A reflection.

This morning, I woke up feeling more powerful than I have felt in ages. Why? Because I’m a woman who loves herself.

Despite the fact that I’ve made a few (or maybe more) bad choices in the last year, I’m stronger because of it. I found my true love of reporting, met some incredible people and learned more than I think I ever have. I felt overworked and sometimes under-appreciated, but that’s life. For every time I felt that way, there were also people behind me, reminding me how much I am loved.

I got a (paid) job at the Missourian for next fall as an Assistant City Editor and I worked my butt off to get it. This summer, I’ll be working at a local newspaper back in St. Charles and I’ll be a waitress at a local restaurant. I’m going to get to spend some much needed time with family and remember what it’s like to be Mommy and Daddy’s little girl again.

But I digress.

It’s been a tough year for me socially. I’ve invested in some friendships and relationships that were not healthy, but I’ve gained a lot of beautiful, caring, loving friends as well. And this past week, I’ve put some of my biggest demons to rest.

What I’ve learned through the whole process is you can’t please everybody and you can’t change who people are. That’s one of the hardest lessons I’ve ever had to learn and it’s taken pretty much my whole life before I’ve realized it.

I’ve discovered I have to be there to foster the growth of the people I love and more importantly, people who love me back.

Sometimes you have to pick up the pieces after a disagreement, but other times, you just have to let them be broken.

I hate list articles, but I thought I’d share some conventional wisdom with my friends and family and hope they can learn from my experiences and not have to go through a deep bout of depression to get there:

  1. It’s okay to lean on your friends and family, especially when you’re finding it hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Don’t make them hold you up, but sometimes it’s OK to call your mom, dad or best friend and cry for a really long time.
  2. GO BE A PASSIONATE PERSON!!!!!!! This honestly saved my life. I love what I do. When I’m stressed, I go to the newsroom. When I’m sad, I read my New Yorker and get inspired. When I’m frustrated, I write it all down. My reporting dreams keep me moving forward and help me see the broader picture in my life. It also helps me to love myself because I love what I’m doing.
  3. Sit outside in the sun, climb a tree, experience mother earth. It may seem very hippie-ish, but you’d be amazed at what a little stargazing or tree-sitting can do for your psyche.
  4. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Nothing good comes from overthinking.
  5. Eat a little bit of ice cream and drink a little bit of wine if you have to. Life is too short to count calories.
  6. Try as hard as possible to love yourself. I know, that’s a really difficult concept when our culture is driven by comparisons: “How to lose weight in 5 easy steps,” “How to get the perfect hair,” “20 of the smartest people in America and their IQ’s.” But the truth of the matter is, once you start loving yourself, you start taking care of your body, you start forming better relationships and breaking off toxic ones, you start wearing your sexiest dress out on the town, and you start seeing the world as the wonderful place it is … because YOU’RE in it.

Alright, enough of me being cheesy.

But please, take some of my advice if you can. If you’re reading this, I definitely love you and I definitely think you’re important. It’s about time you start thinking so, too.

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