Sunday, 11 February 2018

5 lessons I have learned in 2017 x

Is it too late to say Happy new year ? Even though it is February I think its never too late to reflect and think about what the previous year has taught us, therefore I took the month of January to deeply reflect on 2017's most valued lessons. Although January is quiet a dreary month it is also one of my favourites. I have always loved the idea of a fresh start and a new beginning and January is just that. It is a blank slate which allows for so many opportunities and new experiences and yes I am very excited.
For me personally 2017 has been one of those rough years, but a very important year. I have gone through many experiences I never thought I would go through and they have taught me life long lessons that I will hopefully carry with me throughout life. As we step into a new and exciting chapter I think it is so important to sit back and reflect on the previous years biggest lessons. This post is dedicated to the good the bad and the ugly challenges that I have endured which have led to the most beautiful lessons.

1. Hard work pays off
2017 was a huge year for me as well as many as i was doing the dreaded Leaving cert and trying to get into college. These final exams brought endless days and nights of panic and tears but looking back now i have realised it was all so worth it. I worked myself to my absolute limit and it paid off the minute I opened my exam results. Throughout the whole two years of my leaving cert I continuously beat myself up over the fact that I wasn't working hard enough or i could be putting in more hours. This was my subconscious beating me down when in fact I gave it my all! That was clearly evident when I opened my results and I was exactly 100 points over what I needed for my college course. I was ecstatic!
The past year has taught me that if you work hard enough anything is possible. It is up to you how hard you work and what direction you choose to take. The hard days of grafting and making your way up in the world are so worth it when you reach the final goal. 2017 has taught me that dreams don't work unless you do and that you are so capable of living out your dream if you take the time to invest in it.
Life isn't plain sailing! It comes with hard days and good days, and as the saying goes, you can't have a rainbow without a little rain right ?

2. It is okay to ask for help!
As humans we all find it very difficult to push our pride aside and ask for help and that is normal to a certain extent. However, everyone has their limits! One major thing I have taken away from 2017 is that you can't do everything on your own, no matter how much you want too. Sometimes the weight of the world is just too much and the load has to be shared. I always felt like a burden asking for help but 2017 has helped me to ease that burden just a little bit. Whether it is a major mental health related issue, or simply asking your lecturer a question after class, help is always there if you need it. It took me a very long time to realise this and 2017 has opened my eyes to just how much help is out there if your willing to let people in.

3. A tablet does not define you
This is more of a deeper topic but one of the biggest lessons I have learned to date. At 18 years old being diagnosed with clinical depression is a big one. You wouldn't expect it of an 18 year old right ? Well that's what I used to think and oh how I was so wrong! For the majority of 2017 I put off going to the doctor. I refused to think that there was actually something major wrong with me, simply because I believed tablets defined depression. I used to think going down that route was wrong and I sought alternative medical practices and methods when my life could have been a bit easier if I didn't believe the stereotypes. We are all guilty of falling into the narrow minded road of stereotypes in some aspect of life and I am sorry to say that I used to think this way about treating depression medically. 2017 has allowed me to think about mental health in a more open minded way. I no longer believe these stereotypes, and I strongly believe that a tablet does not define you.
I certainly don't think it defines me. After all if you have the flu or a cough you get medication, if you have a neurological mental illness it should be treated the exact same. A tablet will never ever define you and you should live your life the way you want too regardless!

4. Give credit where credit is due
I mean this in a personal context as well as everyday life. It is so important for us to give ourselves credit. If you get a good result in an exam, or manage to beat your new personal best in your favourite sport, it is so important to celebrate the little things. I certainly didn't do enough of this in 2017 and it is so important. We are so hard on ourselves when we go through the toughest of times and still survive. I can proudly say I have been through days where I thought I wouldn't survive and here I am! That is something worth celebrating! I think anyway.....

5. Be gentle with yourself
Lastly but certainly not least, be kind to yourself. I spent the majority of 2017 beating myself up over things and it is something I hope to reduce greatly. Self love was non existent for me and that was so wrong! We only have one body, one life, what is the point on not loving every piece of our being ? After all you are the only person who gets to live your life. 2017 taught me that you cannot look after anyone else if you can't look after yourself. It has taught me that self love is a must and self belief is one of the best qualities anyone could have. Although I haven't mastered the whole self love and self belief thing, time is the way to achieve this. Always be kind, believe in yourself and above all love yourself even the parts that are hard to love! Everything starts from within. After all how can you receive love if you don't love yourself first ?

So there you go, 5 major lessons i have learned from 2017. It turned into a long one so I will leave this here. I hope your 2018 is full of Joy, laugher and love. There is a whole year ahead full of possibilities and its up to us to make the most of the next 365 days.

Love Rach x 


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