For many, the end of the year is typically a reflective time. I find it useful to survey the highs, lows and lessons learned, to see what worked and what didn’t. I try to be intentional about using this information to cultivate a better year ahead. But oftentimes, initially I feel like not much has really changed. Then I have to take a closer look.

On the surface it doesn’t always appear as if I’m making strides and that significant changes are happening. But when I take the opportunity to take a deeper look at my life in its entirety, I become certain that transformative change is in fact taking place. It may feel slow and incremental, but progress is progress.

This year I faced some of the most difficult internal struggles of my life that led to what I can only refer to a as a rebirth. Based on that internal work, I’m in the continued process of revamping my life, internally and externally, building on what I’ve learned and how I’ve grown to move forward. Some changes I’ve noticed within myself and my life are:

Acceptance

I’ve noticed this year that I’ve developed more acceptance of myself and others. Personally I’m letting go of perfectionism, a challenging burden I’ve dealt with since childhood. I’ve become much less concerned about what others think of me and have instead prioritized my own opinions.

I recently took a Hip Hop dance class after years of not doing it regularly. I was a sizzling. hot. mess. I could retain the steps but couldn’t execute. I was sweating like President Rump being investigated. But it was ok. I decided I didn’t care how crazy and uncoordinated I looked, or that I felt I’d aged out of that kind of activity.

My gorgeous and talented dance instructor – who tried to kill me!

I left it for the kids and went home, happy I tried, and with no desire to try it again. It was liberating. My increased acceptance has helped me with other people too.

I no longer get (as) annoyed with jerks. I’ve accepted that some people just have no home training or are living from deeply unhealed spaces. I’ll deal with those instances that make me feel disrespected or even unsafe, but I won’t take your garbage home with me. I can leave it on the curb.

 

Boundaries

My personal boundaries are much more clear now. Over this past year my ability to self advocate has been tested to the highest degree. I’ve been presented with situations that range from putting the brakes on family members who’ve gotten out of line, to telling other people when they’ve overstepped and been offensive, to letting that guy on the street know that not on any day, will he be speaking to me like that. I’ve become much more vocal about saying something in the moment or being able to process and speak on it later. I’ve worked on mitigating those moments where I feel like, “I wish I would’ve said that.” Now, I say it. And exercising my boundaries also comes in the form of believing people when they show you who they are.

If you come across like a jerk, I’m going to believe you. No second or third chances. No displaced pity for folks who can’t manage their wounds. We all have damage, but I’m no longer in the business of feeling sorry for and therefore taking abuse from wounded birds. Bye.

 

Finding out Where to Place my Value

This one is HUGE.

I’m paying attention to how I feel with people, in spaces and experiences. I’m choosing to go where the love is and recognize where it’s not. For instance I’m considering a job change that would be a complete departure from corporate spaces and the kind of work I’ve been doing for nearly a decade. I’ve recognized that corporate structures just aren’t healthy for some of us. They haven’t been spaces where I feel valued or been allotted the chance to thrive. I’m paying attention to that and looking beyond what I know and welcoming opportunities that will leverage my talent and potential to do new things.

I’m also not participating in nonreciprocal dynamics. I’ve had a few acquaintances that I realize I generally only connect with when I reach out to them. I’m not doing that anymore. I deserve the time, energy and effort I give to others.  I’m choosing to connect with people who see the value in my company, my energy and my time.

These are just a few adjustments I’ve made this year that have been in the making for a while now. Essentially I’ve revamped the components of my life and examined what makes me happy. This process was kicked into high gear when I had a freak health scare that resulted in my having to call 911. It was terrifying, but clarifying. After spending a night with EMTs and recovering, I woke up the next day with a calm and a peace I hadn’t had in years, if ever… And I knew there needed to be some changes.

My 2017 was another year of introspection, clarifying experiences and deep personal growth. I feel stronger than I’ve ever been and much clearer on what I deserve. Though my external life is still taking some time to shape up, my internal life is on point. I think (I hope) it’s only a matter of time before the two line up. I’m primed and ready for a new year, armed with what I’ve learned, how I’ve grown and the profound knowledge of who I am.

Wishing you a blessed new year full of promise, peace, joy and personal power.

Post Author: Wendy Todd

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