When I was twenty-one years old, I starved myself to ninety-five pounds and then spent every ounce of my energy worrying about the potential to gain weight back. It was torturous and yet comforting all at once. Because I obsessed about my body, I never had to think or worry about much else. There just wasn’t any time.
Back then I was rehearsing for a musical holiday show. I loved belonging to that group, and I wanted to form real friendships with the other cast members. But when I wasn’t singing or dancing, I was often vacant behind my eyes. I was a prisoner inside my bones, starved for my own love.
There was an incredibly buff guy named Rich. He was the strongest man I’d ever met, and we sometimes joked that we were complete opposites. He could easily pick me up with one arm and then toss me in the air.
One day he found me crying in the parking lot, as I did often when no one was looking. He put his massive hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re such a great person, Lori, but you’re going to be amazing when you finally decide to get strong.”
These words have always stuck with me. When I struggle, or feel like my world is falling apart, I remember: I can do amazing things when I choose to be strong—when I remember I am strong.
We all are. We are all survivors. We have all overcome adversity. We have all had our share of battles. We have all had our moments when we’ve fallen so low we questioned if we could lift ourselves up.
Yet we have. We’ve gotten smarter, bolder, braver, and wiser from the struggles we’ve endured. Maybe not right away, and maybe not easily, but we’ve bounced back from hard times, and we’ve proven to ourselves that our spirit is stronger than anything that could threaten to break it.
Today, if you question what you can change, handle, or overcome, remember: You can do amazing things when you decide to get strong.
Lori Deschene is the founder of Tiny Buddha. She’s also the author of Tiny Buddha’s Gratitude Journal and other books and co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an online course that helps you let go of the past and live a life you love.
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