We all have a story. My story is not anyone else’s. It is mine, and only mine. Throughout my life, my career, I have been through many ups and downs, successes and failures. Most people only see my successes, the good times. What I am most proud of, however, is the journey of how I achieved all those good times. I have journeyed through depression, a lack of self-confidence, self-belief and anxiety. I have dealt with these in many different ways. I ignored the dark times. I tried to hide. I tried run away. I failed.
The one constant I found that has always helped me get through the incredibly challenging times, is talking about them. I am so fortunate to have a supportive family and network of friends who may have not always known how dark my times have been, but they have always been there for me, and showed me love. They have my back. I cannot express in words how much they have helped me, without even knowing it. The innocent text asking how I am, saying they miss me, telling me they are there for me if I need anything, and simply listening when I need to talk. Talking about my feelings, and having someone listen, not needing to respond, is one of the most valuable forms of recovery for me.
I have also found meditation. It is my way of helping myself. In taking deep breathes, I remind myself that I am who I am. I have to love myself, and love spending time with myself. I love my struggles, I love the hard days, because they are what make me stronger. They have shaped who I am today, and without those hard days, I wouldn’t be able to grow. I am proud of who I am, and I know not everyday is going to be perfect, because we all know no one on this earth perfect. I am proud of my story and I am proud to say my struggles don’t define who I am.
Every day I strive to be better, a better daughter, sister, friend, aunt, granddaughter, mother (to my pup), but most importantly to be better to myself. To love myself, to appreciate myself, to be grateful every day for waking up, and having the chance to grow and continue on my beautiful journey of being the best Stephanie Labbe I can be, is my daily challenge.
For this Bell Lets Talk Day, be kind to one another, respect everyone’s journey, and listen with open ears and hearts. It is the best gift you can give to someone. If you are struggling, reach out. Talk. And most of all, remind yourself that your struggles don’t define you.