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When I compare 2015 to the tumultuous and incredible years that have made up my early 20s, I would be tempted to say that this year was relatively quiet. I have spent two semesters at school completing my degree, and I took a quiet summer job on a yacht that stayed on the East Coast to make ends meet – none of my usual hat tricks or impulse ventures.
However, my spirit was anything but tranquil, as I have I spent a consumable amount of time and energy asking myself important questions, recovering from heartache, and coming up with “a plan”. Sounds like a standard quarter life crisis, am I right? Maybe.
Whatever it was, I believe that we all go through it at some point, whether we are forced to do so, or whether we make a conscious decision to shift. Finding a new balance between my head talking and my heart yearning has been an incredible feat, as I find myself more grounded and focused than ever.
Here is a short list of lessons that resonated for me this past year:
Self-authenticity is synonymous to happiness
By spending enormous amounts of time and energy at the disposal of someone else’s vision, we will be robbed of the vital opportunities to develop our own creative gifts. Stunting the development of a real sense of self will lead to feeling inadequate and worthless on the inside. Without the solid foundation that is self-esteem, we will never build our own happiness. Bliss comes from the inside!
Unexpressed feelings and emotions cannot be buried.
When they are buried, they are buried alive. They will resurface in our thoughts, our dreams, our actions, and the functions of our bodies if they are not expressed or channeled in a healthy way. Suppressed emotions and feelings will either result in self-harm, or the abuse of the people around us. Wounds need to be emotionally felt, not just intellectually acknowledged.
Give more than you get
Try to think of less obvious ways to give back to others for a change. If you’re in a position of power, pick the weakest person in the room, and pull them up with you. Don’t forget to ask, “How are you” before you start talking about yourself. Extend the invite to someone you may not know very well. And most of all, never charge a fee for being kind. At some point the tables will turn, and you’ll be hoping that someone will do the same for you.
Make a decision
Either opt to make an educated decision to stay in the battle to win, choose to lose for a higher purpose, or simply walk away. Any option is worthy of respect, however, pick one and stick your guns!
Monitor your psychological hygiene
Grounded individuals respect another person’s psychological space. However, those who are fighting personal trauma usually have weakened boundaries, resulting in very poor psychological hygiene. Getting emotionally invested or even spending too much time around these individuals is enough to stretch out psychological stamina. It is best to try and observe rather than absorb any volatile emotions in order to remain grounded.
We are all worthy of love
Whether we are conscious or not, our whole lives are driven by love. Love manifests itself in countless ways; whether it is the more obvious romantic love, our protective instincts, our career paths, or even our emotional impulses. Many of our fears are fueled by love, as we are truly afraid to lose what we hold in our hearts. However, we often forget that it is when we open our hearts that we become more complete human beings. Getting to that point can require a lot of vulnerability and honesty with oneself. When questioning the validity of this battle, always remember that we are all worthy of love.
Making myself transparent has been daunting, tedious, humbling, and curious. I had to own up to my shortcomings and failures without opposition. I felt naked. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me along the way, especially those who have listened and given me the gift of empathy. As humans, this is the cocktail that we all require to survive emotionally and to remain down to earth.
Happy 2016 everyone!