I celebrated my birthday over the weekend and while in the midst of enjoying the weekend, I happened to meet a woman who shared the same birthday with me. We hit it off immediately and soon she shared with me some challenging trials she had faced within the last year. I told her that I admired her transparency and for that her beauty vibrantly shined from within.

That’s when it hit me.

“Everybody’s got something.” We live in a world where it can be so easy to think that we’re the only ones who are struggling with problems; especially amongst women. There’s so much pressure to be the perfect mom, wife, girlfriend, sister, employee, or businesswoman. You’re supposed to act like everything is fine even though deep down inside you may be crumbling.

Those feelings of inadequacy, lack of confidence or low self-worth can lead to prolonged feelings of loneliness, guilt, shame, worry, anxiety and even depression. I’m here to tell you that you’re not alone – everybody is dealing with something and you’d be surprised to know what that woman next to you is going through.

You may see her posting pictures of a thriving business and personal brand, but not know that she’s suffering from depression. You may see her post pictures of her engagement but her fiancé is secretly seeing someone else. You may see her going on a vacation to Dubai but not know that has insurmountable debt because she lacks discipline in her finances. She might tell you all is OK but she may be counting her last quarters to try to get something to eat.

Truth is that we are all dealing with something and being envious of what someone else has is a sign that you may lack maturity or a grateful attitude. Maturity doesn’t come with age but acceptance of responsibility. You’ve got to learn to be grateful for what your individual story is because you were designed for it. Your story may not be “perfect” but who cares? That’s what makes you beautiful!

I’ve been learning to be content where I am and I’ve seriously embraced an attitude of gratitude in spite of the challenges that I face. You know I’m a woman of faith so my trust in God has brought me to a place of peace with my story. I may not understand why certain things happen to me, nor may I like it and may even have some fear of what’s to come but I know Who holds my future.

It’s in your pain that you often find your purpose. So instead of wishing it were easier, be thankful for what you do have. I know that sounds super cliché but it’s so true!

Learn to be comfortable with your story. Not every story is a romantic comedy; some stories have deeper meaning than that. Those stories are the ones that connect with people. People like to see transparency and vulnerability as it’s a way for you to build trust with them. There’s so much beauty in transparency, honesty vulnerability.

So I want you to do an attitude check. Are you slightly envious of someone else in your life or someone you see on social media? If so, find out and why. Replace the envy with gratitude for what’s going right and for the power of your dynamic story! If you’re in one of those brutally tough seasons, remember that seasons will eventually change. After winter, always comes spring.

Your “spring” may be right on the other side of your renewed attitude of gratitude. I’m not telling you be happy about what’s going wrong but trust that even if all hell is coming against you, you’re not going to allow anything to steal your joy, beauty, strength and resilience.



Maria I. Melendez