I don’t always find a word that sums up my intention for an upcoming year. Sometimes nothing comes to me and I just shrug and let things unfold.
Not this time, my friends! This time I am passionate AF about my word. I did a lot of growing and learning in 2019 and now I want to spend 2020 making sure I never forget my lessons.
The past decade in general has been intense! Lots of personal growth for my husband and I, individually and as a couple. We’ve become parents. Survived a big chunk of that time during which we couldn’t conceive the Little Miss and then undergoing a thankfully successful round of IVF. Our son started school (and completed 4 years of it all by the age of 8). I’ve been depressed and not known it until I came out of it. I’ve lost friends (or seen their true colours). Made friends. Walked away from situations that haven’t served me or my family. Ten years ago I graduated from university. We have grieved the loss of loved ones. Gone on meaningful overseas holidays. Made big life decisions. There have been great times that I’m so grateful for and there have been rough times that have really broken me down.
Honestly, I am exhausted and would love to have a generally ‘good’ year that doesn’t feel like we’re pushing shit uphill for a bit but I don’t know if that’s always realistic! Life always throws curve balls and brings lessons you didn’t know you needed, so all I can hope for is that I keep learning how to handle things well. To keep growing healthy coping mechanisms and to be able to move through challenges with a calm(er) mind. To be that metaphorical rock in a stream.
I’ve chosen the word “authenticity” for 2020 because my soul is the most happy, settled and content when I feel safe to live/be/speak my truth. When I’m trying too hard to please people I shouldn’t be trying to please or shrinking myself to fit a mould I don’t belong in, I do not thrive mentally or emotionally. If I feel like as a grown ass, kind, decent, well educated, emotionally intelligent, competent, and creative woman of 35 years old, I can’t express myself how I need to express myself, then I truly have to question whether a certain situation is best for me or my family. Recently my eyes opened to a situation in which I realised I’d been hiding myself. Feeling like I couldn’t dress a certain way, speak a certain way or be proud of everything I am as a person (who is raising people). Some of that was self imposed (my worst habit is overthinking and then doubting myself) and some of it was because a certain environment made me feel unsafe to be myself.
Most importantly, I noticed this situation was most potentially damaging for my children and this ABSO-FUCKING-LUTELY will not fly.
If I have felt the way I was feeling as an adult, how would this affect my kids? What would I be teaching them? How would I be able to support them if I couldn’t tell them they were safe to be the best parts of who they are (or at least were entitled to be) because I didn’t even feel that way for myself?
I had to do a lot of soul searching on that topic. This was not something we took lightly.
Now I am not some crazy, inappropriate pirate with a deep dark secret or anything. I am just a suburban (mostly) stay at home mum who wants to be able to walk through this world with confidence and courage as the unique person, with a lot to offer, that she is.
I forgot my power, but then I remembered it and I’ve worked hard to take it back (both psychologically and in a more tangible sense).
Every person is multi faceted and has their own story to tell. Everyone has something to offer. Every person’s truest self is worthy and important. Nobody is perfect and sometimes the need to keep up the illusion of perfection is the most damaging thing of all. Not just for ourselves but for everyone around us. People who cannot see this about humanity (and have the compassion in their hearts that everybody deserves) will not see me bending over backwards to please them any longer.
So it is my promise to myself and my family that if we are ever in a situation where we don’t feel safe to be our most authentic selves, I will change something. I will speak up. I will take action quickly. Whether that means just giving myself a kick up the arse and remembering I’m good enough or whether that means having a serious talk with someone about how this isn’t going to work for us if it stays the same.
There will always be haters or people who are sneaky and passive aggressive – the types of people you just know you can’t trust, even if everyone else seems to be drinking the kool-aid. There will always be tricky people and tricky situations to navigate. We won’t always be understood. We won’t click with everyone. That’s real life. But it’s how we deal with it that matters and I will recognise these situations for what they are so much quicker next time, thanks to the lessons I learned in 2019.
I will not forget my power.
I will listen to my soul when it starts to feel stifled and uncomfortable and just not right. I will recognise the warning signs that I am hiding who I truly am and what I truly feel, when I should definitely not be doing so.
I will protect my right to be all the good things that I am and never be ashamed of things someone else has (incorrectly) decided about me because they aren’t happy inside themselves.
Same goes for my kids.
I am so excited for 2020 and I am feeling full of empowerment and optimism. I am proud of the growth I’ve done and recent changes we’ve made feel like the final puzzle piece in me recovering my sense of self worth over the last decade or so.
What is your word?