Find Your Strength
I have struggled with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I can clearly recall being a young child and never wanting to go to my friend's birthday parties because I was terrified of the possibility that there would be people there that I did not know and would have to talk to. When I went to college this only got worse. I attended a University for two years that wore me out emotionally. I went into my Freshman year just a week after a close cousin had died in a car accident and I was living 300 miles away from home. Because of these circumstances and my pre-existing anxiety, I didn't really make friends. To make a long and depressing story short and a tad less depressing, I made only a couple friends, one of which left after my freshman year. The other I roomed with my sophomore year before realizing that her friendship was extremely toxic and dangerous. My last semester at that University is clouded by extreme anxiety, depression, self-harm, and loneliness. I didn't really see myself making it out alive if I stayed at school there. And while I struggled with depression and cutting, I also new in my heart that I wanted to be alive. I didn't want to feel the way that I did. I wanted change. So I transferred schools the summer before my junior year.
I discovered The Giving Keys during that summer. In love with the idea, I decided that I wanted a key to help encourage me to make the most out of the new opportunity that I had. I decided on the word Strength. Strength was a word that I never thought I would use to describe myself. I was scared of everything. Especially people. So I decided that if I was going to wear a word around for the next two years, it was going to be that one. I made a commitment before I ordered the key that I would work as hard as I could to become a strong person. I would let that key be a reminder to me everyday of the potential I had inside to be strong and I would act on that assumption. Oh, did it work. I graduate from my new University in three days and I cannot really even recognize the me from two years ago. Her hesitancy and fear about everything in life is something that I identify with, but not on a practical level anymore. I have grown in so many ways, and I know that was partly because of the word I wore around my neck for two years. It reminded me of a promise I made myself and it forced me to become the person that had always been inside me.
About two months ago, my cousin was telling me about some struggles she was having with choosing to be the person she knew she was supposed to be. She was surrounded by people who didn't have the most positive influence on her life, and she kept telling me that she wished she had the strength to act as a positive influence to them, rather than let herself be negatively influenced by them.
I gave her my key a couple weeks after she expressed these worries, accompanied by a letter explaining the keys use to me, and how I hope the key will help her. She cried; I cried. There were lots of tears.
I think the most significant thing I have learned from this experience is that strength comes in so many different forms. I needed strength to find who I was and to be confident in that person. My cousin needed strength to stand up for what she new was right and not let herself be negatively influenced. Strength is so hard to attain, but so worth seeking. And you have to seek it. It will not just come to you one day; it has to be fought for. You build habits by doing them over and over again. It works the same with with courage. You have to act courageously to become courageous. So, as difficult as it is, I encourage you to be strong. Act like you're strong even when you don't feel it. Fake it until you make it. One you realize how beautiful it is to know who you are and be confident in that person, you will wonder how you ever lived differently before. There is strength in all of us; we just have to