Image: Pearl

Stories are road-maps leading us to a destination that have yet to be uncovered. Our stories are our internal compass and without one we remain lost in the vastness of this world with no hope, no direction and the belief that we are alone. I founded Respect Your Struggle, a lifestyle brand and t-shirt line to remind people that stories actually still do exist and what makes a story a beautiful tale is not the story itself but the storyteller. The soul behind the voice brave enough to share their joy and their sorrows, their happiness and their pain, their most humiliating moments and even the most uplifting moments, the good, the bad, the beautiful and the ugly.

So how do you boldly share your life story? Better yet, how do you Respect Your Struggle in order to boldly share your life story? Let me tell you how.

Society tells you to be perfect; perfection has been the goal since birth and anything less than is not acceptable. Society tells you to keep your head high, failure is not an option and there is no room in your life to make mistakes or to be weak. But, we are “wired for struggle.” We are not capable of living a self-satisfying life without the trials or tribulations that actually teaches us how to grow and how to be the strongest versions of ourselves. It is okay to struggle, it is ok to be weak, and it is through your failures and weakness that you gain strength. Where there is no struggle, there is no growth and without failure there is no room to learn from our mistakes.

With struggle, comes fear. The fear of being judged oppressed and abandoned. But what is fear anyway but an entity that tells you what you can’t do, a reminder from your past and the voice of the person who doubted you. You are not defined by your past, your mistakes, your decisions or your career choice. You may have made a few mistakes and thought they were stupid but that does not mean that you are a mistake or that you are stupid. We can learn from everything that comes our way, next time fear tries to stop you, overcome it by sharing your truths and reminding yourself that you are bigger than fear.

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Vulnerability is at the core of all that we do. From our relationships with friends, family, co-workers and it is circumstantial as well. Vulnerability is what allows us to be brave with our lives. Being vulnerable in essence is making a conscious choice to take a risk with your life. In fact, vulnerability is not just a decision we make when the time is right but it is a necessity in order to give your life its best chance. To call the doctor first, to say I love you first, to go on that job interview or to admit that you messed up or don’t know any better. Though it is hard, it is what drives the human soul and without vulnerability it will be hard to live your life with full potential. Take a risk, but remember you must crawl before you walk. Learning to become vulnerable does not happen overnight but when you break down the walls of perfectionism and focus on progression you will begin to see a change.

We need community in order to respect the struggles that come our way, and aside from community we need to be able to express ourselves openly and share our battles with people in our atmosphere. It was not meant for you to live this life alone, there is something magical about sharing a common struggle with someone, but if you stay silent then you will remain stuck in your struggle without people there to guide you and lift you up. Don’t be ashamed of your struggles, everybody has one.

What is the value of life if we cannot accept the things that shape our being, the things that make us who we are, the good and the bad? In order to respect your struggle you must embrace every ounce of your humanness. Accept yourself for who you are because we are all struggling but in the midst of that we are all trying and you owe it yourself to show yourself some grace and kindness.

Live your life bravely. We are all struggling and in the midst of it all we are being shaped and molded into a better version of ourselves day by day. Check out to hear stories from humans and be uplifted. Stay encouraged and may you prosper in the midst of your struggles.

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