Most holiday seasons I would write about setting boundaries, being in routines, and keeping a norm during the holidays to stay well.

But this year is different.

This year, I wanted to be able to perform my best at my job all year. I wanted to increase where My Quiet Cave was operating, make amazing changes, and raise the money to expand. I wanted to be present with my family, be a great friend, and a great colleague. I wanted to do well this year.

But I didn’t.

I had more emails pop up in my inbox 2 weeks after I was supposed to respond them than I can say. I didn’t fundraise like I wanted. I didn’t work like I wanted. I wasn’t as present with my family as I wanted. I didn’t see many of my friends like I wanted. I didn’t really do anything like I wanted. This year I gave 100% of what I had and it felt like 80% less than I wanted it to be.

But then I met with my board.

At the end of the year I came clean with the disappointment I felt about my performance this year at work. I told them about trying to give my best, and about how that just wasn’t much right now. Over the last number of years I had been worn down, and having an almost 1 year old at home, I was maxed. I described all of the things I had wanted for this year, and what had really happened. I expected them to say they agreed with me. Instead, And they said, “Look at all the good that happened this year. You’re good. Keep up the great work.”

This year I needed my own quiet cave. I needed a safe place where people could speak value and love into me when I wanted to be able to do so much more. I needed that because as much time as I spend trying to tell other people they are valuable and good, I have the tendency to put expectations on myself that I will always be able to continue to perform. This year I couldn’t.

This year I had to accept my own quiet cave.

I had to accept that I was still good. I had to accept that this year was hard. But I also had to accept that I was still myself and that was good. I had the opportunity to put down all of the expectation and accept support in a safe place. And I am. Everyday I am still working to. I also had to accept all the good that happened in 2016 and know that even if I didn’t do as much as I had hoped, great things still happened.

During the holidays, spending time setting boundaries, staying on meds, and getting rest are really important. But this year I am also seeing how important it is to accept my own goodness. I know how important it is to accept love and belonging, and how important it is to let myself off the hook whenI give my best. But sometimes, the situation is different and I need a reminder. This was my reminder. I still am good. I was still made as valuable. I am still capable of doing good. Even when I forget.

This holiday season, I hope you as well can accept a safe place and enjoy the people who love you. If this is a trying season and you have a hard time around your family, I hope you can find that cave somewhere. I was not expecting my board to be the group of people to help me but they did. Your cave may not be the friends or family you thought, but sometimes the people who speak life into you do not come from where you expect.

Merry Christmas and blessings this holiday season.