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Thought Catalog  We’re a community of creators based in NYC. We publish a digital magazine (thoughtcatalog.com) and limited edition books.

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In a world where everyone judges,
I hope you look deeper into my soul
and ask me the questions that everyone avoids
when it’s easier to just make assumptions.
I hope you look at me as the person I’m becoming.
I’m not my family.
I’m not their past.
I’m not even my past anymore.
I hope you look at me and see my rebirth.
I hope you understand that my life before you
is not a life I relate to anymore.
It’s not a life I even recognize.
I’ve never felt more connected to myself
the way I am now.
I hope you know that this is who I am now
this is who I want to be.
I hope you don’t let your assumptions
push you away too soon.
I hope you’re not like everyone else.
I hope you always talk to me
and know that I will tell you the truth.
I hope you know that it’s easier for me
to be honest now because I’m changing
and everything else before you
feels like another life,
another planet,
another universe.
In a world where everyone judges
I hope you look at me and understand
because you know what it’s like
to be misunderstood too.
To be judged.
To be broken by a life
you did not choose.
In a world where everyone judges,
I hope you know that I won’t judge you.
I hope you know that I will also forget
the life you had before me
and I hope we can both start over
and maybe, just maybe
we’ll find everything we’ve been looking for
in each other.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @mikutas x @klemenswhite

To the ones who have been there all along and the ones who continue to prove to us that they’ll always be there.
They’ll love us whether we’re rich or poor, whether we fail or succeed, whether we’re lost or on the right path. They’re always there. They always make us feel loved. They always make us feel like we belong, like we’re still part of something wonderful, we’re still wanted and we’re still needed.
To the ones who could have easily walked away but decided to stay because our friendship is stronger, our friendship is real and because their world is better when we’re in it.
To the ones who make our world better each and every day, with their memories, their stories, their actions, their gestures and all the little ways they show us how much they care and what we mean to them.
To the ones who don’t judge us when we fall or kick us when we’re down, to the ones who try to lift us back up and bring us back to reality, the ones who heal us when we’re broken and hold us close when we’re hurting.
To the ones who make us believe in love because they accept us for who we are and love us anyway. They love us with our mess, our wacky choices, our odd quirks, our crazy family and our foolish past. They love us for our heart, they don’t forget the nights we exposed ourselves and told them our secrets, the nights we stayed up talking about our fears and the future and they don’t forget the times it was us and them against the world. The moments we knew that this kind of bond and friendship will never be replaced because it’s one of a kind.
To the ones who will always be ‘forever’ in the world of temporary. Thank you for everything. Thank you for not giving up on us. Thank you for your friendship. It’s an honor.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @queenofjetlags

When you meet the guy who doesn’t let you go to bed angry and stays up just to fix the problem, don’t let him go.
Don’t let him go if he opens doors and pulls out chairs and takes your coat.
Don’t let him go if he wants to be the one to prove to you chivalry isn’t dead.
Don’t let him go if he apologizes because he’s man enough to know he’s made a mistake.
Don’t let him go if he never stops telling you you’re beautiful.
When you meet the guy who tries hard to stand by you even when you’re being difficult, don’t let him go.
When he wants you in his future so he doesn’t bring up the past, don’t let him go.
Don’t let him go if he’s not afraid to show you exactly how much you mean whether that is through actions or simplistic gestures like holding your hand or pulling you in close to kiss your forehead.
Don’t let him go if he’s someone you can rely on and he won’t ever let you down.
Don’t let him go if he’s the one you can’t stop thinking about.
The one you want to talk to all time.
The one you miss before he leaves as the time you do have comes to an end.
Don’t let him go if he’s not afraid to admit he loves you.
Because good, honest guys, like these do exist.
They are rare and hard to find but they are out there.
When you meet a guy who makes you want to be a better person, kinder, softer, more honest, don’t let him go.
Because guys like these are hard to find. Value them. Appreciate them. Love them with everything you have.
Guys like these get taken advantage of and think they have to change.
We ruin good guys running after the ones who hurt us.
We ruin good guys because they think it’s them that’s doing something wrong.
But in reality, they are doing everything right.
But when you meet a guy like this, they teach you, love isn’t some game to play where your heart is the pawn.
They teach you honesty and vulnerability aren’t a weakness.
They teach you caring is okay.
So, when you meet the guy who is good — realize his worth. Don’t ever let him go.

Words: @kirstencorleyofficial
Photo: @athenagraceco

Something is off.
She is different. She still touches you, but she no longer feels you. She looks at you, but she no longer sees you. She talks to you, but she no longer communicates with you. She’s with you, but she is no longer present with you.
You’ve lost her.
You think it’s the beginning of the end, when the truth is that it ended long ago.
It ended when you weren’t looking, and it ended when you weren’t paying attention.
It ended when the minutes to respond to your text message turned into hours. It ended when she stopped initiating the conversation with you. It ended when enjoying each other’s company turned into uncomfortable silence. It ended when she stopped telling you what was on her mind because you stopped asking.
You were hearing her, but you stopped listening to her. The silence became commonplace. It became home. It became normal. You thought the silence meant that she had nothing to say, when it was actually screaming at you that something was wrong.
You told her you loved her, but you stopped showing it.
You were careless with her love, her time, and worst of all, her heart. You grew complacent with her. You left her starving, emotionally, and fed her sparingly. You forgot that love must be maintained and tended to every single day, not sporadically.
You forgot that you have to love her when you’re tired. You forgot that you have to love her when you had a bad day. You forgot that you have to love her when you’re angry. You forgot that you have to love her when she’s angry. You forgot that you have to love her when it’s difficult to love her.
That’s how you lost her.
Words: @mike_zacchio
Photo: @mattnykamp

And I know. I know how difficult it is to move on, to heal. But I promise you — you are going to survive this. You are.
Little by little, a gentle light will begin to replace the darkness. Hope will override some of the shadows. You’ll start to enjoy being with your friends. You might even laugh. You won’t be so afraid of spending time alone, because you won’t be so scared of your own thoughts. You’ll start to trust yourself again, and trust your heart again.
And then you will begin to understand. You’ll playback the memories in your mind, and you’ll actually start to see some of the flaws and glitches, the moments when things were not right. You’ll see the messiness. You’ll begin to understand that the heartbreak was already there, and you’ll understand why their could not have been an alternate ending. Though it hurts, you will begin to realize that this ending had to happen exactly how it did and when it did. This is how it had to be.
You will mourn the loss and the absence of someone you once cared for, and maybe you still care for, but you will finally understand that what happened was meant to happen. And little by little, you will begin to move on. You will know that you deserve more. You will know that if you try to rewind the story, you will only be hurt again, by the same story. You will finally know that something better awaits you.
And you will finally learn that everything you need to be able to heal is already inside of you. The courage, the compassion, the bravery and the strength, are all within you. You will learn that being alone does not mean being lonely.
And once you know this, you will begin to heal.
And then, in time, the color will return to your world, and the sparkle will return to your eyes.
And then, in time, you will heal.

Words: @colleengeorgeee
Photo: @kristinahader

We don’t say goodbye anymore.
We just stop responding to their messages or answering their calls.
We become distant, almost invisible, so they don’t even try to reach us, so they don’t try to ask for closure or ask for anything.
We say goodbye shortly after we say hello. We say goodbye before we get to know them. We say goodbye before we understand them and we say goodbye without even hearing what they have to say or how they feel.
We make this decision selfishly because that’s all we know. We say goodbye because we found something better, something more exciting, something that we want more so we just drop people, replacing them easily.
We say goodbye and we don’t expect anyone to get hurt because we didn’t promise anything, we don’t owe them anything, we purposely kept things casual and fun so no one took anything seriously, or at least that’s what we tell ourselves to convince ourselves that we didn’t see it coming, that we didn’t make them fall for us and then decided not to catch them.
We don’t say goodbye anymore. We don’t explain. We don’t try to make sure the other person is okay. We just take off. We date the next person, we book the plane ticket, we leave the country and we make decisions without recognizing that someone was waiting for us, someone wanted to be part of our lives, someone wanted to plan their future around us.
So we leave and we don’t even look back and we don’t even try to come back. We leave because leaving is cooler, leaving is stronger, leaving makes you the one in control, so we keep leaving instead of staying and wonder why we end up alone or in unfulfilling relationships.
We don’t say goodbye anymore, we say leave me alone. I don’t want you. You’re not worth my time. I’m not sorry for breaking your heart because it was never even mine.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @eastlyn_ x @joshua.lee_

Forgiveness is powerful.
But sometimes in love and relationships, we forgive the wrong people. Sometimes we’re tied closely to people who hurt us, and we think that we must forgive them to move forward, to save a relationship, to fix what has been torn apart, to give ourselves closure.
Listen — forgiving someone doesn’t mean you allow them a free passage back into your heart. It doesn’t mean that you open the doors to your life and give them the key.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you need to keep that person in your life.
Yes, you can forgive someone for cheating. You can forgive someone for breaking your heart. You can forgive someone for abandoning you in a time of need, for walking away, for not putting you first, for letting you go.
But that doesn’t mean you need to trust that person again.
Forgiveness doesn’t mean you’re obligated to stay in a relationship with someone who has destroyed the foundation of everything you’ve built. Forgiveness doesn’t mean you keep a close friendship with the person who betrayed you.
Forgiveness means you accept what wrongs have been done to you, you let them go, and you begin again — with or without that person. You get to decide. Repeat that again — you get to decide, and you are not any less of a person for knowing when you need distance from people who have broken you. You are not spiteful, hateful, bad, or evil for taking time to heal. You are not wrong for forgiving and leaving that person in your past.
So please do not think forgiveness means you must stay.
Please, remember your worth, and know that you deserve a love that doesn’t leave. Know that forgiving someone does not make you weak, but gives you strength. Strength enough to let go, to move on, and to grow.

Words: @_marisadonnelly
Photo: @murielle

Let me remind you that you’re loved. Your family would die for you, your friends would do anything to make you happy, your colleagues respect you and any person you meet can’t forget you, because you’re memorable and you’re smart and you’re warm. Let me remind you that I love you and let me tell you why and show you how.

Let me remind you that you’re not alone. I’m with you and many people are, all you have to do is ask. You don’t have to face your fears alone, you don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders. We all get lost and we all doubt ourselves and we’re all scared of the unknown, but let me remind you that we can get lost together or find our way together and maybe then, we’ll find some answers.

Let me remind you that you’re talented. You have the passion and the drive to pursue your dreams, and you have what it takes to make people listen to you, to make them pay attention, to make them stop and watch you. Let me remind you that I’ll never get tired of watching you, even when you mess up, even when you’re struggling to find the right words, even when your clothes are not matching, even when you don’t have anything to say, I’ll still watch you and I’ll be your biggest fan.

Let me remind you that you don’t have to be perfect, you don’t have to fit in every box, you don’t have to color inside the lines — it’s okay if you’re different, it’s okay if you’re misunderstood, it’s okay if not everyone likes you. Let me remind that I like you and I always will. I know sometimes you might not think that I’m enough, but I’m the only one who truly matters.

Because I am you, the side of you that you sometimes forget, the side of you that you sometimes hate, the side of you that you need when everyone else walks out on you
and when you feel like giving up.

I’m there and I will always be especially on the nights when you can’t sleep because you’re sad or heartbroken or frustrated with your life. I’ll be there, ready to remind you of all the things that you are and all the things that you can be.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @falllenskies

This is me showing you who I am when no else is around. Who I am underneath the loud laugh and the goofy stories. This is me willing to show all the parts I’ve been hiding.
This is me asking you to be my best friend. So I can tell you everything. So I can trust you with all my deepest secrets and share my life with you. I want you to be the person I call when I need to vent and the person I run to when I need to feel understood. I want you to be my best friend so I can have the privilege of being that person for you too. I want to be your person. I want to be loyal to you. I want you in my life forever. I want to make you feel safe.
This is me trying to introduce you to a different kind of love. The kind of love that accepts all the parts you hate about yourself. The kind of love that writes poetry out of your pain. The kind of love that sees your scars and still thinks you’re beautiful. The kind of love that you don’t have to question. The kind of love that will stick around when you’re used to people leaving.
This is me choosing you. This is me putting you first and giving you my undivided attention. This is me getting over all the old games and the meaningless flings and being real with you. This is me promising to answer all your questions and tell you the truth behind every lie. This is me wanting to love you without breaking a single piece of your heart.
This is me giving you a piece of my heart that I haven’t given to anyone else. This is me handing it to you hoping you’d accept it. This is me giving you a giant piece of my heart knowing that it’s only a matter of time before I happily give you my whole heart.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @tezzamb x @herrmannator

And the truth is — whatever we miss most about a person who has left us is almost always the thing that we need to cultivate inside of ourselves.
The kindness they showed us is the kindness we must learn to show ourselves. The strength that they harnessed is the strength we need to build up on our own. The compassion they share with us is the compassion we must learn to practice, and the emptiness they leave behind is the void that we have to learn to fill without them.
Contrary to popular belief, the cure for heartbreak isn’t replacement. It is growth.
It’s the ability to step back from our sadness and understand its origins. To decipher precisely where it stems from. And then to learn how to incorporate whatever we’re lacking into our day-to-day lives.
Because as much as we can miss a person – as much as we can ache and mourn their absence – we will never miss anyone as much as we miss the versions of ourselves that we became alongside them.
The ways in which they made us feel worthy. The insecurities they made us forget. The wounds we buried deep down inside of us, which their presence pasted temporary Band-Aids on.
And as much as their absence may ache, perhaps the silver lining is this – it opens us up to the opportunity to understand what exactly it is within ourselves that we still need to work on growing into.
Because when someone leaves, they leave a void behind.
And we are left with two simple choices: To fill that void with somebody new, or to rise to the challenge of filling it up ourselves.
The former may feel like the easier move. But the latter will be infinitely more rewarding.
Because at the end of the day, the most rewarding person you will ever get together with after a breakup is yourself.

Words: @heidipriebe
Photo: @georgiarosehardy

Even if they took you for granted. You were kind. You were giving. You were caring. They’ll always remember you as the one with the big heart. The one with the overflowing love.
Even if they picked someone else. You did what you had to when you liked someone. You chose them. You invested in them. You did what you would want someone to do to you. You practiced what you preached. You didn’t just expect a kind of love you weren’t able to give. You gave it all and more and that kind of karma will return to you.
Even if they thought you were temporary. You know deep in your heart that you’re not. You know that you didn’t play games or manipulate anyone into loving someone you’re not. You showed them your vulnerability, your feelings and what they meant to you. You showed them that they mattered. You showed them your scars without trying to conceal them. You were an entire galaxy for someone who couldn’t even see the stars.
Even if they made you feel like you weren’t good enough. You gave your all. You did your best. You did everything you could to be someone worth loving and if that’s not enough for someone, it’s not your job to change them. It’s your job to stay exactly the way you are because you will always be more than enough for someone who is looking for depth, for quality and for strength. Maybe you were too strong for the weak ones or too deep for the shallow ones or maybe you were a home when they were looking for a vacation.
Even if they leave, you win. Because they’re showing you who they are. They’re showing you what they’re made of. They’re showing you what kind of person you don’t want to be with. You don’t want the kind of person who walks away because they can’t handle who you are. You don’t want someone who acts and lies just so they can manipulate you into loving them. You don’t want someone who is only looking for attention. You don’t want someone who sees you as a placeholder. You don’t want someone who makes you feel like you’ll never be good enough.
You don’t want someone who doesn’t know how to stay.

Words: @ranianaim
Photo: @yoonakorn

But here’s the thing — you can’t keep choosing someone who doesn’t choose you. You can’t. Because your person is going to be your person for the rest of your life. Not just when you’re young and things are perfect, but when things get messy and you make mistakes and the world is less shiny. You have to make sure that you have someone by your side that wants to be there. Someone who wants to support you, and encourage you. Someone who gives you just as much effort as you give them. Someone who wants to hear your laugh, and make breakfast with you, and listen to all of your dumb jokes for twenty, or thirty, or fifty years. Because there are difficult things in life, really hard and haunted things that make it heavy and hurtful at times. But love should not be one of those things. Love should hold your hand and help you brave those storms. Love should be your safe place. So please, just don’t give the best parts of yourself to someone who doesn’t see the value in what they are receiving. Don’t settle for anyone who doesn’t look at you and know, without hesitation, that they want to stay.
Words: @rainbowsalt
Photo: @triciavictoriaphoto

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