Step Forward

Keep stepping forward. You’ll never know where you can go if you don’t take the step.

Every job I’ve have ever worked has wanted their employees to step up and rise to the challenges they are face with. I’ve worked with big corporations and family owned businesses. Often times, life is the best and most cruel and rewarding experience that teaches us. We learn much in our textbooks and yet in order to step forward, we must use the knowledge we have gained to take the necessary steps towards self improvement and personal growth.

As children, we are conditioned to learning in a classroom environment and on the playground. Many games that are utilized today consist of team building like basketball, volleyball, baseball, soccer, etc,. Some children are able to step forward by believing in themselves and taking risks. There are times that those risks are rewarded and others where there are penalties but in a world of constant evolution and technology, it’s imperative that children are nurtured to let them know that stepping out of the box is to be encouraged.

How do we step forward when it feels that life is dragging us down? Is there a magic pill that can be swallowed to make the hurt and pain dissipate from our lives? No. We can reprogram our mentality to see beyond what’s in front of us. I like to think about hiking when people talk about stepping forward. Every step that a person takes on a long walk is a step towards reaching the peak of where they were previously. If you are on a mountain, more than likely you want to reach the top so that you can see an incredible view. But if all you do is walk to varying heights, you get a small taste of what’s ahead. You may not be able to see the bigger picture the same, but it gives you a perception.

I have a confession to make. I have been really struggling with my faith in God for a very long time. When I lost my job, my marriage was falling apart, children due to my body being unable to carry to term, a relationship with someone I truly loved, my father dying, and people I thought were my friends, I sank into a very serious depression. Just getting out of bed was a success for me. I felt like a zombie. My body was going through the motions and I was just existing. I spent too much money and wanted to run from everything I was feeling. I hurt so badly inside that I didn’t care if I lived or died. Why would God allow me to lose everything and leave me with so many things that felt they were shattered? Friendships that I never thought I would lose just left. No explanation. No anything. They just left me in the dust. Instead of telling me what I had done that was so horrible, no one would speak to me to tell me what to fix. Some of them got married and never told me until after the fact and even though I had consistently been there for them, I was left behind. It hurt more than anything. Especially when I was already in the midst of trying to get my life back only to have my father taken from me after a short fight with cancer. I was angry, hurt, confused, frustrated, and broken.

Often life makes us feel that we are stepping forward and then being forced to step back.

Not too long after all that occurred, my ex husband was going to have a child with a look a like. She was everything I could never be. I wanted children but I realized later that I wanted a child just not with him. I felt that God was punishing me for not having a pure heart in the relationship even though I really believed I did. Now he has a little girl and I’m childless. Unless I adopt or foster a child, that will never change. I had a hysterectomy a couple of years ago because I dealt with serious pain from fibroids. While the hysterectomy gave me a life without pain, emotionally it crushed me because I would never be able to hold my own child. The man I loved more than my own life pushed me and everyone else away and I felt alone. I truly felt that God had abandoned me. I was watching everyone else around me move on with their lives and I was stuck in neutral.

As the years have gone by, I’ve had time to reflect and think. Praying is something I don’t do as much of as I should for someone who has faith. While I don’t like to dwell on the past, I would be remiss if I didn’t talk about some of the struggles I have faced. Every day is a test of faith for me and my faith forces me to step forward on my journey not only in faith but as a person of worth. You see, if all I do is focus on what I’ve lost, I’ll never be able to appreciate what I’ve found during all those years of heartache. I’ve found true friendships with people who have seen me at my worst and still love me for who I am. I’ve established a closer relationship with my mom. While I don’t get to see my aunts, uncles, and cousins much, I’m happy for them that they are happy with their families and lives. I may never have a child but not having children isn’t what defines me. It’s okay to question faith. If we didn’t, life would be a perfect symphony that never missed a note and while it may be beautiful to hear, it wouldn’t be a true reflection on the way our lives really are.

Life is not only messy and complicated but it requires a strength from within the deepest realms of our souls. When we step forward and stop dwelling on what we do have, it’s amazing how much those boxes that we’ve put ourselves in, open up to let us step out of the box and into new territory. I’ve been in various boxes most of my life. I’ve been in little ones that held very little opportunity, to the bigger boxes that looked promising only to be empty. What I didn’t comprehend for a long time was that I was buying into boxes that looked shiny only to to find them either empty or with things that lost their shine and appeal. Those boxes represented my life and my choices just as you have your own boxes. When we choose to live our lives without limiting our choices and our abilities, the world opens up with various opportunities. Our networks expand, we grow personally and professionally and we step forward not just in faith but in power. Yes, I said power. Every one of us has the power to change our circumstances. We have the power to propel ourselves forward and steer ourselves into uncharted territory, or the power to crash and burn. If we never step forward, we can never step back.

It’s taken me a long time to get my footing back. I don’t enjoy beating myself up over past mistakes but I have learned that recognizing them is a crucial component to being able to step forward. My hope for each of you is that you don’t let anyone or anything tear you down. If you are being ghosted from friends or a job, you may need to just regroup, walk away, or confront the issue. If you choose to confront the issue and you still get nowhere, then let go. Don’t make the same mistake I did. I held on because I didn’t understand what was happening. I waited for people to come back in my life that never did and that was a big mistake on my part. I’ve learned that as I continue my journey to move forward, I can’t hang on to the people of the past because anyone who leaves you behind has reasons that you may never understand. You can’t answer for others. You can only hold yourself accountable for your actions. Don’t blame the world for what is happening with and to you. If it hasn’t worked, figure out the problem and move on.

Learn to take the steps that fear often holds you back from.

My hope is that we all have our confidence in ourselves and can raise and uplift one another when we are feeling worn down and worn out. Mental and physical exhaustion is real and when combined with depression it can have deadly effects. There are times to step away from the anxiety and see that life may not be fair but it is up to us to step forward and change our outlook into a healthier life. It’s taken a lot of therapy, a lot of writing, and a lot of healing to start stepping forward. Every day can be challenging and exhausting but as long as I keep putting my feet forward, then each step is another step in the right direction. Don’t think you are alone in the journey. There’s millions of people who struggle with some of the same types of issues. Don’t be afraid to put your steps into helping others take steps forward with you.

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