With 2018 quickly coming to an end, I wanted to take a moment and reflect back on this year so far. This year was definitely one of my most memorable and best years yet. If I had to describe this year in just one word, I would choose growth. 2018 is a year that when I think back on, the highs outweigh the lows. This may sound normal for most people but for me this hasn’t happened very often to me growing up. Anyways let’s take a little rewind back to early January. My goals for this year were to surround myself with positivity and to become more positive than pessimistic and that is exactly what I did. I met these amazing people who are actual angels in my life. They are the kind of people who have this contagious joy and encourage you to step out of your comfort zone and see all your potential. These people are the ones who changed my perspective on life and helped me see the light amidst all the darkness. This was just the beginning.

As time went on, the more I opened up about my rocky past and shared my experiences with mental health illness. Feeling anxious and uncertain about how they would react or what they would say, they all surprised me and for the first time I finally found a group of people who saw me for more than just my struggles. Some went on about how I was going to change the world one day and that they cannot wait to be by my side as I do and others constantly reminded me of how strong I am. My perspective was shifting.

With all the positivity beaming in my life from the moment I walked across campus for my 8ams to going to sleep with a smile on my face, I began to see the good in everything; the little moments and the bad. I started to fall in love with life all over again. I danced more at the bus stop. I complained less. I thanked people more. I cried less. And I smiled more. I felt like I was finally reverting to my old “happy self” but much wiser this time.

I learned to see the good in the bad times. I found myself no longer looking back on my past as a burden. I began to see every situation as an opportunity to grow more. The more I reflected on my past, the more I recognized all the lessons I learned that shaped me into who I am today. I used to think struggling was not something to be proud of and was a reflection of how weak you are. It took me a long time to realize that flowers don’t bloom without some rain every once in a while and that everything negative that happens to us is helping us grow. I learned that what has happened to us does not define us but it is what we make out of it that does. I think it was so difficult to see during the moment because you don’t really see a way out. So if you are going through a difficult time right now, I encourage you to step back and take a breath, reflect on how far you’ve come and remember that you are always blooming.

– O

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