2014 has been a very interesting year. As it comes to an end, BellaNaija seeks to showcase a human interest segment, dedicated to looking back at the year. We’ve teamed up with a diverse group of individuals and asked them to share how their year has been. The brief was ‘a personal look back at the journey thus travelled. The idea is to use 2014 as a focal point. The honest and heartfelt piece should talk about your ups and downs / victories and failures – a general self assessment. It should be a raw piece which shows you as a person – the human angle is important.
Each of the participants has graciously sent us amazing pieces about themselves. As you read these pieces, and take stock of the year you’ve had, we encourage you to get inspiration from our 2014 Epilogues.
The 2014 Epilogues gemstones will be dropped at 2pm everyday till the end of the year!
I started the year with joy, prayers, hopes and dreams just like everyone else; I did not know that I would end the year stronger than I was when I started it.
2014 is the year I felt it all… I felt joy, I felt loss, I felt pain, I felt failure, I felt victory, I felt hope. Indeed, it has been the darkest year of my life but somehow, a part of me stayed resilient… hoping and trusting the light at the end of the tunnel. I conducted a self-evaluation on my journey the day before Christmas,little did I know I was in for another shocker. An event that shook me to my core happened on Christmas day. I cannot go into specific details but this is the type of pain that makes you question everything you believe in God. I questioned life, I questioned purpose, and I questioned God. Then I realized that life does not hand you the cards you want to deal with, but in those moments of chaos…you must make a decision. A decision to stand firm and not give up on life.
Mental resilience is what I call it, and that is everything you need to survive. Like when you have failed at something one too many times, and you don’t know why you should give it one more try. Like dealing with situations you have no idea how you got into, but requires you to walk out on. Like dealing with guilt and shame that comes along with certain life experiences. I think most of our frustrations come from trying to understand what is going on in our lives, and 2014 has taught me to stop questioning and just trust.
This year, I learnt that my life matters and though I can be empathetic, kind and compassionate to others, I needed to be kind to myself first. I learnt that my health matters because unprocessed emotions can make one physically ill. I learnt that happiness is peace, and it is my duty to find peace in daily moments of gratitude. I learnt that love is life, and it can be found everywhere. I learnt forgiveness and compassion because those who hurt me are also human and imperfect. I learnt that everyone processes things differently. I learnt patience because I do not call the shots in my life. I learnt that I could not hate my story.
I learnt to appreciate family because my parents had been more than a rock at my lowest point. I learnt to value friendships because of amazing people like my friend Mina. This is the year I prayed the hardest because when you get to the end of yourself, you find God. And this is the year I rediscovered my purpose in life as a young woman, a potential wife and mother, and the numerous responsibilities that lies ahead of me.
Against all odds and adversities, everything begins and ends with the MIND. No matter what life throws at you, you cannot afford to stop believing in fairy tales. Find a reason to live! It could be volunteering, making new friends, joining a book club, attending dance classes, joining a gym or praying consistently. Find yourself and choose not to be a victim.
I am one who is under intense pressure to succeed, and I am sure that there are numerous people out there like me. But how do you respond when everything you touch catches fire? Unless God builds a house, the builders build in vain. Trust the timeline of your life. According to Psychology Today, “resilient people do not let adversity define them. They find resilience by moving towards a goal beyond themselves, transcending pain and grief by perceiving bad times as a temporary state of affairs… It’s possible to strengthen your inner self and your belief in yourself, to define yourself as capable and competent. It’s possible to fortify your psyche. It’s possible to develop a sense of mastery.”
If you have gone through something difficult – (loss, grief, pain, failed relationships etc.remember that life is not a marathon, but a sprint. We all get challenges but we can cope by developing patience. The patience to accept distressful feelings until they are replaced with positive ones. With patience, we recognize that tomorrow is only a day away, then a week, a month, and before you know it, it’s already a year. Our spirits may be heavy but there are so many opportunities we can focus on. Like the spiritual awakening, and humility… That part of your soul that knows not to judge other people because you have also been through it.
Ultimately, I have realized that challenges are essential in our personal development and growth. 2014 may have not ended too well for me, but I hope, I trust, and I believe in the plot of my life story.
Photo Credit: Dreamstime | Yolanda Van Niekerk