If you met me a year ago, you’d probably be wondering the same thing I am right now: Who WAS that girl?
Here’s the thing... I honestly don’t know.
Just 365 days ago, I was a completely different person. I didn’t like myself at all. In fact, I kind of hated myself.
I had the worst inner monologue of anyone you’ll ever meet. I still struggle with this, but the difference is I used to think this negative dialogue was completely normal (which it's not.) Seriously, if someone actually said half the things running through my head on a daily basis to your face, you’d probably never want to leave your house or look in a mirror again. At this point in my life I had just ended a four-year relationship during which I had pretty much lost all of my friends as well as my sense of self identity. I was 40 pounds heavier. I felt that nothing I had to say and nothing I had to think was worthwhile. I was drinking way too much and praying way too little. I consistently tried to fill a hole in my heart with material things despite my better knowledge that I needed to turn to God and ask him to fill my heart. I lost my faith, I lost my direction, I lost my purpose, and I lost my hope. Daily battles of self-image issues, depression, loneliness and anxiety plagued my mind, and I found myself consistently playing the victim in my own life. That was the only way I knew how to think, and always seemed to be asking myself the question I have come to hate: Why is this happening to me?
I seldom took chances, never went out on a limb. I never followed the minuscule voice in my head that called me to do anything spontaneous, and I sure as heck never did anything for myself. I was too scared to tell anyone how dark of a place I was in.
Fast forward 365 days.
I don’t know what happened or what changed. I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and believe it was a series of events coupled with prayer and the wonderful people who empowered me on a regular basis that sparked the change in my life. I never really believed it when people told me we are a product of who we spend the most time with. Not that my time was being spent with the wrong people necessarily, but surrounding myself with people who will shared pure joy with me in every aspect of life changed my world completely. Enthusiastic, encouraging, loving, fierce, creative and driven people are the types of people you need in your life. People who will be by your side through thick and thin, friends who will nerd out with you about your smallest obsessions.
Change can happen quickly or it can creep up slowly over time. Mine evolved slowly from one day to the next until I could look back and see a tangible difference. I cut out the parts of my life I didn’t like. I started finding things I was passionate about. I took up going to church again. This past year I have absolutely poured my heart and soul into blogging and anything that allows me to be creative, receiving support I didn't even know was out there. Taking chances and thinking about my actions before I make them have become two things I do daily. I dropped those 40 pounds, and boy does it feel amazing. I’ve started telling my terrible inner monologue to shut its filthy mouth, because I now know that I truly deserve better. So much of my success is thanks to those who pushed me (okay let’s be honest... DRAGGED me) through my toughest days, weeks and months. They made me realize how important it is to not only receive encouragement, but dish it out as well. I’ve started to not just like, but LOVE, myself. My mindset had finally evolved from one of "Why me?" to "Why NOT me?"
When I started blogging I was so inspired by creatives, but always wondered how they kept getting these great opportunities to further their blog, their business, their passion. Then I realized the most important secret to being successful: THEY. WENT. FOR. IT. They took a chance, sent an email, booked a meeting, asked a question and made a connection... because they COULD. So you know what? That’s exactly what I started doing.
The phrase "Why NOT me?" has changed my life. If someone influences me, I introduce myself and strike up a conversation. If I’m in a store and see a piece of clothing I wouldn’t normally wear, I buy it just to prove that I can make it work. If I think of an opportunity, I come up with a plan and execute it. This is the only way to live and be successful at chasing your passion, because at the end of the day those connections and your happiness are what matter. How did I spend so many years playing a victim? I have no idea. I see people do it now and it makes me miserable for them. Not that I’m perfect and don’t throw a pity party here and there, because I do, but that’s not my permanent mindset anymore. Anything and everything that’s happened before this moment is in the past. How can you take your mistakes, turn them into a lesson and make it worthwhile?
Never in my life have I felt more empowered, driven or focused on reaching goals than I do right now. I find myself trying to figure out how to make someone’s day just a little brighter and wanting to create small connections that can lead to big things in the future. I find myself wanting to help others reach their goals, and I'm finally in a state of mind where I can say that I love who I’m becoming.
The best part? This is only just the beginning. The minute you realize you love yourself again is the minute you start to love the world better as well.
The girl you would have met 365 days ago would have laughed in your face if you’d told her where she’d be in a year. I’m thankful not to be plagued by her negativity anymore, but happy for the chance it gave me to retrain my thinking and blossom into who I really am. Those 365 days were long and they were hard, but each and every one got a little sweeter and a little brighter.
Here’s to the next 365.