2016 was a rough one folks, but there were still a lot of beautiful moments. Where you can’t see the beauty, I hope you see a lesson and find the hint of sweetness in all of the bitterness. Here are some of the things that I’ve realised over the past year.
1) YOU DON’T HAVE TO ALLOW THINGS TO HAPPEN TO YOU. Certain bad things are unavoidable and sometimes you just have to feel some sadness, but what about everything else? We must always remember that we have choices in life. For example, if someone is treating us badly, we can choose to talk to them about it, end the relationship, find a compromise, act vengefully, sit quietly and accept it, etc. You can’t necessarily change shitty people, and you can’t always fix what they’re going through, but you can always make the decision which best suits your needs if you choose to. This brings me to my next point…
2) PUTTING YOURSELF FIRST ISN’T ALWAYS SELFISH. I recently shared something I wrote in which I called myself “the centre of my own universe” (see below), and I had someone ask me why I would write something that was so arrogant and all about me, as if that is something negative. It isn’t. I believe that empathy is an extremely important virtue and makes the world a better place. However, I’ve come to the realisation that empathy at the cost of self-preservation and happiness isn’t always a positive thing. We should all strive to find a balancing point between self-love and love for others; we should learn to not feel guilty with caring for ourselves.
3) SELF-LOVE ISN’T ALWAYS AS EASY AS LIGHTING A CANDLE or sitting in a bubble bath, or buying new clothes. We can practice caring for ourselves in ways which relax us and make us feel good about ourselves, but it’s often a lot harder than that. Sometimes it involves making difficult decisions to rid ourselves of toxic people, even if we love them. At times it can mean that we take off and travel around the world for half a year. It can be picking up the phone and making an appointment with a psychologist, even if you’re terrified to confront your problems. Don’t buy into the easiest solution, because they’re often only short-term answers to your problems; love yourself enough to go deeper to the root of what you need solved.
4) FULLY EXPRESSING YOURSELF IS IMPORTANT. Everyone knows that there are benefits in opening up to others, but this is something that really came out for me in 2016. No one can know exactly what it is you need/want unless you communicate it to them. It can be scary and weird and they might not get it but all you can do is try. Your relationships will thank you for it.
5) THERE’S ALWAYS SOMETHING YOU CAN DO. It’s easy to seem helpless in this world but, really, you’re not. Wallowing in self-pity and feeling useless may be natural reactions to negative situations but, evidently, that isn’t going to solve anything. This goes for “minor” problems, like losing weight (eat healthier! join a gym with a friend! go on nature walks!), to wide-scale/world-wide issues. Sometimes it’s hard, especially with added mental/physical factors, but get out there and do whatever you can!
Those are the main things I learned 0ver the past year! I hope everyone has a beautiful and enlightening 2017.