#HappyNewYear: 15 Things I’ve Learned During My Most Painful Year Yet

2015 was painful. The growing pains were aplenty. Yet, I say this with so much gratitude in my heart.

I needed that pain.

I needed to learn the hard way how to let go of things…and people. I needed to be reminded of my strength and even my growth. Instead of playing hide and seek with pain while dealing with my “low” moments, I faced them head on. I respect (growing) pain so much more.

In the words of my cousin/bestie, I’ve had lessons on lessons on lessons.* Below I share my 15 top truths from this past year and books, articles, quotes, videos, and Websites that have helped me as well. These are lessons I will take with me into the new year and master them for life.

YOUR health should always be a priority. Physical. Mental. Emotional. Have more compassion for yourself. Take care of your body. I’ve worked in industries in which I witnessed the direct effect not taking care your health could look like in the long and even short run. I am very particular about what I eat most of the time. I have changed my relationship with food. I noticed that when I had my “low” moments and would respond by eating bad, it just made it worse. Food does not just affect your physical health; it has a huge impact on your emotions as well. I read ingridient labels and strive to be as natural as possible even with products I use on my skin and what I spray in my house. MindBodyGreen.com is a site that I read religiously for tips. I plan to take some classes via CourseA.com and SkillsShare.com to enhance my knowledge of nutrition. I’ve even launched a wellness site in December to share my knowledge and commitment.
Your thoughts determine your future. I’ve learned to become more mindful of thoughts. You are what you think. Period. For years, I would see my family like once a year–if that. I told myself that I would not let that happen in 2015. Before I would worry about me scheduling around work and money. In 2015, I said it, believed it, visualized it and visited my family more than 6 times this year. My goal was 6. I shifted my mind and it worked. I’ve read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne years ago and still reference the book. It’s a life changer. There is also a documentary about the book. It should still be on Netflix.

Learn to let go faster. Your personal and professional success depends on it. I used to be the grudge-holding Queen. I would argue you down or vent for weeks to my friends and/or family about something that annoyed me. Sometimes I could have just communicated better and sometimes it was the other person’s “fault”. What I had an issue with is taking things personal and taking that “hurt” with me as I “moved on”. This year I’ve watched how, while still painful, letting go faster was so beneficial to my health. Two books that are helpful for this is “The Power of Now” and “The Four Agreements”.
Master the art of not giving a fuck. I could go on about the many times in 2015 I’ve learned to stop giving my fucks away. But, I cannot put it the way Mark Manson did in “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck”. Please read. It is one of the best articles I’ve read last year.
Trust yourself more. Own your mistakes.  I’ve done some stupid ish in 2015-some were even repeats of my early twenties. When we make mistakes, we can be dramatic. I used to let it affect the way I felt about my ability to make good decisions. It’s not logical because I’ve made so many other “good” and even great decisions. You are human. Give yourself a break. It’s all a part of the process. Compare yourself only to your old self and see what it does to your trust.  My sister would always tell me “it’s just another story to tell”. It’s either a win or a lesson. Trust your own pace as well.

    Time is more valuable than money. I gave too much of my time “freely” in 2015. People don’t respect that. Treat your time the same way you would treat the last dollar you have to hold onto before your next paycheck. You cannot get your time back.
    Consciously make new habits. You may think that you decide on your own to do most of the stuff you do daily but you don’t. Your life consist of habits your have picked up from your childhood, from defining moments in your life and so on. You want a better life? Change your habits. Reading “The Power of Habit” is a great start.
    Determine the essential and eliminate everything else. The quality of your life and health depends on it. If it or he/she does not bring joy and knowledge to your life, eliminate that ish. It’s that simple. Be more cut throat. Have the audacity to chose yourself over what it not serving you.  
    Always be honest with yourself. I’ve lied to myself for years about my real goals, friendships and even relationships. Once I stopped, I felt free. I ended 2015 truly free from all false aspirations, friendships and relationships. It is the first time in years.

    Have the audacity to tell and own your story. Because if you don’t “they will kill you and say you enjoyed it.”  This is why I’m committed to writing more this year. 1,000 words a day or more.  

    Say what you mean and stick to it. I used to have this bad habit of telling someone I didn’t want to deal with them anymore then dealing with them again. At that point, you aren’t respecting your word and they won’t either. If your word isn’t respected, how would you be? This is true when it comes to professional settings as well. In “The Four Agreements,” one of the agreements is to be “impeccable with your word.” Always speak with truth (and love).
    When in doubt, choose your solitude. I’m a proud loner. I don’t even know how to function without my solitude. But, like most, I like some human interaction. I’ve sacrificed my peace of mind for human interaction. Alone, even if sad, is better than being mistreated or staying in a situation that does not serve you. In the words of Warsan Shire, “My alone feels so good, I’ll only have you if you’re sweeter than my solitude”.
    Done is better than perfect. I’ve put off so many projects because everything wasn’t “perfect”. Forget being perfect. Learn to start, get stuff done and be consistent. With practice, you become flawless.
    It is OK to take people in doses. It was disappointing watching how some celebrities social media “friends”, and even family members responded to current events, particularly the long war on Black bodies, especially Black female bodies. So, last year, I’ve learned to delete, unfollow, and/or just to not engage in the foolery. 

    Remember to constantly seek your joy. It’s so important. Make self-care number one daily. Besides people, news and music can offset your joy. I was watching some YouTube videos of the late singer Selena after listening to her music on Pandora. She had this huge smile and infectious laugh that makes her so easy to watch besides her beauty. I realized that I was letting people steal my joy. I started working on getting it back in 2015. I focus on doing what I love and believe in and dealing only with people who are seeking their joy as well.

      Happy New Year!


      *This will be on a shirt soon on XoShavon.com launching early 2016 featuring words, art, and travel stories by me.


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