In my lifetime, I have been called every name in the book. I have been judged, yelled at, shamed, put down, and racially discriminated. I know what it feels like to be in toxic environments that don’t welcome you. I know what it’s like to experience verbal and mental abuse that create a whirlwind of self-doubting thoughts in your mind. I know what it means to be vulnerable and then be told that it’s not okay; that having a sensitivity about you is a sign of weakness. I know what the devastation of heartbreak feels like. I know the feeling of waiting for an apology but never receiving one. I know how hard it is when you’re carrying burdens that are not yours to carry. I know what it’s like to be manipulated and deceived without the other person feeling any remorse for their actions. I know the places I’ve been and the places I no longer wish to see again. And I know how harsh reality can be when it hits you full force. It’s a horrible feeling. You feel naïve. You feel betrayed. You feel hopeless. You feel completely and utterly alone. It can even cause you to feel sorry for yourself. However, it’s also a blessing, only coated in anger and disappointment.

One day, everything starts to make sense. You develop immunity to the constant noise around you. You train your mind to dispose of things that carry no weight in your life. People stop affecting you the way they once did. You spent so much time with yourself that you got to know the person on the inside and not just the reflection you were forced to see in the mirror every day. You know your own weaknesses. No one needs to point them out to you.

Even then, they will still throw stones at you. They will still try to hurt you. They will still try to disrupt your peace. Every move they make becomes intentional. Their hurtful words will come at you like a tidal wave, making every attempt to take you under. But this time, instead of sinking, you learn to ride the waves and keep yourself afloat. They didn’t give you your strength. You had to fight your way through the pain.

Understand this. They broke you at one point, but that power no longer rests in their hands. And one day, someone will do to them what they did to you. Someone will treat them with disrespect and everything but kindness. Someone will shun them for being who they are. Someone will raise their voice higher than the way they raised theirs with you. Someone will bring their superiority into full play. Someone will make them feel so inferior that it causes them to question themselves and re-evaluate their own lives and the way they treat those around them. However, that lesson isn’t yours to teach. You are not defined by your pain, your past, or the people and things that once tormented you. You’re better than how others perceive you. And your purpose in this life goes far beyond the walls that have caged you and the thoughts that have imprisoned you for so long. Never doubt that for a second.

Follow Omar on Instagram and Twitter at @theomarhachem.


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