I am passionate about personal growth. I constantly look for opportunities to learn and to move forward as a person. I read a lot of books in the self-help, or personal development genre. It is my belief that we are on this planet to learn, to fulfill life lessons and to gain greater understanding in the areas pertinent to our lives.
Over the holidays I have been thinking about how much I’ve changed. I thought about Christmas 2015. I had been recovering from my burnout for a year already but was struggling with energy. I was feeling so down about being sick and facing years of recovery ahead of me. I felt lonely and misunderstood in that the social circles I moved in didn’t get it at all.
They didn’t understand how a late night caused me days of recovery. They didn’t understand that I couldn’t drink alcohol because it makes my adrenals weaker and that meant I couldn’t even take care of my children properly. Nobody understood how it felt to be saddled with this illness and poor health for several years. Just the emotional burden of that realization was heavy, let alone the physiological failure of my body to support me.
At that time I was trying to find my voice. I was speaking up about things that were wrong and that were not working for me. And because it was unusual and not in my normal patterns, those around me reacted badly. They didn’t like this outspoken person – where was the doormat from the past who was quiet and compliant?
I had also just received my first rejection from a traditional publisher. I knew it was coming and I expected it but it rejection still stings. I was so afraid to make the wrong decision in publishing my book. I was scared that I might proceed with a self-publishing organisation who cheated me. It was a large investment and a totally unknown area for me, at a time when I couldn’t earn any income. It was a scary period and I felt completely unsupported.
I had an epiphany during December 2015 that my people-pleasing behavior was harming me. I spent a lot of time bending over backwards for others who didn’t appreciate the effort. And at the same time I was harming myself because I had such limited energy that I should have been spending it on important people, like my children.
I stopped trying to earn approval and to be the glue that holds other relationships together. I just focused on getting well and on my own relationships. I became much more aware of relationships that were not to my benefit and I put in measures to protect myself and to distance myself from those who were harming me.
This year, I’ve maintained those boundaries so well. I’ve kept up the self-care and made sure that I get what I need out of each day and each interaction. I maintain my energy and I only expend it in areas and with people who have earned it: those who love and support me.
In terms of my career and writing, I have self-published my book with pride. I’m happy with how things turned out and with the quality of the book. I’m enjoying positive reviews and gaining great confidence in the positive feedback from readers. I’m planning a range of offerings connected to my book which should be a real adventure this year.
I feel so much stronger. I have much more energy than I did two years ago and I protect it fiercely. I honor my own needs and I make sure I spend time the way I want to in my day. I’ve stopped trying to rescue people and I’m just letting go and letting them get on with what they need to do. I’m less concerned about what people think or might say about me. I’m very clear that it’s not my role to make people happy. I’m focusing on my happiness and striving for becoming the best version of me instead.
So often we berate ourselves for things we haven’t done or new year’s resolutions not met. I’m working on acknowledging myself for areas of real progress. I’m not the soft target I used to be. I’m able to stand up for myself, I fight for what I need and my life is a lot better for it. I’m a much happier person and that leaves me free to write, to care for my children with a smile and to feel authentic joy.