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For much of my life, I blamed my misery on outward circumstances.

There were a million excuses I used as a scapegoat for how unhappy I was with my life: “My dad made me this way,” “I am a victim of abuse, I’m allowed to be unhappy,” and “I’m depressed.” While there was validity in them, I used them far too much as excuses to not take responsibility for my life. It’s no surprise that the more I blamed the people and environment around me for my failures, the more unhappy I became.

When I learned after much self-realization that my happiness was entirely in my hands, I decided to take full responsibility for the direction my life was headed. I knew then and there that while I had no control over my family or my upbringing, I had control over my future. This truth liberated me and enabled me to let go of the things I couldn’t control and focus on what I could. I was tired of playing the blame game. I wanted to do something extraordinary with my life and no excuses were going to be a part of that.

I chose my career in life and dropped out of university, despite the backlash I got from family and some friends. I left my unstable and abusive family, found a new home and created my own family, made up of loving and supportive friends. I decided that despite my depression and anxiety, I was going to use it to make a positive difference in someone’s life and give people hope. And now, I am currently saving my butt off to travel the world solo for one year. I am a person made up of dreams and ambitions and hopes beyond my wildest dreams.

What trips up some people is how much hard work it takes to get to that place when you come from a broken background. You’re starting from square one. I know for me, it has been the fight of my life to keep from being bitter and complacent. I know how easy it is to fall into a bog of misery and blame, only to sink deeper from the constant struggle. I know how easy it is to adopt a victim mentality. It’s a frustrating and paralyzing place to be stuck, but the only person who can rescue you from that bog is yourself. No one has the power to sink you, and while people can help, no one can pull you out but yourself. The choice is the difference between life or death, misery or happiness. That choice is entirely yours.

In the end, you aren’t going to be judged by what you had. You are going to be judged by what you did with what you had. Are you going to live a life of complaints, conformity and complacency or are you are going to take life by the horns, realize your dreams and seize it for all it’s worth?

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