You’re down, you’re tired, you’re hurting, you’ve somehow lost your way. You’ve given someone’s negative opinion of you far too much credit. You’ve let a failed relationship make you fearful of connecting again. You’ve allowed someone’s poor treatment of you to shift the way you see yourself.
And you have to stop.
I know you’ve been through some sh*t. We all have. We all have our share of brokenness, discouragement, emptiness, and defeat. We’ve all lost people. We’ve all been cheated on or left by someone we loved. We’ve all floundered in our faith or slipped somewhere on the path. We’ve all fought demons, illness, mental issues, and pain. We’ve all been let down, had enemies, or made enemies of ourselves.
We’ve all had days when we question whether we have the strength to continue.
This is not meant to take your problems and shove them to the side, make light of them, or diminish them in comparison to anyone else’s. This is to let you know that you aren’t alone. This is to let you know that you can, and will, rise.
But the first step is acknowledging, and believing that you can. And that you will.
You must shake off the heavy blanket of fear that’s resting on your shoulders. You must learn that it’s okay to let go, healthy to let go. You must know that always looking backwards, always looking behind you will not help you move forward.
You must realize that there are good days ahead of you, and you won’t always feel the way you do right now.
This won’t be an easy process. Not by any means. First and foremost, if you’re struggling with serious depression or mental illness, you must seek help because you can’t fight through alone. And that’s okay. Getting help is strong, not weak.
Then you must trust in your God, trust in yourself, trust that you will overcome, and trust that there are people in your life who will love and support and fight with you, no matter how low you feel.
And then you must move forward, inch by inch, step by step, to freedom.
There comes a time when you must stop letting your past define your future. When you must stop wallowing in self-pity and get back on your feet. When you must seek clinical and medical attention for the pain in your heart. When you must acknowledge that you’ve let yourself feel negative for far too long.
There comes a time when you are only looking behind you, so much so, that you can’t move ahead. When you find yourself running a reel in your head of all that you’ve lost instead of all that you’ve gained. When you see that you are no longer thankful, but bitter.
And that attitude must change.
You must give yourself a chance to properly heal, to let what has happened to you shape you in positive ways instead of only negative. You must allow light back into your life—through the people who love you, through self-help books, through exercise or meditation, through positive self-talk, through faith, through a change in focus, through simply believing that you will move on and be okay.
You must stop letting your mind be clouded by thoughts of what you no longer have, of how you’ve been mistreated, of how you hate the woman or man you’ve become.
It’s never too late to change, to start over, to begin again, to rewrite your story. It’s never too late to forgive yourself and others, and let your pain loosen its tight grip on your soul.
I know it may feel like you can’t get through this. I know you might have tried, but failed again and again. I know you may have started to identify yourself with this pain, may have let it become a part of you that you’re strangely afraid to lose.
But you are not defined by your pain, by your past, by what has broken you. You are defined by how you believe and by how you rise.
So don’t give up hope. Don’t lost faith. Don’t let yourself believe that this is all there is.
This is a process. A hard, but necessary process and it starts right now.
So Stop. Stop telling yourself you can’t. Stop telling yourself you’re not worthy. Stop telling yourself you won’t make it. Stop telling yourself sadness is all you’ll ever know.
You can’t let your past pave your future path.
You will get through; all you need is the first step.
Marisa Donnelly is a poet and author of the book, Somewhere on a Highway, available here.
Article originally posted by Thought Catalog.