“One is fruitful only at the cost of being rich in contradictions.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

Both can be true.

I anchor into this idea often, especially during moments of high anxiety, when it feels like watching a tornado of uncontrollable emotion uproot the foundation I have worked so hard to build over the past several years of my life.

Because in those moments, I can go from feeling safe, secure, and put-together to feeling completely unraveled in a matter of minutes.

And it can feel like the mature, self-sufficient, smart, business-owning woman I have become is all at once erased by the emotional storm into which I have suddenly been swept up, immediately replaced by a version of me that feels outdated and uncomfortably familiar in her messiness.

It’s easy to feel like these iterations of myself can’t coexist within the framework of my life. Like as soon as one of them shows up, the other one must simultaneously disappear. Like the anxiety automatically cancels out the secure and grounded version of me that lives here, too.

What I’m learning, however, is that both can be true.

I can be polished and put together and wise and successful at the same time that I am vulnerable and worried and afraid and, yes, sometimes anxious as hell.

A friend of mine recently went through a breakup, and as I’ve watched her navigate the treacherous waters of the the post-relationship world, I have been impressed by her ability to hold so many seemingly contradictory truths so close to her heart. She has made space for every emotion to show up as it wants, allowing every part of her to exist fully without feeling the pressure to make some sort of sense out of it all before she is ready to do so.

She is sad and strong simultaneously. Her optimism about her future peacefully coexists with her grief about the past, and she has found such remarkable clarity inside all the uncertainty.

Both can be true.

You can be powerful and also emotionally sensitive. You can be joyful and also afraid. You can feel brave but also unsure of your next steps.

And you can find happiness and contentment inside of each of these complicated states of being.

You are not limited to one emotional state at a time. Being a human is too complex and dynamic an experience to adhere to such limits.

Being a human is a beautiful, horrible, messy, ordinary, and unexpectedly profound thing. You will be many things over the course of your life, and your emotional journey will — hopefully — be far-reaching and diverse in its scope.

You will be a lot of things.

And you will not be forever and always defined by any of them.

Both can be true.