I grew up in a broken home. Although not always broken, it had its dark days. Parents who got divorced, who fought, and to this day don’t talk. I grew up around addiction, fighting, and anger. I’ve come from some less than perfect circumstances. I was loved, and cared for. But I have scars and battle wounds, most of which are not well known. But that is not who I am.

I’m an imperfect person riddled with flaws. I lack self-confidence, I am shy, I’m afraid to stand up for myself and speak my truth. I let other people’s actions affect me, to the point that it can sometimes cripple me. I don’t forgive easily and I am guarded towards people who have hurt me.

I am an imperfect person riddled with good. I love deeply. I am fiercely protective. I care more than I should and I try everyday to see the best in everything. I smile at strangers. I’m grateful for every part of my life. Because I know that it is part of me. I’ve grown into someone who wants to be happy, sees the best in people and situations, and I’m someone who doesn’t use my past as a crutch to be bitter or loathing. I do not think anyone owes me anything. I do not feel cheated or left behind.

Although I still do not see myself as worthy or strong. Although I still care more about other people and their feelings more than my own. I am working on it. I am working on myself. I am constantly growing and evolving. I am learning from my past so that I can be a better person for me and for my daughter. So that I can live a happy life, filled with love.

Why? Because I can. Because living a life of anger or sadness is not a life. Or at least it’s certainly not one that I want.

I believe that part of who I am has come from where I’ve been, what I’ve seen, experienced, and felt. I believe that I was raised to see the good in the world. I was not protected from the bad things life can bring. I was thrown headlong into them and told to swim. And that is what makes me who I am. I’ve learned, I’ve grown and I’ve come out with a better appreciation for what I can be, what I have, and where I can go.

I believe that people can choose happiness. That happiness is something you create for yourself despite your circumstances. I believe that we can choose to grow from our circumstances or we can choose to let them cripple us.

You will get hurt sometimes but everything happens for a reason. Every bruise, every scar, they are all there to teach you. To help you grow. Make mistakes. Love other people but, most of all, love yourself. Forgive. Because that, above all else, is what our world needs. Have grace and respect. With every hardship comes a lesson. Even if it is the hardest lesson you will ever learn. You are stronger than you know. You are in charge of your life, here and now. You only get this one. So choose to be happy. Choose to see the good. Because, no matter what, you and you alone are in charge of how you feel… no one else.

Annie Rothe

Annie Rothe, a Colorado-born, yoga-loving, Samoyed-owning mom to an 8 month old little girl. Annie began blogging over at Simply Annie http://www.simplyannie.com/ after having her daughter and becoming a SAHM. Between naps and play dates she loves arranging flowers, writing for her blog, spending time with her husband and her tribe.