Reflecting on 2017.

I just got back from Paris a few days ago (my first solo flight + first trip to Europe!) and I’m still a bit jet-lagged and tired (full Paris blog post coming soon!), but I wanted to take a little bit of time to reflect on the year that was 2017, and talk about what my intentions are for 2018 (one of which being to make more time for this blog space, which I love so dearly). Parenthesis overload? Yes. Let’s go!

I met my college roommate in Paris and we spent New Years there, and on New Years Day we took the time to complete the exercise that Sarah from Simply Real Health does, and it was so worth it. You write out at least 25 things you’re proud of having accomplished during the year, then what the themes/words of that year were, and finally what words/phrases you’re calling in for 2018. For me, my ‘words’ of 2017 were rejection and resilience. These were not intentional (i.e. I didn’t go into 2017 thinking: you know what I want more of in my life this year? rejection!), but I am so incredibly grateful that they were the guideposts of this past year because I don’t think I’ve ever grown more as a person.

Rejection is something that I’ve always been deeply, deeply afraid of. So afraid of that I would essentially avoid situations that could lead to any form of rejection (relationship-avoidant much?). I simply believed I couldn’t handle it. In short, I thought that if someone saw me as not good enough, it would just reinforce my feelings of low self-worth and confirm the deeper fear that I am unworthy of love and belonging. Boy was I wrong! Rejection is honestly the strongest vehicle for empowerment that I have come across. It’s almost become addicting for me. I know that sounds weird, but I now welcome rejection with open arms because it’s a beautiful opportunity for me to (once I’ve felt sad/crushed for as long as I need) to revel more in who I am, in my intrinsic beauty, in my worth. To rest in that full feeling in my heart of warmth and self-love that I thought I could never experience. My college roomie showed me this quote after we shared our lists and words for 2017/2018 when I mentioned how pervasive rejection was for me in 2017. I adore it.

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How beautiful is this? All I have to do is say to myself: ‘the invitation: respond to rejection. by being more you.’ – and the power of this message is infused into my bones. It’s also funny to think about how, by not being ourselves for fear of rejection, we are actually preventing ourselves from creating the connections we want. The simple fact is that if someone rejects you for being yourself, they have just figured out sooner that you are not on the same wavelength. This is a gift! I treated myself to a Skype session for my 25th Birthday with Danielle Beinstein and she said to me, “rejection is God’s protection,” which I also love. How many times in life does something we desperately want to work out fall apart in our hands, only to be met with something so much more well-suited for us coming together in its right time? I love these depictions of rejection because of how empowering they are, and I’m deeply grateful for the personal and professional rejections I faced this year because they taught me true resilience.

Resilience is a theme/mantra that has been foundational for me in therapy for the past almost 5 years. I have slowly worked my way up the resilience ladder, but nothing has escalated the process more than being rejected. 2017 was filled with experiencing things I thought I could not handle. Putting myself out there personally and risking on that level for the first real time. Then having the same themes come up over and over again in potential romantic prospects. Not being picked for summer associate positions (that I wasn’t even vying for prior to law school, or even during 1L really). Each of these experiences forced me to say to myself “okay, who I am I without this thing that I desperately wanted to define me?” (grades, a potential partner, a potential summer job). I have lost track of the number of rejections I have experienced this year. I have also never felt better about who I am internally. Less encumbered by anxiety and self-doubt and insecurity. More sure of my own worth and the beauty of my essence. The two (rejection and empowerment) are most definitely connected.

A preface to everything I’ve written about rejection should’ve probably been this: early 2017 was a lot of me trying to fit myself into a tiny box to be accepted – to avoid rejection. It was me trying to say the ‘right’ thing, but more often than not, trying to avoid saying the ‘wrong’ thing so that I could get what I wanted. This sounds obscure but that’s not my intention. I basically was trying to fit or mold myself into what someone (who I was infatuated with) would want. I was second guessing myself and minimizing myself and filtering myself and it was exhausting. It was also futile. It didn’t lead to what I wanted anyway. It taught me more lessons than I can count and left me feeling so tired from the experience that I am now (for the most part) exuberantly myself with everyone I meet. I rest easy in knowing that although I am not perfect, I am worthy of so much good, and so many deep connections with others. It left me being more vulnerable on my Instagram and Facebook posts. It left me overflowing with feelings, unencumbered by the worries of what people will think if I show them what the inside of my heart looks like. It’s the outward manifestation of standing on a mountaintop yelling, “this is me! this is who I am!” There is no turning back from this freedom. It feels a lot like this:

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It is the most beautiful and freeing feeling. To no longer be held prisoner by what you think you need to define you and your self-worth. To realize that rejection is not something to be feared but to be invited. To realize that you are resilient. To know deep within your heart and your bones that no matter what, you will be okay because you are at home within yourself and you love yourself unconditionally. It feels like the warmth of the sun on your face on the first day of spring after what has felt like the longest winter. It feels like open heart space. Like warmth. It feels like freedom. I feel free for the first time. No longer imprisoned by what people may or may not think of me, of strict rules about what I can or cannot do, or am or am not capable of. I have set fire to those old confines that I used to keep myself “safe” and small for so very long.

And now as I embark on 2018, I invite in more rejection (and more resilience and empowerment), but also more of what I truly desire: the right summer position, new dating and relationship experiences and growth opportunities, quality connections with others, laughter, adventure. My words of 2018 are balance and intention. The main area I’m seeking to incorporate balance into in my life is with food, but also with academics, my social life, and my self-care rituals. I cannot wait to see where this year takes me and what lessons it teaches me.

My intention is for this space to turn into more of a digital diary in 2018. A space where I write, reflect, and catalogue my months. I’m not quite sure what that looks like yet, but I’m excited to find out. I want to do more photography posts, and regular collections/round-ups of what I am currently inspired by (things I’m reading, listening to, learning from). I’ve been writing about doing recipe posts for forever, but I’m letting that go for now. My only intentions are to spend more time tending to this space because it always makes my heart sing to write these words.

Join me, won’t you?

xx

L.

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