This last year has been the biggest year of self-reflection for me ever. I didn't start it knowingly, but towards the end of 2019 it hit me what I'd been going through. Self-reflection is one of the greatest things you can do for yourself. Stopping your busy life to hone in on your soul and what drives you is crucial; in my opinion. However, it's not easy and it's not something that comes lightly. This past year I got honest with myself and I felt the pull to share with you, my readers. You' ve been through so much with me and I continue to be inspired by the feedback, the connection and the yearning desire for growth that so many of you share with me.
"Until you take the journey of self-reflection, it is almost impossible to grow or learn in life."
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My 30th birthday is less than a month away and I go back and forth with being ready for it. To me, aging is a beautiful thing and I'm not scared of that at all. With every year I feel as though I become wiser, more comfortable with who I am and less worried about everything else around me. What's got me is where I'm at in life with success, happiness, habits I've formed or wish I had, and my overall connection with God and His plan. I feel this pull inside of me that isn't being met. Moments of feeling stuck, held back or even completely lost have all hit me in the last year. I didn't ask for it and I totally didn't know what it all meant when I started realizing what was within me.
The Beginning of Letting Go
On my 29th birthday I was 6 months postpartum, nearing the end of my breastfeeding journey, and slowly coming out of the "newborn blackout stage" (as Kirby and I like to call it). I mean, let's be honest, the first 6 months of being a new parent are tough. No book, piece of advice or really anything at all can prepare you for what lies ahead. It's a beautiful mess. Reflecting back I can say I wish I would have just enjoyed the mess a bit longer than trying to figure it all out, but I've really begun to let that go. I have loved every minute of being a mama (okay, there are a few I haven't lol) and I'm done looking into the past wondering, "what if I would have done this", or "did I do enough of that", and just enjoy the moments I've had the past 17+ months with Mr. Addison James. It all goes way too fast, as any parent knows, and if I'm being honest, I think Kirby and I have done a dang good job.
As many of you have read, I struggled with how Addison's birth unfolded. I dealt with huge demons of regret, questioning all the decisions I made, placing blame on anyone I could and in some crazy way thought I failed. Wow. As I'm writing this now I am having a rush of emotions hit me. That's the first time I've written that all out. I thought I failed at my own birth story. Fast-forward a year and half, and I'm so happy with how far I've come. I can look back on Addison's birth and find joy in my birth plan 100% going nothing like planned. I see the strength both Kirby and I showed in those moments and can literally look back at moments of myself in the hospital, like, damn. I'm stronger than I ever thought possible. Do I still get a bit emotional at seeing others perfectly put together birth pictures, yeah. But I'm getting past it and hoping one day I may get to give it another shot to create a second birth story that fits right into our family.
All in all. The beginning of letting this huge burden go was all thanks to self-reflection.
The Struggle of a "Past Me"
When I stopped breastfeeding I had a little more time for me and felt like I could get back to who I was before. I had big dreams and couldn't wait to dive into a bit more of my world. As time continued to go on, I slowly came to realize, that never happens. Hello - you can't become a parent and ever, ever be the same. Your soul, mindset, heart (all of the above) are shook in a way you can't even really put into words. However, what does happen - if you let it - is even better.
"I hope you love yourself enough to recognize the things you don't like about your life and I hope you find the courage to change them."
As I got through the summer I knew being a work from home/stay at home mom wasn't going to be as easy as I pictured it. Constantly being pulled from work and being a mom started to make me feel like I was failing in all aspects of life. I took a few months "off" (bloggers are never really off because consistency is literally everything, but I slowed down) and that's when the true self-reflection started. The beginning was dark and painful. I started seeing things in myself I hated, but struggled with knowing why. I couldn't find the meaning behind all my feelings and I didn't know what I was even wanting from it all. I had days where I felt empty and as I mentioned above, totally lost. I questioned everything I was doing and wondered what I was really looking for from life.
If you're at this point, don't stop. Feel the pain and the worry. Dig deep within yourself and sort out all of those thoughts. You're at the beginning and oh my gosh, it gets better. No growth comes without it.
Disclaimer: last summer was a beautiful summer with Addison James. I have memories I will never forget with him and we truly had the best days together. So much laughter and so much time spent outside enjoying the little things. I myself was struggling with my own demons that he may never ever know about.
Hitting Exhaustion & Rising Above
This past Fall/Winter season was the busiest of my life - in all aspects. I had more projects with my blog than ever before, I had a growing, busy-body toddler on my hands and we bought our very first home. After all the self-reflection summer gave me I felt ready to hit the ground running and filled my calendar with just about everything I could. I ran a million miles an hour - laughing through lots of it, crying through some - and thought I was finally "doing it".
As holiday campaigns came to a close and we hit the last couple weeks of the year, I started feeling more exhausted than ever before. I started to pull away from my work and began feeling more confused. What was I doing wrong?... Why am I not enjoying my life? That question right there started to surface more and more. It's what brought me to my deepest points of self reflection.
"The work God does within us while we wait is just as important as whatever it is we're waiting for."
Self-reflection isn't supposed to be easy. It's not just looking at the surface of your life and finding a plan to change it. It's digging into your deep past, finding those little things that shaped who you are and reflecting on how they're affecting you now. These past couple months have been extremely hard. I started hitting on points deep in my past that are bothering me today. Through all that I found things I really don't like about myself. Habits that have formed over the years finally came clear to me on how much they're holding me back from the person I want to be. They've weighed on me longer than I can really even remember.
Over the last year I've been yearning for change that all along has to come from within. Without giving myself the time to reflect on all of these pieces that make me, me - I wouldn't be able to write this post. I would still be stuck, looking for an "easy" way to fix things, little changes and small self-care habits thinking that it would all fall into place. Of course, I have a long way to go, but I'm right at the surface and I can feel it within me. I stated in my 2020 New Year post that I knew this year was going to be big. I feel closer to reaching this vision of my life I have than ever before.
I'm far from it and still have struggles that pop in my mind as I write this out. My relationship with myself is going to be ever evolving which brings me to my last section of this post... My relationship with Him.
Self- Reflection Turned Toward the Lord
Born and raised a Catholic girl, I have always had a relationship with God. I attended Catholic school, Mass every single Sunday and practiced prayer daily. I always turn to the Lord with questions and I have always instilled in myself that I am His. But I feel myself digging deeper into a relationship with Him and a better understanding of what all that means.
As a parent, I've mentioned how you lose all aspects of being selfish. All in all, your life revolves around your little one in almost every single decision you make. After the sermon this weekend my mind has totally changed. I've been selfish this entire time. Not as a parent necessarily, but as a child of God. My plans have been so clouded with what I want to accomplish, how I want to be successful and what I want my life to look like. Through all of this I'm forgetting to glorify His purpose; His plan.
A part of the sermon that hit me most and what I want to end this post with is this: "What God has started he will finish and bring it to completion. Nothing can undermine or derail God's purpose. None of the chaos of our own individual lives or circumstances or relationships or personal fails or any of those kinds of things can derail the purpose of God. I am absolutely secure within the hand and in the palm of God because he is working out his plan and he will never fail to accomplish it. Those he justifies, he glorifies - it's not about your performance, your success or if you're using his gifts within you to the ultimate degree. It's about the fact Home is never going to be in question." ( You can listen to the whole serum here.)