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A Look Back On 2016.

8th January 2016

A Look Back On 2016.

I was going to start this post with a line from Lionel Richie's song 'Hello' and then thought that I may be taking it a little far and decided to click the backspace button rather rapidly. What I actually want to say is that I'm sorry I haven't been around for awhile and that 2016 was a little scarce, but in truth, it was a bit of a weird year for me that gradually got worse before finally getting a bit better. We all have positive and negative experiences and I've got to say that last year was one big rollercoaster for me, that seemed to be going up and down sporadically and I struggled to keep up. When I felt that I was picking up pace and moving forwards, something would always hold me back again and I think a lot of people can relate to that. What I want to do however, is to extract only the positive outcomes from that year. I feel that in all of the setbacks, great things were actually growing and much needed realisations were blossoming. 2016 was definitely the year that I felt a little bit more grown up and so for both my sake and because it makes a good read, I've decided to list three phoneix moments for me - where life knocked me down and I actually rose above it.

1. I realised my worth.

This is actually one of the most important things that happened to me last year and it couldn't have come soon enough. I don't know about you, but I've always been incredibly insecure and I've never done well sticking up for myself. You could definitely place me in the category of 'people pleaser' and I would fit right in, as that is just simply and undoubtedly me. I like to make people happy and I get incredibly anxious if I know that I won't or if I haven't managed to achieve that. Whilst it does have it's perks and helps to form relationships, I found myself in a pretty toxic situation last year and had the sad realisation that people will definitely take you for granted if you enable them to do so.

It was from here that I started to think about whether trying to please people was actually challenging my own happiness and self-worth and if it was, then why was I putting myself through it? I started to realise all the times I had felt like I had failed, when actually I had let people make me believe that I wasn't good enough. The saddest part is that they knew my worth and were taking advantage. That was when I made the very adult and perhaps deservedly selfish decision to finally stand up for myself and remove myself from that particular situation, despite the consequences. I had never felt better or more empowered than when I burnt that bridge and I will not allow it to happen again.

2. I learnt that growing up isn't a bad thing.

Everyone wants to stay young forever and no one can deny that growing older is flippin' scary stuff! Heck, the media, cosmetic companies and big corporations alike thrive on tapping into the most narcissistic of our insecurities and we can't help but get sucked in. It is scary though, I mean who can forget that free spirited feeling of being a teenager and only having school to worry about? Everything starts to feel more real and more stressful and more permanent the older you get and whilst it makes me want to bash my head against a wall sometimes, it's actually opened up many more opportunities. It struck me how having a job and being able to drive and making my own decisions, has allowed me to make friends, travel the world and also find myself. I'm not saying that I wake up cheery and motivated for work everyday, or that I like the expenses that come with adult life, but I certainly enjoy being able to make plans and enjoy myself!

One of the scariest parts of growing older however is commitment. My friends and I always used to joke about settling down and it actually stopped me from really thinking about my future seriously. Whenever someone would ask if I ever thought about marriage or children, I would snort at the very idea and awkwardly play with my hands, as I uncomfortably answered 'Maybe in the future?'. Because that's something only adults do isn't it? They plan for the future and surely I'm too young. But then one of my closest and dearest friends got married in 2016 and I started to wonder if I had been denying myself for too long. Commitment isn't an adult thing at all, it's just another beautiful part of life and although it's not something that is in the cards right now, it's not something that I should feel embarrassed or worried about. It's now something that I really look forward to happening, but only when the time is right!

3. I let go of negative feelings.

I had never really realised before just how many negative experiences I had held onto over the years and how they had changed my general perception of life and situations. It's so easy to focus on the bad, rather than just let it go and move on and it lead me to continually pass judgement on situations that I didn't really understand. It's stopped me from achieving things and putting myself out there to really succeed and it also created a darker side to me that I just didn't like. A lot of things happened in 2016 that put life clearly into perspective for me and I had a brief period of time where I felt like I was on the verge of just breaking down, because I was certain that I was set up to constantly fail. I would consistently run over every little thing that had gone wrong since I was a teenager and constantly wondered 'why me?'. Before long it got so exhausting that I decided it needed to end.

I'm not going to tell you that I let go of everything as simply as a click of your fingers, but I did start to question everything I had ever held onto. How long ago did it happen? Has it really changed anything? Does it really matter? The more I analysed things, the sillier it all seemed that I allowed the past to decide my future and that had to stop. It wasn't just about the past experiences however, it was also about how I was going to handle situations going forward. There was a particular incident towards the end of the year where I put this new mindset into practice. It was a ridiculous situation that made me understand that even those closest to you can you let you down and although it was a pretty hurtful moment for me, I realised that the best thing for me was to move on. I decided that if someone could erase me so easily from their life, then they never deserved to be in mine and I've tried to give it little thought since. It's not easy, but it's definitely made me happier.