“I have decided to stick with love. Hate is too great a burden to bear.” - Martin Luther King Jr.
This quote resonates so much with me. This year, I made the decision to fully commit to giving love and support to others without the expectation of receiving anything in return. Making this decision was necessary for me because the alternative wouldn’t allow me to remain passionate about my pursuing my purpose to empower and unite women. You see, in the past, I have found myself hurt and discouraged on many days when I felt like others did not appreciate what I did for them and didn’t care to reciprocate the love and support I extended to them. Although everything I did for others was always out of the kindness of my heart, I, at some point, allowed myself to take notice when those I loved and supported didn’t return the same love and support I gave to them. Once I started to take notice, I also began to keep score, which took a toll on me mentally and emotionally. It caused me to doubt my value because I couldn’t understand why others found it so difficult to support me like I supported them. It also caused me to shift into a mindset that does not come naturally to me and an attitude that is not becoming of me. I am a natural giver. I enjoy making others smile. I am fulfilled when helping others to achieve their goals. However, due to feeling like reciprocation was lacking, I began to withdraw my support and hoard my love. I thought it would make me feel better, but it only made me feel worse and less purposeful. Spiritually, I felt like I was no longer as close to God as I once was and my blessings seemed to be coming less frequently.
Every time I learn something new or experience a trial that produces a powerful testimony, I give God the glory by sharing my story. This is one of those times. During the season when I let the world change me into someone I was not created to be, I felt abandoned, lonely, and sad. I felt like God and everyone else had forgotten about me and that I was failing. At the time, I was certain that I was doing the right thing by distancing myself from people and limiting how much I gave to others to avoid feeling used, but soon found out that doing so was hurting me more than it was helping me. I was no longer sowing as many positive seeds as I once did so I wasn’t reaping harvests as abundant as I used to.
I’ve learned that self-awareness and self-improvement is so necessary if you want to succeed in life. Instead of remaining a victim of others actions, I decided to hold myself accountable for my own actions and determine what I needed to change within myself to produce the results I wanted to see. I reflected on the most successful seasons of my life and found that I thrived more when I randomly and genuinely showed love and support to others without wanting, needing, or expecting anything in return from them. In fact, some of my strongest friendships began with me showing support for or helping someone who didn’t ask or expect me to. Some of my greatest opportunities came from others noticing my selflessness and genuine heart for helping others win. During this season of self-reflection, I was reminded that it is God who blesses me, not man. I was reminded of God’s promise that regardless of what others do, I will always receive what I deserve.
Two of my go-to bible verses that keep me focused and faithful are:
Galatians 6:9 And let us not be weary in well doing; for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not
Galatians 6:7 Be not deceived: God is not mocked: for whatsover a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
Since choosing to love even when I am not loved and to support even when I am not supported, I have witnessed my blessings return to being more abundant and frequent and felt restoration of my passion for encouraging sisterhood among women. If that’s not enough, the quality of my friendships and interactions with women has improved and I feel more proud of myself for having the strength to do what’s right even when my flesh is opposed to it.
I’ll leave you with this quote that I came across, “Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness.” Do not let the enemy trick you into forfeiting your blessings. If you are able to remember and apply this to your life on a regular basis, you will consistently thrive, rise, and win regardless of the circumstances.