2017 has been a very difficult year for me. Strangely, some of the difficulty came from choosing myself. I’d never been strong and courageous enough to say no and mean it; I’d never been the strongest influence in my own life before. What I didn’t expect, was that the happier me would struggle to let go of the ‘stuff’ holding me back. It’s as though we are so used to the difficult times that we struggle to accept the good and bask in it.
Friendships are very important to me. I’ve had a rough year in this department. I’ve made new friends who are able to slot into my ‘changes’ quite easily because, for them, it’s just how it is; I’ve had friends cheer and support every aspect of my growth and have had many shut the door. This process is natural- apparently our twenties are the sifting phases of our lives- and I’ve shed many a tear when realizing that I’d have to be the one doing the cut because a friendship was hurting more than it was loving. In these spaces I’ve realized the power of negativity. I’ve seen a very bitter side of myself in it and really want to work towards healthier relationships in general.
I made the decision to commit to this blog. It has given me a true sense of purpose, but I’ve really had to learn the importance of balance. At a stage it was all about content that my work and home life suffered. I’ve gotten smarter with content and, most importantly, I’ve been reminded to stay true to my voice. It’s so easy to be influenced by other content creators that it can make you feel that your space and what you are doing doesn’t matter. Once it stopped being about the numbers and went back to the opportunity to write and inspire, I started enjoying it again and built better connections with people (particularly women) I have things in common with.
The word no is incredibly powerful. It has the potential to free you and it has the equal potential to hurt. I’ve had to say no many times this year- because a yes would have cost me my sanity. That sounds dramatic, but it really is the case. I recall being so exhausted at one point and it affected me both mentally and physically. The thing about blogging is that people only see the final product and, often, miss how you work at it through the toughest times in your life; so sometimes, all you have left is a no.
But I’ve also been on the receiving end of this word and have realized that we all have to- whether to protect ourselves or protect those we love or just because it is no! Perhaps the delivery is, particularly, important here.
My Christian faith has been the governing factor in most of my decisions this year. Sadly, I haven’t always turned to God, particularly with the things mentioned in this blog because I tried to do things in my own strength. I will fail again and again- I just pray that I remain on my knees when wanting to get back up- that each time I forget to behave like a Christian, that it encourages me to ask for more humility and to walk closer to HIM who loves me and who has saved me.
I know that these things will grow me, but I really want to get out in the funk that has been 2017. As much as I work at sharing positivity, I really want to find more people and have more experiences that replenish the good vibes for me, too.
Coming back to the title: I’ve had to let go of everything stunting my growth this year so that I can chase what I love- and I love the possibility of endless growth. I love that, in failure, there is an opportunity to overcome. I love that, as people, we have to capacity to love one another more than we already do. I’ve learnt to stay with how uncomfortable it is because the discomfort is the shift towards the life I want to live.
So, as we near the end of this month and approach the festive season at the end of the year, I wonder if you have begun to reflect, too? Perhaps you’re trying, similarly, to live positively- or perhaps 2017 has been your year of absolute growth, happiness and love! Whatever it is, I hope that you embrace your moments of strength and struggles as we walk (in the Southern Hemisphere) into a season of light, happiness, warmth and festivity!