by Christina Enevoldsen
The new year is supposed to be something to look forward to—a fresh start, new possibilities—but I found myself feeling stress and dread.
“I’m not ready.”
“It’s coming too soon!”
The countdown to 2018 was getting closer and closer and I felt unprepared for the effort it would require. I couldn’t show up in a way that would turn my plans into my reality. I was already feeling the disappointment of a failure I hadn’t yet experienced.
As I explored those feelings, I identified the things holding me back and shifted into a more empowering stance:
I let go of expectations of myself.
Yes, I have plans. I have commitments. But I was putting way too much pressure on myself.
I have this policy in everything I do: I only commit to things that feel loving both to me and to others. (It has to be a win/win.)
So I have this question I’ve asked myself for years:
“What is love telling me to do?”
That’s been so helpful when I feel pressure to do something just because it will make me look good or feel included or some other motive that doesn’t serve me very well.
Asking myself that question has also helped me to move forward in things I wasn’t exactly comfortable with—or even things I was terrified to try. Love has a way of getting me moving when no amount of self inflicted guilt or bribes or anything else can.
And even though my plans and commitments all begin with loving intentions, the way I’ve expected myself to execute all of it hasn’t always been loving.
In the past few years, I’ve let go of the drill sergeant approach to my to do lists. I’ve incorporated a lot of self care into my life. So I take breaks when I need them and adjust my schedule as needed.
However, I found myself still standing over me, looking down in disappointment. Not only disappointment that I wasn’t able to do everything I planned, but disappointment in me. Disappointed that I didn’t have the energy to do everything.
And that’s so unfair to myself.
That’s like punishment for having a big vision.
In my healing from sexual abuse, grief has been a powerful tool in releasing me from the past and propelling me forward. Grief is the hand that removes the grip of the past.
So I sat in the sadness of how I’ve treated myself. I grieved for how I held myself to standards that aren’t gentle and loving. I told myself, “I’m here for you know. I’m proud of the way you’ve showed up with such a big heart. You always do your best and your best is enough. You are valuable just for existing. I love you even if you don’t accomplish another thing.”
I felt myself shifting as I said that. My tense shoulders relaxed.
I was blocking my own energy. Love has a flow to it and I was blocking it with my judgments and expectations.
That got me back to a neutral place. I wasn’t dreading the new year but I still wasn’t excited about its possibilities. There was more to explore.
This year has been a time of some big transitions for me. I started 2017 believing I was heading on the same course as 2016—just expanding that.
And then constant flooding in the early part of the year prompted my husband and me to move. I had a strong urge to nurture people so Don and I looked for a house where I could host retreats. (Isn’t Don great about supporting my dreams???)
We moved in with some friends and after a long(ish) search, we found a house that needed a lot of work. Midway through the home-improvements my son’s wife left him and my son moved in with us.
So what I thought would be a retreat for sexual abuse survivors is now a sanctuary for my son and our four grandchildren. Isn’t life funny?
It’s turned out to be a completely fulfilling turn of events and I couldn’t be happier about all of the shifts to my plans. But I’ve been hesitant about making plans for this next year because of how my plans for this year were completely blown out of the water.
The voice in my head said, “Why plan when you don’t have control over what happens anyway?” And that’s a good question, but I realize it’s coming from a place of feeling powerless.
And as I heard that voice, my response was:
My plan was to nurture people more and I’m doing that.
My plan was to have a big enough home that I could open it to others and I’m doing that.
It’s true that I don’t have control over everything, but I’ve created amazing things from what I’ve been given. And this greatness came from joining what was planned with the unplanned.
The fear I experienced in childhood abuse led to keeping tight reins on life. One of my biggest lessons is that I don’t have be in control to survive. In fact, I can let go of control and thrive. I’ve learned to flow—not only in the direction of love but in the pace of love.
And it’s been my best year ever.
And that’s the truth I needed to remind myself of to embrace the new year. And now I’m ready for whatever adventure awaits in 2018.
How about you? What do you need to be ready for 2018?
If you’d like to feel more prepared to create your best year yet, I’ve created a free workbook to help you explore the things that might be holding you back and what you need to move forward. Click the button below to get started now:
I’m Christina Enevoldsen and I’m the cofounder of Overcoming Sexual Abuse and the author of The Rescued Soul: The Writing Journey for the Healing of Incest and Family Betrayal.
I’m a Strategic Interventionist and Certified Professional Life Coach with a specialty Life Story Certification. As a survivor of incest, sex trafficking and a 21-year long abusive marriage (now remarried to an emotionally healthy, loving and supportive man), I bring personal experience, empathy, and insight as well as professional training to help childhood sexual abuse survivors thrive.