Ah, the time of year where everyone takes a second to finally shake themselves out of the routine of everyday life and finally acknowledge all their countless blessings in life. When thanksgiving rolled around this time of year, I was ready... and HAVE been ready since the year began to acknowledge my blessings in my life and to be open about my deep sense of gratitude for every single one. However, I MUST share the thing that I am MOST thankful for this year in hopes opening the hearts and minds of others.

2016 thus far has been an absolutely tremendous year for myself and my independence. I always used to be thinking of others, and always putting others before me, leaving myself to be subjected to the role of the welcome mat of your front steps. This past year however, I made it a goal to work on my own self-- MY hobbies and MY dreams and MY values and MY morals and MY aspirations in life, all the very things that make me oh so very ME. I made it a point to think of myself and learn to hold my own when I didn't have my comforting familiarities at hand, whether it be my parents, my team, my family, and even my friends. 

It is in this complete and true independence that I have found immense happiness and gratitude. Now, I wake up in the mornings without a doubt or question of who I am or what I am worth. It is in my own self that I have found and tapped into an inner strength and respect for myself that I have never known. I know what I want, I know who I am, and I am strong in my values and beliefs. I do not have to depend on anyone else to let me know what is "cool" or what makes me happy or who I should be at all for any of that matter.

With this I feel that I have gained a whole other level of compassion for myself that has allowed me in turn to focus on advocating to the world this very lesson I have learned. I feel so strong and blissful knowing and holding my own, and so knowledgeable of the fact that all the day-to-day, "everybody does it" or "everybody loves it" superficial aspects and routines of life do not matter, and for that I am better. I am so grateful that I have allowed myself to step back and have intense periods of self-awareness and reflection and have become so truly grateful that I have an open mind that is capable of such compassion and understanding.

With this newfound strength and outlook, I hope to inspire others to do the same. I urge everyone to stay true to themselves, and to allow themselves to find what really makes them think, or what really captures their interests; I hope that others break the norms or society and leave the whole "fad" of being cool, cruel, and numb to the world and themselves. I hope that others embrace each of their own unique individualities and for god sakes grasp on to that for dear life.

In this dull and at times cruel world-- this newfound individuality, independence, and compassion has been my hand to hold so to speak.

Be honest, true, strong, and compassionate always,



*** can also be seen on my personal blog 

Published by Marisa Costales