June brings many exciting and fun-filled activities, like pool parties, family BBQs, summer holidays and more. One party that will be getting my RSVP is the celebration of Pride Month. I write this to you with the intent not to push any political views or opinions down your throat, but to ignite your thinking. If you are a believer in true love, inner strength, liberation, and equality for all, then I hope my words shine the brightest light on your day.
You see, I am a man that believes reflection is one of our greatest tools. It can get us through the rough patches of life and make us see the gratitude and growth that live within ourselves. Whenever I am faced with a challenging moment, I find a place of silence in my house, meditate on my thoughts, and think about the bigger picture at hand. What can I learn from? What has worked in the past? How have I grown? What can I do to be better? Reflection and gratitude are the names of my game.
Recently, as the early days of June rolled around, I sat on my bed in a state of reflection that led to a mix of emotions — compassion, thankfulness, happiness, and some genuine tears. What prompted these was remembering that the three-year anniversary of the marriage equality ruling is just a few weeks away. For me, it meant looking back and honoring the history of the fight for equality and the brave LGBT leaders of our past and present. The ones who started a movement so that young people like myself could live in a country where I can love who I want, be who I am, and celebrate the simple fact that love is love.
This point of my reflection was even more significant this week when my fiancé and I finally locked down a wedding date! We made it a point to digest not just our own history as a couple, but to acknowledge our country’s long road to marriage equality and the true freedom fighters that got us there. To all the people who marched, used their voices, set an example, and continued to speak up in the name of love – we salute you. To the politicians who pioneered the revolution of love for equality across our country – we are so deeply grateful.
This beautiful moment reminded me of how helpful reflection can be, whether you are celebrating something wonderful or dealing with a life challenge. Taking time to breathe and reflect back on where you are now, where you have been, and who helped you along the way will always guide you to gratitude. Our greatest and most historic world leaders all have a unique story of self-growth, struggle, and heartache. The most substantial and most meaningful moments in life never come easy. There have, and always will be, deep learning and takeaways from life’s most monumental times in history. Please don’t forget that.
I encourage you to use your mind as a tool and reflect on your own history. You should do this when life has presented you with the most joyous of moments, but also when you are in need of direction and guidance. The powerful magnetic energy between reflection and gratitude is your key to opening up your thoughts and bringing out the root of your happiness. We’ve all heard that putting life into perspective helps us make healthier decisions. That is most certainly true, but it is much more than that. It is about taking accountability and acknowledging to yourself that you have not gotten from point A to point B alone, nor has it been smooth sailing from start to finish. Own your story and the journey you have been on. Find thankfulness for what you’ve learned, what you’ve overcome, who was there, and what pure goodness you are presently surrounded by.
Seeing the rays of light through moments of reflection is what it’s all about. Your own history happened for a reason, and it is up to you to go back through your previous chapters of life and remind yourself how lucky you are and what you have learned along the way.
Whether you will be celebrating Pride Month or not, my wish for you is to take pride in your own self, take time to reflect on your own journey and find compassion and respect for the people around you. Our own individual stories may be unique, and our pages may tell a different tale, but the one word that should keep us all united is love. There is no greater emotion than the love you have for yourself and the love you share with someone else.
Continue to create memories, build on gratitude, and embrace the power of love.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Matt Jacobi is a writer and COO for an award-winning creative agency. Jacobi has been a voice of truth on various world topics such as women’s rights, religion, mental health, bullying and equality. His current mission is to get more men to stand with women so that they can work together to make equality more of a reality. Jacobi was inspired to be an advocate for women’s rights since the birth of his two nieces.
Jacobi previously worked side by side with international entrepreneurs traveling the globe and assisting in bringing their various brands to life. This experience allowed him to work alongside New York City’s top publishing company, Simon & Schuster and PR powerhouse, Rubenstein Public Relations.
His earlier career began in television after graduating from Arizona State University where he landed his first job at ABC News in Phoenix, Arizona. He later made the move to Hollywood where he worked at the celebrity news show, E! News. Shortly after, The Style Network went on to feature him in a television wedding special capturing his lifestyle expertise. Jacobi continued his on-camera career as a television personality where he starred in two reality shows for the E! Network.
You can follow his daily adventures by visiting MattJacobi.com.
This essay was featured in the June 3rd edition of The Sunday Paper, Maria Shriver’s free weekly newsletter for people with passion and purpose. To get inspiring and informative content like this piece delivered straight to your inbox each Sunday morning, click here to subscribe.