Personal Growth: Reflections On How I Have Grown

2014 may not have been the best year for me or us (my husband and I) but when it came down to keeping my 2014 resolutions (all 30 of them!) I have to say that I did all right. I am the kind of person who gets off on organization and efficiency – so of course I am all about lists. I divided my life into three big umbrella categories: Health; Personal; and Career. And each of those umbrellas had ten goals/resolutions. While I have always sought to challenge myself, 2014 was the first year I had so many goals, and it was also the first time I was really good about tracking them.

This year, I saw a lot of growth. I honestly haven’t felt like I have grown this much as a person since 2011, when I finally broke out of the shadows of fighting to stay alive and was about to finally just live. (Being stuck on survive is fine when it is necessary, but only when it is necessary. It is impossible to grow and “live” when you’re stuck there. Because everything is about need, about necessity and often you feel your hands are tied.) I don’t think I thought I would ever admit this, because I don’t believe everything happens for a reason, but dying (as in actual death – I wasn’t being metaphorical) the way that I did and fighting just to stay alive, once I came back, was really the best thing for me. Because once I got past that fight, I had a serious growth spurt. I didn’t learn anything new or that I didn’t already know, but I was able to do all of the work in a few short months that would have probably otherwise taken a decade to go through. And to clarify that is not a reason – that is finding the silver lining.

Anyway… there was a whole lot of growth back in 2011. I finally was at a place to deal with my own shit (sorry, but there really isn’t another word that truly captures everything) and work on myself. I was able to move on from my past and really forgive, as much as one can, not for me, and not so I could have a relationship with those I forgave, but so it wouldn’t hold me back any longer. Lies are heavy. Anger is heavy. Sadness and guilt are incredibly heavy. And I was just tired of being heavy. Letting go and giving up are two very different things, and I was ready to do the “letting go” part. I had to forgive those who hurt me, and forgive myself for all the things I held onto – and truly be okay with myself, and never apologize for doing what I needed to do to be healthy and happy. (This may sound all sage and wise, but sadly I am not that Zen – some of these things in terms of forgiving or being okay with myself is an everyday choice and sometimes struggle, but at least I finally get it.)

2014 was the first year to really test me (I am not counting 2011) since I went through all these positive mindset shifts and grew into the person I am now. From January through the very last days of December, it seemed like situations challenged this grown-up I had evolved into and challenged the old me to show myself. The “survivalist” me who was just a little too sharp and harsh and hard for the day to day stuff. And I held out. Did I reach a breaking point once or twice – of course. And I would go for a walk or journal or scream (not at people in aggressive manner, but sometimes you really just have to) to get it out, and then I would process, and then I would move on.

Even though 2014 was so challenging I held onto all of my smaller goals, and for the most part kicked some serious butt. I surpassed my overall expectations in each umbrella, even though some goals I failed at, which is giving me something to think about going forward. Do they matter? Do I need to devote time and energy to them? If so, I need to be better and focus on them going forward, compared to other things I have a handle on. If not, I need to let them go. (In terms of small goals that I could have done better with – there were seven total. Four in my “personal umbrella” but two of those were still above 90% – of course I grade myself – and the other two, at least “passing.” The other three were in my “career umbrella” and two of those I just failed horribly at, while the third was a solid B effort.)

So, while last year was difficult and certainly tested me in new ways since my last growth spurt, I think I did all right. And I think how I handled everything (and I wasn’t alone, it was a difficult year for my husband too, and I know he has grown as well – but I’m not going to speak for him) has propelled me forward, and I realize that once again I’ve grown, or at least I am aware of just how much I grew years ago, and I haven’t reverted into old bad habits. And in that way, last year was a success. And how do I reward such a success? I have my thirty goals for 2015 (well actually I am finalizing them) because last year’s system really worked for me, and I am going to continue to work on myself. I think when a person no longer needs to – well what’s the point? I’m not some self-help queen who is constantly looking to others for validation, and I am not trying to change myself. I am trying to make sure I am the best I can be. Happy, healthy and balanced. For me – that’s the point in all of this. Be the person you want to be, be good to others and put good energy out into the universe and everything else will follow.

-DMW

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