THE end of the year is upon us. And what a year it’s been.
Globally, I think we can probably all agree that 2016 has been a bit of a bleak-fest. Trump, Brexit and Aleppo as well as scores of celebrity deaths have left many of us reeling.
But tomorrow summons a new dawn. A new year to get our excited mitts on and I for one cannot wait.
2016 for me personally has been a bizarre kind of year. On the one hand there have been many magical moments and I will always remember it fondly as the year that brought me a much longed for second pregnancy that always seemed highly unlikely.
Yet on the other, it’s been a really challenging and turbulent year which has forced me to dig deep, acknowledge painful truths and say goodbye to people that I once cared for and respected.
Like many of us, I’m soo excited for 2017. All being well, we should welcome our baby boy into the world sometime next month (!) and there’s my first book launch to look forward to in the spring too!
It’s gonna be quite a year. I can feel it! And I truly hope it is for you too.
But before we crack open the champers – or the fancy lemonade in my pregnant case! – and welcome in the New Year, it’s time to reflect.
Here are my top life lessons that I’ve gained from this utterly bonkers year.
NO ONE NEEDS FAKE FRIENDS
At the beginning of the year I lost a number of friends from the blogging world, who were influenced by the words of another. People I had cared for, people I had genuinely liked. I thought these people were my friends but within days I soon realised that they were anything but.
True friends don’t disappear because of the actions of one person. They don’t not talk to you again or ignore your messages. They don’t stop reading your blog overnight and walk away without even listening to your side of an argument.
But fake friends do. When your friendship is no longer of use, they’ll cut you loose and leave you standing. And I can categorically say that even though it can be really upsetting, you’ll be much, much better off without them.
Friendship can be fickle but true friendship will always stand out from a crowded crowd.
BOUNDARIES ARE THE KEY TO GREATER HAPPINESS
But people will not like it when you try to enforce them! I was brought up as a people pleaser, determined to make people happy at any cost. Even my own.
As a result my boundaries over the years have been far from solid or in some cases, even non existent. I’ve overlooked dreadful behaviour from others. I’ve ignored obvious slights. I’ve let people impose themselves on me and in many cases I’ve kept my mouth shut, for what I believed was the greater good.
But not anymore. This year I realised that strong personal boundaries are the key to contentment and greater happiness. That I have a right to say ‘no’ to people. That I have a right to enforce boundaries if people choose to ignore them. That I no longer care if people ‘like’ me or agree with my actions.
And it feels bloomin’ fantastic.
PERSONAL ATTACKS REALLY HURT BUT CAN BE A BLESSING
There have been two instances this year when I’ve come under great personal attack. And both took me completely by surprise.
The first was when my blog and my professional reputation came under serious fire from a fellow blogger, who I discovered was quite happily going around sullying my name to fellow bloggers and PR professionals. (And managed to do quite a bit of damage in the process.)
The second was when someone I cared for, turned on me for no apparent reason and chose to treat me and my husband and daughter quite appallingly in the process.
As I say it’s been a tough year at times but I can honestly say that both of these personal attacks have been absolute blessings. My blog – although attacked – is still standing strong and doing really well and as for me, well I’ve learned some really invaluable lessons when it comes to personal relationships and boundaries (as above).
Tough times make us and this year has certainly carved out a stronger and happier Kate.
THERE’S SO MUCH MORE TO LIFE THAN WHAT WE KNOW
I’ve long been fascinated by all things spiritual and am always open to learning and experiencing more about this side of things. But by accounts this year has been quite the eye opener!
Back at the beginning of the year I had a personal reading with one of the UK’s leading psychic mediums which was both enlightening and fascinating. (Amongst other things, she told me I would be pregnant soon and the baby would be a boy – right on both counts!) And some months later, in early pregnancy, I tried out past life regression for the first time ever, which really was quite something!
Both of these experiences – amongst many others – have shown me that life is much more complicated and beautiful than we can even dare imagine.
Usually when we least expect them. I never thought I would be pregnant again. I never imagined for one second that I would be sat here at the end of this year, heavily pregnant, waiting for my second child to make his appearance into the world.
But yet here I am.
Yes life can be horribly unfair at times. Yes bad things often happen to the very best kind of people. But good things can and do also happen. And that’s something we all need to hold onto and believe in, especially when the dark days come.
WHEN YOU HAVE TO TRY TOO HARD, IT’S TIME TO WALK AWAY
It’s good to try. It’s important to work hard, reach out and persevere. But when you repeatedly keep hitting brick walls or your efforts keep on being rejected or in some cases even unreturned, it’s probably time to take a hint and walk away.
From friends, loved ones, work or any situation that makes you feel unappreciated, disrespected or just plain unhappy.
Life is too short and far too precious, as indeed are you! You have to know your worth! Value yourself, be careful whom and what you give your time and attention to and look for the return. If you’re continually giving but never on the receiving end, it’s time to stop my friend and move the hell on.