What’s Your Story?
As I reflect on my journey as an Author, I am celebrating the anniversaries of my 3 published books: Today, "Life is Worth Getting Better" (Aug. 30th, 2016), "Honoring Your Recovery" (June 2019) and, "Tu vida merece que te mejores" (July 2020), all written under my pen name, Maria A. Mansfield. I humbly celebrate the life of these 3 books with true gratitude because -like everything that exists, they were once but a dream in my heart.
Why am I celebrating today? After publishing the books, I started on other projects and forgot how much effort I had put into recovering and being well. We tend to dismiss our past wins and move to our next goals. And that's good, but it's a pity when our targets are constantly moving without us celebrating our achievements in the present.
Why did I write the books? After struggling with clinical depression and other mental health challenges for over a decade, I decided I would get better for good. So I did. No. It wasn't overnight. It took a lot of tears. But I wanted to share my story so others would be encouraged that they, too, could find solace in knowing they also have a standing chance to get better.
In "Life Is Worth Getting Better" (2016), I tell my recovery journey from mental health. I wrote the story I would've wanted to read when I was at my worst. Readers have said it's honest, deep, compelling, and full of hope. I share my negative thought patterns, family dynamics, hopelessness, constant turmoil, and the treatment and faith journey that brought me complete healing.
Then, in "Honoring Your Recovery" (2019), I mention all the tools that continued to help me in my recovery process, -which I still use today. And the ways I started to see glimpses of purpose and joy in my life that I could not even fathom before.
During the Pandemic, I translated "Life is worth getting better" into Spanish, and "Tu vida merece que mejores" (2020) was born. I wanted my book to be available for the Latino community, who often struggle with mental wellness in silence.
My WHY was bigger than my HOW. I am not writing this to brag on me. Seriously! If there was ever someone who thought she couldn't write a book, knew nobody in the industry, had no connections, and struggled with exposure of my story, -yours truly! In all honesty, before I wrote my first book, I thought of all the reasons why I couldn't do it -worse, why I probably shouldn't. But my WHY, the motivation to help others, was bigger than HOW I would do it. So I said, Great! Let's do this! I'm as ready as I'll ever be. And I started crafting my first draft that brought cathartic memories to paper.
Do it afraid. But do It anyway: My most significant win in being vulnerable enough to share my mental health recovery story was that whenever I did book signings, people would tell me their story and how they were coping just because I had told them mine. -These were total strangers! Knowing I'd be struggling with the exposure, I wrote it anyway because I knew it wasn't about me. My story was to help others find hope, too. If only one person could get better, it would've been enough. Of the millions who struggle with mental wellness worldwide, I know my story has the power to help somebody get the help they need because no matter what's going on, their life is worth getting better!
You are an inspiration: Writing my books taught me the power of the written word. You never know how or when those sentences will inspire someone and create positive thoughts and actions. Everything we know somebody has written or told us about. You can inspire others in ways you never thought possible by writing or telling others about your experiences and expertise. What are you an expert at?
Our Stories fuel our Purpose: Our past experiences can often lead us to the job we have today. After overcoming mental health challenges and writing my books, I knew I still had a bigger purpose for my life. So, I'm pursuing it and couldn't be happier. My past experiences and my Coach Certification have qualified me as a Women's Life Coach. I inspire women to discover and pursue their purpose while becoming their best version despite their past challenges and seeming disadvantages. Our difficulties give us the training, strength, and tools to ignite and pursue our purpose.
What's your story? Through conversations with my readers, I was honored to witness how powerful our stories really are. They don't seem glamorous when we're in the thick of facing them, let alone when overcoming them. But later on, they can extend beyond our own lives into the lives of others desperately seeking solutions to their own challenges. Stories on a page, or even told, can transcend time and place. Our experiences and how we overcame them are priceless gifts we can offer to others. I recently learned that our struggles are for us to grow through. But then our stories belong to others, so they too can learn from them. We give them the gift of a new perspective, a shortcut to do it smarter, quicker, faster. We pay it forward by equipping with a few more tools than we had.
So, what's your story of redemption and overcoming? Be brave and share it. You never know whom you will help and encourage!
I am celebrating the honor of being able to share my books and my blog with you. Thank you all for your support all along this journey!
All my best to you and yours
Maria A. Mansfield,
Author & Women's Life Coach, CLC