When I am exhausted or stressed it is more difficult for me to write articulately! I've simply been living day to day. Now that my old life is essentially gone, I'm trying to build a new life; one with meaning! It can't all be for nothing!
Lately, I've had a tossed salad of good and not so good. I am still struggling, however, generally quite happy in the face of each and every challenge.
I am blessed to know some really amazing people in my group of dear friends. Recent conversations have made me realize that many of us have the same goals and concerns in common. No matter what medium we use to put our energies out into the world, we all want to build positive things. Our sense of value comes from our ability to help others. Being of service is what gives our life joy and meaning.
Even in my most desperate moments, when I was hungry, frightened and homeless, I worried about what contribution I was making to the world around me. Despite having very little money and challenges with transportation, I volunteered, I offered, I gave and did what I could. Often when I was unable to do anything I felt was productive or helpful it added to my depression and I would question my reason for being here.
As things have slowly become more stable it has been exciting for me to be able to take part more, to do more, create more. I often find myself in the position to lend encouragement to others who doubt their value or don't see the contribution they do make each and every day. It's interesting and sad that so many people who are lovely, talented, generous and genuine just don;t see the huge impact that they make on everyone they touch!
I have a lovely little friend, we call, The Hobbit, who is an amazing musician. She has a voice that would make angels weep with jealousy. She is also incredibly kind, giving and fun! We relate through our personal histories, struggles, our odd sense of humor and certainly through music. She has had a tough time of it of late; unemployment, difficulty covering even the most basic costs of bills and food, a Kickstarter campaign that didn't bring in quite enough to finish her project, people flaking on crucial promises, and a relationship she thought had a future falling apart in a very painful way. (By the way, a note about Kickstarter, not only do you have to pay taxes on the money which cuts into your project budget, but even though it is money earmarked for s specific purpose, not living expenses, it can affect you unemployment and food stamps benefits because it counts as income.)
People have come through for her with help where they can, by helping with groceries, car insurance and a temporary place to live rent free. They do this because they love her; she is immensely lovable! They do this because she is a shiny soul, not one with a shallow surface sparkle, but the deep shiny glow of a rare treasure that is precious inside and out. They do this because they believe in her, they see her tremendous gifts and capabilities. They do it because they want her to be safe, and healthy. She already has so much to offer, and they know she will accomplish so much once she gets back on her feet. Everyone needs a leg up now and then.
Still, she has moments of guilt and great doubt. Even when people around us SEE us we sometimes can't see ourselves.
For us, both of us, it boils down to, "How does my life have meaning? What am I contributing? What am I doing? Am I helping? Am I taking the pain I've experienced and building something positive with it?"
Even though she is struggling and can't always see it, her life has profound meaning. Though she is not famous or wealthy, she is respected and successful as a person and an artist.
I have realized that I have somewhat of a personal mission when it comes to taking my pain and turning it into a positive. I've found that since I became more open about the traumas and abuses I've experienced that it has indeed been helpful to people. Sometimes people are inspired merely by the fact that I have actually survived all of it. Others see that if I can do it, they can be happy as well. Sometimes people take comfort in a story that resonates with theirs being spoken out loud. Now that I have discovered what real, healthy self esteem is all about, I've been better able to encourage others to believe in their own value.
Most days my life has meaning. Most days I feel valuable. Small and insignificant as I am in the grand scheme of things, I am contributing to making the world a better place.
My life would be a lot easier and less worrisome with more money, but money alone is not the answer. It just helps. It is not a measure of success.
It's not a common occurrence for me to find inspirations in things that the uber religious say, but even though his proselytizing sometimes makes me cringe, Tim Tebow, a Christian NFL star earns my respect by walking the walk. This quote from him really resonates with me,
" Success comes in a lot of ways, but it doesn't come with money and it doesn't come with fame. It comes from having a meaning in your life, doing what you love and being passionate about what you do. That's having a life of success. When you have the ability to do what you love, love what you do and have the ability to impact people. That's having a life of success. That's what having a life of meaning is."
Here's to success, may we all have more of it!