Happy February friends! Can you believe we are already into our second month of 2016? Me neither!
How has 2016 been treating ya’ll? Are you still into the goals you set for the new year? Did you make a list of things you wanted to accomplish? Or maybe you have that one big thing you are going to finally do – a trip, get healthy, find your dream job. Me? I usually fall into the camp of a long list of things I want to change for the year. Some years I have broken it up by month, others I have started and stopped the resolutions all year long. It really depends on what life has in store – and we all know that life can bring about a whole lot of unexpected.
No matter what approach I take, I always love a new year – a fresh start and the blessed feeling knowing that I have another chance to learn, to grow, and to experience. Thinking about 2015 I realized what I wanted to really capitalize on: gratitude for my jounrney so far and excitement around the possibilities it holds. Even though I may have a lot of habits I want to break or successes I want to achieve – there is no denying that I am still a pretty blessed individual and approaching a new year feeling accomplished makes the goals feel a little less about what is missing and a little more about what could be.
This last year was an exceptional year for myself and my little family because the unexpected, the life lessons, the challenges left us stronger and even more convicted to live to the fullest. Facing so many experiences that in the past would have left us feeling deflated, frustrated, or stuck – this time gifted us with a new found strength. For me, I suddenly was realizing that my world has been a series of building blocks and with each step the climb becomes more steep, but I become better equipped. Look at what I have overcome, look at how I have come to trust myself, and best of all – consider those moments that made me feel as if this was the final straw that would break the camel’s back and instead I kept walking. In 2015 I realized I am enough and coupled with the strength I gain from God and from my husband I am capable of great things. So 2016 – it is my year of confidence.
In some ways it is an odd goal for me. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who calls me shy, I like a challenge (most of the time), public speaking is enjoyable, I like to lead, but when I follow its rarely quietly, and I don’t shy away from a spotlight. So many of these qualities have been a part of my personality for as long as I can remember. Honest to fault, not afraid to share my emotions and always sure I am right (even when I am very wrong – right Dan?) – but as you grow life happens. Career developments, relationship experiences, discovered limitations can change people and for myself, it affected my confidence. Overtime I found myself reflecting on those moments I may have failed anytime I had to take a new chance or make another decision.
Regret has always been such a bad word in my mind….. beyond exchanges of apologies and forgiveness, regret really is a waste of time. You can’t go back and change the past so your best bet is to keep moving forward – yet sometime in my early adult life I had let it creep in. In my 20s I found that reliving the past become a large part of my regular life. My deep desire for perfection had me constantly finding the snag in the fabrics of my world and ruminating on them was a regular hobby. It caused a lot of strain on my young marriage, it weighed heavily on the patience of my people (who had to hear the stories over and over again), and it hung around like a heavy fog – that often I was having trouble seeing past. When in reality the actions that I was constantly thinking about – they had come and gone, and that moment was over. Yet, I would not let myself move onward.
Then something happened (I really think it had a lot to do with turning 30), and a switch flipped…. and I was over it. Am I 100% cured and happy with every gosh darn moment? Not exactly. Have I found all the solutions to my problems? Yea right! But in the main, this year really showed me that life is so limited – we only have 24 hours in each day to fulfill our mission, to discover our dreams, and to better the lives of those we love. And let’s be real those hours just ain’t enough. So time spent dwelling on the previous pitfalls was useless – and funny enough once you fixed one, another snag appeared anyway. I had to stop the cycle and really tried to give it all up. I worked hard at stopping the anxiety. I was honest about my emotions, dealt with them and then refused to give them more life. Best of all? I really started to thank those that have gone the distance with me. I made a huge effort to acknowledge their support, while also being sure to really listen to their experiences versus just waiting for a break in conversation to rehash my anger moments. These changes – and my people – got a lot of credit for my renewed sense of self, my strength, and a little peace.
With the positive outlook came positive changes and I could not believe my fortune. Life really was at such a sweet spot and I was so very grateful I had begun to really stop my cycle of destruction. Plus – look at the people that I had around me to sustain me, to encourage me, to lift me up! In fact I was not so afraid to be even more honest with my emotions and my fears. But as the old saying goes “opinions are like ass holes – everybody has one”. But I just counted those as the debit I owed for my happiness and their role in my healing. This debit however kept growing and the pressure to follow opinions of others was great. Before I knew it my world was all about polling people, making sure others felt in the loop on the options and could be OK with my choices. It often felt paralyzing not even knowing how to move forward while considering the opinions of others – who I dare not challenge since they are the ones whose help we need.
Most of 2015 had the sweet spots and I was really enjoying it. Sure I was wanting more from my world and it seemed I could not write my to do lists fast enough to keep up with the inspiration I was finding everywhere. Even in these moments though I was faced with some choices – real, hard, true what are you made of choices that would stand to change my life potentially forever. Danny and I had decisions to make, family members presented moments of truth, friends showed their true colors – and we had to choose the path for ourselves. In a few very distinct moments, I can remember (que the hospital) drowning in opinions. Wondering if I had consulted everyone enough, scared to make the choices I knew were best for Danny and I out of fear for what my people would think….or worse I would lose the confidence they provided me.
When push came to shove, I had to move forward – chosing paths that I felt were best for myself and the most important relationship in my life – my husband. It was hard …. heck its still hard. In some ways I am changing 30 years of learned behavior (oldest child, type A, perfectionist party of 1). But the truth is people are always going to tell me what they think or what I should do – even when they have no frame of reference. And in some cases they will hurt you when they don’t understand it. Their words, their actions, there judgements will try and tear you down…. but when I pushed past those and found the opinions didn’t actually change anything, I realized that confidence I was thanking all of them for – was really from within me.
So this is how I started 2016: knowing that I must continue on a path of confidence. Life has shown me I am strong enough, I am smart enough, I am able and I am ready to keep growing. Throughout this year I plan to do a variety of things that instill confidence and use it for growth. I hope to share those experiences and the tools that really work to build my confidnece on the blog. It is my prayer that my journey of pain and fear that led to renewed strength, a deeper faith, and helped me realize the incredible blessing of my husband can find and inspire others. No life is perfect…. not even with a new year…. but it can be so tragically and triumphantly beautiful when you just live it.
Cheers to living it confidently.
Thank you of reading and remember to make it a great day!