Hey, guys – welcome back to TNTH.
Last year during the Twelve Days of TNTHmas, I wrote a post doing a retrospect of 2017, and now that we are now a week away from a brand new year, I wanted to share some things I learned during 2018.
To say the least, 2018 was an unexpecting year. I entered the year on a good note, I spent my 24th birthday with my partner in Poughkeepsie, I was preparing my Masters’ graduation later in the year; I was determined to make 2018 a much better year than what 2017 was.
Things don’t always work out the way you want them to, do they? In a nutshell, 2018 was a very informative year, which was something that I personally needed to experience in order to understand and put the necessary things out in the universe in order to live life the way I want. In other words, I had some growing up to do.
- First and foremost, I learned that it’s okay to experience the spectrum of emotions like an actual human being. I always took pride in being the “strong one” within my family, and emotions like sadness and confusion didn’t belong in my body. When it came to my own mind, I considered voicing those emotions were a sign of weakness; that I wasn’t the happy, bubbly person I’d like to be 24/7. But life happens. I’ve had issues in personal relationships in my life, I was experiencing untreated anxiety and depression for half of the year, and I lost my grandfather to cancer during the summer. Through therapy, I am learning that it’s okay to feel sad, angry, confused, and most importantly: it’s okay to grieve passed loved ones. I do find myself not allowing myself to feel these things and voice them out at times, but I’m learning little by little. It took me a while to really enforce something like this.
- The people in your life aren’t going to completely understand how your anxiety works, but that doesn’t mean you should minimize your mental health for the sake of others. This is also something that took me a while to learn because there’s such a fine line between giving those in your life the benefit of the doubt for not completely understanding, and then still wanting them to understand it? In other words, there’s a difference between understanding it and respecting it. I learned that people aren’t going to take your mental health seriously if you don’t take it seriously, in all honesty. It’s so easy to make an anxiety joke or a quarter-life crisis type of joke, but if you put that energy out there about it, that’s the type of energy you’ll get back. So make it known that your mental health is important to you and that you deserve the people you love the most to respect that.
- BE ASSERTIVE WITH YOURSELF. One thing I used to tell myself in the past is that I needed to be more selfish with myself. Don’t keep friends that treat you poorly, know when to say no to things and to people, and take care of your mind and heart. Although it is important to know and see your own worth, the word “selfish” felt like a word that was too one-sided for me. When I started to voice these things to my therapist, she brought up the word “assertive”. While selfish is more of a perspective projected from other people, assertive is an action that you are in control of. Once I started to keep being assertive at the back of my mind at all times, I was able to be more vocal about some of the wants and needs I may have needed from those around me, and for myself as well. Being assertive simply meant that I needed to speak up and use my voice in situations I’d be too afraid to use it in.
2018, in a nutshell, was the year of self-awareness and self-courage. It was the year that I swallowed my pride and started to take care of myself in ways that I needed to. It was the year that I learned my limits, my morals, my beliefs, and so much more. The person I was leaving 2017 this time last year is someone that I don’t remember, but I know that this time next year, I’ll be able to look back and see that I’m where I’m at because 2018 me took these steps to get there. I hope 2019 brings me happiness, stability, a job, adventures, and more self-growth.
Merry Christmas (eve), everybody!