Have you ever hear the saying "It takes a Village?" I am sure you have. Most of us associate this saying with raising kids.  Namely, because it takes multiple people to play a role in raising children. You have your parents, teachers, grandparents, aunts, uncles, so on and so forth.  They are there to inspire, teach, mentor, love and uplift you. (at least ideally) It takes a village because parents are not always around, thus they need a group of people to help carry the torch in their absence.

This concept is one that doesn't end in childhood. As we go through life, our need does not change; we just get older. Life can throw us a lot of curve balls and make it tough to deal.  How do you deal when the going gets tough? Do you know what kind of life you want to lead?  I can tell you that being a survivor of abuse for most of my life, it can be hard to stay positive and make good choices. This is the case for anyone that has experienced any type of hard times. Although, for the most part, I have had a good head on my shoulders, my problems were anxiety, depression and low self esteem. Despite what I have endured for years, my "village" didn't really provide the tools needed for me to become better. I felt so alone because I felt like no one understood me. For a long time I was a loner, which only made things worse.  I would just stay inside most nights and write poetry. Staying isolated only deepened my anxiety and depression.  

Community and you who you hang out with, directly effects you whether you believe it or not.  I am a testament to this. I have always ran in circles of people who didn't have much faith, complained about everything, and carried the whole "woe is Me" persona. In turn, I found myself doing the same.  It's this type of community that didn't promote growth. Every time I tried to improve my life, people around me would discourage me and tell me I am aiming too high. While ultimately, it's up to me to change my life, not having support to do so had held me back. I recently left a toxic marriage after contemplating to do so for seven years. It was only because I was so beaten down mentally, that I could not endure it anymore.

Fast forward to only three months after leaving, I was reunited with an old friend.  He had a negative past as well, and had made dramatic changes to not only improve his life, but the lives of others. He adopted me into his circle and introduced me to the amazing people that encompassed it. I remember attending my first social gathering with the group. My friend was the only person I knew, and couldn't be there that night. I went anyway, and I am so glad that I did. Everyone was so welcoming, and I felt like I knew these people for years! I couldn't wait to get together the next time.  For the first time in my life, I felt like I "belonged" somewhere. It has been so refreshing to be around happy and upbeat people who enjoy life. 

Being surrounded by people who are positive and looking to becoming the best versions of themselves makes me want to do the same. I have changed dramatically within this span of time. I got the tattoo I have been wanting for years, I am getting to take a course to better myself and lead me to the career I have been dreaming of. I am in the best shape of  my life. I have also became a lot more positive and have been able to manage my stress with ease. I am about to travel to a third world country to implement change. (This has been something I have always wanted to do!) Being in the right community has awaken my soul and inspired me to do all the things I wanted to do, but was told I couldn't. I am the happiest I have ever been and can't wait to see what awaits me in the future!

So let me ask you....are you where you want to be in life? Do you have family and friends that support you? Uplift you? Do you want to become the best version of yourself? Does your current "village" provide you with the tools needed to becoming your best? Look at the people you spend the most time with; are they the type of person you aspire to be? You can still love them, but love yourself first!  It takes a village, make sure you are getting the most of yours.

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