I’ve started, restarted and completely erased this post many times. I kept running into walls and questions such as, “what do you even write about in the middle of a pandemic?” “do I even have something helpful to say?” And then, the negative self-talk floods in and you wonder if your words matter? Is this dream to see this blog become more than a blog a waste of time? Am I better off doing something ridiculous and putting it on Tik Tok? Alas, months have passed and I have talked myself into and out of continuing this blog countless times. All of this back and forth and it got me nowhere. There’s a point and I’ll tie it nicely into a bow at the end, promise.
Okay, rewind a few months. Hello, second wave of the pandemic, back with a vengeance. It’s been crazy and overwhelming and daunting…and yet there have been reasons to keep showing up. The obvious one being, that there are lives in my hands and well, I can’t just bow out when I’m “not feeling it.” That’s not how anything in life works, for that matter. But there were words someone in my life spoke over me that I didn’t realize I would take on as a personal motivation to keep showing up in all areas of life.
“Tori, you can do hard things.”
I felt the impact of their words immediately, but it took me a little while to believe it and then let it manifest through me. For me, it seemed timely because, well, life felt downright hard. I’ve compared my life to one similarly lived by Bill Murray in “Groundhog’s Day.” Following me? I wake up, go to work, eat, sleep somewhere in there, and do it all over again. I feel utterly stuck most days. I’m also contemplating a career shift, wanting to relocate, and am constantly wondering if today, tomorrow, or next week will be the day I inevitably contract the virus.
I know that being in New York City for all of this has certainly heightened my emotions because of how hard we got hit. A city known for its diverse social scene, hustle and bustle, and accessibility is often unrecognizable these days. And I can’t sit here and give my laundry list of stuff without acknowledging that each and every person on this earth is going through something too.
Here’s what I want to say to anyone that might read this: You can do hard things. We do all of the time, sometimes every single day, and maybe even from one moment to the next. Our lives have never been short of challenges and trials. Maybe, even in this moment, something you’re facing comes to mind? It feels unbearable some days. The toxic thoughts are having a party in your mind and they convince you that your dreams are impossible; that you’re not good enough. You look ahead at all of the what-ifs and suddenly your sense of faith and hope flee. Maybe you made a decision and are now questioning if it was the right one? Is it even worth it? I get it.
If it’s one thing or a long list, you have to know that anything that makes you ask if it’s worth it, probably is. Otherwise, why would you even have to ask yourself that? Why contemplate when you can just as easily decide to let it go? Think about it. We decide not to do things all of the time. Why would this time be any different? It’s because something in you, that flicker of hope, is alerting you that you still believe in what could be. And there’s a cost if you don’t act, unfortunately (let me be clear, this does not apply to things that don’t make you better, are unhealthy, or aren’t life-giving; in that case please operate in wisdom and move forward).
Full disclosure, I have not reached a place of self-transcendence and I’m no success story, but what I can offer is my experience; the experience of staring adversity in the face and declaring, “ I can do hard things,” and seeing all of the goodness that comes from riding the waves instead of allowing yourself to be engulfed by them. Or, just never trying at all and watching life from the safety of the beach (can you tell I want to be at the beach right now?).
Friend, you can do hard things. If you aren’t sure if you can, just think about a recent victory! If you’re a mom with kids in school, you might have had to become a teacher overnight and months later you’ve found your groove and even gained more patience in the process. If you lost your job and had to modify your life and even where you reside, then maybe you learned work is not life and starting fresh is a blessing not a loss. Perhaps you allowed yourself to finally explore your passions. Maybe you got to reconnect with family and reconcile after years of tension. If you thrived on going into the office, then having to work from home was no small feat, but now maybe you’ve learned new recipes, skills, or a language and have a new appreciation for investing into your space. If you ended, began, or have been navigating a relationship, then maybe you learned more about yourself and grew exponentially in how you love, show love, receive love, sacrifice and invite others into your world.
If you’re a healthcare worker, like me, then you’ve seen A LOT, endured long shifts and thought about quitting…but you and I didn’t. And because I didn’t; because I truly believed I can do hard things, I feel stronger, more determined, more excited and more inclined to get out of my comfort zone and live life unafraid. I have persevered long enough to receive the rewards. Have I still fallen flat on my face? Do I still mess up and want to give up? Do I still question if something is worth it? All. Of. The. Time. But doesn’t victory feel so much sweeter when you know you’ve put everything into it? And sure, how you finish matters, but what exactly are you accomplishing if you never even start? Complacency and comfort will only stifle potential and purpose. Sometimes, we are one decision, one day, one hour, one more yes away from breakthrough. Do not give up.
I want to leave you with practical ways to change how you approach or view the hard stuff. The first thing is this: write it down. What challenges are plaguing your mind and make you want to stop showing up right now? Second thing: write down past victories, big or small, and let yourself delight in them because they matter; show yourself some gratitude. And lastly: go down your list of challenges and after each thing say, “I can do hard things,” but don’t just say it, believe it and then…go and do something about it.
So…I finally finished the post. I’ll then post this post, and guess what? That’s a victory. I left the beach, jumped into the water and told the odds, “I can do hard things.” There’s your bow all tied up.