I have a sign on my wall that says dream more, complain less, listen more, talk less, love more, argue less, hope more, fear less, relax more, worry less, believe more, doubt less, play more, work less.

And I’m trying to live by all of it. Especially the worry less, believe more part. I’ve gotten a lot better at that recently and I’m not entirely sure where it’s coming from but I am ever so grateful. It’s this calm sense of self and trust that I have felt help me grow tremendously in the past few months – really in this calendar year – and it’s quite a revelation.

I understand more than I ever have before, which, if you think about it, should be obvious. I mean, shouldn’t we all understand more today than we did yesterday and the day before that? I feel like that’s the nature of living – learning, growing, and becoming more every day. Life is not a competition. We all should want to succeed together, and there should be no basis of comparison between ourselves and anyone else. We should only be comparing ourselves to our prior versions of ourself so that we can continue to reflect, introspect, learn, and grow. An while all of this may seem so obvious to me now, I am also realizing that while the¬†words are obvious, living in a place where those words are guiding our actions, emotions, and inner thoughts is something else entirely.

It may feel like this tremendous growth came out of nowhere, as if this sense of self-confidence that doesn’t need explanation or bravado just appeared, but I know that’s not the case. It came from years of hard work, the past few years for sure but mostly from last summer. Last spring – summer was incredibly hard for me, and even the fall wasn’t the greatest. I spent my birthday afternoon alone, mostly by choice, but with the weight of the world on my shoulders, or so it felt to me. I carried that burden all of last year, and almost carried it into this one, but then I realized I could simply set it down. The only burdens I need to carry are my own, and I only need to carry them if I am not willing to address them, see them for what they are, learn from them, and move on. And so, heading into 2023, I set them down.

I started to see some of it when in the fall, I had the good fortune of being “chosen.” I joke that I ain’t the peach anyone picks, then someone chose me and I thought it was fantastic. Flattering, sure. Fun? For the time being. A distraction from myself? Definitely. It’s always easier to push someone else to grow while still feeling stuck yourself because for the time being anyway, you can focus on someone who is stuck. A person whom you have knowledge and experience to share with as your growth has far outpaced their own even if at the moment you, yourself are stuck too. So in comparison, you’re already light years ahead of them and sharing your growth and learnings with them in the hopes they grow too is a blessing and a gift and one I am grateful to share and give part of myself for.

What I didn’t realize is that there’s more to it. It’s okay to not always be growing yourself. There is time for healing. Time for sitting. Time for just being. There’s also time for doing, changing, and yes of course, helping others. But it’s not okay to just settle for someone who picks you because you’re not used to being picked, or maybe you’re used to being picked but not in trusting that you’re worth it so you roll with whatever the best option in front of you is for the moment and work really really hard to convince yourself that it’s okay, you picked them too, even when you didn’t and never planned to in the first place. Perhaps that’s why it took some convincing. Perhaps that’s not it at all. We’re all different. But what I did learn was that it’s important that you know that you’re a gift, that who you give your time and attention and affection to is a gift, too. And that not every gift needs to be reciprocated or reciprocal.

I am so happy with the direction my life is heading, and I am also happy with where it is right now. I’ve learned to stop worrying about the day to day and just DO what needs doing. Don’t be wasteful or foolish, but don’t be stressed and worrying all the time. Focus on what you can. Keep your chin up. Be positive. Allow yourself grace. Spend time where and how you want it while still respecting your responsibilities and boundaries and needs and those who rely on you and allow yourself to rely on others some too, and believe more and things will all come together.

I know this may sound cryptic or as if I am talking in circles but here’s the beauty of it – it all makes perfect sense to me and that’s what matters. The more I can grow and the better I can be, the better of a life I can build for myself and my loved ones, the more abundance I can welcome into my life, to share with those around me, to help us all together make the world a better place. Life really is beautiful. Thank you. I can’t wait to see what’s to come, but also I can wait because I love being right here and appreciating today for everything it is, also. Be kind to yourself. You’re an amazing person. I know, because I am too. We all are.

So smile more.
Say hi to that stranger.
Pay it forward.
Stop and smell the roses.
Breathe.
REALLY breathe.
Feel the air on your skin.
Smell the flowers (or sneeze at the pollen).
Pet a cat.
Walk a dog.
Ride a horse.
Go for a hike.
Accomplish something tangible today, even if that’s smiling at yourself in the mirror, that’s something.
Believe in yourself.
Understand more today than you did yesterday.

Dream.