Jude: Thankfulness in the Month of Love

Jude: Thankfulness in the Month of Love

The last few weeks have really tested me, and I thought I would share on my struggles and how I overcame them. Despite all the positives in my life, I do have those days where I feel so defeated. I feel I have not only let myself down, but I have let down everyone around me in some way or another. On these days I sometimes forget how allowing even that one negative thought in can really impact the rest of my day. This negativity stayed with me for a few days, and I really struggled to stay happy and find a way to remain positive.

This past weekend I had a sort of epiphany. I realized how much taking a deep breath and stepping back helps. Gathering some perspective helps to calm me, and I also realized how much a good support system is worth having. With that in mind, let me take this time to call out a special thanks to a few of you who have helped me without you even knowing you do.

To my cousins: Now that we live close to each other, being able to spend time with you and see how you have grown in life gives me hope for my own future. You have had your own struggles, both personally and as couples, and I feel humbled and awed at the strength you have shown through the years (and continue to show). I am always happy to be around all your positive energy, and I find it is always needed even when I least expected it. You all mean more than you know to me and have taught me so much. I thank you for the strength, courage, and humility you have taught me.

To my fellow Protagonists: We have grown closer as we continue to conquer this quest we’ve begun. You not only allow me to share and grow with you, but you help to inspire my thoughts, emotions, and make me a better oracle. Your warm words of wisdom and constructive criticism are always a happy welcome. You push me to be better each month and I take the challenge with great determination to not let you down. You not only encourage me to share but make feel more comfortable to share my experiences and not be ashamed of my past.

To my dearest friend: You have shown me such courage. You did something I could not do years ago—you took control when it seemed things were lost. You have grown up so much in last few months, and I am so honored to have been a part of your changes. I love seeing how much happier you are and how you enjoy living life after so many trapped years. To me, you are the definition of living life to the fullest. My beautiful butterfly, you are.

To my future husband: You do so much for me that there are not enough words, so I’ll try and sum up. You know how to push me to be better without pushing me away or pushing too hard. You push me to be myself, do things for me, and do them on my own. You know, even when you just want to hold me, that to be strong again I need to find my own feet and do it alone. You also know when I need help the most and am too weak to ask for it. You allow me to do things I believe are better for me, and when I am wrong you never dwell on my mistakes, but understand and move on with me. I love you because you helped me to love myself again. Every argument we have, every crying-laughing moment, is equally as beneficial for our future. I know we will be happy because we allow each other to grow as individuals and we can grow as a couple. You make me not afraid to share my past, as you have taught me to learn from the past and move on.

The best thing I have learned from all of these people, and so many more, is that you really aren’t alone in life. I want to challenge you to take a step back. Try and observe an individual, try and really see and imagine what that person is like. Not only will it help to distract you for a little while, but it may also help remind you that we aren’t alone. There are so many people in the world, and it’s so easy to forget that. With the way things are these days, we don’t have much of a connection with people in our neighborhood or community. We sometimes get so self-involved and closed off.

So, not only do I challenge all of you to try and imagine a different lifestyle, I also want you to do one kind thing to a stranger every day. Hold a door open, let someone in front of you in traffic. Say hello to your neighbor, buy the person behind you a cup of coffee. Anything, large or small. Since this is the month of love, why not spread some? Doing a kind act for a stranger can be something you look back on when you are having a bad day, and can help you find that strength you are missing.

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