What I Learned From The Worst Year Of My Life

I'm Priscilla
I’m Priscilla

Let’s just saying it’s been the most emotionally and spiritually challenging phase of my twenty-eight years of life.

I will not write down every detail of it, because we’re not here to play the whose pain is worse game. We all go through pain in our own specific ways, and all of our pain and struggle are valid.

But throughout this roller coaster of a year, I want to be able to look back one day and be grateful for this year no matter the roadblocks that came my way.

I don’t want to stay bitter and allow these challenges to take away my power and the love that that lies within me.

I kept seeing everyone write down all the good things that happened in their life in 2016, and I was so resistant to trying to find anything good that happened to me this year.

I somehow wanted to allow my pain and loss to take over any sense of joy or peace I felt. I wanted to give more space to my pain so that I can validate it, and somehow feel better through it.

But I know that won’t work.

So I decided I’m going to take time out of my day today to reminisce on this painful year no matter the emotions that will surface, allow myself to dig deep, and see all the good that came to me.

So here it goes. Here are some things I discovered this year:

Pain has allowed me to be a better writer. It has shown me how to be more raw with myself and with others.

I always knew I had this unshakable strength inside of me, but this year, I was able to put it in practice! What I learned is that I’m much stronger than I thought I was.

I gave myself permission to breakdown and fall apart countless of times. I gained strength in the shattering process of my soul, and I gained strength in the rebuilding of it.

I’ve been more transparent this year than any other year of my life, and I have no interest or desire to cover myself up again.

If I have to walk naked for the rest of my life to stay true to who I am, I will do just that.
If I have to be alone for the rest of my life to stay true to who I am, I will do just that.
If I have to continuously break through my comfort and fears to stay true to who I am, I will do just that as well.

This year, I freed myself from material possessions. Having moved many times and downsizing from a beautiful three-storey house to living in a tiny ass bedroom, I’ve learned not to attach myself to my surrounding.

I’m learning to find home within myself and not look for it outside of myself.

As a child, I always believed that God is inside me and I never wanted to go to church for that reason, because I knew that I wasn’t going to find God in those brick walls.

So what made me think I was going to find home in brick walls?

I attached so much of my worth to what I had around me, whether that was people or things.

Although, having a place I can call mine is definitely something that I desire, but it is no longer something that I need. And let me tell you, when I have that again, man am I going to appreciate it as f*ck! Not that I didn’t before, because I truly did. I will now appreciate it differently.

I learned that no matter how much I’m struggling, I can snap out of my pain momentarily and be there for someone else.

I learned how selfless I can be.

In the darkest moments of my life, I still made space for others in my heart.

Didn’t think I was capable of that.

Now, I know that I can give so much even when I feel I don’t have. Whether that is love, time, money or things.

I learned that people genuinely do care. I had so many people who reached out to me wanting to help mend my heart in the many ways they knew how. I didn’t have to go through my struggles alone.

No matter how alone I felt, I was never alone.

I learned that my intuition is something that I need to respect more. My feelings have been so on point this year, and it makes me wonder why I was never able to trust my feelings as much before.

The answer will be that I didn’t believe in myself. I didn’t listen to my feelings, because I didn’t value myself.

I often got mad at my intuition and resisted its messages because I kept being shown truths I didn’t want to see.

I didn’t want to believe that my husband, lover and best friend of 15 years, and I were going to go our separate ways one day. I resisted those messages as long as I could.

I didn’t want to believe certain things about friends and family, because I always chose to see the good in them. But I realized that some people are not good for me. Not because they’re bad people, but simply because they don’t make room for my light to shine.

You know that feeling when you are happy and are aligned with who you are, some people feel bitter towards you, they cannot stand your light?

It’s not because they want to be mean, but simply because they don’t know how to see the light within themselves, so they become threatened by yours. Whereas deep down, they just want to feel as connected to themselves as you are.

But through this, when I often felt that bitterness in other people’s energy, I dimmed my f*cking shine. It made them so uncomfortable that it somehow made me uncomfortable; therefore I shifted my energy to match theirs to avoid any kind of conflict or pain.

I don’t know what the hell I was thinking!

I caused myself so much unnecessary pain simply to make others comfortable.

I’m honestly done pleasing others. It’s not and never has been my responsibility.

I just took shit on as my responsibility because it made me feel like I was doing something of value. But I really wasn’t. I did more harm to myself and to others by keeping people in their comfort.

I don’t want to spend time with people who become uncomfortable around me. I want to be around people who raise me up, who allow my light to come through, and who allow me to be me.

I learned this year, very recently at that, that I need to stop trying too hard, in every area of my life. I’m learning to be myself without giving a shit about what people think. I mean I’ve been trying to do that my whole life, but I’m finally reaching a whole new level of not giving a shit. Not because I don’t value other people’s opinions or beliefs, but simply that I’m beginning to value my own so much more.

I learned this year that I don’t need validation from men, whether that was my husband, my brother, my father, my male friends or bosses at work.

As women we are taught to please men, to put them on pedestals, to give our all to them, because they’re the “providers”.

How come women are not called the providers?

We give SO much emotionally, physically, spiritually, and some even give financially.

I diminished my worth time and time again, because I had people who provided for me financially, but never really valuing how much I was providing them in return in every other way. To the point where I lost myself in giving myself away, thinking that the more I give, the more I will be of value.

Growing up, I’ve been taught that when you love someone, you give your all to them. But my friend showed me that that’s not love. Loving someone is NOT giving your all, instead it is being able to BE all of who you are.

I am emotionally and physically tired of leaving pieces of myself in other people’s validation box. I’m learning to value myself more than I ever have, and that’s a gift I’m truly grateful for this year.

I’m learning to say NO when I clearly feel it’s a no. I’m learning to say YES to what my heart truly wants, and stray away from the things that it doesn’t.

I’m learning to be by myself, not having to be anything for anyone, to enjoy my own company even more, and to find solace and comfort in my own soul.

This year, I freed myself from other people’s expectations of me.

I let go of years of anger and resentment from never being fully accepted from the people that I love, simply because I am different and do not fit the traditional mould.

I’m learning that it’s no longer my business if I’m not accepted by others, because I’m learning to accept myself.

I learned that not everyone will enjoy my writing or what I have to share, but also that those who do love what I write, love it with all their heart.

I learned not to attach myself to labels, even the label of calling myself a writer.

I write simply because that is what my heart yearns for every minute of the day.

I learned that I have SO much to offer through my gift and through my calling as a writer. I opened my mind to so many ways to write and to share the things I want to share. I no longer limited myself to one way, one audience, one genre, or one medium.

I now know that I can not only write self-help spiritual books or just poetry, but that I can write children’s books, fiction, movie scripts, or write for television.

I can use my voice in more ways than one.

That in itself has freed me and has given me a whole world of possibilities that I couldn’t see before, because I limited myself. I couldn’t fully see, because I couldn’t fully appreciate who I was.

It’s funny that once I owned who I am, even people began reflecting that back at me and began to see me for who I am. Not everyone of course, but the ones who matter did.

I learned that there are no mistakes in life. Even the things we think are mistakes end up being the biggest learning platforms of our lives. I now want to make room for mistakes, so that I can continue to learn and grow.

I learned that the shitty things that happened to me are actually things my soul asked for. So I can’t stay mad at what the universe delivered for what I put out as an order in the first place.

I’m grateful to have made many new friends this year, some who will stay in my life for years to come.

I’m grateful for my courage to leave everything behind and start a whole new life in a whole new place.

I’m grateful for all the new entering my life, and I’m grateful for all the things that left.

I’m grateful that this year I inspired some of you.

I’m grateful that this year I inspired myself.

I’m grateful that throughout the shittiest year of my life, I rose above and became more of who I am, and for that this year has been blessed.

Before doing this, I honestly didn’t think I was going to find anything good that happened to me this year, but I guess if I allow myself to put pain aside for a little while, I will see the good that lives beneath it.

I hope some of you find the courage to do the same. To put your pain aside just for a little while, and allow yourself to see the good that lives beneath it. TC mark

More From Thought Catalog