One of my favorite bloggers, Erin Outdoors, has a tradition of sitting down at the end of each year and writing down her personal reflections from that year. Even though New Years Eve has always been my least favorite holiday, I’ve decided to take this time as 2018 comes to a close to reflect on my own deep thoughts from this year.
Like Erin, I want to emphasize that I in no way have it all figured out, and these “deep thoughts” are just my own personal reflections. I hope they help you as well, but I know they aren’t at all universal.
Here’s what I learned in 2018:
You are entitled to your emotions.
Bottling up emotions and dealing with the aftermath once they explode all over you sucks.
Don’t put yourself in that position.
Feel things as they happen and then allow yourself to move on. This is something that I’m still working on myself, but it’s worth the effort.
Start, even though it isn’t perfect.
Starting something new is hard for everyone. If you don’t think so, then you’re kidding yourself.
I used to blame my anxiety about starting on my perfectionist tendencies, stating that I was delaying the launch of a project because it wasn’t up to my standards yet. While that was true to an extent my real fear was that I wouldn’t be accepted. Putting yourself out into the world, whether it’s by starting a blog or a YouTube channel or an Etsy shop, is terrifying. I made this worse for myself by having measures of success in my head that I wasn’t sure I would live up to.
I realized that I wasn’t pursuing my ambitions because I was already thinking about what would happen if they failed before they even had the opportunity to grow. That was a huge mistake.
Just start. Nobody has their shit together at the very beginning, so don’t think that you have to.
Investing in others is good, but make sure you invest in yourself.
I love investing in the people I love. In fact, I pride myself in helping other people follow their passions and believing in themselves. Doing that to myself on the other hand is a whole different story. One thing that I’ve slowly been learning over the past year is that taking the time to invest in yourself is so necessary.
Investing in yourself can mean so many different things, but I like to view it as doing what I need to set myself up for success. Sometimes that means taking myself out for coffee or spending time alone, while other times it means doing what needs to be done even if I don’t want to do it. Just remember that you are worth the investment.
Confidence goes a long way.
I have gained so much confidence in myself over the years. Looking back to when I first moved to Tallahassee, a city four hours away from home where I didn’t know anyone, I still am shocked at the things that I was able to do. I definitely wasn’t very confident back then, but I had enough faith in myself to show up at events alone or sign up for clubs or talk to people in my classes.
More often than not each tiny act of bravery took a lot of self pep-talks and deep breaths before I could make the first move, but each time I step out of my comfort zone and do something that scares me it gets easier. I learned in 2018 that building confidence takes time and a thousand tiny acts that put you out of your comfort zone, but before you know it you’ll be doing things with ease.
Energy spent comparing yourself to others is energy WASTED.
I still struggle with this.
It is so hard not to look at the success of people around me and view it as failures on my part. With social media putting the glorified aspects of people’s lives on a pedestal while ignoring the hard, real issues that we all face, it’s easy to fall into the trap of looking at other people’s best moments and comparing it with your worst ones. If all of the time I spent comparing myself to others in 2018 was devoted to better, more positive pursuits, my year would have been so much happier and healthier.
All I want is for 2019 to be full of love and life and laughter. Comparison doesn’t achieve any of those ends.
What are your deep thoughts from 2018? Let me know in the comments, or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Header photo by Anna White of Anna Caterina Photography.