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Love isn’t meant to be easy. Only things that challenge us make us grow. Love is no exception.

I believe a common misconception in this day and age, is that love is a feeling, and once you have that feeling the world will be butterflies and rainbows forever. That loves means we will never have to put forth any effort to continue the passion with our partner. Now, I do not claim to be an expert by any means. I have only been married for 20 months. I am still growing and learning about true and honest love. However, I believe that marriage can be compared to the waves in the ocean. There are wonderful times where both parties feel connected and satisfied, and there are times where there is conflict and tension that leads to a disconnect. These times of conflict does not reflect an unhealthy marriage. In fact, I believe these times are a sign of a healthy one, as long as both spouses work through it as a team.

Over these past 20 months, I have learned a lot about myself and what I thought love was. I said I understood love was difficult, I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and carefree all the time. However, when my husband, whom I adore, and I reached difficult times where we struggled to stay connected, the full weight of “it’s not going to be easy” struck me. We have found our most difficult times are when we are lost in our daily routines. Those times when we go through the motions of our day and neglect to get outside of our comfort zones to show each other how much we truly care.

These times of tension and discomfort, are the times when my husband and I grow the most. To get beyond the friction, we are forced to examine ourselves and discover areas where we can improve upon that will allow us to become a better partner. Often times I compare these trials to a rock being polished. For the rock to become smooth and desirable, it must undergo pressure and refinement. That is exactly true for a marriage. If a couple was to stay stagnant, and be without tension or conflict, then they could never grow stronger. Again, this could be comparable to muscles. The only way for muscles to become stronger is to push, stretch and lift them until they bulk up. A marriage without strengthening will crumble when difficulties arise. I do not want to be one of those who crumble.

Marriage is a beautiful design for two people to merge their lives into one. It is not easy, but once we reach the other side of tension and find ourselves back into an easy flow, we all become stronger and closer.

Laughter is the best medicine!

I came across this picture (below) one day and it cracked me up! I found it historical because it rang so true to the thoughts that frequent my mind. Many times when I have a simple aliment I immediately think I am dying. Whether it be a cold, or a headache or even a pimple! Detaching from my own anxiety, and examining how my thoughts are from an outsider’s perspective, it can be pretty funny.

Laughter has really helped me in the healing process because laughing at something I am afraid of takes the power away from it. It allows my anxiety to feel small and insignificant when I mock it. Obviously, this does not make it go away, but in moments I am able to laugh, it makes me feel so much better. Fear only strengthens anxiety, so in to counteract the effects, I try to laugh!

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I challenge you to…

I challenge you to complement yourself. To be proud of who you are as a person and the talents you possess. I know it is an uncomfortable thing to do, looking at yourself in a positive way, but I believe that it is completely fine. We spend a large portion of the day looking at desirable qualities of others and wishing we were more like them. Finding the faults in ourselves has become a natural past time for many of us (myself included) and because of that, we no longer feel comfortable looking at our strengths. How sad is that? We were all made perfectly! Yes, we may have weaknesses but that doesn’t mean we are failures.

The parts of the body do not all perform the same function, but they all come together to form a beautiful creation. What good would a body be if everything was a heart? A brain? Or a pinky finger? Nothing would get done. It is the same with our talents. If we were all musicians, music would not be as beautiful because everything would be the same. I certainly don’t want the same talents as everyone else. Our unique qualities allow us to form a culture where we can all support one another and work together to make amazing things!

Now the challenge is to identify five things about yourself that you LOVE! Don’t feel guilty about acknowledging your own amazing qualities!

Here are the 5 things I LOVE about myself:

1. I am very creative and artistic

2. I am talented when it comes to stringing words together to make beautiful sentences

3. I am a great entertainer and am able to tell stories with over the top enthusiasm

4. I have amazing hair!

5. I am a trustworthy friend :)

**I have to admit it was a little difficult for me to come up with 5 good things about myself. I think changing my mindset about myself is now on my list!**

Now I challenge you!! Write your 5 best qualities! 

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Anxiety, you ain’t got nothin’ on me!

Over the summer (before I started by journey towards healing) I spent a lot of time worrying about all of the trainings I would have to partake in during the upcoming school year. My panic attacks where not under contro. yet , not to mention they had NEVER been a part of my life previously, and I was worried they would strike during presentations or when I was meeting new people. However, I am proud to report that I have been to three training this year, each 2 days long, and I have not had a single attack, or even anxiousness. It is an incredible feelings to know that I am able to get outside my comfort zone and be able to stay calm and excited about what I am learning.

I still struggle with the frustration of knowing that almost an entire year of my life was lost to anxiety. Especially since I had already dealt with anxiety when I was in college and I thought I had it under control. I did not have the panic attacks, I had the feelings of dread for no reason (which is always annoying. Gotta love GAD.) I wasted a year of growing as a wife, teacher, a leader and a woman. However, I am learning that I cannot keep that mind set. I have to find learning opportunities from this situation. If it had not happened, I would never of discovered the healing tools that are available to me :) This can really help me in the future if I ever get trapped in the cycle again.

As always, if you are in the darkest fight with anxiety, don’t give up! Open up and you will be surprised by how many people are understanding and supportive! :)