Sometimes the hardest step to take on a new journey is the first. We are reluctant to leave the comfort and familiarity of something that seemingly makes sense because it doesn’t challenge us to be uncomfortable and change. But once you have made that step, the daunting idea of a new path and journey can be more like the possibilities of opportunity than fear of uncertainty. In my life, this has often come from seeing other people who were once in the same place I am in at that moment but they have made the steps to move to the other side and choose themselves.
When I had been married for twelve years, a cousin of mine was beginning the end of her marriage. We started these domesticated paths of wives and motherhood around the same time, but she was now choosing to separate and find her wholeness after the marriage.
In our many honest conversations it was always evident that my marriage was not fulfilling and creating more harm than good. I constantly vacillated between staying in it to tough it out or finally making the move to leave and end it. On that day, she was at a different point in her journey then I was. She gave me advice that I have since reflected on in moments where I question my ability to make a major change in life.
She said, “You are sitting at the top of the mountain and you keep looking over the cliff to what lies beneath on the other side, but you don’t jump. One day when you are at the top, the fear that has stopped you from jumping will go away. You will choose to jump, realize you have a parachute and can land safely on the other side.” She was reminding me that I may not see the way right now, but when it is the right time, I will know and I will make the move to leave. She was right. five years later, I stood on the “ledge” of the mountain and realized that I could jump and I would be on the other side of life beyond the pain of an unfulfilling marriage.
This year has started off with many of these similar mirrored moments. I am looking at people in my life who are where I want to be. Not with jealousy, but with an open curiosity and recognition that they were placed in my life for me to see the possibility of the future. It is a reminder of the opportunities I have in store and not a message of failure to reach goals. As I sit and watch women who have flourishing businesses, men who have found their independence in their entrepreneurship through creativity and couples who have found love and partnership in a life together, I am motivated to know that those same blessings and gifts will be mine when I become that healed version of myself in this evolution. It pushes me to strive and be more while also reflecting on what has and is holding me back.
On the flipside I know that I am a mirror to others. I do not take that role lightly. There are people who watch me, read my posts and listen to my introspective thoughts on life and see a point of healing and change that they want to experience. They see the healed version of the pain they sit in. They see the woman who walked away from a damaging marriage, the mother who allowed her children the space they needed to grow and thrive, the creative who is building a brand and legacy of messages to others on healing. I am here because I fought to be here, but I remember what it was to once be sitting at the top of the mountain afraid to even look at the other side. We must surround ourselves with people who push us to grow and see the possibilities of where we can go, while also knowing and seeing where we have been and what we have come through to be standing in the place we now are.
Leap and look out for what the possibilities ahead can be. If a mother of four who defined herself in the roles of who she is to everyone else can find her voice and a platform to change these narratives and interrupt the status quo on the stories we tell about ourselves, we can all heal and grow when we are ready to take the plunge into this unknown whirlwind of growth and evolution. As you heal and look for your strength in times and moments of weakness, find those people who are the mirrors to remind you the other side is safe and your jump will bring you closer to freedom, don’t be afraid to take a chance on yourself.