I'm blessed to have each year filled with laughter, tears, new lessons, and growth. The ups and downs of life are what make us whole and better and the New Year is a great time to reflect on those experiences and reevaluate what you do and don't want for yourself going forward. In this first blog post, I'll be sharing what I learned throughout this year , as well as re-learned... because we all know the same lessons will continue to pop up in your life until you truly grasp them, and sometimes we all need that extra reminder! These lessons are either from my personal experience or from observing others around me. Maybe I'm "late" on some of these things I've learned, but at the end of the day, we are all on unique paths and there's no right or wrong time to learn something. Most importantly, I hope me sharing these thoughts helps someone else start off their 2018 with a positive and more confident bang! Cheers to that.
Always trust your intuition
I spent a good portion of my young adult life doubting myself and my own intuition. Partially because of certain people I surrounded myself with growing up that were toxic in a lot of ways and made me feel as though I was silly for feeling certain things, and also because I needed to strengthen my own personal relationship with myself in making sure that I know I'm the only one who can truly decide what is best for me. It's important that we not only talk to ourselves positively and allow that inner voice to steer us in the right direction, but also to surround ourselves with those who nurture that and want that not only for us but themselves as well. It's also so important to remind yourself that your inner voice exists for a reason! It isn't there just for fun or something that you should be drowning out. That is your most authentic self protecting and guiding you to where you need to be. No therapist, no teacher, no parent, no friend, sibling.... no one can truly speak to what you need!
Speak up when something is bothering you/ weighing you down
I've always been someone who "feels deeply" (as many have told me). I've always believed in allowing your feelings to come and go and not fighting sadness, happiness, anger, etc. But there were times where I'd feel like people around me would rather just keep it moving or say something out of anger that they don't really mean, than actually allow themselves to fully express, and I started to try and mold to this, perhaps, projection of others I felt around me. I started bottling things in more because I thought maybe others didn't care about certain things that brought me down or I would just assume they saw it in a different way so there was no point in bringing anything up... especially if it was something that happened a while back in the past. But the more I held things in, the worse and bigger it became. Just because you try to ignore something doesn't make it actually go away. If anything it makes it bigger. Reminding yourself that you're feeling it for a reason, and that reason is simply that it hasn't been addressed yet. Ignoring it will drive you crazy and cause you to feel and do things that might be otherwise out of character. It's just unhealthy. I think it's okay to take time to think about and process your feelings for a bit, but if you're recognizing that after processing, these feelings still persist, it's definitely time to step up for yourself and talk things through. This is something I've sort of always known, but I think this year was a big reminder for me, that it does no one any good to hold things in. Expressing yourself will either bring you closer to those that should truly be in your life, or it will highlight the one's who shouldn't be or it will teach you what to expect from certain people. And to me, you win in any of those situations! You can learn a lot by simply expressing your truth.
Don't apologize for removing toxicity from your life
Maybe this one is self explanatory. But I think, for me, there is this guilt I notice I carry when I distance myself from and or remove toxicity and unhealthy cycles from my life. Is it partially because I got used to certain relationships and the one sidedness that came with them and I'm having a hard time because I don't know anything else? Or is it simply that I become too empathetic to what others are going through and forget that I am also important? Perhaps a bit of both. But either way, I don't think it really matters when you're not being treated the way in which you deserve whether that's from a romantic relationship, friendships, or even from a family member. Something I truly want to practice in 2018 is ridding myself of the guilt, so many of us women seem to carry, that comes from protecting myself, my aura and my space from harmful, draining relationships.
Put your blinders up/ focus on your path
This is a hard one. Especially in today's society. It can get so easy to compare, compare, compare. We have social media, we have television, we have simply living in NYC and seeing how many successful men and women surround us everyday. But when we feel bombarded, we must take a step back and regroup. Something that helps me is reminding myself that, "what is easy isn't worth it!" By that I mean it's so easy to compare and self sabotage and "wish things were different" but what's difficult, is worth it-- pulling ourselves up, loving ourselves and continuing to push on forward within a society that is constantly weighing us down whether it's our own thoughts or what we're being fed in the media. Everyone is on their own path and their own journey. We've all heard that a million times, I'm sure, but it's true. There's only one path cut out and crafted perfectly for you! So it's truly a waste of time to try and skip down someone else's road.
Don't dim your light
Also relatively self explanatory, but also something I've definitely had to relearn within the past years. Coming from a relationship where I was often questioned or put down for enjoying modeling really took a tole on my present self. And it's been a slow but sure process, but I've definitely realized that I've allowed certain commentaries truly get to me and affect the way I see myself. I have so many different sides to me, as we all do. There's an activist in me, there's a writer, there's a director, there's a yogi, there's a model and muse, there's a little girl, a woman, a sister, a friend, and I refuse to turn any of those sides down for anyone going forward. As women, we have so much pressure on us to fit a "mold". To be classy but not prude, to be fun but not too wild, to be sensual but not overly sexy or sexual. So many paradoxes... and that in itself cause a lot of us to feel confused, conflicted and unsure of ourselves in our own skin... the last thing really needed is for someone that we have in our own circles to be making us feel bad for expressing ourselves and experiencing and learning from life in our own ways and at our own paces. So ladies, in 2018, we ain't dimmin' no type of lights!
Don't rush your healing process
A very, very important lesson! Something I've been struggling with my whole life. I'm an Aries... we're known for our impatience. We want everything to have happened yesterday! But seriously. I was in an accident two summers ago where I had a concussion, bruises on my ribs that made it difficult for me to breathe for at least 6 months afterwards. And my ass was trying to do work outs in my room literally a week after this happened! I kept telling myself that the only way to get better is to just go back to what I used to do that made me feel good. Looking back on this truly feels insane. I learned that, despite how much yoga I do and meditating and relaxing, I actually didn't know how to be patient and allow myself to heal. And this honestly, most likely delayed my healing process because it only caused me to become frustrated at myself for not feeling 100% all the time. So then I was dealing with emotional trauma, and the results of physical trauma because I was pushing myself too hard as opposed to accepting where I was and talking about it. But I'm thankful for this situation because it truly taught me the importance of taking my time and that life isn't a race of who can recover the quickest or who ignores their pain the most (and if there are people like this, we shouldn't be around them).
Be firm with yourself and what it is you want/ Don't allow the opinions of others to make you doubt yourself
This also ties back to intuition. Be firm with yourself. This is different than being mean to yourself or punishing yourself when something doesn't go your way. It's about recognizing that only you can set your own intentions and goals and only you can follow through with what you've set out for yourself. There have been times in my life where I've taken people's jokes too seriously maybe because I fear the people I love might actually think ill of me, maybe do to some degree of insecurity. Or maybe I'm just too serious at times? Either way, it has caused me to sometimes doubt what I know is good for me because they don't agree or because I'm one of few people that I am close to who lives a certain way or makes lifestyle choices in the way that I'd prefer. I'm still trying to understand where this stems from... the fear of disappointing people? Bothering them? Being an inconvenience? All of the above? It doesn't really matter. All I know is that I'm shamelessly walking into myself in 2018, or at least trying my best to work towards that version of myself who does what's best for herself with no avail, no regret, and no fear.
Don't be afraid to start over
Don't be afraid to change your mind if you're not enjoying your original choice for yourself. Life is short and it is full of moments of trial and error. And honestly I see so much beauty in this. That the only way for us to know if something is truly for us, we must try it out and experience before we can have a firm idea of what we want and don't want. Sometimes that can also be frustrating because so many of us want this spotless, mistake-less life. But at the end of the day, that's so boring and simply doesn't exist. So this is that reminder to allow yourself to experience, make mistakes, choose the wrong thing by accident, fall down, and then get back up on your feet all the wiser, stronger, and more ready for what is truly meant for you.
Be patient with yourself and your goals
Piggy backing off of not rushing your healing process, it is also important to know, just like healing, your goals are not going to produce themselves over night. The best thing we can do is be present and work our hardest in the moments where we can, enjoy ourselves when we can, and love ourselves and others to the fullest. It's not going to happen over night, so we might as well live our lives as balanced as possible. It's easy to feel inadequate in this day and age and as though we are not where we need to be but one of my favorite sayings is something my friend told me recently, "you are exactly where you need to be." In other words, your time will come, as long as your working towards it slowly but steadily and enjoying yourself a little bit along the way. A little positive energy never hurt the process.
People change at their own speed... or simply not at all
Sometimes we want others to understand what might seem so clear and obvious to us. We want our loved ones to make the best choices and be their best selves, and as much tugging and pulling we can do with them, it's truly up to them to decide what they want. Sometimes giving people the space to come to their own realizations is all we can do. We are all learning something every single day and we are all on different paths and journeys. We can only respect this and try our best on our own paths and help where we can with others.
Forgive yourself for what you deem as your past mistakes, and for hurting others in anyway. It's natural for these things to happen because we are human, but especially make sure you're learning from these situations as well. Forgive others for hurting you in anyway. Not necessarily for them, but for yourself and so that you're not harboring and carrying their pain.
Own your vulnerability!
Lastly, but definitely not least... one of my favorite realizations of 2017. Owning that often frowned upon thing called vulnerability. Some people call it weakness, some call it sensitivity, some call it meek. But I call it strength, beauty... human. I think this incapsulates so many of the other lessons that have been learned and re learned for myself over the years. It causes you to own your emotions and own your fluidity, to also be strong and real and honest with others, and most importantly yourself. It forces you to release what's beneath the surface, and ultimately soaring to your goals with a sureness and a deep love and respect for yourself. It brings you closer to those that matter and highlights the ones that don't. It's purity and it's beauty! And that is what I want to remind myself going forward.
Well that's all I've got for this year, my dears! Let's see what lessons 2018 will bring and hopefully I will be putting into better practice these important lessons I've come upon in 2017. Comment and let me know your thoughts-- if this helped or if we shared any of the same realizations. I hope you all take some time to reflect and plant some new positive seeds for yourselves, and most importantly have a safe and happy New Year filled with joy, love, and inner peace.