You Have Worth

Two thousand seventeen.

Oh my. This year will always be ingrained in my mind for one primary reason. Back in 2012 when I was applying to colleges, I was applying for the class of 2017. I began college in the fall of 2013, and anticipated going to school for four years and graduating, as we are "supposed" to. I quickly found out that summer and that fall that my life was far from typical and many things surrounding me were far from the things that were "supposed to happen". After Alex passed away I re-thought a lot of stuff, transferred schools, switched my major, and hopped on the five year college plan. Slowly I found my way into a really good place and was 100% fine with this five year deal. But having 2017 set in, I can't help but think about the original plans to graduate this year and the hype of "Class of 2017" when I started college back in 2013.

Well here we are just a few days into 2017 and I really want to take advantage of this new year, fresh start time. I am not generally one for resolutions at the start of the new year. I am a firm believe that we can change our lives around and set new goals and dream new dreams on any day of the year. Heck some of the most pivotal life changes I have made have been on a random Tuesday in July or in the middle of the night in October. The year on the calendar pages doesn't have to mean everything changes.

But, it also can.

While I am not a huge promoter of resolutions, I partake in them in a lesser sense. I think that the start of the year is a really good time to focus on you. I don't necessarily mean you need to go join a gym and lose *Insert amount of weight* or cut out sugar for the year or remove all desserts or go on a cleanse or whatever the latest fad may be. I think we all need to really focus on ourselves. Focus on our mental health. Focus on our happiness. The genuine, real happiness.

I look back at my sister and see someone who really struggled to feel genuinely happy. Someone who struggled with her mental health, and someone who had to work hard to feel that real, genuine happiness. Someone who filled that void with not necessarily the best things. Losing weight isn't magically going to make you happier. Never eating another cookie in your life won't change how you feel forever. Surrounding yourself with tons of people every Friday night won't suddenly fill you up and getting a 4.0 GPA or a promotion at work won't take away all the other struggles in your life.

We as a society try so hard to fill voids of sadness and pits of anxiety and stress with things that will never, truly fill us up. We seek out clothes, or food, peers (note: not close friends), grades, and guys/girls to fill us up. Some people use drugs or alcohol to fill that void. But the thing is, that stuff never works. Sure, working out is great, a significant other can be very healthy, eating healthy is a wonderful option, and alcohol in moderation is just fine. But when all of this stuff is abused, it will fail to lift you up and improve your life. I saw it with my sister, and we see it often in people around us.

So, if that is you, look around and take a step back. Look at your life. Focus on you this year. Figure out what it is that fills you up. If you love to run, keep running and run more! If you hate running, find another way to work out that you actually enjoy. If you hate salads, don't force yourself to eat them just to stay healthy- there are other ways. If you are killing yourself trying to get a 4.0, remember your grades don't define you and straight A's are not necessary and are not your defining factor. If you're unhappy in a relationship, walk away. And if you are not genuinely happy with your life, make some changes.

This year, surround yourself with people who lift you up. Surround yourself with people who see the value and worth that you have to offer and people who respect you in all aspects. Your worth and your heart is not something to joke around about, and I think we can all attest to the fact that we have let people into our lives that fail to recognize our worth and that has only caused less genuine happiness. SO if I give you one piece of advice for this year let this be it: surround yourself with people who recognize your worth and value and respect you. And be surrounded by those who lift you up, and those you lift up too!

Seek to live a healthy life- both physically and emotionally. Take time for yourself- sleep an adequate amount, do what you want to do, and go on some solo adventures. This life is far too precious to forget about yourself in the midst of everything going on. DOn't let that mental health take a back seat this year and don't try to belittle it because it's not important. Because it is! It really, really is and I hope we can all walk through this year as happier people that treat our bodies with love in respect in regard to everything from fitness, to love, to our brains, and down to our feet that carry us through each day. A new year reminds me of Alex and how grateful I am for a fresh start and another year of living. Lets live for those who can't any more.

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