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When I was researching filial piety [extremist obedience and unconditional sacrifice to elders], to understand why the past insists on trapping me there, I stumbled upon this quote.

These mountains that you are carrying, you were only supposed to climb.
― NAJWA ZEBIAN

Woah. Existential crisis time. Wait, what?!? You mean to say, that children don't buy cars and townhouses for their parents, do family taxes at 14, oversee all legal and fiduciary duties at 16, pay their parents mortgage at 18, raise their siblings when they themselves are children, and teach emotional intelligence and leadership communication to their parents?

Wait, what...? Who is this Najwa Zebian, who under 12 words, described 97% of my entire existence?

Turns out, she's a Canadian (woohoo, fellow Canadian!) Lebanese (woohoo, fellow culturally diverse woman!) poet (whohoo, fellow writer!) and author (woohoo, fellow author!).

Of course, being the overachiever OCD person that I am, I read every poem, every book, and ever word of hers. Here are my top life-changing quotes and poems from Najwa!


1. SELF-WORTH AT PLAY

“When you don’t get what you want, you quickly assume that
it’s because you don’t deserve it or because you are not
worthy enough to get it. But have you ever thought that it
could be because it doesn't deserve you or because it is not
worth of you?" [...]
There is a power much higher than us, much wiser than
us, that is willing to crush our feelings sometimes so that it can
open our eyes to the strength that we have inside and to the
reality of what we truly deserve.”


2. STAY INNOCENT

"Innocent hearts may not belong anywhere in this world
but they are big enough for any heart in this world.
Innocent hearts belong in innocent hearts.
Innocent hearts belong in the hearts of those
who genuinely want happiness.”


3. KINDNESS IS COURAGE

"May your heart always be kind
even though the world out there
could shatter you for being kind.
It is kindness that makes you brave."


4. FEAR NOT OUR GREATNESS

"For them to see you shine, you must stay far away, for you
are just like the sun; when you’re too close, your light makes
them blind. And when you’re too far, they seek you. So let
them seek you.”


5. RAGE ON

"To the heart in you, don't be afraid to feel.
To the sun in you, don't be afraid to shine.
To the love in you, don't be afraid to heal.
To the ocean in you, don't be afraid to rage.
To the silence in you, don't be afraid to break."


6. DON'T BEG

"Please don't you beg anyone
who doesn't want to see your wonder
to see it."


7. LEAVE WITH DIGNITY

"I left, not because
you stopped wanting me,
but because I no longer
loved myself by loving you."


8. FAILURE IS NOT FATAL

You're a hero for fighting,
whether you win or lose.
― NAJWA ZEBIAN

9. LET PAIN IN

"Let it in.
If you don't, it will knock
harder and harder.
Its voice will become
louder and louder.
So let it in.
Spend some time with it.
Understand it.
Then walk it to the door
and tell it to leave
because it's time for you to welcome
happiness."


10. WE DESERVE

"Don't listen to me just because I listen to you.
I listen to you because you deserve to be heard.
Don't be nice to me just because I'm nice to you.
I'm nice to you because you deserve to be treated right.
Don't show me that you care just because you know I care.
I care for you because your heart needs care
If your thoughts and feelings are not genuine,
point them in a direction other than mine.
If I only give you what you deserve,
at least keep me away from what I don't deserve.” 


11. BE THE CHOOSER, NOT THE CHOICE

"When you know what are you are doing
and have a clear vision of where you are going,
you will not need to chase opportunities.
Opportunities will seek you.
Happiness will chase you.
And, instead of being a choice, you will be the one choosing.” 


12. DON'T BREAK

"Don't break a bird's wings and then tell it to fly.
Don't break a heart and then tell it to love.
Don't break a soul and then tell it to be happy.
Don't see the worst in a person and expect them to see the best in you.
Don't judge people and expect them to stand by your side.
Don't play with fire and expect to stay perfectly safe."


13. PLAN AND CHANGE THE PLAN

"You can draw a path for your life
and have all of your goals set.
You can change yourself as much as possible
and change things around you just to reach those goals.
Here’s the catch.
Never underestimate the power of fate.
It can knock down the highest of goals that seem guaranteed in your life."


14. FIND A TRIBE THAT APPRECIATES

“If they don't appreciate your presence,
they may never recognize your absence.” 


15. SPEAK UP

"Stop blaming the world around you for wronging you.
ake responsibility for the nos you could have said but chose not to,
the words you could have said but didn't."


16. DEBT FREE

"Don't degrade your self-worth
by demanding anyone's attention
even if they owe it to you."


17. ACCEPTANCE

"You must accept that
you being a good person
is not a good enough reason
for people not to hurt you."


18. TO AN EX-NARCISSIST

"You destroyed me over and over
but I built myself back up into someone
you will never have
the honor of getting to know."


19. THE SOUL SPEAKS

Let it be that you've lost. We've all lost.
But do not you ever let what people think stop you from expressing yourself.
Let your soul shine through your words."

With infinite grace,

xo, Ella

(First Published May 24, 2017)

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