It’s that time. The year is about to wrap up and I turn 29 this week. This year flew for me! I feel like it was yesterday when I was writing in a journal the intentions I wanted to bring into 2017. As I look back upon that journal entry, I realize: You really do get what you ask for!

For me, 2017 was super eventful. It was filled with magical moments like the first birthday of my new niece and witnessing the union of two of my best girlfriends with their loves. On the flip side, 2017 had me face some very difficult times where my strength was tested, and where I was forced to make decisions to let go. I learned more deeply what was right for me and began to treat myself with greater kindness.

Here are some of my most impactful messages that I learned this year:

ALL YOU NEED IS YOU. AND TO PUT YOURSELF FIRST.

Putting myself first has never really been my strength. From an outsider point of view, it may look like just the opposite. At a young age, I made the choice to travel the world on my own dime, I pursued my education with top grades and just 5 years ago I made the choice to move to Toronto, to spread my wings. With these facts at hand, you would assume I lived for me and only me. I tried to, but what has really been digging at me for so long is guilt. Guilt behind living for me, my wants and my most authentic life.

This year something happened in which I knew in order to heal, I had to drop what anyone else thought of me. This decision was a big one. I had no other choice than to do what was most beneficial to me. As I move forward from this, I learn every day to drop the guilt and do what is best for me regardless of what others may believe or perceive.

THERE ARE SOME PARTS OF YOU THAT ARE MEANT FOR YOU, AND ONLY YOU.

I’m a very open person. I tend to open my heart up fully and I’m open to new experiences without very much thought at the consequence. With this, I tend to give myself fully to the people I care about. I give lots and share lots of my most inner thoughts and feelings. 2017 taught me that some parts of me are meant for me, and only me. And it is only when someone has truly showed they deserve to see those parts that they will get access. It’s a form of self-respect that seems so simple, yet that I am new to.

WOMEN ARE POWERFUL AND UNSTOPPABLE.

Can you believe all that has gone on politically this year? And how about the sexual assault victims coming forward? It seems like women have had enough and are stepping forward and taking a stand. It is amazing what strength I have observed. And it is amazing how inspiring this has been to females everywhere. I predict lots more woman in office going forward and lots more women standing up for what they believe in.

Something tells me that 2018 will be the ‘year of the woman’!

THOSE THAT ARE TRULY THERE FOR YOU WILL COME THROUGH WHEN YOU NEED THEM THE MOST.

This year I learned that people just want to help. And those who really care will be there for you when you need them most. I am most appreciative of those people, they know who they are, who were there for me this year through the ugly, not so pretty and happy parts of my life. I am forever grateful and will never, ever forget.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK FOR WHAT YOU WANT AND WHAT YOU KNOW YOU DESERVE.

I almost had a mini nervous breakdown when I realized that in so many areas of my life I have not been doing this. I consider myself a pretty confident woman, yet, from everything from relationships to career I wasn’t doing this simple thing: asking for what I deserve. This moment in 2017 brought me to a halt. It sparked a major moment of restructuring in my life and will continue to inspire me to have the strength to believe in own my worth. It’s time and the fire has been lit!

IN THE MOMENT IS WHERE YOU WILL FIND RELIEF AND HAPPINESS.

I truly believe in the healing power of the moment. Slowing down and taking one moment or one day at a time is what has brought me great relief. It is so simple, yet many of us forget it within the hectic nature of this world. Living in a major metropolis, I find it even more important. Life is swirling all around us, finding peace within the moment is necessary for your well-being. For me it has taken the form of yoga, walking by the water, journaling, cooking and meditation. For you it could be different, but I urge you to find it.

ALWAYS LEAN INTO WHAT SETS YOUR SOUL ON FIRE.

People will always have opinions. I think the majority really do mean the best for you. I’ve learned to smile and nod. But I know it is me who is in the driver’s seat and who knows best. I’ve gotten really good at listening to my inner voice- it is SO loud at this stage in my life. It’s a great indicator of what is right for me. This year I was faced with a crossroad that if I went one way it would be the safe way, but my heart would feel compressed and suffocated, and if I went the other way I would feel scared and nervous given its uncertainty and risk, but I would feel a lot more in line with my values. You can probably guess I took the risky road. Although risky, it set my soul on fire. It excites me, it brings me more joy and excitement than any safe and stuffy role would. And I know, everything will work out as it should. I have faith that with every step I take to honour this little voice, that the universe will support me.

LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

Being attuned to my body is a big strength of mine. I even have a small gift of sensing when someone is off in their own. It’s hard to put into words this sense of being attuned. This year I’ve had some health difficulties. I’ve been making adjustments physically and mentally and tuning in to listen to if it feels good along the way. It can be exhausting when you feel like you’re doing everything right but the body continues to tell you something is off. I’ve learned to be gentle on my body, accept it for where it is at and continue to give it what it needs. Some of things that I know my body loves are fresh food, sunshine, soulful music, lots of sleep, movement and nature. What does yours respond best to?

YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT ANYONE IS GOING THROUGH.

When faced with difficulties this year, I would walk down the street with the mental wound I was facing exposed and still tender to tremendous pain. When I looked around, I thought: If that person knew what was going on would they look at me differently? I wondered what they were going through and how they put on that smile. It made me reflect on how different people cope. Some stuff it all in, others lean on loved ones and others keep going like nothing happened. I don’t know what is the right way, but one thing that I learned this year is that you really, never, ever know what anyone is going through. My sympathy grew for everyone I passed on the street. I continue to live this way. I continue to show compassion even though ones actions may not warrant it. I continue to feel for all those around me. When it comes down to it, we are all one. We need to spread love and compassion to one another.

LIFE WILL KEEP GOING. ALL YOU CAN DO IS PREPARE TO BE YOUR BEST SELF.

This is difficult, but I think it might be what separates the resilient from those who aren’t. Life will continue to throw us curve balls. Mixed in with the messy stuff is beautiful, miracle moments that will send you over the moon. Over the last few years, I’ve learned to just ride the wave, go with the ups and downs and where I end will be stronger than before. One added piece of knowledge I learned this year is to prepare myself for anything outside of the moment. Live in the moment but then prep myself to be my best self when I need to put it into practice. I find that this helps me bounce back from hard moments with greater ease and helps me strive in the moments that give me greater opportunity to.

NEVER SETTLE. A MEDIOCORE LIFE IS NOT FOR ME.

Never settle has been my longtime life slogan for as long as I can remember. In my teeny bopper days, I cut the words from a magazine and put the cut out on my door. I still have the same cut out on my cork board to this day. Yet again, 2017 brought forward this lesson. I really don’t believe in living a mediocre life, and what I mean by this is that I really don’t believe in living a life where something feels off in my heart. It doesn’t mean having the most expensive purse, going on all the expensive trips or being something you’re not – I think this message gets confused in today’s social media ruled world. You are your best guide to what makes you feel most alive and complete. That could be as simple as finishing a killer workout, telling someone they inspired you today or gifting a friend with something that you knew she/he would love. Living my best life is living a happy one where I feel good about the person I am and what I am doing to serve in this world. Never settle. What does it mean to you? Really, that’s all that matters.

Living my best life is living a happy one where I feel good about the person I am and what I am doing to serve in this world. Never settle. What does it mean to you? Really, that’s all that matters.

Wishing you a beautiful end to 2017 and an exciting beginning to 2018. It’s a blank slate, but you get to bring forward and make use of all you’ve learned up to this point. What a gift! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!

xx Steph

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