finding inner strength


Throughout our lives, possibly even multiple times a day, we will tell ourselves, “I can’t.” It’s too far, it’s too high, I’m too weak, I just can’t do it.

Well, to put it lightly, we’re wrong, so wrong.

The truth is, we can do anything, you can do anything.

In today’s world, we are not strangers to sharing what we do. With a wide variety of social media outlets, we can document nearly every moment of our day. In doing so we have the ability to connect with and inspire others, as well as express ourselves in a unique way. When we post, we start a conversation, and today I’d like to start one that, while not necessarily new, is still extremely important and very personal to me.

As some of you may know, I climbed Mt. Whitney a few years ago and it changed my life. It woke me up from a long period of negativity and an “I can’t” mentality, and jump-started my path to self-acceptance. Throughout the training process and ultimately the final climb, I discovered something within myself that I can only describe as “my strong.”

We all have it. No matter who we are, where we come from, or what battles we are fighting, our strong is the intangible measure of what we can do, and against all odds, it moves us forward.

Today I hope to encourage all of you to not only discover your strong, but embrace it, utilize it, and share it with the world. So, I’m starting the hashtag #shoutyourstrong, which aims to celebrate all that we are accomplishing, both in the physical and mental battles we are fighting.

It is my hope that this hashtag can act as a community, a celebration of the positive changes we are all making in our lives amongst the ever-present negativity found both on- and offline.

#ShoutYourStrong will strive to inspire, not spark comparisons. We are all facing different struggles and we should not let the success of others diminish our own, nor should we be discouraged to share our steps forward, even if they seem small. For when we have the courage to admit what we’re going through, we give ourselves a voice. When we find the strength to fight back, we allow that voice to echo. And should another who struggles hear that echo, it might finally give them the courage to speak.

So today I encourage you to join the conversation. For no matter who you are or what you’re going through, and as hard as it may be to believe, you do have a unique strength inside of you that will help carry you through whatever comes your way. And not if, but when you find it, don’t just share it, shout it!



Size Strong: Size is a Number, Strength is a Feeling

When I was in high school I—like most teenagers—was extremely self-conscious about my body. I didn’t have the same stick thin build as my friends, and when I saw the way that type of frame was admired, I felt like my own body type was, for lack of a better term: wrong. So, I convinced myself that the only way I would be happy with my body is if I wore a specific size, a small size, the “right” size.

But you see, size is just a number. A meaningless integer stamped on itchy tags that you cut off the second you get home, and a value that pops up on the bathroom scale to ruin your day. Numbers do nothing but stare back at you. They treat you like an object, rather than a person. They convince you that their value determine your worth. But let me tell you something here and now: numbers lie.

For even among these “perfect sizes” and “ideal bodies” are hearts that hurt and words that cut; no number is ever going to protect you from judgment or comparison. Thus, beauty can never solely be something we see on ourselves, but something we must also feel in ourselves. Because if that admiration for our outward appearance acts as a flashlight does in darkness: temporarily piercing a narrow path of hope, complete acceptance of ourselves, inside and out, will act like the sun: swallowing darkness all together. And this light, this all-encompassing freedom, comes solely from within.

Size is a number but strength is a feeling. And no number, not one you find on your jeans, in your bank account, or among your social media followers, will ever determine how much you are worth. Strength is the only thing that can save us from ourselves, and it is something that we all have within, no matter how deep it is buried or how doubtful we are in our ability to find it.

With strength, our size doesn’t matter.

With strength, we are able to give what we previously only sought to receive: peace.

And in peace we can finally be happy, for we are finally the perfect size: Size Strong.