Twenty-eighteen was the most difficult year of my entire life. My emotions were like a rollercoaster: I would be laughing one minute, crying the next, completely angry, and then feeling sorry for myself the next. Despite everything that went wrong, there were so many things that went right, and I was able to grow into a much stronger and independent woman than I ever thought was possible. I feel like every person, at least once in their life, has to face some traumatic event to figure out who they truly are. Here’s what I learned from mine:
1. You learn more from what goes wrong than what goes right.
I am a perfectionist, so admitting that my marriage wasn’t working, or that it completely failed was very difficult for me to admit to anyone, so I just didn’t. I didn’t tell my dad, my grandparents, my best friends. I kept everything to myself.
I lived in complete fear of disappointing anyone, so it was just easier to not tell anyone. I lost a lot of relationships, best friends, family members, and fake friends. I’ve learned that everyone deals with pain differently, and if my way was to hold everything in that’s okay. I did not need to explain myself to anyone except the person directly affected by my decision.
I’ve learned that some of my most valuable relationships in my life are the ones that did not turn out, and because of that I’ve made improvements to my life from the things that have gone so very wrong.
2. Conflict is okay.
Conflict. The mere mention of that word used to make me flinch. I feared it so much that I allowed people to take advantage of me just to steer clear from confrontation.
I’ve learned that I have to deal with conflict. I have learned not to run, not to hide, but instead face it head on. I’ve survived it, and I have less fear because of it. It has helped me to grow and become the woman I am today.
3. Invest in people that invest in me.
People have negative opinions of me and I have learned to accept that, but I also know that I don’t need to bring those people with me in my future. I need to treat myself better than that. I need to surround myself with friends that will love me no matter what happens in my life.
I just so badly wanted to please everyone that I lost so much of myself. Twenty-eighteen was a year of overcoming. Overcoming fear, overcoming relationships, overcoming perfectionism, overcoming being the perfect wife and mother, overcoming what other people thought of me. It was about reclaiming who I am, finding my inner light, and letting go of things that were holding me back.
4. Love is enough.
I remember waking up day after day feeling like I had literally been beat down by the weight of my divorce, by people’s comments that didn’t even know what was going on, by lies told about me, and by knowing I only had myself and God to rely on. I remember thinking: What am I supposed to do? How am I supposed to give my boys the life they deserve while my heart is breaking? How can I have dance parties, play games, and bake cookies with them when my life has been turned up-side down? The answer was love. Somedays love was all I could give. I could still hug them, cover them in kisses, and listen to their jokes in the midst of my pain.
I learned that sharing love in the presence of pain is what matters most.
5. Be present.
Depression is living in the past. Anxiety is living in the future. I’ve learned to be present in the now. I feel like I get a second chance at life, so I am clinging to the things that give me joy, and letting go of the things that do not contribute to my well being. I have three boys who need me. They need me at my best, not distracted, but fully present.
Lastly, I value connecting with my friends and family over appearing to be perfect and like I have it all together because no one has it all together. Some people are just better at faking it than others. So take time to be with those you love because you only get today once. 💕