Closing a chapter. Michelle Young opened up about overcoming challenges as she looked ahead to the new year.
“2022 ended a lot different than I originally pictured but it ended exactly as it was intended and I couldn’t be more thankful for all that I learned,” the former Bachelorette, 29, captioned a handful of Instagram photos from a trip to Mexico on Monday, January 2.
The teacher went on to share the “lessons I found in 2022 that I hold close to my heart,” listing some words of wisdom for her followers. “Learning how to give yourself closure instead of looking for it from others is one of the most powerful tools someone can possess,” she wrote. “You take on the energy of those who you spend the most time with. Choose wisely. It’s okay to work hard and chase your dreams in silence. That being said, it’s also ok to show the world all sides of you.”
Young continued: “You are more than the labels the internet or others place on you. Incredibly thankful to walk into 2023 with a clear mind and I appreciate all who have continued to support me.”
In her slideshow, Young included stunning swimsuit photos and a selfie with fellow Bachelorette Rachel Recchia. “Could not have gotten through this year without you,” the pilot, 26, gushed in the comments section.
Young’s inspiring message comes six months after she confirmed her split from Nayte Olukoya, to whom she got engaged during the December 2021 finale of the ABC dating series.
“I’m struggling to say that Nayte and I will be going out separate ways but I stand with him in knowing the heaviness that is present in both our hearts as this relationship has been very real for us,” Young wrote via her Instagram Story in June 2022. “To you, Nayte, you quickly became my best friend and the love I have for you is incredibly strong. I will never stop wanting to see you succeed.”
Olukoya, 28, issued a social media statement of his own at the time. “Michelle and I are going to move forward separately. Hearts are heavy, emotions are high and we are dealing with this the best way we can. When we both started this journey, we were looking for our soulmates. Our forever. Our best friends,” he explained. “However, as we grow and learn, we also really that sometimes somebody that you hold dear to your heart isn’t somebody you’re meant to spend the rest of your life with.”
Two months later, the Minnesota native weighed in on a fan theory about what prompted the breakup. When a TikTok user speculated that “Michelle is not Nayte’s type” and “a lot of [Bachelor Nation] leads don’t go for the person that’s actually the best for them,” Young teased in the comments: “Sooo that was the issue.”
Before calling it quits, the twosome attempted to make the most of their long-distance romance as Young remained in Minnesota. Olukoya, who lived in Texas at the time, intended to relocate but never made the move.
“Plans changed as we decided there was no need to rush anything and get to know each other on a deeper level before taking the leap of living together,” the sales exec told fans via his Instagram Story in June 2022, denying that he cheated. “There’s no rush in life. There’s no rule book or timeline on how to go about your relationship. We believed that since the love was there, everything would fall into place naturally and in its own time. We tried. It didn’t work. We’re sad about it. We all grieve different.”
Olukoya went on to claim during a September 2022 interview on the “Viall Files” podcast that his now-ex felt “pressure to always be perfect” after cameras stopped rolling. “Once we left that world, I kind of just wanted to be two normal people. … I think that played a role in us not seeing eye to eye — we had conversations about the pressure,” he said. “I just wanted to be Nayte and Michelle.”
Young, meanwhile, asserted that same month that she was trying to “block out all the noise” and focus on moving forward. “All I can do, truly, is [remember] I know how things went down,” she said at the iHeartRadio Music Festival in Las Vegas. “I know the other person knows what went down, and I can stay true to myself and really that’s all that I can do.”
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