“We’re all constantly learning and nothing is linear.” ~Bianca Green
1.) You gotta keep going.
People will talk, hate, think whatever about you regardless of the truth. So you MUST keep going. But be ready and prepared for when they do. Don’t let it destroy you. Although it may hurt, deeply, use it to build in the most positive way you can. See it as a hurdle that you consistently push through regardless of the discouragement. Find victory in every time you step out of your comfort zone and confront these fears and naysayers. That’s their role, they’re simply playing it. Play yours and own it. That’s how you win. Life is just a game, and then it’s over. Make sure you play every round while you’re here.
Also important note to self: It’s really none of your business what someone’s thinking, as hard as that is to adapt. That’s the truth and that’s why it’s their thoughts.
2.) Let people and things play themselves (out).
Don’t try to control most things, or really anything outside of yourself.
I recognized humans do not like to be told what to do, regardless if it’s for their benefit. They simply don’t like it, at any age. Strange as it is to me, it seems to ring true for almost every person I encounter, including myself. But not nearly as bad if I’m being honest. I learned this through sharing spaces with roommates and in the workplace. People want to do, or have the idea of what they want to do, presented to them by no one else but themselves. I think that’s why there is a trick for that in business and sale practices. Some sort of manipulation that works because people are people which is simply my kindest way of saying people are stupid. Nonetheless, don’t try to control these people. But always remember you can control yourself, and that’s enough. There is power and influence in that alone. Every character has their entrance and exits. Try not to worry or become anxious anticipating the moves or intentions of these characters. Let them be. They will play themselves out, just make sure you watch carefully so you are prepared to make your move. Do not force theirs because they’ll reject it, or worse, retaliate.
Example: I once worked on a team with a guy for a couple of months, he lacked work ethic but the rest of the team couldn’t see it. I did. I tried to encourage him and extend grace for his foible to strengthen. However, I stopped when I soon realized that would not work. Six months later, he was cut short of his term. The rest of the team finally seen what I saw all along, but it took them much longer to get the picture. He played himself out.
Now keep in mind, this doesn’t always happen. I would even say, it rarely happens. A lot of times people get away with things. But I know in that situation I didn’t have to do anything, or control anyone, outside of my role to influence the outcome. I simply worked hard, diligent, and remained concerned with my own dealings. When the team noticed the difference, the results came from comparison. Not every situation will end like this, but you can rarely ever go wrong with channeling and honing control over yourself. Just have optimism for the best. Many things are 50/50, choose the brighter side.
3.) Speaking of optimism: step away from reality often enough to gain some.
I know the truth hurts in many cases, but I was okay with that. What I didn’t know, or was unaware to, the lingering and overall effect that pain has on the mind. It changes the discourse of our thoughts. I realized my thinking pattern changed tremendously and though there were positive outcomes, there were also negatives. I became hyper-aware. This isn’t a bad thing if you’re in a hostile situation like kidnapping, robbery, or any instance where heightened senses are needed to your immediate benefit. A relatively stable daily life does not call for this. The hyper awareness can drive you into a constant state of rage, which is reasonably fair in this country. But also place you in a constant state of fear, which is unfair to yourself. I’ve slowly been succumbing to the idea of not knowing. When is it OK not to know? Younger me from only one or two years ago would believe it is better to always know the truth of things. Sometimes it’s not. It can have an everlasting effect of fear and anxiety. So find balance. Don’t be blind to the world as it is, but do not take it all in and blind yourself with the harsh realities of it all.
4.) Everyone does not have to agree. That is more than okay, that is an opportunity for character development.
I am not easily moved or docile in the slightest bit. Some may even say stubborn. That is fine and I’ll take it. But I found awhile ago that I did not accept when people had a different way of seeing the truth. Two, three, four, or a trillion things can all be true at the same time. The problem I had was only seeing one or two in certain situations. But there are many, innumerable ways to see things. I had to expand my lenses. Take your pick at any messy scenario you’ve recently been in. Many things could have been true all at once. That is what I found to be true with a situation in my fraternity. And that’s where you can see beauty in complexity. Recognizing all of the truths seen in a situation can be beneficial to your personal growth. You don’t have to agree or like whatever the other truths. But it doesn’t make it any less true. Acknowledging these different realities helps you better understand the world and people around you to survive and genuinely excel in the social landscape and maintain relationships. It is important to understand and acknowledge different realities and perceptions can all be true in the same dimension.
5.) Maintain your peace on a regular.
Yoga, exercise, meditate, visualize, write, do anything that can silence yourself and the world around you. Anything that simply brings your body, mind, and inner being to a stillness is necessary. If you ever notice or simply record how many times you pick up your phone, rush to and fro, you would think you’re a mad character in a Looney Tune sketch. It’s ridiculous how programmed we are, whether it be our attachment to a phone, job, or the social worlds we reside in. We’re very in-tuned and in a constant state of urgency to do something. Sometimes we need to stop. Just stop and do nothing, hear nothing, think nothing, and analyze our body in this state.
How does your muscles feel? Where is your mind racing to? What are you thinking? Why?
I found once I do this I can unravel many of my “troubles” and bring myself to a state of peace. The world moves fast, doesn’t mean you have to. Take time with yourself.
6.) The healing process is ugly AND necessary.
It took sooooo many tears and crying sessions out of me. I really can’t count the amount of times I cried in the past year because I wouldn’t be able to tell you. I cried often and I cried hard, for a year. For many things, situations, people I encountered, myself, etc. It felt like my soul was on fire some days, then it would extinguish and I would be fine the next. Then there were days I would be out at a party, or wherever, and suddenly something triggered me. Soul is back on fire. Now I’m outside, crying behind a car (that happened at a party and I went back inside like nothing happened).
It is an ugly and painful process, but if you keep going through hell, you will reach heaven…eventually.
7.) How deep is your self-love?
Now this one was hard for me to learn simply because it took me awhile to realize it. I did not like doing anything that seemed mundane, or required me to be completely alone: going to the gym, cooking, laundry, literally anything. I just didn’t want to do it. It was like I had a lack of lust for life. I just didn’t want to do anything. I’d rather stay in bed and watch my favorite shows, YouTubers, or whatever.
In those moments when I didn’t want to do anything, my attitude was a drag. So I questioned myself. I asked why don’t I want to do this thing that is beneficial to me? I then asked myself, why am I more excited to do anything that includes other people and less motivated to do anything that only requires myself? Those were tough questions, but I knew the answer. I had to face the truth of who I was and how I felt inside, or I would never be able to fix it and start anew. So I did.
The truth was my self-love was not as genuine as I thought. It was a sort of self-love given to me through others. It was a hand-me down of affection, but not genuine care. I realized my confidence was built from the response and reactions I got from others. I learned through experience that’s not true confidence. If I believe in myself mainly because someone else believes in me, that’s where my self-esteem will stop. So it is important to develop a love for yourself that does not stand on the back of others. It must come from yourself, entirely. And that is EXTREMELY hard to do. You hear people say all the time, how “so and so believed I could do it, so I did.” Words, encouragement, and support is empowering, especially when it comes from other people. But self-love is a power plant that cannot outsource its energy. It must come directly and unequivocally from you.
Luckily, I learned that this past year. It’s a journey that never ends until you do. So you keep trying and maintaining, then when you reach a stable place (which I have, thank God) it leaves less room to falter over anyone but yourself. No mother, father, friends, or family can provide you with a love strong enough to keep you, other than your own will and desire. And it has to be pure. Through thick and thin, loss or win, show up for yourself in every aspect of your life: emotionally, mentally, spiritually, and physically. Then when moments come where you feel like you’re falling and the world you know is slipping away, you can save yourself.
I’ll leave you with this:
“What I know now is that when we derive our worth from the relationships in our lives—the intimate ones, the social circles we belong to, the companies we work for—we give away our power and become dependent upon external validation. When that is taken away, our sense of value, and identity, goes with it.”
-Elaine Welteroth, More Than Enough
8.) Laughter is free, fam.
I know I talked about self-love just a second ago, but let me tell you how laughter saved me. I didn’t compose a list of lessons for 2018 so you’ll catch a few of those intertwined here. I went through bare madness last year. I was severely depressed, losing weight, had terrible roommates (I moved three times in less than a year). It was absurd to say the least. But laughter SAVED ME. I found this YouTuber, David Dobrik, and my days would be made. Not too long after, I found myself in comedy clubs on random nights at shows to watch my faves who came to town. My body LITERALLY felt better through laughing. Genuine, deep belly laughs that struck my core and finally hit a tune of happiness helped me through everything. It really is the best medicine. Do it as often as you can as LOUD as you can. Jokes are everywhere, just look for em.
9.) Be as reckless and daring while you can.
Because it will be hard to if you’re more susceptible to blow out a hip. No, but seriously, this ties back into the first lesson: play the game. We truly don’t know what will be the outcome of things until it happens. So why fear the consequences? You don’t know them; act like you don’t. My biggest takeaway from this past year of a roller coaster ride is to have fun through every rise and drop. Scream if you need to, just don’t get off.
I’ve only learned these things, I ain’t master shit. So if you see me slip, just remember we’re all constantly learning and nothing is linear 🙂 Peace & blessings. The devil had his year, but 2020 is already mine.