Grateful, Thankful, Blessed

Although 2022 was a difficult year, I still have a lot for which to be thankful. Even the very heart-cracking episodes of the past twelve months have generated abundant blessings. I am not advocating that the experiences I encountered in 2022 are for everyone. In fact, I do not think I am even advocating that they are for me.  Make no mistake, change is hard. It is especially hard on this gal’s heart.

I am a paradox tangled in a coverlet of fragile positivity. On some intellectual level, I have always acknowledged that God can use the worst experiences in life to bring about great growth. I have experienced that phenomenon. It is just difficult to have faith in that notion when one is right smack in the middle of the worst experiences. Growth means change and change is hard, especially when you are trying to grow and change while still navigating through the life one has always known. Over the past couple of years, I have massively transformed my outlook on life and on myself. As exciting and triumphant as that feels, it has been a painful process at times. Most times, if I am truly honest. I find myself running towards this new, healthier, more beautiful version of myself while all the time terrified that I am going to trip and break a hip.

I’ve talked about some of the circumstances that have created this crucible of discovery and self-development. The life coaching process I’ve been working through has played a big part. The life coaching is a microcosm of what I mean by a paradox tangled in a coverlet of fragile positivity. The thoughts and feelings that I’ve found inside me during the life coaching process have often been painful- even heart-fracturing. At the same time, I crave them because I have learned the tremendous release, joy, and wholeness they can bring.

The illnesses and death of my brother has been much harder than I would have thought. I miss my brother. I miss the feeling of family I had when he was still in the world, even though we did not often have satisfying communications. I miss my memories and vision of what my past was like.

I have backed off relationships that do not serve me… or anyone else. It has been hard to let connections sever. I have faced guilt and shame and some bruising of my ego (I’m not indispensable to ANYBODY.. who knew?) On the other hand, I feel excitement rise in me when I realize that I have time and energy to invest in other, more excellent relationships. The same has been true of activities. In the past, I have concentrated more on what others needed rather than what I had to give when I said “yes” to a request. I enveloped myself in a lot of thankless, tedious, non-productive busy-ness instead of using the same internal resources to find service that feeds me as well as the recipient.

The biggest change in the past year is how I’m starting to think of myself. I think 2022 was one of the most significant years in my life in terms of learning. This is a powerful statement for me to make and I do hesitate in making it. I do not know that I have completely learned all the things that 2022 has started to teach me, but I can definitely feel them incubating in my psyche. The experience has often been challenging and painful, but I have grown so much, I cannot regret a moment of it.  Here are some of the most important things 2022 has shown me:

  • I learned that two-thirds of American women wear a size 16 or above. I wear a size 16. I am not a freak of nature.
  • I learned that the standard of beauty that we see glorified in our society is not a universal preference- only about a third of people are attracted to a type that we typically picture as traditional beauty.
  • I learned that my needs and even my wants are sometimes more important than other people’s.
  • I learned that, just because someone doesn’t value what I want to give does not mean that what I want to give is without value.
  • I learned that I may be quirky and weird, but for many people, my authentic quirkiness and weirdness make me appealing, rather than undesirable.
  • I leaned that I am the center of only my own universe.
  • I learned that it is possible to change the way I experience and react to life.
  • I learned that I am far stronger and more resilient than I ever imagined.

My wish for 2023 is that these concepts will take root in my soul. I want them to flourish to enrich my life and what I can give the world. I ask you all to pray for that for me. I pray for all of you that 2023 will bring you satisfaction, love, and joy in being the person you were always meant to be.

What did you learn in 2022?  Please share your perspective by leaving a comment. In the alternative, you can send me an email to terriretirement@gmail.com.

Have a enlightening day!

Terri/Dorry 😊

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