A Survivor Is

A person who continues to function or prosper despite opposition, hardship, or setbacks.

person who is able to continue living his or her life successfully despite experiencing difficulties.

A survivor –beats the odds, has courage and strength, and is a true inspiration.

A survivor is … YOU.

To any Human Trafficking Survivor, to any Domestic Violence Survivor, to any Addiction Survivor, to anyone struggling to find their way, and to anyone who has felt like things would never get better, this is for you.

Dear Survivor,

You are important. You are intelligent. And what you bring to the world is impactful.

Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. Your purpose has always been bigger than your pain. You have had moments that you have overcome that many don’t know about.  Yet, you are still standing.

Your presence on this earth is meaningful. Your life lessons are meant to be shared with someone else who may have dealt with or are dealing with something you once did. You are the center of your own universe.

You are in control of your choices.

You have the most control over your own fate, destiny, and mood – which make up your thoughts, beliefs and actions. You decide how your life will be spent, and that is why you are important.

Your life matters. Your thoughts and actions can change people’s lives. You are valuable, you have purpose, and most importantly, you are a survivor.

Our world can be so negative, and people who are not empowering or happy with themselves may try to tear you down. Don’t allow it.

You are on a road to making your life the way you want it to be and even better. Remain on this road. Be happy on this road. Allow yourself the pleasure of inspiring yourself and others on this road.

I love you. I appreciate you. I appreciate you for being the individual that you are. I appreciate you for lifting yourself up when you felt like life was knocking you down.

Life is not easy, and yet, in the middle of a storm, you choose to go out in the rain and do what you need to do in life in order to get things done. I love and appreciate you for that. Always remember that there is nothing wrong with appreciating yourself and putting yourself first.

You are courageous.

You are not afraid to step out on a limb and go for your goals, no matter how difficult it may seem. It takes courage to put yourself out there, showing up day after day in the way that you do, fighting the good fight. You choose courage to brush the dirt off after a knock-down and get right back in there.

You have courage to honor your boundaries and speak to what needs speaking to, courage to not take things personally even when things get heated. It takes courage and resilience to stand strong in yourself knowing and trusting your own path, even when those you care about the most may be headed another way.

Still, when you may be criticized, you are courageous. You know it takes courage to address the things that may be hard and scary.

One thing I want you to remember is to empower yourself.

Self-empowerment is so essential. It’s also liberating because you are taking full responsibility for your life: making your own choices and decisions, and living according to your own personal operating system and values. You are free from the anxiety and fear of living up to the expectations of others, experiencing the joy of being authentically yourself.

Remember all of this, and you will go far. Empowerment is not an arrogant thing. It’s something that should make you feel good inside. If it ever makes you feel any other way, follow your own steps to eliminate that. Understand the growth that you have experienced and what is to come.

Recognize that growing is honorable.

When that happens, it shows that you are pushing yourself to become not just good, but great.

Personal growth is something you achieve consciously. It is a long-term project that never ends yet brings rewards every day. This is the project of building a self. Everyone has a self, which serves as a platform for all the things that happen over a lifetime. Upon this platform you can build a structure of values that become more fulfilling day by day. Growing is a part of life, and while it may be scary, it’s necessary to make it in this world. It’s something that pushes you far beyond places that you ever assumed you would go.

Take time every day to remind yourself of your highest aspirations, the hopes and dreams that make you most human. By nourishing yourself in this way, you are asking your highest self and soul to become part of your daily life.

To finish, I’ll leave you with this quote from Denzel Washington:

“Ease is a greater threat to progress than hardship. So, keep moving, keep growing, keep learning. See you at work.”

Continue to use your voice. You are a survivor. You are important. You matter.

Au’Vonnie Alexander | Youth Coordinator

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