In some people's opinion, being pro-life is strictly about ending abortion and protecting unborn babies.
Oh, it's so much more than that.
Opening the new year, I am striving to be a more outwardly positive person. Now, I know how judgmental we girls can be toward one another, I get it. Start with this - instead of giving another person a look when you're walking past him/her, instead smile at him/her and ask how his/her day went. You can make people happy by offering small acts of kindness such as holding the door or complementing one's outfit (which is a major confidence booster, btw).
Talk yourself into a good mood; convince yourself to be happy. Something by which I have sort of followed by the past few years is, if I can't be happy, I might as well make others happy so that they can do their best to help me. Try your best to be an outward sign of happiness that others admire. I have a friend who is always smiling no matter how much school stress that's weighing her down. She always complements other people, even when she's struggling to keep her eyes open because she's so tired. She is who I'm trying to turn myself into in 2016.
Four years ago, when I was in eighth grade, my graduating class and I went on a religious retreat. At this retreat, one of our former teachers told us all a story, and I still think about it constantly. Although I don't remember it exactly, I'm going to do my best to retell the story.
There's this group of high school students in a class. The group contains people from all sorts of different social groups: popular people, gamers, book fanatics, and one person who doesn't fit into any group. This specific girl sat in the corner doodling, not talking to anyone. While all of the other kids are talking, one of them notices this girl that isn't talking to any of them. He mentions how she isn't in the group, an outsider. Some of the kids in the group don't want to invite her in, yet a few people do want to bring her in. The group as a whole voted to keep her out of it, yet the one kid who mentioned her in the first place doesn't agree. He goes over to her and asks if she wants to join the group. She politely says no, but the kid wouldn't leave her alone. He insisted they do something, whether they stay outside of the group or go back in. Eventually, all the kids came over to her and they became really close friends.
This is an example of being pro-life. The one kid who went over to her valued her and appreciated her even though they had never met or talked before. He wanted to get to know her and give her a chance at friendship. That's what being pro-life is - accepting others regardless of who they are or what they've done.
This past year has been really rough for me. In November 2014 I was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, I had no motivation to do anything. I lost all interest in the things I loved the most - piano, soccer, school. Yet, I still maintained my spot as a pro-life activist. There were nights where I didn't want to wake up in the morning and I skipped school because I was so mentally drained that I wouldn't get out of bed. My life was slowly spiraling into an endless pit of suffering where I felt that I had no worth and that my only option was to harm myself in attempt to rid the mental pain. I often thought to myself, "how can someone who is so active in the pro-life community hate herself so much?" After so much pain, I told myself enough was enough and I changed. I no longer self-harm and I am so much happier.
My current goal is to help people who have been in my position. I would never wish something as awful as depression and anxiety unto someone.
Be someone who changes for the better, to make others happy. You look so amazing with a smile on your face.
If you have a story you'd like to share, please comment below - I'd love to hear it.
If you want to reach out to me for help, contact me via Instagram or Twitter @SidneyMarielle. I'd be more than glad to talk to you and walk with you through whatever you're dealing with.
"You cannot share what you don't have. If you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either." - Don Miguel Ruiz