Savvy and Rachel asked Maria to write a guest blog post and the words came flowing to her…
I think one of the coolest parts of being alive is that every morning when you wake up you can choose to be happy and uplift the people in your life.
With all the negativity lately spreading like frost up a window, it is so easy to get caught in the anger and hatred swirling around us. Sometimes I do get caught up and drug down deep. But there are choices that I make to climb back to the top of the mountain and enjoy the beauty of this life we are given.
My last semester of undergraduate in college was a blur. Between classes, working, graduate school applications, student organizations, volunteering, getting mono, and trying to have a speck of a social life while being mindful about my mental health and working on my relationship with God, you can say that in some moments, it felt like I was a dish scrubby – furiously trying to clean every dish perfectly but they never stopped piling up.
As I reflect on the craziness, sometimes I wonder how I made it through the other side with a smile on my face. But I didn’t make it – WE made it. WE meaning the people who I chose to be with and relied on for smiles, coffee runs, gut-bursting laughter, and meaningful conversations.
Something I’ve realized is that interactions with the people I love can be enough to fuel me for one hell of a day, week, or even a semester. It’s easy to isolate yourself and lock the door when you’ve got a pile of stuff to do and things to prove, and sometimes this isolation is essential for success. However, I have found that when I spend all day secluded, I do not feel fulfilled, even when I have checked every item off my list.
Sitting in the moment talking with someone and sharing a genuine connection is something that physically and mentally energizes me. Luckily, it is our choice who we spend time with and allow to feed our soul.
One of mine is a woman at a nursing home who brightens my day each time I see her beautiful smile. We gossip about boys, make art together, and talk about music, family, and our journeys. The insight that she provides me with rests in my heart.
Another is a young lady who taught me to not care in the least what other people think, and to love magnificently without fear. The time I spend with these people and many more compels me to be as uplifting for them as they are for me.
I realize it’s not always easy to wake up and be motivated to radiate kindness and love, because some days you’re sick or in a fight with your best friend or dropped your phone in the toilet. On these days it is okay to sit with yourself and take extra care of your body and soul. Light your favorite candle and pet your cat or go for a walk after work. Because you can’t even try to illuminate the lives of others when there is no light in you. One of my mentors always reminds her students about the importance of self-care. This lesson I think is one that unfortunately requires a person to flounder until it really hits home and they make changes.
So when you wake up tomorrow, after slamming your alarm clock, take a quick second to give yourself a hug. Physically put your arms around your body and hug it out. Decide to spend meaningful time with the people you’ve chosen to keep the fire burning in you, because with their support paired with your self-love, you will live the life that God dreams of for you.
One of my favorite authors, Shauna Niequist, says:
“It’s about learning to show up and let ourselves be seen just as we are, massively imperfect and weak and wild and flawed in a thousand ways, but still worth loving. It’s about realizing that what makes our lives meaningful is not what we accomplish, but how deeply and honestly we connect with the people in our lives, how wholly we give ourselves to the making of a better world, through kindness and courage.”
-Maria, guest blogger