My Biggest Mistake of the Year – And How I’ll Never Repeat It

Maui, Hawaii, New Year, Reflection, Happiness
Mistake, End of Year, Happiness

By the time I started writing this post, I had already written over 1700 words for a similar post. However, I found myself spiraling down a deep hole that I wasn’t ready to fight. I took a three-day break and decided it’s okay that I’m not ready to write about certain things. But I do have this beautiful platform to share the ups and downs of my life on, and I wasn’t okay with just giving up.

So as we all reflect on 2017, make goals for the new year, and promises to ourselves to do better, I’m reflecting on the biggest mistake I made this year:

 

I let other people control my happiness.

 

 

What Happened?

Early 2017 was the beginning of the end of my 9-5 job with the family business. We’ve all heard it before – “don’t mix business with family”. And I believe that now. The problem with this family business? The extended family members decided it was time to sell. I don’t think I accepted what was really happening until summertime, but by then, I was an emotional mess. Mentally, I was defeated. I fell victim to a deep depression and struggled with coming up for air.

For months and months, I allowed extended family members to control my happiness by making me miserable at work. They had an agenda and were willing to accomplish it no matter the consequences. Even with a smile on my face and my non-confrontational attitude, they found subtle ways to beat me (and my immediate family) down. The smallest comment would ruin my day. Their lack of respect wrecked me. Day after day, I never felt good enough. I wasn’t allowed to have an opinion, and I was expected to shut up and do as I was told. Maybe some of those family members didn’t realize what they were doing to me, but that doesn’t matter. I did and I allowed it. Coming home from work every day, I felt depleted, sad, angry, scared, and worthless. I allowed them to control my happiness and worthiness.

I pretended to take control by packing up my office and “quitting” three weeks before I was getting kicked out (the business has officially sold). The unknown has been terrifying, but taking back control of my happiness has been liberating. I know many of you might be thinking, “why didn’t you quit sooner?“. I guess that’s the struggle of being a part of a family business. There was so much more emotion and heart invested in my work. Walking away never seemed like an option to me.

One thing we can control in life is how we react to things happening around us.Click To Tweet

 

What I Realize Now

Our happiness is controlled by us. Our worthiness should not be determined by others. One thing we can control in life is how we react to things happening around us. I realize now that even on the worst days, I didn’t have to be unhappy. I’m disappointed in myself for losing control of my own happiness. I got sucked into the belief that my job was who I am and that without a “real” job, I was nothing. I was so wrong.

Once I realized that I could create my own happiness again, despite the circumstances around me, I felt lighter. I’ve officially been without the security of my 9-5 job for just over a month, and I’m finally starting to feel whole again.

 

Taking Control

Looking back at everything now, I know I will never put my happiness and worthiness into the hands of others, ever again. But how?  This is my best advice to myself (or anyone struggling):

  • Recognize that happiness is created within. Acknowledge when you are not controlling your own feelings and make changes immediately.
  • Surround yourself with people that respect you, love you, lift you up, believe in you, and have their own happiness.
  • Let go of the toxic relationships.
  • Realize it’s okay to be unhappy at times, but don’t hold onto it for too long.
  • A job is not prison. Leave it when you are unhappy.
  • What you “do” for a living does not define your worthiness. You are so much more than that.
  • Stand up for yourself and your feelings.
  • Do not disguise your feelings with temporary fixes. [In my case, drinking wine every day after work only lifted my spirits for a couple of hours. The emotions that followed made the day even worse.]
  • Comparison is the thief of joy. Stay on your path and respect your own journey.

NYC, New Year, Mindset, Happiness

Shout out to my husband, immediate family, and closest friends. You helped me smile when I felt empty. You reminded me that this season of life would pass and I would be a stronger person from this experience. I can’t even explain how thankful I am for you all.

 

Life is always going to throw curve balls and test your strength. It is unpredictable and fascinating. Life is scary and beautiful. And I believe that the best way to make it through each day is with a happy heart and mind. During this season of life, I would tell myself I was pathetic for letting it get me down. I knew there were people suffering and battling much bigger problems in life. But getting mad at myself for caring so much never helped anything. I’ve learned you need to allow yourself to accept the situation, feel the emotions, and tackle them in the healthiest way.

I hope you know that if you’ve ever felt defeated, confused, heartbroken, or lost, you are not alone. Be kind to yourself.

Here’s to a much happier new year that is filled with new beginnings, strong relationships, exciting adventures, and so much more. Leave a comment below telling me what you plan on changing/improving in the new year!

 

End of Year, 2017, Mistake, Happiness
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  • This is amazing! Thank you so much for sharing and being so honest!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much, and thank you for reading!!

  • Kyrie allen

    This was an amazing read, and I’m sure a weight off of your shoulders to share with others. Knowing you for over four years now- I know just how amazing you are (obvi). Putting others before yourself, going above and beyond for everyone you love and care about, always giving 100% to your job (even on the days it made you unhappy). You truly are an amazing person, wife, friend, daughter, etc. I hope 2018 brings you nothing short of absolute happiness. You deserve it. Much love.

    P.s. 2018 will be my ME year. Health for my body and my mind. Xo

  • wow friend this was great and so glad a huge weight came off with knowing who you need and want in your life. Thanks for being so honest and true to yourself in this post!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much for reading. Just saying the words in this post has helped with some healing. 🙂

  • This post is a must read for any one who doubts themself. I’m sorry that you had to go through this with her family, but you’re absolutely right that when you realize that you and only you are in control of your happiness you will be so much more satisfied in life.

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much, that means the world to me. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves of what we’re truly capable of. 🙂

  • Sarah Emily

    This is definitely a must-read post! It is all too often that we allow others to take our happiness away or we fail to realize our own worth almost and give something our all for nothing in return. I can’t imagine being a part of a family business or working along side my family members for an extended amount of time. Some times these moments are the biggest learning and defining moments of our lives! You got this girl! make 2018 your year!

    • Katherine

      I completely agree and I truly believe that this has all shaped me into a little bit of a different (better) person. Thank you so much for the encouragement! Happy New Year!

  • Thank you for sharing your story with us. I am so sorry you had to go through this, but as a result you’ve become stronger and more aware of what makes you happy. I hope you will have the best 2018!

    • Katherine

      Thank you! Those are such true words and I’m looking forward to much more positive year. 🙂 Happy 2018 to you!

  • Nikki Gwin

    Your bullet points are spot on. Although not easily done. Good for you!
    🙂 gwingal

    • Katherine

      I totally agree. So much is easier said than done, but writing it out and seeing them has seriously helped me revisit them!

  • Love, love this! I’m so glad you realized that your happiness is important! Glad you learned from this and shared your story and tips with us. Here’s to 2018 being a much better year for you!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much for reading and for the sweet words! I appreciate it! Cheers to 2018. 🙂

  • These are such great reflections, Katherine! I’m sorry you had to deal with a difficult working situation but it must have felt great to be happy again. Being happy with ourselves and feeling like we are in control is so important. Happy New Year!! Sierra~Beautifully Candid

    • Katherine

      I seriously feel so much lighter and happiness is coming easily again (like it used to!). I appreciate the kind words so much. Happy New Year!

  • I’m so sorry that you had to deal with this in your life this year. I know it can be tough especially when family members are the ones that are making things more difficult, but as you said WE control our own happiness. Kudos to you for gaining such a positive perspective and I think great things are coming for you in 2018! Happy New Year, friend!

    • Katherine

      Mixing in the family part definitely made it so much more difficult. If I was ever that miserable at a corporate job I would’ve walked out. Thank you so much for your sweet words and for reading! Hoping 2018 is wonderful to you, too! Xo

  • Stephanie Wheeler Mechtel

    No matter what you are going through, I think this post is so relatable. I know there are times I am guilty of letting others control my happiness and this is such a good reminder that we ARE in control. I am looking forward to 2018 and striving to put myself first while focusing on becoming a better me. Thank you for sharing your journey with us, I know it was not easy. It’s hard to see it as we go through it, but hardships really do make us stronger. I think everyone can see how much you have grown through this experience and knowing how amazing of a person you are, I know you will continue to grow each day.

    • Katherine

      Thank you, Stephanie! I take comfort in knowing that others can relate, but I do hope that everyone can remember to be in control of their happiness, always. 🙂 I’m so thankful to have you!

  • This is a great post and a great attitude to move into 2018! Happy New Year!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much! Cheers to 2018 🙂

  • This was also huge for me this year – until about August or September I realized I was letting a select few people control my happiness. I woke up in the morning not knowing if it would be a good day or a bad day because it depended on SOMEONE ELSE, and how they were feeling. Not cool. I’m hoping to do better this year.

    • Katherine

      I know the EXACT feeling of waking up and feeling that way. It was torture. Cheers to you and being able to recognize it all. Hoping you can have a much happier 2018. 🙂

  • Beth

    You learned a lot this year. I’m so happy that you found the source of true happiness 🙂

    Beth || http://www.TheStyleBouquet.com

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much! Definitely a game changing year for me 🙂

  • This is such an incredible life lesson to learn. Please don’t take this the wrong way, but I’m happy for you that you were able to learn it at such a young age. May you have a wonderful 2018 filled with love and happiness.

    • Katherine

      Definitely not taking that the wrong way! I’m so thankful for the life lessons that I’ll be able to carry with me forever. 🙂 Thank you for the kind words. Hope you have a happy new year!

  • Kyla Matton Osborne

    It’s a shame when the people who should have your back are actually the ones who make life difficult for you. I’m sorry your extended family made your job miserable for you. It sounds like it was a valuable life lesson, though. Good on you for taking control!

    • Katherine

      I totally agree. Thank you so much for reading! Looking forward to a much better 2018!

  • I couldn’t agree more! Your surroundings can really ruin your happiness! I learned this the hard way in my last job and I am still battling with reducing how much I let the little things stress me out.

    • Katherine

      Oh wow, so you can totally relate! I do feel like I’ll carry a little bit of all of this for a long time, but being able to recognize it all and consciously make changes to be happier, is a wonderful change. Wishing you the best in 2018!

  • I loved this post. Before reading it, I wasn’t exactly sure what this would be about. First, I want to say that I’m sorry your family treated you that way. We expect to be able to count on our family, and I’ve learned they’re the ones who are able to do the most damage. Second, I am so happy that you were able to understand that happiness lies with you. Life gets so much better when you take control and do not allow others to dictate your feelings and emotions. It’s easier said than done, but you provided wonderful advice in the end. Happy New Year!

    • Katherine

      Haha, that’s totally understandable, but thank you so much for reading and for your sweet words!! I’m so looking forward to the new year and all of the new opportunities and happiness that it’ll bring. 🙂 Happy 2018 to you!!

  • I’ve had to let go of a toxic relationship this year. Although I never wanted to, this person placed stress and negative energy in my life, and I feel so much better without it! I hope 2018 is a great year for you! 🙂

    • Katherine

      I know it can be incredibly hard, but I’m proud of you for being able to recognize the problems and make a change. Every day will get easier (and happier)! Wishing you the best in 2018!

  • This is such amazing insight to have into yourself and your year. I agree that we shouldn’t let others control our happiness, and I hope you can continue to make that your reality in 2018 and beyond!

    • Katherine

      Thank you!! I appreciate your kind words so much and truly look forward to the next chapter (or am I on a new book!?) in life! Haha, happy new year!

  • I loved reading your story. I have let others control my happiness in the past and it never ended well. Thanks for sharing the lesson you learned! <3

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much for reading! I’m glad you can relate and we can all acknowledge when we’ve lost control of our own happiness. I hope to never let that happen again. <3

  • Tracy Iglesias

    I get how hard that was to do, just sad you waited so long to do it. The important part is finding the lessons learned and applying them to make your next situation better. What confuses me is how did the extended family have that much control over the business in the first place?

    Tracy @ Ascending Butterfly

    • Katherine

      Family businesses are confusing 😉 Haha, that could be a whole different story, but it just comes down to a partnership of 3 against 1. Thank you for reading!

  • Awe this brought tears to my eyes girlie <3 I know this year was tough for you but I'm happy it led you down this new path and is giving you a chance to grow and take control of your happiness! Sending you alllll the love!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much <3 I've always admired your vulnerability on TCM and you made me brave enough to start digging a little deeper with some of my words. I can't thank you enough for everything. Looking forward to all the new adventures and happier days that are to come! Happy New Year!!

  • What a powerful realization…and how much more powerful that you’re taking control of it for yourself and vowing to change it for the better in 2018! You go girl!

  • Shannon – Fit SlowCooker Queen

    Well said! But of course hard to do. Best wishes for 2018!

  • I too had learnt this same lesson some time back … it is so liberating isn’t it? Love the last photo … such a beautiful candid shot.

    ❥ tanvii.com

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much! <3 Hoping all the good vibes keep coming my way this year. 🙂

  • Amanda Schreiber

    This is beautiful, and definitely speaks to me! I quit my toxic job in August, and spent the following months looking for another job that would make me feel “important” because I felt like so many people at my old job were just looking for (and wanting) me to fail. Turns out, it’s easier to not care and do what makes me happy! I’m so glad you are finding happiness now 🙂

    • Katherine

      Omg yes! I’m so sorry you went through that, but I’m happy you’ve been able to acknowledge the problems and focus on YOUR happiness and what’s right for you! Wishing you the best in 2018!!

  • Allison Ellzey

    Loved this post and so glad you’ve come out stronger and learned so much!

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much for reading! <3

  • Taylor Smith

    It’s definitely important to be in control of your own happiness. I know how hard that can be!

    • Katherine

      It’s scary how fast our own happiness can be out of our control, but acknowledging it is so important! 🙂

  • I love this! I’ve been feeling a little like that. Like my hapinnes is in the hand of others. Or more like I need to make others happy. I’m still learning what I have to do and I hope 2018 will bring me more ideas.

    • Katherine

      I can totally understand needing to make others happy. Ugh, sometimes I wish I could be more confrontational just so I didn’t go out of my way to make others happy (that don’t care at all about my happiness, ya know?!) Sometimes the biggest hurdle is recognizing the problem, so you’re half way there! Wishing you the best in 2018 <3

  • I am so sorry that you went through all of that! It sounds so awful. I can kind of relate as I had something happen with my dad and business related stuff that ended in me needing to retain 2 attorneys to fight him. Anyways… even though you went through something so rough, I really love the lesson you learned from it and I’m so grateful you were so honest and shared this story on the blog. I definitely need to take a lesson from you and learn to stop letting other people control my happiness. <3

    • Katherine

      Oh gosh, I’m so sorry to hear that, but I know you must be able to understand so much of what I went through, too. It’s sometimes hard to even put it into words to make others understand how difficult it really was for me. Thank you so much for reading and leaving the kindest words. I’ll be thinking of you and hoping that 2018 can bring you all the happiness in the world! <3

  • This is beautiful cause I struggled with this very thing in the latter part of 2017. I was constantly comparing myself and allowing other people to tell me what I “should” be happy about and “why” and how I “should” act as a result. It was so tough because I believed them, which then made me feel worse.

    So I loved reading what you learned cause it showed me that I learned a lot of the same things and that these experiences are so helpful at allowing us both to overcome the need to please and instead focus on our own joy instead. <3 Great boyfriends also help a lot too! <3

    • Katherine

      Thank you so much for opening up to me, too! Some things are easier simply knowing you’re not alone, so I appreciate that so much (and can totally relate to your feelings!). Letting go of 2017 and embracing a new chapter in life has made me the happiest I’ve been in a long time. I know I’ll never allow myself to fall down a hole like that again. Hoping your 2018 is filled with much more joy and success! <3

      • Awww and same to you! I agree that when you don’t feel alone, it helps to empower you so this is why I appreciate you sharing your story with us.

        2018, will be our year!

  • Anne Donahoe

    Thanks for being so vulnerable and opening up about this topic! I really enjoyed this because it happens! I’m sure everyone has been there before.