You never know how strong you are, until being strong is your only choice.
— Bob Marley
There once was a young girl who was afraid of her own shadow. This young girl was full of self-doubt and inner demons, who she could have sworn were eating her away from the inside. She thought that she would never be good enough, pretty enough, strong enough. She thought that God didn’t care about her – she was nothing important. A nobody. If only she could have seen how beautiful she truly was. But she couldn’t. At least not yet.
In order to escape, this young girl dove head first into books. She read avidly and as often as possible. She would flee from the real world and into the beautiful and rich worlds of her books. Her imagination grew – she constructed elaborate worlds of her own and escaped to them often. They were her sanctuary.
The young girl grew up and became a young lady – and soon discovered that she could not flee to her imaginary worlds so often. One day her imaginary worlds extinguished. She realized that these worlds were not real. Once again, she had only her books in which to flee from the cruel world. And this was not enough. So she decided to become smart. She might not ever be good enough, pretty enough or strong enough, but by God she would be smart enough. So the girl worked very hard. She studied. She did well. She became smarter. From this she gained confidence and began to realize that maybe she was beautiful after all. Maybe she hadn’t understood the true meaning of beauty.
One day, the young lady recognized that she had a choice to make. She could continue to believe that she wasn’t good enough, wasn’t pretty enough and wasn’t strong enough. Or she could make a choice that would change her viewpoint of the entire world and her place in it. So she came to a decision. She decided that she was good enough and she was strong enough. She decided that her strength was not a physical strength – it was inner strength that was forged within her from her past experiences and her fears.
And forget about pretty. She was no longer interested in pretty. She decided that she would be beautiful. Because beauty comes from within. It is real and permanent. She decided that she was worthy and that God did love her. And she would act accordingly. She would care for others and be beautiful. Because to be beautiful is a choice.
This realization not only changed her viewpoint of her own life, but it changed how she viewed the world around her and the people within it. This woman (who is no longer quite so young) is no longer afraid of her own shadow. She is fierce. She will stand up for herself and for others. She will stand up and fight for you. Because you, dear reader, are also beautiful and worthy. Even if you don’t realize it yet.
Until next time…