2021: The Takeaways
For a year that seemed to often bring more strife than joy, I happened to learn a lot about life and about myself - meaning it wasn't a complete dumpster fire. After nearly thirty years on Earth, you'd think I'd have a pretty good idea about my inner-workings but it's taken me this long to gain confidence and realize that I am allowed to take up the same space as everyone else.
Here are some things I discovered this year that I will be taking into 2022, and the rest of the years that I'm granted of this life.
Whatever you think you deserve, you are worth so much more and if you aren't getting it where you are, look elsewhere. For so long, I thought I was worth what I was being given - not necessarily from a monetary standpoint, but in treatment as a human being. I allowed those surrounding me, and their negative behaviors, to dictate my self-worth. One day, I finally gained the courage to stand up for myself and said, "Enough." I decided I was worth consideration, kindness, and being seen as the asset that I am and that I would find that in a different space - no guilt, no shame, just self-preservation. Since choosing this path, my life has improved in all ways and I have zero regrets.
Someone else's dream is not worth your mental health. Everyone has a dream and deserves to achieve it, but do not allow someone else's dream stand in the way of your own. It's always kind to help someone else, but another's passion should not rob you of yours. Don't give another their vacation home while you struggle to pay your rent - your desires are the only ones that are worth your sacrifice.
Only you can decide what is important to you. For far too long, I allowed external forces to prioritize on my behalf. My balancing act, if you dare to call it that, consisted of tasks that didn't really matter. I never cared about those emails. I didn't want to go to that meeting, nor did I care about the content. What I care about could be only found within myself, I just wasn't being given the time or control to focus on what was important to me. My agenda was not my own, but I've taken back the reins.
You need more "How can I help?" friends, and less "I'm struggling more than you..." friends. We all have our moments of need - whether it be while grieving a loss or after enduring your third sleepless night in a row with a sick baby. It's in those moments that you have perspective, it's simply difficult to see outside of this trying moment in time. Sometimes, what you need the most a meaningful gesture, like a listening ear or a moment alone, but there's usually that one person to remind you that they have it (or have had it) worse. Find the "I'm bringing coffee!" friends and ditch the "I have two kids and you have one..." friends. With that in mind, find the souls that celebrate your victories, both big and small, and cheer for you, even behind your back.
It is possible to have boundaries and be kind at the same time. All boundaries set in honesty - "I can't come tonight, I'm so sorry. I'm just too tired," "I won't be at work today. My mental health is really suffering." - are kind. Not only are they kind, but they are healthy, too. Anyone who leads you to believe otherwise isn't looking out for you. Be transparent and have no regrets.
Cheers to a new year, but not to a new you. Keep being your true self, but take each day as a lesson and curate your own life.