2018 has been a hell of a year. If you’ve been following my blogs this year, you know it has certainly not been a crystal stair for me. Yet, as I embark on another year of life, I feel more victorious than ever. My 27th year rocked me. It has been my hardest year to date. I spent majority of the year on a roller-coaster that included anxiety, depression, suicidal moments, relationship drama, friendship drama, work stress, and financial hardship. In contrast, it also included fun memories with family and friends, a few road trips, a promotion, and a lot of support and hard work. Here are 7 important lessons that I learned from a very challenging year:
1. I am the only person responsible for my happiness. No one else. Just me. My man, my friends, my parents and my grandparents are not. I had to really soul search on this one. It’s easy to get caught up, especially when you have people in your life who care about you and want what’s best for you, BUT there is no obligation in that. Not everything that other people feel is best for you will be best for you. You have to build your own happiness from the ground up. You already have the answers you need to be who you want to be.
“To be happy, we must not be too concerned with others.”
2. Live in love, no matter how difficult it may be. It’s easy to give love to people when things are good. It’s not so easy when things are shitty. Give love anyway. Even if it kills you. In this day and age, we throw everything away as if it’s disposable, especially people. We don’t take the time to empathize with others enough. We are ALL human. We all have issues and we’re all just trying to make it. Love your fellow man, even when it’s not convenient for you. The payoff is worth the pain.
Love is the "why" of life, why we are functioning at all. I am convinced it is the fundamental energy of the human spirit. The fuel on which we run. The wellspring of our vitality.
-Gerald G. May
3. Be kind to yourself. I’m finally mastering this one. I had to condition myself to talk to and about myself kindly. If I wouldn’t say something ugly to or about a friend, I shouldn’t do that to myself. You deserve kindness. Offering and receiving kindness to others is a lot harder when you’re not willing to give it to yourself. So, speak to and treat yourself like your own best friend. Also be kind to others, even if it’s not popular.
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
4. There is no growth without painful experience. If you never experience bad days, you’ll never fully appreciate the good days. It’s not called “growing pleasures”. Growing is painful, but growth yields new fruits. On your worst days, look yourself in the mirror and say “This, too, shall pass. I can get through this. The fruits of my labor are on the other side of this.” Optimism IS your best friend. Live the life you want to live, even if your actual life has not yet aligned with it. Be grateful for the things you have and the things you will acquire, even though you haven’t yet acquired them. Positively prepare yourself for what’s coming, because if you get caught up in the negative, you’re going to attract more negative.
“There is never a perfect answer in this messy, emotional world. Perfection is beyond the reach of humankind, beyond the reach of magic. In every shining moment of happiness is that drop of poison: the knowledge that pain will come again. Be honest to those you love, show your pain. To suffer is as human as to breathe.”
-Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter & The Cursed Child
5. Exercise forgiveness daily. You don’t have to subject yourself to toxic behavior or people, but it’s absolutely fine to forgive those people that have hurt you. I hear people say, “Forgiveness isn’t for the person being forgiven.” That’s partly true. It’s mostly for you, but there is some benefit in it for the person receiving the forgiveness. God forgives us daily, even when we don’t deserve it. People are going to hurt you. It’s inevitable because human error is a real thing. Not all pain inflicted is intentional. The beauty in this though, is that ALL forgiveness is intentional.
"Sincere forgiveness isn't colored with expectations that the other person apologize or change. Don't worry whether or not they finally understand you. Love them and release them. Life feeds back truth to people in its own way and time-just like it does for you and me."
- Sara Paddison
6. Be you. Unapologetically. You don’t have to change a thing unless YOU want to. If you do change, make changes that elevate you to your higher self. Know that your outside self is not a clear window to your inside self. You don’t have to meet the status quo. If we were all meant to be the same, we’d already be the same. You were born to be different, so do it. There’s only one me and there’s only one you. Don’t deny the world the chance of having you, just as you are.
“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life, but define yourself.”
– Harvey Fierstein
7. Do the work. If you don’t, you have no right to be angry or upset with others. If you don’t work, you don’t eat, right? Apply that same principle to your life and health, especially your mental health. Generational curses are meant to be broken. Emotional trauma is meant to be healed. You deserve to really “live your best life.” Sow good seeds in your life and reap a good harvest.
"Don’t give up. The beginning is always the hardest. Life rewards those who work hard at it."
I spent a lot of this year in introspect, wondering what I did to deserve a lot of the things that happened to me. From where I stand now, it could’ve been a lot worse. Instead, every single thing that I considered “trash” at the time, ended up leaving me with a special treasure. I didn’t let my situations make a victim out of me. I learned some very valuable lessons and I’m prayerful that my laboring in year 27 will reap a massive harvest of happiness and fulfillment in year 28. I’m moving gracefully forward in 2019 and I’m looking forward to everything 28 has to offer.
Until next time, celebrate life and protect your magic….