Thought Catalog

It’s Okay To Be Hurting As Much As You Are

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 08:00 PM PST

Twenty20 / raineelc
Twenty20 / raineelc

I know you’ve lost someone and it hurts. You may have
lost them suddenly, unexpectedly. Or perhaps you
began losing pieces of them until one day, there was
nothing left. You may have known them all your life or
you may have barely known them at all. Either way,
it is irrelevant–you cannot control the depth of a
wound another soul inflicts upon you.

Which is why I am not here to tell you tomorrow is
another day. That the sun will go on shining. Or there
are plenty of fish in the sea. What I will tell you is this;
it’s okay to be hurting as much as you are. What you
are feeling is not only completely valid but
necessary–because it makes you so much more
human. And though I can’t promise it will get better
any time soon, I can tell you that it will–eventually.
For now, all you can do is take your time. Take all the
time you need.

Like this poem? Read more in Lang Leav's book Memories, available here.

5 Powerful Things That Happen When Abstainers Fully Commit To Something

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 07:00 PM PST

Twenty 20 / rayana
Twenty20 / rayana

I'm going to quickly (and rudely) stereotype and categorize you. If you're reading this post, you fall into one of two categories: You are either a moderator or an abstainer.

A moderator is someone who can easily balance multiple things and doesn't live to extremes. Hence, moderators can have one glass of wine and be done.

An abstainer, on the other hand, is someone who is generally all or nothing. Hence, when an abstainer falls off the wagon, they crash and burn. Yet, when highly committed and passionate, abstainers can do things no one else can because of their intensely focused passion.

Which are you?

Chances are, if you're reading this blog, you are an abstainer. How do I know? Only an abstainer would be seduced by an article talking about 100 percent commitment.

Now that we've got that out of the way, let's talk about how horrible it is to constantly fail at your commitments. Abstainers tend to be hard on themselves because we are often extremists. Yet, we're human and fail often. And when we fail, it's personal because we generally don't put effort into things we care little about.

This blog is intended to change your life. If you've read this far, you must be craving change. Well that's exactly what I'm going to challenge you to do.

We have three months (approximately 90 days) until 2016. That is the perfect timeline to commit 100 percent to something. Two days ago while talking to my mom (also an abstainer) on the phone, she said she just started a 100-day break from alcohol. Starting this morning, I'm going 100 percent sugar-free.

What one thing will you commit to for the next 90 days?

Here's what will happen when you do:

You'll Be Better At Every Other Area Of Your Life

If you try to tackle everything wrong in your life at once, you'll quickly burn out and quit. It's happened many times before. Life is super busy. You don't have time to focus on a thousand different areas of your life to change. That's exhausting, and frankly, not helpful. More effective than microscopically analyzing your sabotaging behaviors, is nailing down a "keystone" habit — which tightly locks all of your other habits in place. Without the keystone, everything falls apart.

In his book, The Power of Habit, Charles Duhigg describes keystone habits as, "small changes or habits that people introduce into their routines that unintentionally carry over into other aspects of their lives."

For example, a person might start exercising once per week and unknowingly begins eating better and being more productive at work. She begins smoking less and showing more patience with her colleagues and loved ones. She uses her credit card less, feels less stressed, and has increased motivation toward her goals. The ingrained patterns in her brain reform and she becomes an entirely different person. All because she started exercising once per week.

Keystone habits spark a chain reaction of other good habits and can rapidly alter every aspect of your life. The cool part is, this process works with any positive change you fully commit to.

Just watch: You commit to this one thing for 90 days, and before you know it, every other area of your life will be better.


Cause you'll be better.

You'll Feel More In Control Of Your Life

According to Roy Baumeister, one of the world's most prominent psychologists, enhancing self-esteem is a waste of time in the pursuit of health and well-being. Rather than focusing on self-esteem, parents, teachers, leaders, and people in general should focus on enhancing self-control, Baumeister argues.

The challenge of being an abstainer is that our sense of self-control is often deflated. When we fail, we fail hard. However, when you focus on just one thing, and succeed at that, you'll feel more in-control of your life.

When an abstainer feels in-control, there is nothing that can stop them. They become fiercely committed to what they're doing and experience a sense of limitless power. As an abstainer, this feeling only comes after you've kept your own commitments. So, succeed at this one thing and watch as you feel enhanced control over every aspect of your life.

As You Succeed, Your Vision For Your Life Will Expand

A natural consequence of success is an increased vision for what you can do. This is where abstainers often fail. Because we are highly passionate about what we do, we often start at a sprint. But long-term commitments are marathons, so abstainers often burn out.

*Note: This happens to me almost every time I set out on a new grand plan. I get so pumped up and excited that I try going a million miles an hour, only to find I've given up later that day.

As an abstainer, you are probably idealistic. Perhaps slightly unrealistic? I don't like using that word because I believe in achieving the "impossible." But some pursuits are just unrealistic. Take for example, my recent attempt at not checking email or social media for five weeks. I need email for my job (laugh out loud). What was I thinking?

So, although this may be difficult for you, I challenge you to start at a sustainable speed. Slower than you want to. Greg McKeown, author of Essentialism, explains that this is how he developed the habit of writing in a journal daily. In previous attempts, he would write long entries and burn out after a day or two. So instead, he committed to writing just a few sentences each day. It was uncomfortably short and easy. But, it stuck. And as he developed the habit, he was able to slowly increase his amount over time.

You'll Feel Absolutely Incredible

Feeling good is so important for a passionate person like you. As your own toughest critic, you often ride a roller coaster of emotions. However, as you succeed at your one thing, and your vision for your life expands, you will naturally feel amazing.

When you feel amazing, you show up to life differently, don't you? You are more present and attentive to others needs. You're less focused on your own problems. You're less worried about the results and worried more about being genuine.

Commit to this one thing and life will feel great.

You'll Gain Insane Motivation And Momentum

As stated previously, when you succeed at your goals, they generally expand. When your goals expand, a gap is created between where you are and where you want to be. This gap ignites in us a psychological process called self-regulation, which is our motivational resources management system that helps us attain our goals.

Specifically, self-regulation works in three ways.

  • Self-monitoring determines how well we are currently performing
  • Self-evaluation determines how well we are performing against our goals
  • Self-reaction determines how we think and feel against our goals. When we feel dissatisfied with our performance, self-reaction pushes us to reallocate our motivational resources

To trigger this self-regulation process, goals need to be highly specific, based on external indicators, deadline-driven, and challenging.

As you succeed in your one thing, and as your vision for your life expands, this process will commence. Thus, as your goals grow, you will naturally alter your behaviors to match your new goals. Your motivation and momentum toward huge things will surge and skyrocket.

"Many of us have convinced ourselves that we are able to break our own personal rules "just this once." In our minds, we can justify these small choices. None of those things, when they first happen, feels like a life-changing decision. The marginal costs are almost always low. But each of those decisions can roll up into a much bigger picture, turning you into the kind of person you never wanted to be." — Clayton Christensen

People are really good at self-sabotage. We consistently behave in ways that contradict our goals and ideals. This is incongruence. As Mahatma Gandhi has said, "Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony." The smaller the gap between what you should do, and what you actually do — the happier you will be.

Hence, Clayton Christensen says 100 percent commitment is easier than 98 percent commitment. When you fully commit to something, the decision has been made. Consequently, regarding that thing, all future decisions have been made.

As you stick with your 100 percent commitment, your life will be far easier. You won't have to agonize over needless decisions. You've already decided. You're not going to eat the cookie. It's not even a debate. TC mark

Our Lives Are A Living Work Of Art

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 06:00 PM PST

Robert Delaunay
Robert Delaunay

You begin to invent things after awhile. I suppose it’s only
human nature to add and subtract from our memories; to
recall them the way we feel they should be remembered.
After all, our lives are a living work of art–shouldn’t we
be allowed to shape it in any way we choose?

I remember the first time I saw my favorite painting, how
its fragile beauty snatched my breath. And I thought if
Picasso had painted just one brushstroke less, he could
have told an entirely different story. If he began with a
smear of red instead of blue, it could have been a chapter
instead of an era. TC mark

Like this poem? Read more in Lang Leav's book Memories, available here.

Some Things To Remember When You Think You’re Not Doing Well Enough

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 05:45 PM PST

Twenty 20 bubblegumwhore
Twenty 20 bubblegumwhore

What do you measure yourself by? Your bank account? Your job? Your "stuff"? The number of people you know and/or know you? Your accomplishments? Whether you're meeting and checking the timeline and timetable of society's social requirements for who you should be? All of the above?

It's hard not to feel like life is some sort of race. After all, if there is one thing all of us can agree is a limited resource, it's time. And because of our uncertain relationship with how much time we have, we can feel that what we want, what we aspire to do or own or be, can only be achieved within the frame of this limited resource – time.

There's a pressure in being cognizant of time. A pressure that causes us to look at ourselves and compare our lives to others' – even with limited information. A pressure that at times makes us resent our circumstances, present or past. A pressure that can feel crippling and infuriating and unjust. And sometimes it can feel that no matter how hard we try, how hard we fight, how much we work, and how badly we want it – we're just not there.

And sometimes it can feel that no matter how hard we try, how hard we fight, how much we work, and how badly we want it – we're just not there.

There is a place, that though mostly is a figment of our imagination, it feels as real as anything tangible. There is the place that we dream of, the place we tell ourselves that our happiness and desires can finally be realized. There is the place, we think, we will be satisfied and full and accomplished.

The reality of there, however, is that it always seems to change. The more success you have, the more you'll likely want. The closer you are to the life of your fantasies, the greater those fantasies become. It's human nature but it's also simple economics: human wants are insatiable. And especially when you're young and privileged and bright and have been told the world is at your feet, you work for and hope for and want all those things the world said you could be.

But experience hits you. The reality of what it takes to be those things in spite of your talent or hard work or circumstance, hits you. And it hits you over and over again, each time chipping away at those dreams and desires. But you resist, after all you're young, and you're resilient. Still, no matter how much hope you hold onto, you question: can I really do this? Is it really worth it? Am I just not good enough?

That question can be crippling – "Am I just not good enough?" But I wonder, good enough for what? Good enough for the societal standards we are all meant to live by? Good enough for the aspirations you have set your heart on? Good enough to be the person that you'd always said you were meant to become?

That question can be crippling – "Am I just not good enough?"

The truth is maybe you are and maybe you aren't. Especially when it comes to society’s arbitrary rules on who you should be and what you should want, and how your dreams fit into all of this. It's difficult to know whether to call it quits and find a new dream, or whether to keep fighting the good fight. It's difficult when you know the odds are against you, or that "the rules" are designed to make winners and losers, or that luck exists, or that life is unfair and unevenly cruel. It's difficult, in spite of the words of poets and artists and intellectuals, to believe that your dreams can really come true. Instead it feels more than anything else, that all dreams have done, is made you crippled with anxiety and dissatisfied with life. What does one do in these moments?

One thing that helps me in such moments is to focus on the task at hand. I’ve learned to focus on what I can do today every time I feel crippled by fear and anxiety and the unrelenting desire to be more than I am. Because the truth is that we must put in the work, but we must never be so pompous as to believe that the work in and of itself is enough to get us where we want to be. We are not in charge of it all, and that's not superstition, that's fact. We might need someone to take a chance on us, someone to believe in us, a stroke of luck, or the intervention of divine providence. And knowing this can be freeing, it can be the liberty you need to do your very best, while knowing that the world too must do its part.

Above all, the thing I find the most helpful when I feel defeated is to remember the previous time I felt like this. The last time I thought I wasn't good enough, the last time I felt crippled by fear and anxiety of not being good enough – did I not survive it? Is it just not a temporary feeling like anything else? Indeed it was, indeed it is.

Chances are, as I realized in those times, when you think of time and there and experience, and the reality of how much is in your hands, and how much is not, you need to remember that even in those moments of what feels like crippling defeat or failure or the feeling that you are not enough – you're probably doing much better than you think. And should you ever forget that, close your eyes, and listen to the sound of yourself breathing; that reminder of your life force. My dear friend, that is hope, and as long as that remains, you are enough. TC mark

When Your Ex Comes Back, Leave

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 05:00 PM PST


They always say that when one door closes, another opens. That's certainly been my experience. Only there's one door that I haven't ever fully walked away from.

I thought I did, back in June. After years of talking to him off and on, I told myself that it was over and I closed it for good. I made some inner resolve for this to be so. The next day, a new door opened.

"I knew a new door would open if you closed that one, but we didn't expect it to open so fast," my therapist laughed when I told her that I'd met someone new. It was entirely unexpected and it hit me hard. I was so at peace with the way I was living when I met him and so freed of my old relationships that, in retrospect, of course the door to him opened that day.

He wasn't my type, in that he was nice to me. He wanted to talk to me all day long every day and we drove the two hours to see each other every weekend. We made plans for the future and he wanted me to trust him. This was very new.

When it didn't work out, I reverted to old patterns. I clung onto that door quietly and from afar for months until one day I told myself that even if I wasn't ready to let it go, I had to close it anyway, that maybe it would make me ready. It was time to close that door if I ever wanted another one to open, if I wanted to stop living in a state of in between.

Lo and behold, about a week later, another door did open – only this time, it wasn't new. It was the door of all doors, the one I'd resolved to close because I couldn't keep waiting.

I think we all have a door of all doors. For me, he was the one I'd seen from across a room one summer and known right then that something very important was about to start.

He was the one I wrote a screenplay around when I was still thinking of him years later. He was the one who then came back and left and came back and left so many times that I lost count, until I finally sent him a letter telling him how I felt about him and all those months and that I wouldn't reach out again. I had said it all; the door had been closed; I was free; I was done.

I didn't think I'd ever hear from him again. That letter had been intense. To me, to hear from him would've meant that he was ready to be my friend again, or to be with me, or at the very least talk about what was happening for him during all those times he'd up and left in the middle of our conversations, to maybe apologize.

But things rarely go as we foresee them going. When he came back this time, it was to compare us to my favorite dysfunctional TV couple and tell me that he couldn't stop thinking about us. It was to tell me that he's secretly unhappy and he didn't know who to turn to. It was to unload everything he's going through onto me before disappearing again the next day.

I've been left thinking about doors. And toxic relationships and who we love and why we let ourselves be loved in ways that are less than what we want or need. I've been left thinking about space. The ways we constrict ourselves into corners that are only closing in by holding onto something that's no longer serving us.

When things like this happen, I try to look at the bigger picture. I'm naturally pretty emotional and if I should like to retain even an ounce of sanity in situations that trigger any sort of pain, my best coping mechanism is to tap into rationality and ask myself why this thing is happening at the time that it is, what the lesson is that's hidden inside the hurt. I usually chalk things up to "the universe," maybe because I need to believe in some sense of intentionality to life's spontaneity, maybe because I feel like there's something very powerful to what you put out and what you get back, to the timing of our lessons and to the way that just when things seem to be going really well something tends to fall apart.

Maybe the lesson when I first left him was one of freeing up space for something wonderful to happen. And maybe the lesson that followed when that new door opened a day later was one of discovering what it's like to really be loved. And maybe the lesson today is one of having the strength to keep old doors closed – of knowing how to choose myself.

That's what this really comes down to, when someone who's hurt you comes back: knowing how to choose yourself.

If you look carefully, can you see the lessons of each of your old doors, the ways they taught you love, compassion, resilience, boundaries, self-respect, honesty? It may have hurt a lot, the way you learned your lessons, but each one came to you at exactly the right time. Because can you see how they've brought you to this moment now, the one where you can finally choose yourself?

Now will be the real challenge, and I call it that because there are good reasons a lot of us don't want to learn the lesson of having to choose ourselves. There's a lot of comfort in our old doors. There's familiarity. There's only fear of the unknown in the space outside of that. What if there will never be a new door again, or a door as good as one of the old?; if there is a new one, how long might it take us to find it?

To choose yourself is a challenge because the moment that you choose yourself is often the first time in your life that you'll feel like you're sitting with emptiness.

I can promise you, like I'm promising myself: you're not empty. Your life is not empty.

There's something, too, about having someone to miss.

I think many of us are addicted to the feeling of longing for something. If there's nothing to be missing, it's just us, alone out there in the unknown, having no choice but to think only of ourselves.

To choose yourself is a challenge because there's a certain kind of selfishness that comes with choosing yourself and only yourself, and for many of us, that's uncomfortable. We'd prefer to walk through life a shell if it means having the comfort of our deepest longings always just beside us.

I can promise you, like I'm promising myself: if your happiness hangs on someone else choosing you, it'll break on that too. There's no comfort in the pain we put onto ourselves. There's nothing satisfying about a burden we should've unloaded long ago.

Choosing yourself is a real challenge, but it's the best challenge you and I can take on.

When your old doors come back, I hope you choose yourself too, and then each day that you wake up after that, I hope you choose yourself again. Because in choosing yourself every day, you teach yourself that you matter. In choosing yourself every day, you make space for something wonderful to happen. In choosing yourself – in locking up old doors and letting yourself walk away – you just might find yourself in the blissful and terrifying unknown, the only space where "new" can present itself, the only space where you might be able to then choose someone else every day and be totally and entirely chosen by them too.TC mark

I Am A Wolf, And Her Heart Is Purer Than Mine

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 04:58 PM PST

Audrey Reid
Audrey Reid

She is beautiful in the way of tragic endings and soft voices when you are just waking up from a deep sleep. She has a laugh that resounds in your heart long after she is finished. She is a story written in brown eyes and passion and long hair which reminds you of the mist on a beautiful autumn morning, she is gentle calm personified. She has elegance and wisdom beyond her years. So many things about her are naturally lovely that honestly, even I cannot hate her, even if though I have tried.

And here is me, me with my dark eyes, always questioning, and unsure of what I am doing. My words are all difficult questions and strange arguments. My dark hair wild and unruly, I am not a story, but a half written poem, leaving unfinished endings as I go along in this life, relying on the wild to keep me alive. I live on ideas, full moon nights and insomnia. I am an open book of the messes I have made and completely, utterly selfish about you. I am full of longing even when you are right there, my mind in places it should not be – racing through trees and memories.

She is a mustang. And I am a wolf.

I am wild, I howl at the moon and I give my all but only when it comes to you. She on the other hand, is always generous and giving and true.

She has taken my moon from me, but giving you up is the most selfless thing I will ever do. For here is the thing, my darling, here is the truth.

I love you more fiercely than she ever could. But she is the one who deserves you. Her heart is purer, less polluted than mine. I am only beautiful when I hunt. She is beautiful in an always sort of way.

And at the end of the day, she is a wild mustang destined to run wild with you, and wolves like me are better off alone, howling longingly at the moon. TC mark

A Toast To ‘The Struggle’

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 04:45 PM PST

Twenty20 / jullymalynovska
Twenty20 / jullymalynovska

I’ve recently realized that true wisdom often comes in unexpected places – a kid's book, a bad date, a boss you hate, whatever – life lessons typically take us by surprise.

So where did my most recent learning choose to manifest itself? Sure enough, a wine tasting. As the daughter of a terminal alcoholic, I couldn't help but chuckle at the situational irony here. No, it's not what you think – we all know too many glasses of the grape-y goodness can result in some unfiltered truths and emotional outpourings, but this happened well before I had my first sip.

Turns out, before the barrel, the bottle, or the bartenders' hands, baby grapes are forced to suffer. To struggle. To prove their worth and defend their place in this world. As our tour guide explained it, deprivation is necessary to produce the highest-quality wine. Since grapes are grown in desert-like conditions, vineyards further limit the water and provide minimal nutrients, forcing the vines to fight for their lives. It's in this self-defense process that the most complex crop is produced.

Leading to an ironically simple truth – complexity is the direct result of adversity.

Now I'm no botanist, but I was captivated, so much so that I was the loser taking notes at a vineyard. It doesn't take a scientist to see the parallel between wine production and reality. What doesn't kill us makes us stronger, right? We must suffer before we succeed. While it may seem like a – sobering? – thought, I prefer to think of it with a long-stemmed glass half full.

Because this realization is about fermentation appreciation. For imperfect parents. For every guy, job, and school that rejected me. We've all been there, and we're better for it. For the people who push us. For the experiences that force us out of our comfort zone. For the relationships worth saving and the struggles worth surviving.

Everyone – even a baby grape – has a story. And what good is a story without conflict and compromise? How boring is a hero without any hardship? It's time we develop a fear of rejection perfection. Because like the best glass of Bordeaux, we're a complex blend. Of our experiences. Of our setbacks. And with time and tenacity, of our successes.

While I suppose I always knew this to be true, I guess at 25 wine makes things seem more relevant. In vino veritas, right? It may seem like a nerve-racking reality, but complex thinking never comes from a textbook. My most valuable life lessons were taught in rehab, not theology class. The demise of my parent’s marriage became mental motivation to succeed in my own someday. My dad’s rock bottom became the foundation for which I built my life.

Because like those poor, persistent grapes, we only truly flourish when our limits are tested and we learn to drink think responsibly.

So cheers to all you well-conditioned crops out there – those who stemmed from a different vine. Not flawless, but flavorful. You’re the ones worthy of a toast. So may your glasses remain half full and your challenges boost your confidence. And when in doubt, just remember, you're always as strong as your wine. TC mark

Why Can’t You Be ‘Just Friends’ With Someone You Once Loved?

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 04:15 PM PST

Nirrimi Firebrace
Nirrimi Firebrace

It's over. You have battled and bled time and again to resolve the issues and stay together, but now, at last, you both know in your hearts it is done. The time has finally come to call it a day and move on with your lives.

There was never any abusive or manipulative behaviour, no severe acts of disloyalty, or especially dramatic disagreements, but for whatever reason you have both arrived at the decision that romantically you no longer work.

Well, what then? Frequently, we are advised to walk, to sever all ties and move on with our lives as though our partner, this person we have loved, opened up to, and spent an extraordinary amount of time with, never existed at all.

This would be an enormous mistake. Genuine friendships are few and far between, and true connection is difficult to come by. No one knows you more intimately than your loved ones and understanding is much too precious a thing to lose. You don't turn your back on a good thing just because it's hard.

Stay friends. Work through the pain and pettiness. Learn how to control the tide of bitterness in your hearts and feel genuinely pleased for one another's happiness. It's going to be a long and difficult road, and seeing each other move on with other people is going to hurt, but eventually, it does get easier. Over time, lovers can learn to be 'just friends'.

Recognise the reward outweighs the risk. Find the courage to keep the people you have loved a part of your life and you will be rewarded with an extraordinary friendship. One that endures. One that enlightens. Someone you can turn to when no one else has the answers. Someone you can depend on, be sure of, share with, and most importantly, trust in.

A friendship doesn't have to mean staying in contact every day or involving yourself in one another's business. Just be there. Make the commitment to support and guide one another despite the divide in your journeys.

Maybe you weren't right for each other, and all those dreams you shared and plans you made may never come to fruition, but that doesn't mean your part in each other's story is over. That doesn't mean you can't still bring something positive to each other's lives. What you shared was rare and extraordinary, and the counsel you'll be able to offer one another in the future is invaluable. That's something worth holding onto. TC mark

No Matter Who You Are Your Pain Is Legitimate And Healable

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 04:00 PM PST

Strange girl on the black

Have you ever looked at someone else’s life and thought that if you had their life, you would be so much happier? Has it ever jealously crossed your mind that if you only had the same opportunities that person did, you would be better off? Has it occurred to you that perhaps the person you are envying right now is also someone who has curled up on the floor, hurt, crying, falling apart over the terrible things that have happened in their lives?

If not, then maybe it is time you start thinking about it, because tragedy knows no race, no religion, no age, no wealth. The only thing it knows is opportunity and devastation. Tragedy doesn’t care where you come from, what you do, how much you have been through. It strikes when it wants to, whether you are two years old or sixty. And it is absolutely terrifying the kind of suffering that the happiest looking people can hide inside themselves.

Listen. No one leads a charmed existence. Suffering is something that inflicts us all. Some more than others, and unfairly so – but every human being I have ever met has suffered in some way, and has grown accustomed to sadness somehow – making a room for it inside themselves, a place where they put all these terrible things that have happened to them. Some people can survive tragedy, pain, heartache, trauma…and carry on with smiles on their faces for the world to see. There is a resilience in humanity that is heartbreaking and inspiring at the same time – a delicately woven paradox.

I didn’t understand any of this until the day tragedy struck my life, and I suddenly understood why people drink till they are too drunk to remember, or smoke even though they know it could kill them, or make love to ten strangers and still feel empty inside; but they all smile and act like everything was all right. All of this, just to survive. And survival is a tricky thing – the ‘right’ way doesn’t work as catharsis for everyone.

Some people survive and talk about it.

Some people survive and go silent.

Some people survive and create.

But everyone who survives terrible experiences shares this: they are never the same again. Because wounds, even when healed leave scars on the body, and sometimes all the way down to the soul.

Everyone deals with unimaginable pain in their own way, and everyone is entitled to that, without judgement. So the next time you look at someone's life covetously – thinking that they have not truly suffered, that their existence is full of good fortune and luck, remember this…smiles are very easy to fake. Composure even more so. And if you truly knew what was going on inside of them, then you may not want to endure what they are enduring right now, at this moment, whilst they sit quietly before you so composed, looking like the calm of the ocean on a beautiful, sunny day.

Remember how vast the ocean's boundaries are. They stretch far beyond the horizon from where you are sitting, much further than your eyes can see. Whilst somewhere in that enormous expanse, the water looks so calm, far away in the very same ocean, there is a colossal storm. TC mark

Find Your Winter Love

Posted: 30 Nov 2015 03:46 PM PST

Aleksandar Nakic

Find someone you can get under the blankets with, someone who likes the same hot drink you do so you can make it in big batches on the stove. You have matching mugs to cuddle up with, and you can cheers to your marshmallow-filled cocoa, to the movie you both love, to the fact that neither of you have anywhere to go. They're the person you never feel weird having an extra slice or slurping your soup with, because they know that the best thing about winter is surrounding yourself with everything warm and comforting. Their presence feels like a blanket, always reminding you that things are going to be okay.

Find someone you can watch the weather channel with, someone who gets just as excited as you as the prospect of snow. They text you when the forecast is saying a possible two feet this weekend, and that they'll meet you at the grocery store to stock up on all the essentials so you won't have to run out in a blizzard. But you want to go out for a walk in the snow, no matter how hard it's coming down, as long as you don't have anywhere particular to go. Both of you love seeing the snow as it falls, and knowing that there is something warm waiting for you in the oven at home.

Find someone you can stay in pajamas with for days on end. They love your messy hair and bare face and rosy cheeks because someone turned up the heat a little too high last night. The two of you are capable of spending the whole winter in one big sleepover, never worrying about how you look because the most attractive possible thing in that moment is someone wearing flannel and offering to share their blanket. Spend the season being yourself, the way you were as a kid, because it's much too cold outside to worry about getting dressed up.

Find someone who warms you from within, someone who feels like twinkling Christmas lights, whose kiss is like apple cider stirred with a cinnamon stick. Stay in together and spike your drinks, get a little drunk in front of your favorite movies and move to the bedroom. Sleep naked together under dozens of blankets, Princess and the Pea-style, letting days go by before either of you finally pry yourself away. They always feel this way, suddenly transformed into a magnet when they're in bed, something you can't get bear to get away from because everything is perfect within the confines of the bedframe.

Find someone who makes you call out sick from work.

Find someone who loves you deepest when things are coldest, when you need it more than ever, when the summer and its long nights and chance encounters are half a year away. Find someone who reminds you that there is something wonderful about the season where we all draw closer and stay inside. Find someone who makes the spring thaw seem like a burden, because it will mean having to leave the nest you created together. Find someone who always lets you borrow their sweater, and who never makes their own morning coffee without making yours along with it. Find your person, before it gets too cold to go out and meet them. TC mark