2014 has been an incredible year filled with small moments and huge accomplishments. But let's be honest, you're sitting here right now kind of exhausted, aren't you? You turned twenty-two, graduated from college, closed a chapter in life that you absolutely loved, and are now slowly but surely acclimating to being an adult. It's been a crazy journey and when you look back, you find yourself wishing that you had done more, said more, and ultimately been more of this or that. This is not the first nor the last time you'll hear it, but forgive yourself. Forgive yourself for what you didn't know. You did the best you could with what you had, and though it probably ruffled a few feathers and ended up on one or two ish-lists, you did good! If that wasn't true, you wouldn't be as self-aware or as wise as you are in this moment.
This was the year that you finally began taking down the walls you built up as a young girl. It was brick by brick, piece by piece, and it was enough to allow the person on the other end to look into your eyes, but more importantly, they were able to look into your heart. Don't worry about projecting yourself in a certain way or what that person's reaction will be. And I get that you have a hard time letting people walk with you in the dark; you want them to remember the happy things about you, the fun memories, rather than the times you bared your soul or cried because you couldn't hold it in anymore. But honey, it's not your place to decide what anyone should think, because you can't control it. And chances are, they probably see in you what you haven't been able to see in yourself. You're kind. You're strong. You're loving. You have a sense of humor (albeit an offbeat one). More than anything, you have a heart.
And a big heart at that, one with a lot to offer and a lot to give. Don't let personal and/or professional rejections make you believe that you're worthless, because that's far from the truth. Your career does not define you, nor do your relationships. You are a human being and a child of God, and that is what matters. You don't need a whole list of reasons to justify being enough. You'll probably make mistakes and you won't always do the right thing, but in no way does that mean you're less deserving of love and grace.
Yes, sweetheart, make the upcoming year a year of grace. As you write your book and have hard and deep conversations, do not shy away from telling your story because it is messy. Embrace messy. Celebrate messy. Despite that it doesn't always make sense and it's tough to swallow, your story is one that needs to be told. Not just for the sake of moving someone else, but so that you can continue to set yourself free. Have the kindness of a lamb but the voice of a lion.
This seems like a time of uncertainty, but realize that God is molding you and working in ways that you have yet to see. Take this time to continue learning how to love yourself and how to best love others, both as individuals and as those in the same tribe. Express happiness and joy in the best way that you know how, even if it means looking like a little kid or a goofball in the process.
Remember that the only barriers are those that exist in your head. Seek to understand rather than seek out people to constantly understand you. You think that people are waiting for you to screw up, that they want to make you feel small and insecure on purpose. The fact of the matter is that in most situations, you are your own worst enemy. Those things come from THE enemy, and whatever comes from that is a boldfaced lie.
You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Stop worrying about every little detail and hand over the paint brush every once in a while. You can paint a beautiful, breathtaking picture, but it's never a bad thing to ask for help. You are meant to have a helper, and you always do (though you don't always recognize it).
You are who you are for a reason. You will never have it completely figured out and that's OK. You have been through so much and have grown because of it. You have come a long way and that is a reason to give thanks.
And that is how you love yourself.
Keep shining Darling.
photo credit: Peggy2012CREATIVELENZ via photopin cc