The Beauty in the Struggle

Hi Friend,

We live in a world of definitives and labels, where outcomes and emotions are often seen as “either/or.” However, the truth is that life is more of a “both and” experience.


When I suffered a spinal cord injury, I lost so much— independence, physical ability, health, and aspirations. Yet, amidst the loss and hurt, I gained new perspectives, gratitude, the ability to amplify messages of hope and resilience, and a deeper understanding of what makes a truly rich life. Despite my losses, there has been so much gained. It’s complicated and doesn’t neatly fit into one group.


It’s easy to feel pressured to view life with an all-or-nothing mentality, as if you can’t be brave and scared at the same time. Growing up, I believed in this mentality so much that I resisted allowing myself to feel sad or negative because I thought it would define me as a person. Plus, I feared that if I allowed myself to go there, I would be stuck there! I fought hard to suppress those feelings, but in reality, experiencing a range of emotions is what makes us human.


We can feel hopeful about the future while feeling fearful of the uncertainty. We can feel sad about a relationship ending, yet excited for new opportunities. We can be disappointed in a mistake, but grateful for the lesson learned. Opposing emotions can and do coexist, and it’s taking me some time to be okay with that. As a result, I’m no longer waging an internal war against whatever feeling doesn’t fit the narrative I want. Instead, I’m learning to embrace the complexity of my emotions and find peace in the “both and” experience.


Allow opposing emotions to coexist within yourself. It’s okay to not be where you want to be and still feel content, to strive for more while having self-acceptance. The more I’ve allowed myself to make space for uncomfortable emotions, the more peace I’ve felt and the more I’ve experienced the feelings I desire. Allowing myself to move through them in a healthy way has been liberating.


Give yourself permission to feel the full spectrum of emotions, even when they seem contradictory. Fight the notion that two polar opposite emotions or outcomes can’t coexist. Embrace the “both and” of life. 

Your friend,


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