Thought Catalog


When You Feel Like You’re Fighting Your Battles All Alone

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 08:00 PM PST

God & Man
God & Man

When you feel like you're fighting your battles all alone—know that you're not. Ever.

"For the LORD your God is the one who goes with you, to fight for you against your enemies, to save you."

— Deuteronomy 20:4

This is the truth about our Father and His unending love: He will not leave or forsake us, even (and especially) in our hardest times. I know right now you're pushing through something. I know it's taking every bit of your strength to step forward, to continue on, maybe even to open your eyes.

But God is fighting for you and with you. You are not in this alone.

Each of us will face times of trouble in this life. Each of us will lose our footing, will be defeated, will be let down by the ones we love or backed against a wall and powerless to change what's spiraling around us. This life will bring us hardship, loss, brokenness, and times where it feels like hope and love are the ten thousand miles away.

But it is in those tough times that our Father wants us to lean on Him.

There's a saying that goes, 'God only gives his hardest battles to His strongest soldiers,' as if that's supposed to bring us comfort, in the power of hearts. As if that's supposed to give us the answers to the 'whys' spinning around our brain—Why did God let this happen? Why do I feel this way? Why do I have no control?—But I don't think the saying is meant for us to find comfort in our own strength, but in His. See, I don't think God gives us battles. Those are inevitable. Those are the works of the devil. Those are the icky parts of life. But He does promise that in Him, we are strong. Yes, we will undoubtedly face pain, but He will stand beside us, pushing us through.

He doesn't give His battles to His strongest soldiers, He fights those battles with us and for us, helping us become strong soldiers, who, in His love and grace, are set free.

So whatever you're facing right now, whatever is making your stomach churn with anxiety, whatever is aching in your bones, whatever is making your days stretch on slowly and painfully, give to Him.

Let Him shine His light in the darkness. Let His love give your spirit strength. Let His power bring you confidence and His love bring you healing.

You are not in this alone. The weight of the world is not supposed to be carried on your shoulders. The loss and heartache are not meant to sit heavy in your chest forever. Let Him stand beside you. Let Him draw His sword and shield and battle with you and for you.

Let your pain be healed in Him and know that these aren't your battles to face alone. Not anymore, and not ever. TC mark

When Your Anxiety Is Getting The Best Of You, Read This

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 07:00 PM PST

 Thought.is
Thought.is

I know that text that hasn't been answered is annoying you. But just remember not everyone is wired as you are and they will answer.

You don't need to reread what you said or question if it's right. It is. Just be patient.

I know there are a million scenarios playing out in your head right now. Silence it. Think about something else because a lot of what you're thinking isn't going to come true.

I know you're worried about tomorrow and that list of things you haven't done yet is keeping you up. But you will get there. You will get it done. Just close your eyes and try and sleep.

I know you're tired even though you just woke up but just do your best today. That's all anyone can ask of you. That's all you can ask of yourself. Don't push yourself too much.

I know this new relationship you're in has got you doubting a lot of things including yourself. Just take it slow and don't jump to conclusions, based on other people who have done you wrong in the past.

I know you're scared to fail. So much so, you're striving for perfection and you beat yourself up every time you fall short. You're your own worst enemy and I'm here to tell you, you don't need to be.

Flaws and all, you’re perfect the way you are. Stop killing yourself to be good enough or pretty enough or successful enough. You already are all of these things.

I know you think someone is mad at you for some reason you made up in your own mind. I know you want to apologize but you don't need to. You've done nothing wrong. And even if you have made a mistake, no one is going to judge you solely on that.

I know you're worrying and thinking too much. And everyone is telling you to relax. But you can't seem to.

I want you to know, it shows a sign of strength caring as much as you do.

This is not a weakness but a strength of yours. You have a heart that doesn't want to hurt people. You come off as paranoid but I know you just want to make the right choices. But the thing is, you already are. You're doing great.

I know your heart is racing but you disguise it with a smile. In those moments where anxiety is controlling you, those irrational fears are getting the best of you, you won't be at ease until you deal with whatever situation you need to, just take a deep breath. Do whatever you need to, that will calm your nerves. It's okay to be like this and you don't need to change. Just learn to live with it with as much grace as you can.

I know you hate yourself for breaking down and crying in private because of something you couldn't control even if it was something small. Stop hating yourself. Stop beating yourself up. And it's okay to have those moments as long as you don't let them define you.

There is so much more to you than your anxiety.

I know you're nervous standing there with a beer in your hand. I know the thoughts might bounce around that no one wants you there. Maybe you were invited out of pity or maybe everyone can see how uncomfortable you are. Remember this, you’re there because someone wanted you to be there. And just as you are focused on yourself, everyone else is focused on themselves also. Just go talk to one person. Don't resort to a shot too many, to ease your worries because you and I know, you'll wake tomorrow and regret it.

So when your anxiety is getting the best of you and you're hating yourself for it, I want you to remember this:

It will all be okay. Your entire life is going to be okay. The relationships and the people who belong in your life will not leave you.

No one thinks you are a burden as you run over details a million times of things playing out in your mind. You do whatever you need to, to live with this. Everyone else will learn to adapt also.

Remember, you are loved. You are needed. You are cared about. And your anxiety does not define you, so don't let it.TC mark

10 Reasons The Best Relationship Of Your Life Will Be With A Girl Who Likes To ‘Fix’ People

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 05:00 PM PST

 armisan
armisan

1. She doesn't give up easily. A girl who likes to fix people, doesn't stop trying and she will not quit you if she loves you. She doesn't give up on people because they erred in some way and you’re no exception.

2. She sees the best in you. She always looks beyond the superficialities, she looks for depth and meaning in you and your life and she will always see the best in you and your true potential even if you can't see it yourself.

3. She will never stop trying to fix herself too. She's not only interested in fixing others, she knows that she's still a work in progress too, and she will always try to be better than who she was yesterday and fix her own problems first.

4. She doesn't lose hope. No matter how many people tell her that she can't fix people, that people can only fix themselves — she knows that everyone needs help sometimes, even if they don’t admit it, and she will not let anyone discourage her from trying to help someone who is broken.

5. She will heal your brokenness. Because she knows what it feels like to be broken, she will do everything she could to try to heal your broken heart. She's a fixer because she was once broken and she knows what to do to fix someone's heart.

6. She's not afraid of your dark side. This is her territory, this is when she gets to work and this is what she loves the most. The dark and twisted sides, the sides of pain and heartbreak and the sides that you wish to hide from the world. She likes your dark side — she sees the light in it.

7. She likes your imperfections. In fact, she will love you even more for your imperfections. She will tell you how your imperfections make you who you are and how they make you stronger and more beautiful. She will make your flaws look flawless.

8. She's forgiving. She knows that forgiveness is strength and she knows that people always come around, she chooses to see people for their hearts not their actions and she will forgive you most of the time, even if you're not sorry.

9. She doesn't see you as a project. Contrary to what people think, she will not leave you after she fixes you, she doesn't see you as another case in her book. She tries to fix you because she loves you, because she wants you to the best person you could be, she wants to see you happy and she doesn't want you to keep living with your brokenness. She loves you enough to let you fix her too.

10. She also wants to fix the world. A girl who likes to fix people wants to be able to fix as many people as possible. Her vision is not only limited to your relationship, she wants to help the world somehow — her kindness, determination and generosity will inspire be to do the same. TC mark

Rania Naim is a poet and author of the new book All The Words I Should Have Said, available here.

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An Open Letter To My Past Self

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 04:00 PM PST

Joe Gardner
Joe Gardner

Dear past self,

One day you're going to look in the mirror and you are not going to recognise yourself. You appear more angular and a little harsher around the edges. You will smile at your reflection and your face will soften. You are still the same person on the inside.

I am going to have to break some bad news to you.

Your heart is going to ache. Sometimes it will feel like somebody has punched you in the stomach. Other times it will not feel like anything at all. You are going to spend a lot of time wondering which feeling is worse. I hope we figure this out together one day.

Demi-men who have not grown into their personality yet will use you as a crutch and the pressure will feel like all of the mountain ranges on earth are resting on your shoulders. You will stay too long. People who you thought were good for you will not stay long enough. Friends will disappoint you. You will drink too much wine and wonder why you incessantly talk too much and laugh too loud, deciding this is why people do not stay.

You will learn to leave prematurely. You will leave people, places and states of minds. Every time you leave you will grow more and more nostalgic. Your heart is going to sink in the middle of a Tuesday afternoon when you remember the way your third year of university felt, two years after you graduated. Your heart will feel heavy when you remember the smell of your first boyfriends skin, the sound of your old friend's laughter, the way your brothers sounded before they had learnt to speak. You will find that the hardest thing about growing older is as your age increases as does your capacity for nostalgia.

Nothing, and nobody, is going to cause you more heart ache than you will cause yourself. You are going to censor yourself, you are going to try to shrink yourself smaller, you will envy chameleons for the way they so effortlessly blend into their environment. You will want to disappear. You will want to be a dandelion dispersing under a child's hot breath. Red lights and stop signs don't seem very important to you right now, I know you sometimes don't look left before you cross the road. You won't jump. One day you won't want to be pushed, either.

I want you to know this feeling is not perpetual.

You will strive for balance and you are going to fight even when you are tired. You have always had fight. Perhaps you feel that somewhere along the way the glimmer dulled, but strength is an integral part of your being and that isn't as transient as you would think. You are going to be fist in throat on a bathroom floor and there will still be a glow of hope somewhere amongst the sadness and desperation of it all.

You will not give up on yourself completely.

You will learn the art of embracing authenticity. You will learn to trust in yourself. You were always trusting of others, but never trusting of yourself. This is going to change. You are going to learn to believe in your strength. One day, alone won't be synonymous with lonely. The universe will respond to your bravery with beautiful people. You will not take them for granted. You will not expect attachment. You will practise appreciation instead of expectation.

Your heart is not going to feel as heavy anymore.

I know you feel a little lost a lot of the time, I know there are a lot of things about yourself and about your life, that you do not understand right now but you are going to grow and thrive. I am writing this letter with a mind softened by the grief, a soul strengthened by the fights, a heart that is wise from the fallouts. Do not give up. I am writing this letter from a place of power, happiness and contentment. Be safe in the knowledge that you are growing towards this.

The view is beautiful. TC mark

In Case You And I Don’t Make It

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 03:00 PM PST

>Azrul Aziz
>Azrul Aziz

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I’ve been thinking about you since I was 12. I was curious then if you would change my life, too, just like what happened with people in TV when they fell in love.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I was writing you love letters in my diaries whenever I felt terribly lonely in my life and hoped that by doing so, it would be healing for me.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I made myself a fool by talking to the stars late at night and asking them if I was only a few sleeps away from finally meeting you.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I wished you were there to comfort me when I was so heartbroken with the people who forced me to believe they were you.

I would have given up any vices of mine just to see you there and have you save me.

In case you and I don't make it, know that you were always in my mind during the times that I was very down and had no one to understand me, no one to lean on, and no one to speak to. I truly did hope you would be there to tell me that I could make it through, even though it honestly felt like I was an inch away from giving up.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that whenever I blew out my birthday candles, I closed my eyes and pictured you there. I was waiting for a signal from the universe that I was ready for you to show up in my life.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that during the greatest highlights of my life, I wanted you to be there to congratulate me, to be happy for me, to pat me on the back and tell me how proud of me you were. I wanted to see that smile that would give me more confidence and assure me that I was on the right track.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I have spent my days wondering what you're your voice sounds like, or how warming it would be over the phone, or how my body would react if you called me.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I have dreamt of travelling the world with you by my side. I always hoped you would be there to take selfies with me by beautiful sunsets or get lost with me, guiding me as we walk paths that are too steep, or laugh with me as we learn something silly from someone else’s culture.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I pushed myself to become a better person for you. So that when we met, you would be captivated by my genuine spirit, big heart, and deep soul.

I want to impress you, wow you, and make you the luckiest person in the world.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I was dying to talk about you to my friends, to make them giggle or high five me when I show them your pictures, to have them question their minds if they’re going to one day meet someone like you.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that when I was on the road, I would look out the window and ponder in which part of the world you were in, or if we already walked pass each other on the streets, or if you sat beside me before, or if you were yet to be born.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I’m still here waiting for you, hoping that every longing, every tear, every daydream will soon be worth it.

In case you and I don't make it, please know that I did love you, with all my heart, even before I met you, even before I saw you, even before you touched me.

But if you and I really cannot make it, I will understand, no matter how sad it will be.

I will accept it. I will be okay. I will move on. I will stand on my own feet. And maybe that is how it will always be. TC mark

20 Encouraging Quotes For Every 20-Something Searching For Meaning

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 02:00 PM PST

unsplash.com
unsplash.com

Whether you are starting college, finishing college, starting out on a career, living in your parents' basement, traveling the world, or couch surfing, you might be feeling a bit lost in this great big world of ours. There are so many pressures placed on young adults to figure everything out. We are supposed to know what career path we want at 18, and who we want to marry by 25. Sometimes, we all need to take a step back and realize it's okay to question these demands. Perhaps, then, we can figure out what is best for us, because ultimately only we can know that.

Here are twenty quotes that can help when things feel overwhelming. May they bring you comfort, hope and perspective.

1. Note to self: None of us are getting out of here alive, so please stop treating yourself like an afterthought. Eat the delicious food. Walk in the sunshine. Jump in the ocean. Say the truth that you're carrying in your heart like hidden treasure. Be silly. Be kind. Be weird. There's no time for anything else."

-Nanea Hoffman

2. "She was fierce, she was strong. She wasn't simple. She was crazy and sometimes she barely slept. She always had something to say. She had flaws and that was ok. And when she was down, she got right back up. She was a beast in her own way, but one idea described her best. She was unstoppable and she took anything she wanted with a smile."

-R. M. Drake

3. "Because of you I can feel myself slowly but surely becoming the me I have always dreamed of being."

Tyler Knott Gregson

4. "And if there's one thing you should do, it's stop being a paradox. You say you want to be happy, yet you allow yourself to be surrounded by negative people. You say it's time for a change, but things stay exactly the way they always were. You say you can't believe they did that to you, but still won't stand up for yourself. Now, I'm telling you, it's time. It's time to be exactly the person you've always wanted to be. It's time to take control. It's time you let yourself be happy, because my goodness, you deserve it."

–Anonymous

5. "Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that."

–Martin Luther King, Jr.

6. "When she laughed, she was beautiful. When she cried, she was beautiful. But when she was determined, she was sexy as hell."

-Matt Baker

7. "I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being."

-Maya Angelou

8. "Listen, smile, agree. And then do whatever the fuck you were gonna do anyway."

-Robert Downey, Jr.

9. "I want to be around people that do things. I don't want to be around people anymore that judge or talk about what people do. I want to be around people who dream, and support, and do things."

-Amy Poehler

10. "Ask for what you want, and be prepared to get it."

-Maya Angelou

11. "To live is the rarest thing in the world. Most people exist, that is all."

-Oscar Wilde

12. "I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. If you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it full speed. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it, and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good.”

-Roald Dahl

13. "I always did something I was a little not ready to do. I think that is how you grow."

-Marissa Mayer

14. "You know, sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage. Just literally 20 seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it."

-Benjamin Mee

15. "She has been feeling it for a while now—that sense of awakening. There is a gentle rage simmering inside her, and it is getting stronger by the day. She will hold it close to her—she will nurture it and let it grow. She won't let anyone take it away from her. It is her rocket fuel and finally, she is going places. She can feel it down to her very core—this is her time. She will not only climb mountains—she will move them, too."

-Lang Leav

16. "Like a wild flower, she spent her days allowing herself to grow. Not many knew of her struggle, but eventually all knew of her light."

-Niki Rowe

17. "Take wrong turns. Talk to strangers. Open unmarked doors. And if you see a group of people in a field, go find out what they are doing. Do things without always knowing how they'll turn out. You're curious and smart and bored, and all you see if the choice between working hard and slacking off. There are so many adventures that you miss because you're waiting to think of a plan. To find them, look for tiny interesting choices. And remember that you are always making up the future as you go."

-Randall Munroe

18. "Travel and tell no one, live a true love story and tell no one, live happy and tell no one; people ruin beautiful things."

-Khalil Gibran

19. "I no longer have patience for certain things, not because I've become arrogant, but simply because I reached a point in my life where I do not want to waste more time with what displeases me or hurts me. I have no patience for cynicism, excessive criticism, and demands of any nature. I lost the will to please those who do not like me, to love those who do not love me and to smile at those who do not to smile at me. I no longer spend a single minute on those who lie or want to manipulate. I decided not to coexist anymore with pretense, hypocrisy, dishonesty and cheap praise. I do not tolerate selective erudition nor academic arrogance. I do not adjust either to popular gossiping. I hate conflict and comparison. I believe in a world of opposites and that's why I avoid people with rigid and inflexible personalities. In friendship, I dislike the lack of loyalty and betrayal. I do not get along with those who do not know how to give a compliment or word of encouragement. Exaggerations bore me and I have difficulty accepting those who do not like animals. And on top of everything I have no patience for anyone who does not deserve my patience."

-Meryl Streep

20. "There's nothing more dangerous than someone who wants to make the world a better place."

-Banksy TC mark

14 Things You Should Thank The Aquarius In Your Life For

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 01:00 PM PST

 Allegra Messina
Allegra Messina

1. For their honesty.

For telling you the truth even if it hurts, for telling it like it is, for telling you exactly how they feel, for keeping it real with you no matter what.

2. For their loyalty.

For being your friend since you were 5 or 10 or 16, for defending you fiercely when someone does you wrong, for being there for you through thick and thin and for always showing up when everyone else walks out.

3. For their free-spirit.

For inspiring you to forget about the rules and create your own, for pushing you to follow your dreams and believe in yourself, for telling you to tell someone how you feel because life is too short and for showing you that life is meant to be lived.

4. For seeing the best in you.

For appreciating your bizarre talent, for seeing your hidden potential, for noticing the little details about you that everyone else fails to see. For looking at you like you’re piece of art and admiring you for who you really are.

5. For pushing you to follow your heart.

For telling you to text first, to say 'I love you,' to fall for someone outside of your type and for reminding you that fairytales exist, that you shouldn't settle, that love should be fantastic and it should be beautiful. That love should come from the heart even if it seems unreasonable or complicated.

6. For accepting you as you are.

For not caring about what you do or how you dress, for not judging you based on your choices or your past, for allowing you to be who you really are and still love you just as much.

7. For letting you see life through rose-colored glasses.

For letting you know that you're worth it and you're born to do something great, for believing that your ideas can change the world, for being your fan when everyone else makes fun of your dreams, for always supporting your oddest and most unconventional ideas. For letting you see the light when it’s dark.

8. For letting you know your worth.

For being the first to point out that you deserve better, that your partner should respect you more, that your boss should appreciate your work, that your parents shouldn't stand in your way. For reminding you of your potential and what you're really capable of doing.

9. For their kindness and compassion.

For their big hearts that can feel your pain, for their empathy and their intuition. For understanding you without words, for reading your mind when you thought no one would and for helping you when you didn't ask for it.

10. For being your partner in crime.

For being the source of entertainment in your life, for being the class clown, or the one who is always down to do something crazy, for going with you on spontaneous trips and random adventures. For always cheering you up when you feel down.

11. For being a fighter.

A fighter for their dreams, for their friends, for their loved ones and for themselves. For standing up for you when you can't stand up for yourself and for always getting back up when someone knocks them down.

12. For giving you your space.

Because they love their space too and they need it, they let you take your time without complaining. They will still pick up the phone even if you haven't called in months and they'll always welcome you back into their lives with open arms.

13. For loving you unconditionally.

Whether at your worst or at your lowest. Whether you're being hard to love or easy to love. Whether you're rich or poor, whether you're hot or cold. Once you've found your way into an Aquarian's heart, you never really leave.

14. For trying to change the world.

Or at least your world. Aquarians are humanitarians by nature and they love to leave a powerful yet heartfelt impact on others. They love to leave the world a better place, even in the smallest way possible. They want to fix things, they want to fix people, they want to fix themselves and they want to fix the world.  TC mark

Rania Naim is a poet and author of the new book All The Words I Should Have Said, available here.

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10 Important Things I’ve Learned As I Turn 23

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 12:00 PM PST

Nirzar Pangarkar
Nirzar Pangarkar

1. You only need one person to believe in you and that is yourself.
You have to build that confidence that you can do anything you want to do, even if everyone is saying you can't. Don't be afraid of failing, you will have more regrets not doing things you've always wanted than actually doing these things and failing. After all, its your dream and not theirs; so bring yourself together and tell yourself that "I can".

2. You cannot always get what you want.

There are situations in your head that you wish you were in; people you wish you are and places you wish you've been but life do not give you all of these things. Remember that God only gives you the things that you need and not all the things that you want. If you can't get it, it means your life is far better off without it. So stop clinging to these wants or else all the frustrations will pile up and will consume your life.

3. People always have unrealistic expectations of you, don't try to satisfy them.
You don't have to seek validation or approval from other people. It will just wear you out, will pressure you, and will affect your self-worth and happiness. Whatever you do, there will always be something they would say; so better do the things that you want.

4. Don't chase people.
The people you meet belong to certain seasons of your life. They're not meant to stay and they will eventually go when that season is over and  they have served their purpose. Clinging to them and holding on to them when it’s already their time to leave is emotionally draining, it will make you question your self-worth and value. It will also hinder your growth and everything life has in store for you. God will always place the people you need in your life, never too late, never too early. You don't need to do anything but trust him.

5. Success does not happen overnight. Be patient with yourself.
Just like diamonds which need great time and extreme pressure to be molded and to shine. You also need to undergo hardships and you also need to trust time to give you that moment to sparkle. You've got big dreams, which would also mean you have to do big actions. Don't hurry; remember you're in the process of getting it.

6. Love is not based on emotions, it's always a choice.
As much as you enjoy your favorite chocolate, there will come a time when it will taste different and will not give you the same happiness you once experienced. Much like love, there will come a time that you won't get the same feeling you had in the beginning of the relationship. Emotions fade, feelings changes because you yourself also changes. As you grow older, you will discover that there is always something/someone better than what you have. You'll chase the better one and eventually feelings will die down again. It's a cycle. And it would always be your choice if you will continue to chase the better ones or work with what you have.

7. The world is not only flowers and butterflies.
It is not as good as how you see things when you're young. It is not as sweet as how it’s pictured in fairy tales. It also has a dark side, people and events that will make you fall and stumble throughout your life. People will hurt you, things will not turn out the way you expect them too. Be ready of all the jagged roads life has in store for you but don't opt yourself from dreaming.

8. You are not special; the world will continue to move regardless of what you're going through.
The world won't care, people lives will continue. Even if you fall and stop living, it would only take seconds of their lives but would not make a big impact on them. You will only be a part of a memory, somebody they used to know. So when life knocks you down, you have to force yourself to get up and continue living or else you will be left behind.

9. People treat you the way you allow them to treat you.

You are capable of enforcing things and stopping things that you don't want. You teach people on how you should be treated by the way you allow them to speak to you, by the way you allow them to touch you, by the way you allow them to depend on you. You're the one responsible on setting out the boundaries and you're the one responsible in establishing the respect you want to receive.

10. Things will eventually get better in the end, if it's not yet better, then it is still not the end.
Your current situation will never be your final destination, it’s temporary and will change over time. God puts difficult seasons in your life to yield something better in you. It may not be the situation you are expecting to come but undoubtedly there will be something better out of it. Remember, you are still in the process. TC mark

How It Feels To Be Single

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 11:00 AM PST

Duong Tran Quoc
Duong Tran Quoc

It sucks to be single, especially when everyone in your group of friends is already taken, and you can’t help but feel like you’re way behind in love department, or life in general. It's upsetting when the world thinks it’s funny to put walking love birds in front of your eyes wherever you go, and you can’t help but look the other way because the view only triggers your loneliness. It's depressing whenever you scroll through your social media during the times that you’re so tired and you can’t help but come across with photographs that have captions, ‘#RelationshipGoals.’

But isn’t that the wrong way of celebrating your single status?

Your singleness isn’t supposed to be sad, and gloomy, and full of misery. Nor should it be the kind of journey you want to avoid.

To be single is to be able to read a book at a coffee shop for hours without feeling conscious about not having company. To travel in different places by yourself, learn perspectives in life outside of your own comfort zone, discover how beautiful the world is with no one on your side, and to not feel lonely when you’re stuck at airports waiting for your next flight. To run for seven miles a week, or join yoga classes, or take muay-Thai exercises, or simply hit the gym to be fit for yourself. And only yourself.

To be single is to come home to your apartment and be content with the silence of empty space after a long day. In your company, you can have the luxury to sleep on any side of the bed or chat with any person you want to talk to without considering anyone’s restrictions. Without commitment, you have the privilege of watching your kind of movie, listening to your type of music, eating your favorite food, and doing anything you want. Just because you can.

To be single is being able to attain success without having to worry about impressing someone special, only for the people that love you.

To be single is doing insane things such as singing loudly and off-key at a karaoke bar, and not be stressed out whether you’re turning someone off. Dancing like crazy and off-beat at a friend’s party, and not caring if you’re making someone think twice about you. Dressing the way you want to in a social event and not feeling pressured about giving a wrong impression.

You see, being single is often linked to not being good enough for someone else. But being single is the perfect opportunity for you to improve yourself, to discover your passions in life, to find out the reason for the beating of your heart, and to know who you are.

Do not be scared to overcome your loneliness. Be great at carrying yourself. Forget about the danger of getting ‘good’ at being single. Instead, listen to "Love Myself" by Hailee Steinfeld repeatedly, and lift your spirits.

Because to be single is to cherish and enjoy your company. To be single is to celebrate the love and respect for yourself.

To be single is to prepare you to become the lovable person for the right one that is truly meant for you. TC mark

Here’s What Happens When Your Parents Choose Their Faith Over You

Posted: 25 Jan 2017 10:24 AM PST

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What people don't understand about leaving a strict religious group is that you have to leave everything behind.

Your identity is made up of those people around you, those things that you believed for so long because you were a good kid and you did what made your parents happy. Imagine looking back at the first half of your life as if you lived it on an alien planet. When you leave there is a scorched earth in your rearview mirror and you have absolutely no idea where to drive.

You leave your family and friends — your entire social network and support system is poof! gone. You have to make this intensely scary decision of becoming a person who has no one after growing up in a tight-knit community. It's lonely and disorienting and you keep wondering if you should have just tried harder to believe so you could have stayed.

I grew up in an extreme, very fundamentalist group that considered itself a sect of Christianity. It can most accurately be described as a cult, though technically it's a "non-denominational" "training institution", "homeschooling program" and series of "seminars". I have to put quotes around everything because there's a huge difference between what they call stuff and what it actually is.

People think when they hear 'Christianity' that they understand what I'm talking about, but they don't. This was an extreme sect. I was homeschooled, kept away from secular culture, and taught that people outside the community were fallen and sinful influences that would distract me from my walk with God. I was basically completely ostracized from anyone who didn't believe what my family believed. Imagine walking out into the world after that?

My father and the other elders in our community would use our religion to justify anything they wanted to do. By using the bible, they had complete power over me and if I complained I wasn't questioning them, I was questioning our faith. I was questioning God. So obviously, this wasn't allowed. Even though I was one of the most "questioning" (aka rebellious) people I knew, I internalized what I was taught and I spent a long time believing I was a faulty human being because I couldn't accept on faith what everyone I loved could.

One of the grossest aspects of it all was the emphasis on "cheerfulness". In order to be a good member, you had to be happy all the time — even when you were doing something like scrubbing toilets. Cheerfulness was the only acceptable outcome of any situation.

My dad controlled me by telling me what it was "dangerous" for me to do — which was basically anything that would have given me confidence or allowed me to have any kind of relationship with an outsider. He wanted me to be completely cut off and dependent on him. He and my mom also taught me that my body was inherently sinful. Modesty was drilled home from an inappropriately young age. It was my responsibility to keep men from seeing my body in a way that may trigger sexual thoughts. I didn't even know what "immoral thoughts" were when I started having to be concerned about this!

I think my parent's religion is suspicious as hell, but I get why people don't leave. I spend a lot of time wishing I wasn't the kind of person who had to leave.

I knew when I left we wouldn't have any kind of relationship. They would never accept me outside of the church, and I knew they'd always choose the church over me.

My parents refuse to speak to me. Full stop.

At first they would have short, rehearsed conversations where they repeated the same phrases about how they were "worried" about me and how I could "repent" and ask God to "make me stronger" — but those tapered off. I think they pretend I don't exist now. People from the church are probably polite enough to have stopped asking about me.

As for me, I'm doing okay now. I don't think I'll ever stop feeling weird and left out and like part of me is missing, but I'm still happy I left. Most people don't understand why it's such a big deal and I just tell them to imagine leaving an entire half of your life behind. If you do that you might begin to understand what it's like when your parents choose their religion over you. There's a reason they call that kind of stuff 'roots', you feel unstable without it. TC mark

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