Saturday, March 04, 2017

What I Learned | Winter 2017

What I Learned | Winter 2017 - A Simpler Grace



We are always learning and growing and it's important to acknowledge the progress we make so we can fully appreciate how far we've come. The lovely Emily Freeman (author and blogger) hosts a fun writing exercise and link up so we can all share the things we've learned in that season. I loved the idea of reflecting on lessons learned, so I was inspired to join in.
Here's what I learned this winter.

I am a minimalist by nature.
As I've gotten older and have moved several times in several years, I've learned to appreciate simplicity when it comes to my possessions that will need to be cared for, stored, packed and transported each time I change locations. I did several big purges in 2016 and I haven't missed any of the items I parted with. Ten years ago, I would have enjoyed having a home stocked with all of the things but now, I feel more comfortable with the bare necessities. This winter, after reading The More of Less by Joshua Becker, I buckled down and focused on letting go of things that no longer made me happy and weren't essentials and I have never felt lighter and freer in my life.

The internet is an introvert's best friend.
Going out and meeting new people in real life is not my cup of tea. I'm very anti-social in new situations and frankly, I'd rather hang out at home with my nose in a book. The problem with that is, I wasn't allowing myself to make new connections. Thankfully, I'm able to connect with so many people online, both through the blog and other creative outlets and some of these relationships have turned into genuine real-life friendships. It's also helped me to feel slightly less socially awkward in face-to-face situations. Double win!

My anxiety still has a powerful hold on me.
After nearly two decades of suffering from crippling anxiety and countless hours of therapy, I've learned that when I stop being vigilant and practicing mindfulness, my nemesis creeps back in and takes hold of me again. I battled with it a lot this winter. I thought I was "cured" of it and didn't need to continue practicing the steps to keep my mind healthy and boy, was I wrong. I finally had to sit down, have a long look in the mirror and give myself some tough love. So, now it's back to the therapy workbooks, practicing mindfulness techniques and checking in with myself frequently to keep myself on track. By the grace of God and with lots of prayer and practice, hopefully, I'll healthy again soon.

When I write from the heart, my content is SO much better.
I will admit that I started this season off in a creative rut. Everything I wrote felt bland and generic. It was only when I started reflecting on my One Little Word for 2016 that I realized my heart wasn't in the creative process anymore. I wrote two blog posts right after that (a coffee date and my 2016 recap) focusing on writing from the heart and, all of a sudden, it felt natural again. The crazy thing was that it wasn't just me who noticed. I started getting comments on posts and emails and texts from people who felt something when they read what I wrote and that inspired me to decide that I wouldn't write anything in 2017 unless it came from my heart.

Multitasking is not for me.
I've worked in numerous professional offices where multitasking skills were essential. This winter, I did some research and the stats I read were incredible. Not only was juggling multiple tasks at once killing my productivity, there were other things I was doing to prevent efficiency. Since sharing my findings in this post, I have changed the way I work and I'm pleased to say I am so much more productive now. 

I can only love myself when I see myself as a stranger.
So, it's no secret that I've struggled with a negative self-perception for many years. I shared in this coffee date post how I couldn't look in a mirror for years and battled with a minor eating disorder because of this self-loathing. After writing about how I viewed myself in 2017, I vowed to practice a little more self-love. One of the things I realized through this process was that I needed to be compassionate with myself and in order to do that, I needed to think of myself as someone else. I hope one day, I'll be able to look in a mirror and feel great about what I see, but for now, baby steps.

I still don't feel like I have my act together, but that's ok.
I don't know why I thought I'd get to a point in my life when I'd feel like I had reached the finish line; like my work here was done. When bad days and the "what the heck am I doing?" thoughts stopped happening. When I followed a straight line to my destination and didn't feel the need to question the map. Where's the living in that? Sadly, I did feel like this until recently, when I saw this quote from Brendon Buchard: "I would rather be a hot mess of bold action, a make-it-happen, learn-on-the-fly kind of person than a perfectly organized coward." Oh yeah... Life is about the process and not the finished product, isn't it? A major aha moment.

I have an amazing tribe.
From my family to my sweet friends, to the one I love, I have such a caring and supportive, truth-speaking group of people around me every day. I don't know where I'd be without my tribe.

I'm a lot stronger than I've ever given myself credit for.
I'm going to be real-real for a second and tell you that the past few seasons have been some of the hardest of my life. Before this winter, I would have assured you I'd crumple under the weight of anything emotionally painful. This winter, my marriage of eleven years officially came to an end after a long and painful separation. I found out that my kids (my precious dog and cats) would not be returning to my life. I had to come to grips with the fact that my future was likely not going to end up the way I saw it sketched out from the age of ten. With the odds I'd given myself, I shouldn't have survived it all, but here I am, pushing forward. I am strong. I can survive the tough things.

I spend WAY too much time on my phone.
Like so many in society today, I have a small (ok, big) addiction to my technological accessories. Then I saw this post that Rachel wrote and was inspired to make a list of some things I'd rather have in my hand than my phone. Enlightening!

I'd love to know what you learned this winter! Feel free to share a comment below or if you've written a post, jump over to Emily's post and link up!

The post What I Learned | Winter 2017 first appeared on A Simpler Grace. If you enjoyed this article, please feel free to share it with your friends!

19 comments:

  1. Just stopping over from What We've Learned. I love your honesty and transparency-- keep moving forward! I hear a ton of optimism in your post-- and hang on to this one: "I'm a lot stronger than I've ever given myself credit for."

    ~Sarah at smallworldathome.blogspot.com

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  2. You're so sweet, Sarah. Thank you for your kind words. I'm headed over to read your post now!

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  3. I enjoyed dropping by your blog today. I, too, feel more and more minimalist, although I've not gotten rid of much yet. I'm thinking more and more of open spaces ...

    Glad you have friends and family that surround you with support! You are blessed.

    I spend too much time on my phone, too! I think we all do ... - Jerralea

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  4. I think many people are embracing a minimalist lifestyle these days. I am blessed to have such supportive family and friends. Thank you so much for stopping by Jerri!

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  5. Thank you for your honesty about anxiety and seeing yourself from the outside, to love yourself. I too lost a pup and kitties to a bad situation so I truly feel your pain. 😔 Sometimes we will forever be in that maintenence phase of mental health. I posted this past week about starting to binge again, which sadly is my ED. I am back in counseling to top off the eating disorder support group and healthy eating classes I already attend.
    Good luck to you.

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  6. Oh Brittany, I'm so sorry to hear you are struggling with the eating disorder again. Food is such a hard and complicated subject. We need it for nourishment but it's one of the easiest things we have to use as a weapon on ourselves, either by consuming too much or withholding consumption and starving ourselves. I pray that you can use the tools you have available and and are able to get yourself back to a place where you feel healthy (both mentally and physically) again. I'm always here to chat if you need an ear from someone who understands the struggle and pain that comes along with it all. <3

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  7. I appreciate that more than you know. 😊

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  8. Wow, your list really hit home for me. I think I could have written every single one of these. From one heart-centered introvert to another: SOLIDARITY. (**And happy Friday! :)))

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  9. Yes, girl!!! And happy Friday to you as well! <3

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  10. I love everything about this post, Lecy! Your honesty and openness is so refreshing! Something I have been missing a lot lately! Hugs xxx

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  11. I feel like you and I would get along realllllllllll well in real life! I need to get a hold of my phone addiction too. It's outta control.

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  12. I think we would too, Divya! It's a struggle to put the phone down! Practically everything I do is online now. :D

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  13. This was such a beautiful pot, Lecy! Thank you so much for sharing. I've deal with depression and anxiety - especially social anxiety - for awhile now, and while I'm definitely a lot better than I used to be, I do think it will be something I'll always work on. I'm trying to be more positive about myself as well and baby steps are good - it's like they say "I'd never say as mean of things to other people that I say to myself." So be kind to yourself. :)

    Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.blogspot.com

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  14. Thank you for your encouragement, Lauren. You're so sweet! :)

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  15. Wow.

    I feel like... I could have written this post. The anxiety. The need to practice self-love. Yes, even spending too much time on my phone (I mean... who DOESN'T do this though, right??). Anyway a lot of your truths hit home for me, and I'm glad I had the chance to pop on over here today and read this.

    Only people with anxiety truly and understand what it's like to live with it. And I don't know about you, but no two days (and no two experiences!) are ever truly the same. Just keep swimming, is what I tell myself.

    Anyway, I have a book on mindfulness that helped me a lot (it's also an exercise book!) and I'm wondering if it's the same. Like Chrissy said, your honesty is truly refreshing to read and thank you for sharing your world with us <3

    *HUGS*

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  16. Thank you so much Charlotte! I love that reminder to just keep swimming. I appreciate your sweet words! <3

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  17. Gosh anxiety is a beast isn't it? I've been battling for the last year after making the move to NYC away from everything I know and everyone I love (well, apart form my hubby) and i feel like I've finally gotten a handle on it -- through exercise and talking and medication when things get super bad. I love your post, it was really beautiful -- thanks for sharing x

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  18. It is a beast! I've been battling my whole life and you're right, exercise and talking about it does help. I, unfortunately, cannot take any of the prescription meds for it, but I have found some natural things that help, like lavender essential oil. I hope you are able to overcome your anxiety and that it is only temporary. Thanks for stopping by to read and leaving your sweet comment! <3

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