Some Encouragement if You’ve Had a Tough Year

A lot of people I know are struggling this year. Are you one of them? If so, I hope this will help.

It’s natural, as we reach the end of the year, to want to look back and celebrate accomplishments. But what if you feel like there isn’t anything to celebrate? What if you feel like everyone else is doing great things while you’re stuck in a rut? That’s where a few of my friends find themselves this year, and I want to share with you what I shared with them.

Every day you are changing and every day you are growing. It may not feel that way, and it may seem strange to think of “growing” now that you’re an adult, but you are. Every day you are becoming stronger and wiser, more your truest self. Have you learned some new things? Have you cared for your body and soul? Have you done your best to love your friends and family? Those are excellent things to celebrate.

It’s easy to feel like we don’t measure up when we compare ourselves to others. But remember, what you see on social media isn’t always someone’s reality. It’s easy to apply filters, to leave out details, to shove anything you don’t want anyone else to see just out of the frame of the camera. Resist the temptation to spend too much money just to impress others. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. You don’t have to pretend or lie about yourself. You are valuable just as you are.

We’ve become too focused these days on productivity, on material things. What truly feeds our souls, what brings meaning to our lives, is not productivity but community. Reaching out to others, connecting to them, really talking to each other: those are the things that move us. Sharing a meal, opening up to others in conversation—these are real, doable things that build bridges.

Making these connections to others helps us to shed the self-doubt that holds us back. Then we can focus on developing our gifts more fully. Too often, others can see and appreciate our gifts better than we can. Give yourself the freedom to make big plans, to dream big dreams, or even to learn to be satisfied with yourself, right where you are. When you learn to see yourself through others’ eyes, it can help you to judge yourself less harshly.

We’re building a community here too, and I hope you’ll grow along with us in the new year. Even though we may not be able to change some of the big things that are going on in the world, each of us can work to make our corner of the world a little brighter. And it all starts with loving yourself, with being as gentle to yourself as you would be to a friend who’s hurting. Love yourself and care for yourself first and best, and you may find you have the strength and the will to start making the changes you want to see in yourself—and in the world.

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash