It’s Up To You…

I’ve been carrying bits and pieces of this post around in my mind for a few weeks now.

This Encouragement of the Month series is a popular one, which I don’t take lightly or for granted.  

So, before I ever sit down to type a single word, I make sure I’m crystal clear about what I want to convey.

Sometimes I’m inspired by snippets of conversations I’ve had with friends and family throughout the month and that alone is enough to give me a writing jumpstart.

More often than not though, it’s much easier to write in an accurate and passionate way if I actually have a personal experience to draw from.

Since the beginning of the month, there’s been a quiet yet relatable theme running through my conversations with others. 

At the time, I hadn’t had my own experience yet. So, I mistakenly thought I was going to have to choose something else to write about.

But then I had a heated exchange with a loved one and he said the words I’ve come to dread since I was a little girl, “You’re too sensitive,” he said in an anger-filled tirade.

Long ago, my first instinct would have been to immediately fight back and defend what did not need defending.

After all, there seem to be several generations that equate sensitivity with a weakness instead of a gift. 

If you knew my entire story, even the pain-filled parts, you’d know I’m far from weak.

Every major mistake, setback, loss, or bout of grief has been like a stack of stones laying the foundation of resiliency.

It’s because of all the jagged edges of experience streaked with empathy I’m able to encourage others every day.

I’m sure you have some of those stones in your foundation as well.

I’ve done a lot of heart work over the years and instead of lashing out when I heard those dreaded words, I actually surprised myself when I simply said, “Thank you.”

Those two words were a watershed moment because I realized it was up to me to reclaim my power and handle the situation in a different way.

The truth is without being sensitive, I’d never be able to have genuine compassion for how scary it must be to grow old, to have your body fail you while your mind is still relatively sharp, to fear losing your independence, to need people in a way you’ve never needed them before, or to look back on 85 years and wonder about the legacy you’re leaving behind.

Don’t get me wrong, it took years of therapy and a lot of Jesus to get to that watershed moment.

It takes a conscious effort every day to be able to turn the pain into purpose, the challenges into opportunities, the breakdowns into breakthroughs, and the mess into a purpose-filled message.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re playing a part in someone else’s story even as you’re writing your own and it’s up to you to decide how you want to show up.

For the longest time, I searched for an easier way, a magic pill, a shortcut, a lifehack, or a quick tip.

A way to be more efficient yet effective. More persistent yet productive. Balanced yet restful.

But after all the searching, the falling down, the getting back up and trying again, I’ve realized the magic was within me all along and it’s inside you as well.

The part that seems to overwhelm us the most, at least initially, is *believing* we have the power to choose differently.

And secondly, trusting we have the ability to * take action*

While there might be some sort of stumbling block, label to shed, or problem to solve, our situations basically come down to these simple words…

…it’s up to you.

It’s up to you to embrace your magic.

It’s up to you to take back your power.

It’s up to you to finally act on that dream you’ve been putting off.


It’s up to you to process your emotions before lashing out.

It’s up to you to forgive so your heart can heal.

It’s up to you to take the high road, even when it feels like a lonely place.


It’s up to you to nourish your body with good things instead of numbing your emotions with cookies and cupcakes.

It’s up to you to stop believing the lies.

It’s up to you to break the cycle.


It’s up to you to create life-giving habits.

It’s up to you to put on the blinders and keep going, especially when comparisonitis hits hard.

It’s up to you to stop participating in relationships that feel one-sided or no longer serve you well.

It’s up to you to show up as the best version of yourself.

It’s up to you to create the life you’ve always wanted, worked hard for, and dreamt of night after night.

It’s up to you to know your worth.


It’s up to you to say you’re sorry and make amends.

It’s up to you to draw the line.

It’s up to you to believe you can do hard things.


It’s up to you to ask for what you want and need.

It’s up to you to create white space.

It’s up to you to rise to the occasion.


It’s up to you to stop living the label others put upon you long ago.

It’s up to you to own your story.

It’s up to you to take the first step.

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It’s up to you to choose faith over fear and courage over confidence.

It’s up to you to find proactive ways to get out of your head, get out of your funk, and step into your purpose.

Most importantly, it’s up to you to plant the seeds of possibility today so you can reap the harvest of future opportunities the moment they’re presented.

You will always be worth the investment.

Cheering you on as you take the next step,


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    1. Thank you so much. Lisa! I really appreciate it and I hope your week is a special one, CoCo

  1. Shelley Humpal says:

    CoCo thank you so much for your very powerful words. Words to live by. A very good way to start a Monday.

    1. You are so welcome, Shelley! I hope your week is filled with all good things, CoCo

  2. What insightful words you just shared! I totally agree with you. I’m not religious, but instead spiritual in my own way. But regardless of how one gets there, it’s worth the wait. By the way, I love your blog theme so much I’m having Restore316 install it on my blog tomorrow. I’ve used their themes for years. I like the simple format.

    1. Thank you so much for your thoughtful words, Brenda, I really appreciate them. I’m totally with you – no matter how you get there it’s worth the wait 🙌 I’ve used Restored316 since I was blogging for my antique mall customers in 2017 and have really enjoyed both of the themes we’ve used so far. They have such a simplistic and classic style you can literally dress up or down. Can’t wait to see how your site comes together. Hugs, CoCo

  3. Thanks Coco for both the tremendous reminders that I am in charge of me and also for your encouragement. I hope you know that you do make a difference. Keep up your Good works. Thank you.

    1. I appreciate your kind and considerate words so much, Jo, thank you! It’s really easy to get so caught up in life stuff we sometimes lose our way, forget our value, or that we have the power to change things. While it might not be easy, every small step in the right direction is worth the effort. I hope your week has been filled with all good things, CoCo

  4. Lonna Berridge says:

    Wow! I’m saving this to reread. Very powerful words- especially your “thank you” response.
    I thank you for all you are and what you are willing to share.

    1. I really appreciate it, Lonnna, thank you so much. These posts are definitely the hardest to write but they feel the most important. And while I’m still a work in progress, I’m happy to pass along anything that might be helpful. Thank you for your sweet support and for being a part of our community. I hope your day has been richly blessed, CoCo

  5. Powerful! CoCo this is exactly what I needed to read and digest this morning. You continue to be a source of inspiration and thanks for sharing this with us. I truly appreciate it (and you).

    1. I’m so happy this post resonated with you, Anne. Thank you so much for all your kind words and for always being such a fantastic supporter of the blog. It means the world and we are lucky to have you as part of this community. I hope your week has been filled with unexpected blessings and sweet surprises, CoCo

    1. Thank you so much, Dee, I really appreciate it!

  6. I love this. All of it. Thank you.

    1. You are so welcome, Corrie! Thank you so much for all of your sweet support and kind words. They mean so much – CoCo

  7. Your message is excellent.

    1. I appreciate that so much, Joyce, thank you! Hope your week is everything you need it to be, CoCo

  8. I hope you are taking these Encouragement posts and one day put them all in a book. I’ll be the first to want a signed copy. Heck, I’ll be the first in line at your first book signing!
    I believe when you are sensitive you are most like Jesus. Caring, loving, thoughtful.
    And the words you said – Whether you realize it or not, you’re playing a part in someone else’s story even as you’re writing your own and it’s up to you to decide how you want to show up. – Well if only everyone could remember that and realize they play a huge part in someone’s success or unsuccess, this would be a happier place/life. Right?!
    People need to live like their best and worst moments will be up on the screen at their memorial service ask themselves – What do they want up on that screen? What do they want people to say as they gather around and chat about them?
    Love this post and you are always an encouragement to me. Big hugs!

    1. I appreciate your kind and thoughtful words, Cindy, thank you! They’re definitely filled with nuggets of wisdom for me too. I think it’s really hard to get to a certain age and realize the legacy you’re leaving behind is not what you thought it would be at all. I learned a long time ago though none of us are promised tomorrow so we’re actually living out our legacy every single day. Thank you for all the support you’ve given me through comments and your friendship. I’m definitely a lucky lady to have you in my life, CoCo PS: If these ever make it into a book you’ll be getting an advance copy 🙌

  9. Claire Auger says:

    It feels as if you wrote this blog specifically for me. I’ve been dealing with a lot of things that have thrown me off track and sent me into feeling like I’m spiraling out of control. I’m overwhelmed and and feel like I’ve lost myself in the chaos. Thank you for reminding me that I have the power to change my situation and make things the way I want. My dreams aren’t lost, I just needed to be reminded that I can’t put them aside and let others steamroll over them. I’m strong and have a voice and can work on making those dreams come true! I AM worth it!!

    1. You are totally worth it, Claire! I know sometimes it can be really hard to keep fighting. Especially, when things seem hard and are overwhelming at times. Always remember you don’t have to do it all at once. You can have big moments of courage or take a micro-step of courage each day. You have the power to decide! Cheering you on, CoCo

  10. Thank you, CoCo, and here’s to cheering you on also!

    1. You’re so sweet, Cheryl, thank you! I’m definitely still finding my way on a lot of things so I really appreciate it. Hope your week is filled with special blessings, CoCo

  11. Thank you for your insightful and thought-provoking words!

    1. You are so welcome, Cheryl, I’m happy to pass along anything that might be helpful and I’m thankful you’re part of this community. Hope you’ve had a great week so far, CoCo

  12. Michelle Bagby says:

    wow wow wow, what beautiful and powerful words.
    Thank you!!!

    1. You are so very welcome, Mic. I’m grateful they resonated with you and thankful for your sweet comment. Hope your week has been a good one, CoCo

  13. This is a wonderful post. I always had the “you’re too sensitive” thrown in my face, and for so long I let it hurt me and allowed it to diminish who I was. One day I realized that being sensitive was one of my greatest gifts. It made me a better counselor, and mother, and friend, and overall human being. You are so right that it is up to each of us to decide who we are and how we want to be treated. Hugs, Laura

    1. Thank you so much, Laura. I love that you were able to turn something other people might have considered “a weakness” into one of your greatest gifts then passed that light around to others. It gives me all the feels thinking they will then pass it along to someone else and all because you were courageous enough to be the first link in the chain. Hugs for a happy week, CoCo

  14. Colleen Meese says:

    I want to say thank you for this month’s post. It was almost as though you and I had had a similar experience. I needed that reminder that it’s up to me and you were there to give it. I enjoy your blogs, posts, and webstite very much and I look forward to seeing them in my inbox.
    Thanks again,

    1. Such sweet and thoughtful words, Colleen, thank you so much. I know it’s not always easy to work through experiences that sting like the one it sounds like we both had this month but I’m thankful to be able to share anything that might help even a little bit. Hope your week is filled with all good things. Cheering you on, CoCo

  15. Thank you for your inspirational words.

    1. You are so welcome, Jennifer! Hope your day has been a special one, CoCo

  16. As a blogger, it’s so important to let rough comments bounce right off and to immediately forgive. I loved your response… “Thank You.” Without empathy, it is so much harder to truly love!

    1. I couldn’t agree more, Heidi! It takes practice but at end of the day, we get to manage how much real estate we give the hurt, pain, or frustration. So, I choose to only hold onto the good stuff. Sending you lots of hugs for a happy week, CoCo

  17. Michelle Bagby says:

    Any chance you have just the words somewhere where I can print without all the beautiful pics?
    Those words said so very much to many and would love to have a copy.

    1. So sweet of you to ask, Mic, thank you! The blog is the only place to find that specific post right now due to copyright policies and publishing agreements. I definitely appreciate all your support and have been blown away by the response, it means so much. Hope your day has been a fun one, CoCo

  18. You are so welcome, Sabrena! I love that you are still on this journey of acceptance even though it’s been a tough one and I’m sorry you’ve gone through so much over the years. One of the speakers at the Courageous Choice event said, “Their opinion doesn’t make it true,” and those words hit me like a ton of bricks because I realized I had given way too much power based on the opinions of others. God definitely does not make junk…He makes beauty from ashes, calls you by name, and has a purpose only you can fulfill. You are blessed, wonderfully made, forgiven, loved, and known. Cheering you on as you continue to put one foot in front of the other and walk in faith, CoCo

  19. You’re are an amazing writer. You draw me in with these posts.

    I read your words and said how many times have I been told I’m over sensitive by a loved one?

    I have lashed out many times. As I have gotten older. I feel blessed that I am the way I am.

    It’s up to me. You’re so right.

    1. Such a thoughtful thing to say, Cindy, thank you! They’re not always easy to write but I’ve always said even if they help just one person, it’s definitely worth the effort. I’m so glad to count you as a friend and I learn from you all the time. Your creativity, determination, and way you look out for others is such a treasure. Big hugs, CoCo

  20. Michelle Bagby says:

    Well, you know what that means….
    I’ll just have to have that post up and in my face each time I check my emails!.. “0)
    It’s all a wonderful reminder that we ARE in charge of who we are.
    We cannot change others but know that many are in sad place, and compassion is a good thing.
    Again, thank-you! Powerful and empowering words that strike the heart.

  21. I am reading this a bit late just because of time issues, but thank you for writing this. My father has been saying this to my mother and me for as long as I can remember. It always bothered me so much, and I have always felt stuck in how to respond to him calling me too sensitive. I love the way you responded! I am going to use your response. I also think those who say that to others aren’t sensitive enough. This post really means a lot to me in more than one way. Thank you so much!

    1. I appreciate your sweet and thoughtful comment, Julie, thank you so much. It can definitely be hard to hear words like that from those we love and I’m sorry you and your Mom have heard them far too often. It’s taken me years to appreciate that being sensitive is actually a gift. It allows a greater understanding of what people are going through and facing, lets us know when to give advice and when to listen, to expertly evaluate how we should show up for ourselves and others, and is a skill that is desperately needed in the world right now. Never forget being “too sensitive” is a superpower we can celebrate 🙌 Sending you hugs for a happy week, CoCo

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