Would she be proud?

I saw a sign that read, “Your grandmother’s prayers are still protecting you.” 

This couldn’t be more true. 

It’s been 18 years today since she died. She’d raised me and was a beacon of hope through many dark times. 

I have often asked myself whether she’d be proud of the person I’ve become. 

Even though I haven’t done what she’d planned for me, the answer is always “yes”. 

Why is that? 

Because she loved me. 

People who fully love us accept and love all parts of us. They don’t love our potential or what we are “supposed to be”; they love who we are. 

Pride then flows from that love. 

Yet, people can only fully love us and be truly proud of us when they know everything about us, when they know us intimately. Without intimacy, there is no deep love. Without vulnerability, there is no intimacy. And without courage, there’s no vulnerability. 

My grandmother showed me that vulnerability is what makes us truly strong. 

I’m different than what some would consider “normal”. I didn’t become a lawyer, something she wanted for me. I do not have a wife. I do not have human children, although some day I might. I’ve left the land of my forefathers in pursuit of another life. I don’t call my mother daily and I do not subscribe to many outdated social mores that may have made sense to my grandma. I also cannot cook nearly as well as she could.

Yet, today, she would have been proud of me all the same. 

Because she loved me, and true love has no conditions.

She was also not concerned with what I did in life, because none of us gets to determine our fate, but how I did it. 

Am I honorable and courageous; compassionate and strong; authentic and faithful; kind and loving; sincere and generous? 

She would have never been “hurt” that I don’t have a law degree or a life she did. However, she would have been disappointed if I didn’t have the guts to live out my truth courageously. 

Because … courage is where it’s at. 

Being deeply loved gives us the strength to be who we are and the courage to love back. 

So, here are some questions for you inspired by my fabulous grandma: 

  • Do you really belong or are you just fitting in? 

  • Are you willing to open yourself to love?

  • Are you scared of being happy? 

  • Do you choose courage over comfort? 

  • Who is one person in your own life, past or present, who loves you unconditionally? 

  • Do they know you completely? 

  • Do they inspire courage even at times when you’re terrified? 

  • Can you use their love to overcome fears and believe in yourself and that you can do, be, and are more than the “naysaying” voices in your head keep telling you? 

It’s really hard to be vulnerable, authentic, overcome fears and stand up to social norms, but it’s only when we do so that we achieve true fulfillment and joy. 

My grandma taught me that, but if you don’t believe her, ask the researcher Brené Brown, who’s determined the same after 20 years of work and 400,000 pieces of research. She has a new Netflix special that just came on. Check it out!

Here’s to being courageous!

Adi Redzic