We cannot always control what happens in our lives, and experience struggle. Should we let it define us? Hell Yes.
Last year I decided to start a website dedicated to underdogs. Who are Underdogs? They are the individuals in life who have found a divergent path from the ones you typically read about in success stories. Yet, underdogs have somehow managed to survive, and most of the time, thrive. My goal for the website was to create a space and community where those who have felt left out, or felt different, knew there were others like them. Why? Because that’s how I felt.
I’ve been silent for over 6 months. Mostly because I felt like a fraud. Even though you could say I have found success in life, through professional milestones, I never FELT successful. I never felt that I was accomplishing true goals, or rather, what others would acknowledge as goals. Instead, I still struggled and saw myself as who I was:
- The girl standing in the government food line with my mom growing up.
- The girl who was bullied in grade school by the other kids.
- The young woman in my 20’s who decided to pursue a life outside of her families religion only to lose everyone.
- The young woman scrounging for change to buy a meal for the day.
- The woman in her 30’s who lost her job.
The thing is, my reality now is not the reality of my past. Yet, somehow over the years, I have let those struggles become hindrances to what success was to me; I tried to distance myself from their reality. Instead of accepting and embracing where I came from, I allowed myself to be weighed down my experiences. I was still fighting to not be poor, wondering what my game plan was if I lost my job again – could I still afford rent? But these are the voices of the underdogs. These are the struggles underdogs face on top of just trying to exist.
Underdogs experience self doubt because we have lived lives under everyone else. We are a shadow group of people rarely noticed until suddenly we are. We are multiple races, multiple religions, we are everyone who has experienced some sort of struggle in life and still find ourselves caught up in it once in a while. We will always question whether our success is valid. Whether we are valid.
But we are, and so is our success.
This is why it’s so important to embrace the struggles we have lived through. Going through poverty and food scarcity can increase appreciation for the times when you have money in the bank and food on the table. It increases appreciation when you have a job that appreciates you in return. We as underdogs can only get ahead by embracing the struggles we have lived through, and may still yet experience.
We will feel lonely.
We will feel less.
We will feel hopeless.
But we aren’t – because I know there are so many of you out there that feel this way. It’s time to let go of the idea that we’re alone, because we’re not. Today I encourage you to think of the people in your life, and let them know when you are struggling to get through self-doubt. Embrace your struggles to live bravely every day. Let go of the idea that the struggles you have experienced make you less. You will never be less even if someone else tries to make you feel like you are.
We are never less because we will always offer that hand to someone else when they need it. Today I offer mine back to you because being an underdog is ingrained into my own personal DNA.
So – hey. I’m back – and I have things to say.