At the start of each new year, I try to focus on what I need to learn or what I want to focus on for the next 365 days. I write down my goals for the year, my hopes and dreams, and what I can do in the upcoming year to get closer to fulfilling my five-year and 10-year goals. But today as I look forward to 2022, I'm stuck. I keep thinking about 2021, and if I'm honest, shaking my head a little. You see in 2021, I realized I had slowly allowed people to treat me differently. I tolerated things my old self would never have tolerated. And while I feel I've grown quite a bit in the last five years, I can look back on 2021 and see that in some ways I had regressed. But the truth is, it wasn't just 2021. I realized I had allowed this to happen slowly. I even wrote about it in 2018 on a previous blog! It wasn't that I woke up one day and decided it was okay to have people in my life who made me feel bad about myself, it was something that started out small a few years ago and then progressively increased. And one day I woke up and realized I had let it happen. However, as I reflect on this, I'm not being hard on myself about it. Instead, I'm proud of myself for recognizing it and putting a stop to it. Through actions, conversations and letting go of bad relationships, I'm reminding people of how I will be treated and the kind of treatment I will stand for. And that includes a hard look at myself. As I think about what I will tolerate from others, I realized I also must look internally at how some friendships had changed me. Some for the better and some not so much. So in 2022, my goal is not to become a "new me" but to return to the old me that I was proud of. The me that didn't believe in gossip, negativity or drama. The me that knew who she was and wasn't going to allow others to change her. The me that doesn't believe in jealousy and believes we should rise above others' anger toward us out of their own jealousy. The me that wants to focus so much on being my best self and on my spirituality, that there is no room in my heart or my head for comparing myself to anyone else. As I look forward to 2022, I am filled with ways I can return to the beliefs I know to be true. For me, that will mean making some changes to my daily and weekly routines. It means more scripture study and more time living in faith rather than fear. It means building healthy relationships and being cautious of who I bring into my life. It means keeping hobbies that make me a better person and hoping it will help someone else out there, as well. As you look forward to the new year, I urge you to look back on the previous year and see what you have learned and how much you have grown. Often, we look ahead and think about how much we have left to do, but give yourself some grace and remember that we are not asked to be perfect. Most likely, you have come a long way in the last year already. And sometimes looking back makes us realize that we may have gone too far and we may need to turn back and be the woman we used to be.
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