What. A. Year. 2019 was overflowing with changes personally, professionally, mentally, spiritually, emotionally…the progress of this year is highlighted even more by the state I was in at the beginning of it.

2019 began the same as the previous two years had…in a daze. Confused, foggy, mentally and physically exhausted and completely at a loss as to what the next steps in life were supposed to be. I felt suspended in time. Trapped in some kind of warp where I watched as my life sped by and I was helpless to play any meaningful part in it. Stuck in a vortez of reactivity where life was simply happening to me. I was a paralyzed observer, sickened by my lack of involvement, yet seemingly unable to shift the outcome in anyway.

2017 drifted by in a haze, 2018 passed just as inconsequential… and then something happened. On a whim, towards the end of 2018, I decided to apply to an MBA program that would start January 2019. It was the first active rather than reactive move I had made in almost 2 years. Even after being accepted to the program I wavered back and forth on whether I should actually follow through with it. Would it be worth it, would I have the energy to do it, would I have the determination to stick with it despite my current struggle with hypothyroidism, lack of energy, fluctuating emotions, and post-concussion symptoms that left me struggling to complete even the simplest of math equations.

My body was begging me not to. It would be too taxing, too difficult to maintain. And yet as much as I wanted to give in to those yearnings, the previous two years of my life kept flashing through my mind. Two years that were utterly stagnant in terms of what I knew my potential could have been. My body whispered tempting thoughts of postponing my start until the Summer semester or even the Fall, but I knew this was a now or never moment. The rest of my year and even life would be dramatically affected by this one simple decision. And despite the deepest cries of my being to not start the program, I couldn’t bare even one more month of the haze I had been in.

And so it began. The start of the program was the start of a chain reaction. A spark that grew into a flame so rapidly I hardly knew what to do with it. Never underestimate the power of a decision. And this decision was the ignition I had been craving for two years. A reminder that I was still everything I thought I had lost: organized, clever, intelligent, relatable, social, committed. I started to fall in love with myself again. And the chain of events kept rolling throughout the entire year.

I visited New Mexico with a friend and through the most serendipitous of circumstances ended up receiving a very high tech treatment at a healing center. The treatment tested the sound of your voice to show you trigger areas in your brain. To my surprise, mine showed a significant amount of anger. I was confused because I honestly couldn’t think of anyone I was genuinely angry with.

As I sat with it pondering the meaning I came to a life altering realization. There was anger, but not with others…with myself. I had spent my entire life yearning for people to truly known me, to love me in exactly the way I need to be loved, to care for me in exactly the way I needed to be cared for and then it hit me…I didn’t even love myself the way I wanted, I didn’t even care for myself the way I knew I should be. I had been betraying myself for my entire life, denying the deepest yearnings of my soul, my body, my mind.

It was a moment of heartbreak for the years I spent not treating my own person the way I deserved to be treated. Not setting clear boundaries, seeking the healing treatments I knew I needed, standing up for myself in difficult situations, making time for the activities that set my soul on fire…

The heartbreak lingered, but from that moment on I promised to be my own true love. The person who knew me better than anyone else, who loved me better than anyone else.

Not shortly after, I attended BOLD. A personal/leadership development program by Driven Leadership. A three day overnight intensive experience where so many hard truths were realized and fears released. I could write half a book on the experience alone, but one of the biggest realizations I received from this was as follows:

I saw how I had been subconsciously holding myself back my entire life. Overachieving in so many areas, yet still not reaching my full potential. In short, I was afraid to shine. I didn’t want my own light to diminish the light of others, to make anyone feel bad or even to be in the spotlight because of it. And from that a new promise was made…I would free myself to shine unapologetically and as brightly as my spirit could. I would not diminish my own light just because it made others uncomfortable. Some might get burned, but the ones who were meant to be in my life would see my light and push me to shine even brighter as they themselves pursued their own radiance. No more waiting in the corner quietly hoping for permission from others to radiate as brilliantly as I could.

And so I began to listen to the intuitive nudges of my soul and mind. I started a new blog focusing on holistic lifestyle and the fire grew bigger and brighter. I said no to projects and jobs that weren’t in alignment and again, the fire grew. New opportunities started coming my way that gave me energy and passion. My hopes for the future began to shift to dreams too big for the person I was just 6 months before. I flooded my time with reading, writing, podcasts, hiking, socializing, solitude, movement, sunlight and a hundred other seemingly insignificant things that fill my being with joy and fulfillment…and the fire grew. I began to protect my time, energy and emotions at all costs and love myself as I had always hoped to be loved.

Would you believe I flourished? Shocker right? Who would have thought that creating boundaries, caring for your entire being and making time for the things you love could be so life changing. And in case you missed it that was sarcasm because duh! We make the simple needlessly complex sometimes.

And so the shadow of a person that I was in the beginning of 2019 has disappeared beneath the light that I have become. My heart is overflowing with joy, gratitude, peace, friendship, anticipation and most importantly, unabashed love for myself. The fire is ablaze and I have no fear of it smoldering because I no longer rely on anyone else to keep it burning. I know the fuel it will require to keep it alight and growing and have committed to providing that for myself.

Comments (2)

[…]   By Leigh Ann Lindsey Personal Growth January 14, 2020 […]

Wow. That’s such an inspiring story. I’m reminded that we are made to move and learn and work hard. It really brings true joy. So many influences tell us that leisure is the key, but being productive has always worked better for me. Reflecting can be hard work and it has great rewards.

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