I know that everyone has different availability and levels of energy. I know that no one person can do everything, all of the time. But for me, trying to help my food allergy community has been the one thing that has made me want to get up each and every morning and continue on until I can continue no more. For sixteen years, I have watched as products have vastly improved and how amazing our community has become a closer knit family to each other. I have seen my own growth in writing, recipes, pictures and videos (because although I am proud of my ebook, I shudder now when I look at the older photos, ugh! Apologies but I do hope to get to a second edition and I do promise the information is truly helpful).
And each year, I get kind of quiet for awhile and ponder on what life is all about. So hokey, right? But true. I think as we age, we realize that what we thought was important may not be and vice versa. We realize that it's ok and completely unselfish to want to do things to make yourself happy too. I guess my whole point of this article is to say that sometimes the person that you need to support the most, even if only for the moment, is you. So how do we find the strength when we need it? How do we pick ourselves up and carry on during our darkest days? Life is so short- we truly need to treasure every single moment. While thinking, I remembered one of my favorite books and I thought it was perfect to share with all of you.
As written by Don Miguel Ruiz in The Four Agreements ~
Be Impeccable With Your Word This is something that I have always tried to do. I understand that what I say and do, what products I do and don't promote and what I share directly reflects on me. Most of the people that I have met always tell me that I am exactly like what they see and read on my posts and pages. If I don't like a product, I will not promote it and I will not tell people that I like it. If there is an issue that comes up or a topic that is a new hot button, I try my very best to voice my honest opinion and not to crush anyone else's. We don't have to agree with each other but we should respect each other enough to listen. I do not engage in Twitter battles or bullying - we are a family and family supports each other. No bashing aloud just because you decided to do something different that works for you. Even if we don't agree, I will be that person that you can call upon and my only question will be "How can I help?"
Don't Take Anything Personally This is soooo incredibly difficult on so many levels; personal, blogger vs. blogger, companies, etc. The blogging world is this strange collection of friends who both support each other and can instantly turn on you for the top tweet or story. This is not true of everyone but it is a business and it's be top dog or get burned out. So when a fellow blogger is getting picked to work on projects that you are not, it's sometimes a difficult tightrope to walk. You wanted that but you also want to be happy for them because they earned it. And as far as the food allergy community and support- again, we need to listen more and strike out against each other less. Just because one family chooses not to try a new therapy or questions someone who does has nothing to do with you personally. Every family is different, every allergy is different and every choice is different and nothing at all is based on what they thought you would say to them when they shared with you.
Don't Make Assumptions This can travel in many directions- reading labels, product packaging, how someone reacted to you saying you don't understand OIT, if your post offended someone and so on. Discuss things, ask questions- LOTS and lots of questions and who cares if people get annoyed. Ask until you get an answer that makes you feel that you are satisfied with the response. Don't assume that people will advocate for you exactly how you would want them too- communicate. Don't assume that something is ok, even when it's not written down- write it down. Need a perfect example? Read this story.
Always Do Your Best Every. Single. Day. Granted, this was difficult for me this year but looking back, I unknowingly did do my very best. As quoted from the book "Under any circumstances, always do your best, no more and no less. But keep in mind that your best is never going to be the same from one moment to the next. Everything is alive and changing all the time, so your best will sometimes be high quality, and other times it will not be as good." So you see, even on what you think are your worst days, you are still doing your best. All of those parents out there that just found out their child has a food allergy and you feel helpless, you are doing your best. All of those who are trying to learn how to help others, read labels, be compassionate- you are doing your best. And all of those who have lost a loved one from a complication or an allergic reaction and you feel as if you can barely remember to breathe yourself- you are doing your best. You have to remember to be kind and gentle to yourself. You have to remember that there are others out there that can and will help you. And you have to remember that not being ok is also ok too.
To those of you who need help, please know that I am here. To those of you who need someone to listen, I am here. To those of you who want to connect so that we can band together and do even more good for everyone, tell me. I may be silent sometimes but I am always listening and always thinking of how to do better and I want the same for all of you.