. I am an overcomer and it’s given me an overwhelming amount of empathy for others who haven’t quite yet made it through the storm. Maybe too much.

I’ve always understood the broken hearted, the lost, the lonely, the hurting, the damaged. I’ve struggled HARD with the unexpected loss of life because they lost their way in the walls of hurt and pain, with the heaviness and loneliness that come with it. I’ve spent days, weeks, months and years analyzing the “what ifs,” the “only if I would haves,” and the “I should haves” that came with it. I’ve lost myself trying to prevent ever losing another person in my life because they feel alone in that depth of pain, or feel alone and desperate for peace. Most everyone knows my story, and if there’s anything anyone can ever say about me, it’s that I’m always there for anyone–strangers, friends, family, exes, enemies–who needs someone. No hesitation, no questions.

Tonight, I finally get it. It is not my battle. No matter how much of yourself you give, no matter how much you sacrifice, no matter how much you love them, no matter how much you believe in people, you cannot save them if they do not want to save themselves. It is not my responsibility. And I do not need to feel guilty or apologize for knowing my limits. I cannot love them enough for them to love themselves. I cannot show them the good I see in them, or believe enough in the person they are, or build them up enough to make them believe in that person and be a better version of themselves. You cannot reason with someone who is not ready. You cannot fix people. That is their responsibility, and theirs alone. Period.

You will only dim your own light and lose sight of yourself trying to do it. You will destroy yourself in the process. You will drown. They have to love themselves enough to save themselves.

Damaged people damage people. Hurting people hurt people. Abused people abuse people. I finally, finally, finally have learned and accepted this lesson. It doesn’t make them bad. It makes them human. They have to be their own life jacket. They have to grab onto the rope themselves. They have to fight their battle and learn for themselves the importance of it.

I. Cannot. Save. Or. Fix. People. At. The. Expense. Of. Myself.

All I can do is wish the best for them, love them from a distance, and hope that one day our paths cross again–after they have pulled themselves out of the water, and I get to meet the person I saw, believed in and knew was underneath it all, all along.

I have to be my own life jacket. And that is absolutely more than acceptable and okay. It is more than okay to put Beth first, and I refuse to apologize for it ever again. ❤

The Human Mind- Exhibit 1

How true! Never thought of it like this, what an outstanding perspective!!

Although, I believe “yourself” comes into play with the way you view “you”- no one will ever truly know who YOU are-except you, simply because our minds all work in differing ways. It’s why I always tell everyone that I can give advice, but ultimately they know themselves and what’s best. You have to like that personal view above all others, and keep the ones who see “you”, as a positive close behind that- and realize that it’s not selfish, merely self respecting. Those negative “you” people, truly never matter in the end.

That being said, I also agree with not knowing who we are. And we won’t, until the end. As humans, we are constantly growing and evolving who we are. Learning from mistakes, going through painful situations, heartbreak, new environments, being introduced to new perspectives, exploring ideas, the biggest- learning. We’re always, always evolving. So who we are today, isn’t going to be the same person tomorrow or even 5 minutes from now-depending on any given situation we find ourselves in. Never hold a person in the same regard as you did a year ago, people change. I’d like to think most of us grow and change in better ways, there’s always that 5% 😂😂 but they’ll get there eventually.

I also believe, everyone who has the opportunity to create their own version of you in their minds, also shapes the person you truly are along the way- I know I wouldn’t be who I am without many, many, many people- and the influences/experiences I’ve had with them along the journey.❤️

Not a reason to go crazy, just something to marvel at, in the complexity of the human mind! Positive over negative!

When life doesn’t work according to your plans.

Rough patches. Bad moments. Hard times. Never-ending shit storms. We all have them. Life sometimes just doesn’t work out the way we envisioned it should.

One of the hardest things in life we as humans learn to accept, is we don’t get to create the blueprints. It’s life. It’s millions of choices, that lead to subsequent consequences and reactions, in a never ending cycle. One decision, affects many other happenings down the line – and one tiny choice can change everything. I’m pretty open about certain events in my life, especially when I feel like I can help, or offer insight. I’ve been through a lot of horrible hands dealt, to only be 30. I never see myself as a victim, rather hold myself responsible for the decisions I made leading up to the situations I’ve found myself in. Some things in life, we can’t avoid or choose better on. But the majority, are a direct consequence of our choices. We simply either see ourselves as a victim, helpless to circumstances and play our sad little violin all through town, or we realize we need to make decisions more wisely down the road and become a victor.

Another tough lesson we struggle hard with, is letting go of things not for us. I used to be the worst at this. Relationship would end, by God they were going to pay. You know where that got me? Miserable and looking like a complete fool. You can’t ever truly “get back at someone”. The only thing you’re doing is allowing them to control you, and adding one more negative to the already shotty jar of them. You are lessening the person you are, lowering your standards. Chances are you might piss them off- you might temporarily “win”. Later you’ll realize you only proved them right, that you weren’t something worthy of keeping. Keep your head up, keep your words kind, live the hell out of your life and be genuinely happy with it. Let that be your revenge. I promise, it works every single time. Don’t build their ego by letting your’s destroy you. A secret – your ego will destroy you faster than your enemies ever can.

Another thing about mastering the art of letting go; it creates space for better things to take root. I know your ex seems like God’s greatest gift ever received. That’s why they are still there, right? Problem is they aren’t. There is always a valid reason behind it – whether they (or you) are a dirt bag, or you just aren’t the right fit for each other – if you or they walk away, accept that and don’t revisit it. Again, there are always exceptions, but most generally it was for the best. Something better, or at least something that brings you further on your journey of development will replace it. I tell everyone, there’s no such thing as wasted time nor mistakes when it comes to relationships – as long as you gain wisdom from the “wrongs“. That isn’t limited to what the other did wrong, use it to reflect on what you can change and build from it, as well.

Moving on. Regardless if we think we’re super human or not, rebounds never, ever work out. Give yourself time to heal and heal properly before jumping to the next ship. It isn’t possible to create something healthy if you’re still covered in blood and grime off the battlefield of the previous. You’re infecting healthy tissue, and it will die. It will die.

The last – we all go through hard times. The only time we truly lose anything, is if we give up. It’s so entirely easy to do. Fighting uphill battles isn’t ever easy, nor is digging out of a hole that we’ve created. But the minute we quit – all the progress becomes stagnant. Always, always, always look to improve. Always, try to become better and learn from the times life kicks you in the teeth. Use them as a means of becoming better, instead of an excuse to stay the same. A person who gets beat is made much stronger than the person who sat on the bench and never had the experience.

Today, I was helping a friend through a difficult time and inadvertently ended up helping myself through a rough time I’m experiencing myself, with the advice I gave them.

“We’ve talked a LOT about growth. Look at it this way and let it motivate you – do you want to stay in the same place and digress over time? Or do you want to become better? I see my flaws and through trial and error I’m trying to work through through them and become better. Might be a ton of error but, eventually I’ll find the right combination.

That thought process immediately took me from a dark and dusty black hole of negativity, to reminding me of something I was taught long ago. Not sure about any of you – my biggest fear is to become stagnant and complacent. Growth, is never ending. None of us can ever achieve perfection. There will always be something we can work on within ourselves to become better human beings- always room for improvement for becoming better versions of ourselves.

As for me, I want to be happy, giddy, absolutely in love with life and continue being positive and inspiring- a bubbly, bright, smile provoking person in every path I cross throughout my day. I want to be compassionate and passionate in every avenue I take. Determined, strong and understanding through every adversity, inspiring others along the way. I lost that for a minute. I have zero space nor the time for anything that takes that away from me. The way I look at it, every failure is just proof I tried. At least, I didn’t give up. Through trail and error – I’ll find the balance and I’ll find a win, bigger and better than I originally hoped for. It will surprise me (always does) with how different it was from what I thought it would be. With every failure I see firsthand, through the process, how far I’ve come, how much I’ve overcome and how much closer I’m getting to achieving it.

Keep going. No matter what, keep freaking going. It will always get better. Always.

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Food for thought. This is where we need to examine ourselves.

2016; I was a bouncy, happy-go-lucky, overly positive person, who always had great things to say about the world around me as well as the people in it. Hardly did you ever catch me in a negative state. Somewhere along the lines, I’ve gotten away from that person. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

I know my social media and the things I post on my blog get discussed by “small minds” of which completely miss the greater lesson in the things I share, or write about. Believe me. I’m used to it. I’ve been blogging since long before the days of Facebook, and there is always a negative comment awaiting. I’ve been sharing my life experiences, the wisdom and knowledge I’ve gained from them, for years now, and I can promise you–snickers in the background, or haughty opinions on how I should handle my own life, are not going to change it now. The amount of people I have helped by sharing the real, human side of myself and opening my life up to those that benefit in even the smallest way, far exceeds the amount of insecure, judgmental, small minded individuals who use it or choose to view it in a negative light. Here is one thing that everyone who has even for a second come across my path can say: I am 150% authentically myself. And that is something I will never have in me to apologize for, nor will I ever water down the person I am to fit in another’s ideological box, in efforts to make them more comfortable.

We all get our own life and each of us only get one shot at it. I would rather be focused on sharing, helping, connecting, empathizing, or making someone else feel understood, than to worry myself to death over what someone else is doing that I don’t agree with. Your life is not mine to judge. If I don’t like what you do, great. I can promise you I’m not going to do it. But if it makes you happy, so be it. Knock your little happy heart out! As long as I’m not harmed by their actions, it’s none of my concern with how anyone else chooses to live their life, as it is no one’s place to condemn me for the way I live mine. Now if I hurt you, by all means point that out the instant it happens, and I will correct it as fast as humanly possible.

That’s the thing. A lot of time we are so quick to point out another’s shortcomings, wrong doings, mistakes, bad days, imperfections and so on, but we rarely ever address them directly about it.

Professionally speaking, I’ve seen this occur quite frequently. Parenting is another area I have witnessed it. Relationships across the board, it’s a common occurrence as well. It’s so easy as humans to get caught up in the drama, to succumb to frustrations, to lose our patience, even just to have bad days all of our own. So, when someone else commits an offense, or royally throws a wrench into everything, we directly point it out so they are aware and can (hopefully) take an initiative to be more mindful or just a chance to correct and learn from it. Hah, that would just be silly. No, we can’t do that! Instead, we complain to our co-workers, management, significant others and best friends. Or worse–we retort back with a nasty, aggressive response or passive-aggressive backhanded comment. Not only are we creating a negative image to those in our own lives, (and hate to say it guys, but this is the definition of gossip) but inadvertantly, we are creating a negative image and feeling surrounding the offender, within our own minds. When really, we ourselves, are the true person we need to lay our blame with. We have robbed them of the opportunity to become better, to lessen that stress on us. The opportunity for them to be aware there, is even a problem in the first place.

We can’t expect people around us to be better or to have healthy relationships, if we can’t achieve a basic level of honest communication with each other. Period.

We can’t expect better friends, significant others or coworkers if all we want to do is stand around complaining about the lousy job they are doing. How are we offering any type of solution by doing so? We’re not. We are part of the problem.

We need to stop wasting our very valuable time complaining about everything around us, and instead become doers: create solutions instead of thriving off the drama. Make change possible, instead of inhibiting each other to grow by holding each other down. Grab ahold of them and pull them up by trying to be constructive and possibly even just being a little empathetic. Let’s start building each other, instead of being the demo crew. I think we’d all find a little more happiness in life by doing so. And I know for sure we’d find contentment in learning the importance of just focusing on ourselves and what makes us happy in our own lives, more so than what so-and-so should or shouldn’t be doing with theirs.

My goal in life is to get to the end being satisfied by having lived more of my own life to the fullest, than the emptiness of attempting to live others’ for them. Food for thought.

Dear Young Girl; I Am a Voice of Those Who Consciously Made the Choice.

The abused. It’s a non-discriminating group; men, women and children. Young and old. Any and all can be affected. Most times, it isn’t something that occurs instantaneously, that we make a conscious decision to be a part of. Most abusers, unfortunately have also been privy to abuse themselves. The minute you hear “Domestic Violence” or “Domestic Abuse“, you automatically picture a ragged, scared, helpless woman who has been brutally beaten and bruised.

Sadly, a lot of cases are just that. But, there is also another side, that never gets awknowledged; those who made the choice to stay- without the fear of what would happen if they left. They were free to leave, and chose voluntarily, to stick it out. I am a voice, of those who made the choice.

We are that one-in-a-million person that sticks through it instead of giving up on them. That one person who really shows them what unconditional love is. We are going to love them through it, because that’s the meaning of really loving someone. You don’t just walk away when it gets hard. It isn’t their fault what they have been through. One day they will see us, our efforts, our love beyond all faults, our compassion and forgiveness, and our undying loyalty no matter what they put us through, time and time again. Bullshit.

I wasn’t ever scared that if I left I would be harmed or killed. That’s not what kept me there. My faith that I could love them through it and my patience would pay off in the end, I would “save them,” and change their life for the better, teach them what love really meant and was–that’s why I chose to stay. Every, single time. My empathy, my faith in them, my faith that being a good woman and having blind devotion to them, would pay off. I never wanted to just be another person who quit, who claimed that I loved and cared for them, only to discard them when things got rough. Hey, all humans have bad days and all relationships go through hard times, right? I wanted to spend the rest of my life with them. You don’t just walk away from your “forever,” and if you do, it means you didn’t really love them, right? How pathetic I would be if I simply gave up and was just another person who runs at the first sign of trouble. Again, bullshit.

That is the thought process that made me stay. Not, fear. I knew if I left, it was over. My relationship was done for good. I didn’t worry that I’d be tracked down and killed because I ended things. I didn’t choose to stay because of my fear of leaving. I chose to stay because I felt they were broken and damaged, but not irreparable. The pain was worth it. They were worthy to be loved and one day they would be able to give me love in return. I could love enough for us both until we made it.

And ALL of that up there 👆👆 is true for healthy relationships, but not relationships that incite fear, manipulation, abuse, intimidation or neglect. Whether it’s psychologically or emotionally, doesn’t matter–even the ones that leave bruises are are not only physical, but emotionally and mentally harmful on a whole other level.

Relationships that go through “hard times,” for extended periods of time; the ones in which zero effort is being made at any point to meet you half way, or a person who can’t even admit there is an issue- are the issue itself. Cheating? That is not okay to stay around for. Love– genuine love, cannot ever be a one way street. You cannot have an affair or cheat if you are truly in love with the person you’re committed to. You can’t. Love will not allow us to hurt them, because the idea of their pain hurts us, just as much. So, ask yourself this; what they’ve done…they truly love you, right? No. They’ve been selfish and self-serving without a moment’s hesitation as to what their actions would do to you. They had to make a choice that risking it and indulging in their own wants was worth more than the loyalty you counted on them for. You were not worth saying “no” or refraining from temptations. It’s hurtful.’s a lot to accept, but that is the cold, hard truth. Point blank, no matter how they try to paint it or excuse it, Walk. Away. Man or woman, it doesn’t matter. It’s a lack of love and an absolute lack of respect. They “walked out” or “gave up” the minute they betrayed your loyalty and trust. Period.can write an entire library on the things I have learned reversing the affects of abuse. I’ve never once seen myself as a victim. I’ve become a very empowered, strong woman through my experience. I learned to value and respect myself, and gained invaluable wisdom through the aftermath of trauma and abuse.

I’m writing this because it’s not always a terrified, fragile, fearful woman that is stuck. But often times a woman who makes an active choice to stay because she fully believes she can save someone who doesn’t want to be saved; A woman who loses herself believing in an impossible standard that society sets as judgement on what it “really” means to “love” someone.

Dear young, impressionable girls and compassionate, empathic women:True love does not ever take or destroy. A true relationship is built on a firm foundation of mutual respect, (literally everything you can think of falls under this: honesty, understanding, loyalty, trust, etc.) self love, (not to be confused with selfishness–know the difference!) and open communication. Period. I promise, it is more than OKAY to walk–no, RUN–away from a relationship that is dead in the water and more harmful than good. Do NOT fear judgment from outside opinions. Their battle, not yours. At some point ladies, you have to love you too. Do not ever forget the importance of that. Stop and ask yourself anytime you feel torn or stuck, “Would I have done this to them? Are the words they say to me or the actions they have toward me, defined as love? Could you do or say any of what has happened, to them? How would they respond to it if you did?” We always know the answers deep down.

The hardest part is to actually acknowledge it. To accept defeat–girl, you can’t save everyone. And some just want to drown you while they sink. It’s okay to love the broken and the damaged, but know the limits. Set them and enforce them. That’s loving yourself. That’s ensuring their hurricane doesn’t destroy you, too. When they show you they have no interest in finding solutions to the problems they’ve created–when they tell you they enjoy being the distressed victim more than actually being saved–believe them.<bPick up your heart, tuck it in your pocket, walk out the door, shut it, and take off walking. This relationshipis not your home. Don’t allow it to become your prison. ♥️

The greatest teacher I’ve ever had: Experience.

We all have them. Each of us have super great, unforgettable times in life that taught us an extraordinary amount of lessons on the really amazing and wonderful aspects in life. On the other hand, we all also have the dark times and the skeletons we attempt to keep hidden in the very back of the proverbial closet in our lives. These are the ones we learn not only about the ugliest sides of life, but also teach us the most about life as a whole. Most importantly, they are the times in which we learn the most about ourselves. I know for me, the easy, carefree moments didn’t change me; at least not on a drastic level. No, it was through the darkest, hardest, most painful periods of my life that I was changed to the core and learned the most valuable lessons.

The good times? That’s easy. Your high school sweetheart, for example. A whole new world was unlocked. You learned what a connection made with another human being, outside of loved ones, felt like. The most amazing, euphoric high you’d ever experienced before. The greatest thing? The naïveté with that first love. I see a lot of articles daily about this or that being the purest or the best love you’ll have. One, I think, tells us the third love we experience is the perfect storm. I actually do tend to agree with a lot of what it discusses. But to me, the first love, you experience is the purest, best love you’ll ever experience in life. Why? You love completely wide open. You lay everything in their hands, with 100% trust. They’ve got you. Your heart is six steps ahead of you, you give everything, and you give it freely, unconditionally. You believe to the core of you, this undoubtedly, will be who you marry after graduation. You believe in the possibility of everything, except the possibility of there ever being an ending. Their kisses and their touch, the way they look at you, or basically when they breathe in your direction—it’s all beautiful. It’s all confirmation of never-ending love. Girls, don’t even try to deny it. Notebooks are filled with doodles of your names together, your future children’s names—absolutely one boy, one girl. You have the wedding completely planned to the seating arrangements of all 92 of your besties—possibly your math teacher, too. You’re learning valuable lessons without fear.

Fear comes along when the next greatest teacher rolls in: the closing credits. Your world is shattered. You are shattered. You overdramatize it. You do stupid things that you look back and blush a fraction to in embarrassment, whether it’s Hollywood style begging and pleading, stalking, or causing a public scene. Whatever it is, you owned the hell out of it. The beautiful trophy of love survives its first experience with attempted theft, but gains the first blemish upon its once flawlessly polished, untouched surface: the first tarnished fingerprint. Of course, as with anything, there are exceptions. Yes, we’re all rolling our eyes at you two from 7th grade, with the two beautiful children and white picket fence. But for the majority of us, that first love was the beginning of a long quest for our home with a picket fence.

My daughter and I often engage in quite in-depth discussions about her future. I pray every five minutes she keeps her same plan of action of focusing on her education, getting into U of GA, or, like her momma, go after VT. (I recently let her know that UK also has a really great program for her current interest, so it might be shifting. Mind you, she’s eleven.) Then she’ll be finishing her degree, starting her career, and THEN finding a husband, getting married, (last weekend, she found the exact dress she plans to say yes to. Her life will be a breeze. We’ve got all the fine details hammered out!) and starting her family. I’ve told her and my youngest sister that I hope they have many loves, before finding forever.

Here’s the thing about experience—we can honestly never have enough. Every single experience shapes us, initiates growth, hands us wisdom, and helps us figure out another piece in the jigsaw of our journey. It helps us figure out exactly who we are and where we stand in this world. It’s truly, the greatest teacher we have in this life.

So just remember.. when the storm is raging and you feel as if your world is flying apart at the seams, one day you’re going to look back and you’re going to be thankful for every single negative you’re facing in this moment. I’m not going to tell you the same thing won’t happen again, but if it does, you’re going to make it through more gracefully. You’ll know how to navigate it better, and you’ll know it will end and you will make it through it. Hang in there.