an arrow can only be shot by pulling it backward.

I’ve made a lot of comments lately about “Thank God this year is over” and “2013 can kick rocks” – and it’s true that 2013 was a difficult year for me. I have experienced some of the most painful moments of my life during this year. But so much good has also come out of this past year. 2013 was the year that I got my voice back. 2013 was the year that I learned to trust my intuition above everything else. It was the year that showed me just how much strength I really have. It was a year that brought so many valued friendships back into my life, and the year I really learned to love myself again. It was a year that brought me to my knees so many times, but at the end of the day I’m still standing and that means something. More than something – it means everything.

I’ve learned more about myself and the kind of person that I don’t want to be during this year than the past 27 years of my life combined. I’ve learned that I cannot choose or control what happens to me, or stop other people from treating me like I mean nothing, but I CAN choose how I react to those situations; those people. I’ve written before about how tempting its been for me react in anger, and I would have every justifiable reason to do so. But I know now that I do not want to be that kind of person. I don’t want to be an angry, bitter, shell-of-a-person, even if no one would blame me. I want to be vulnerable and kind and loving, even if that means I open myself up to getting hurt. I figure that even angry people can get hurt – they just choose to ignore and run away from that pain. I choose to sit and deal with my pain, as much as I possibly can. I’ve found that this very healing and helps me move on. As a result, I can continue to have open and loving and mutually-vulnerable relationships with other people. And I am so much better for it.

I’ve learned that my value doesn’t come from outside of myself and that I absolutely do not have to let other’s actions towards me determine my self worth. For too many years I let a selfish, self-destructive person control my happiness. This was the year that ended all of that. So yes – this has been an immensely difficult year in so many different ways, but it’s also been one of the most important. And at the end of the day (or in this case, the end of the year) I guess I’m just really thankful for the lessons I’ve learned along the way. And I’m guessing that because of everything that happened in 2013 – the breaking and the bending and the growing – that 2014 is going to be pretty kickass. That’s what I’m hoping anyway.

“I’m amazed at how each of the painful experiences I’ve had have actually saved me from a life of arrogance and entitlement.”
– Donald Miller
“If we are going to heal, we must find something meaningful that came of our tragedies.”
– Donald Miller

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