Thirteen Reasons Why I Choose to Love My Life
By Elizabeth Barrera
Letting life’s obstructions consume you is easy. Acknowledging them and choosing to be resilient, however, demonstrates not only your strength, but your willingness to improve yourself and love every portion of negativity thrown your way. I haven’t had the easiest life to live (clearly speaking from a first-world-person’s perspective), but I choose to move forward with it anyway. While my peers are getting engaged, working at the most prominent companies, and earning their second degree, I’m doing what feels like the complete opposite (slight exaggeration), but still fighting back ten times stronger. You see, your character is determined by how you essentially “bounce back,” or in more professional terms, how resilient you are.
When I first watched 13 Reasons Why, I was quick to empathize with the character, and even more quick to judge. I am nobody to speak on behalf of depression, but I am someone who can speak on resiliency. Sure enough, a high school student’s mentality does not compare to that of a 23-year-old, but I do think my reasons to hold onto life can help others learn to be resilient and love their life just as much as I love mine. I won’t dive into my personal experiences and the hardships I’ve been through, only because it’s not something I’m comfortable exposing. But I will give you this brief outline: I, too, have been taken advantage of. I, too, have crumbled on the floor to the point that I don’t feel anything. I, too, have felt numb and lonely. I, too, have been bullied both in the workforce and in school. And, I too, have been physically disrespected, but I still choose to see the positive in it all.
Here are 13 reasons why I choose to love my life:
God. Believing in something or someone bigger than me allows me to remain hopeful that there is something more positive coming my way. There’s a plan for me to follow and remaining negative isn’t one of them. Having faith in God helps guide me through my darkest days and prayer strengthens my soul.
My family. They’ve seen me at my best and worst. They know be better than anyone in this world can ever know me, and because of them, I choose to love my life. If I’m happy, I run to them, if I’m sad, I run to them as well. Their love for me is unconditional and everlasting.
My friends. Friends aren’t perfect, they’re human, and we need to remember that. We’re not perfect either, and we’ll hurt each other time and time again. However, true friends will remain loyal regardless of what happens. But we must learn to forgive and be compassionate. Because of my friends and their endless support, I know that I’ll never really be alone.
My professional career. Too much work needs to be done in order for me to reach the executive level and be wealthy enough to focus specifically on helping my people and other minorities who are currently suffering discrimination, racism, poverty, and other social injustices. My hustle game is always on because I know where I want to go, and my desire to get there is stronger than entertaining the idea of complacency.
My purpose. I like to think that we all have a purpose on this earth, whether it be for reasons of personal growth and development, or simply because we are meant to make an impact in somebody else’s life. Always remember, you have the power to change people’s lives and make them feel better and happier about themselves. Use the positivity inside of you to help them be happy.
My legacy. I want to be someone that my kids will look up to, (assuming that I’ll have children one day). Even now, I know I’m being watched. My parents, my younger siblings, my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents. Their eyes are on me, and I’ve already impacted their lives by receiving my degree. Knowing that I’ve set and will continue setting an example to follow helps me realize that I’ve been doing things right on my end, and I just need to continue doing just that.
My ancestors. Every time I visit Mexico, I’m reminded of poverty and the importance of humility during a come-up. My people have struggled from the moment that Mexicans were exploited and robbed of their territory. My people continue to struggle in the US in hopes of experiencing the American Dream. Because of them and because of their struggles, I am reminded that I, too, can make a difference in their name.
Love. With all the bad in this world, there’s also a balance of good. I like to ensure that everything I do, I do with love. I make sure to constantly remind myself of those who love me and those who I love in return. The world is full of 100% evil people. Seek love and fill others’ lives with love, too.
Passion. Let’s do what we love and be happy. Let’s open our arms to what makes us feel fulfilled and accomplished. I’m passionate about social justice and racial equality, just as much as I’m passionate about basketball and the Sacramento Kings one day taking a championship.
My imperfections. I will never be perfect and I’m completely okay with that. I have my flaws, and we all do. However, it’s not only about accepting our flaws, but it’s also about making an effort to constantly become better versions of ourselves. Sometimes we need to be aware that our imperfections are actually toxic, but completely fixable. I check myself often and am open to constructive criticism.
My desire to create change and impact. There are so many wrong things in this world that need improvement. Whether you want to focus on social justice, climate change, animal cruelty, or homelessness. Even beginning by changing yourself and your attitude is a start. Leaving a footprint in this world and making a change for the better is what drives me to wake up every morning. Knowing that I have the power to make a difference for somebody comforts me.
The power of resiliency. I can choose to be negative and point fingers at the world. I can choose to let the pain drown me and the unfairness of life take the best of me. But what good will I do to myself in doing that? Bouncing back each time I encounter a downfall will only strengthen me, especially when facing difficult situations.
ME. I deserve to live, and I deserve endless opportunities just like anyone else. I deserve to fight for myself even when nobody else will. I deserve this and so much more because I know my place on this earth is just as deserving as anyone else’s. My life may meant to be filled with hardships. My life may never be an easy stride along the beach at sunset, but it will be filled with stories to tell. It will be full of life and passion, but most importantly, it will always be filled with these thirteen reasons.
If you know someone with suicidal thoughts, please contact National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (1-800-273-TALK). To learn more about helplines and resources, visit http://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/