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End of The Year Self Love and Personal Growth

Lessons from 2022

It’s nearing the end of the year. If you’ve been with me for a while, you know I always use this time to think back on what the year was like for me and what I want out of the upcoming year.

2022 is the year my baby turned into a toddler. It’s the year I really accepted and embraced that living in Vegas and the freedom before motherhood is in the past. It’s the year I started therapy. It’s the year I’ve made steps to learn what I want out life. It’s the year I’ve made steps to learn what I no longer want to tolerate in my life. Here’s what this year has taught me so far.

Most People are Selfish

Because everyone is living their own individual life. Some people take their selfishnesses too far. Some people aren’t selfish enough. However, most people do things to serve their own interest. There’s nothing wrong with that because we are the only ones living our individual lives. The problem lies in how selfishness affects our actions and the way we treat other people.

Everyone Values Different Things

Seems obvious, but encountering this in our lives can be jarring. Some people value money, some family, some sleep, some wellness, some justice, some religious beliefs etc. Everyone values different things and that can tell you what they prioritize and explain why someone is the way they are. It can explain why people are willing to overlook certain characteristics or situations. Our values in comparison with another’s can be the reason we don’t get along with someone else. Our values and beliefs ultimately affect the bubble we find ourselves in and the media we consume. These values form when we are growing up from our family, caretakers, and society. They adjust as we get older and see the world for ourselves. They can change over time as our perspective changes.

Therapy and Growth is Uncomfortable

This year I started therapy/coaching and baabbyy. I never understood until this process why people say it can be uncomfortable and lonely. It’s made me notice patterns in my life. It’s forced me to understand my anxiety and my habits. It’s caused me to consider the people who are in my life and if I still want them there. Therapy has helped me be honest with myself. Therapy has helped me think about what I want and don’t want out of life. Therapy has helped me find ways to cope and embrace the way I am changing. It is not for everyone, but therapy only works to the level you are working it. You have to be honest and vulnerable in order to make breakthroughs, even if it is not right away.

Ego Can Get in the Way

An unhealthy ego can stop you from taking accountability. It can prevent you from communicating issues with people you care(d) about. An unhealthy ego causes you to be too selfish. It makes you over confident. It keeps you connected to people you no longer have an interest in or who no longer have an interest in you.

An unhealthy ego stops you from asking for help when you need it. It affects how vulnerable and prideful you are. An unhealthy ego gets in the way. We all have shadow sides. We all have egos. But not all of us recognize or can healthily navigate that side of ourselves. No one is perfect and even someone who is aware of their shadow side will still have moments when their shadow side takes the lead. Being self aware and learning that part of yourself can improve your life.

Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Imposter syndrome is so real. An inflated ego is so real. We all have characteristics we can work on and those we can thrive in. Know both sides of yourself. Your strengths can propel you to be who you want to be. Your weaknesses can teach you ways to heal yourself and then be turned into a strength.

Childhood and Generational Trauma

Everything is cyclical. How we were treated when we were young has a strong effect on who we become. Trauma does not always have to be a severe situation and the situation doesn’t have to occur to you directly for it to traumatize you. It is any jarring event that has happened to you or around you that has a lasting impact.

The interactions with our family lead to how we interact with other people. How our caretakers love us is how we love other people. That’s why part of parenting is leading by example. A common example of this is the transition of an adult who was spanked as a kid who doesn’t spank their kids because it led them to being fearful and unable to express emotions effectively. Childhood affects our inner child and can let us know how to help our inner child feel seen.

There are also studies that trauma lives in our DNA and this can be passed through generations. Hence generational trauma. There’s also the fact that we sometimes repeat the situations of those who raise us. The things our caretakers focused on when we were children we may inadvertently focus on when we have children. Because as we grow up, I feel like we either subconsciously become like our parents and caretakers or we make sure we’re the complete opposite of them.

Letting Go

I say this often. And every year I always forget. It is okay to let go of people and any environment or situation that no longer serves you. It is okay to let go of what something used to be. I’m not talking about not holding a grudge. I don’t think everyone and every situation deserves forgiveness. I mean, relationships, situations, our feelings, others feelings, they all change and that’s okay. Sometimes we miss what was and want to hold on to them. Sometimes letting go and letting things be, is for the best. It would be nice to be able to control everything. I have anxiety, trust me I know. It’s just not how life works. We have to let go.

Believing in Yourself & The Power of Manifestation

We can do what we believe we can. There’s nuance to this, such as financial means. These nuances can motivate us or limit what we can do. However, we can talk ourselves out of what we want, something attainable to our situation, by thinking we don’t deserve it, don’t want it, or can’t achieve it. You have to believe in yourself.

This leads to the power of manifestation. I believe words are powerful and manifesting is possible. You can have what you truly want by knowing and saying what it is, believing that you can have it, and taking steps towards achieving it.

Are the Vibes Right?

I believe that everything, including people, give off a level of energy. I believe thats why babies and animals are immediately drawn to or dislike certain people. It’s why you can feel a shift in the room when certain people walk in. Our bodies can pick up on other people’s energy towards us before our mind does. So if you every feel off and wonder why, ask yourself first if the vibes are right?

Pain is Painful

Pain is painful. Having a disease that causes chronic pain is numbing because we try not to focus on it. It affects our mood and temperament because our nerves are already suffering. It drains our energy because on top of the day to day, we’re trying to be patient and not focus on the pain. Our physical body is also being affected and trying to heal itself. Pain has altered my perspective. I have experienced being in a wheelchair and seeing how the world, at least in the US, doesn’t make inclusion a priority. I see the privilege of having perfect attendance. I realize how often I mask because admitting how much pain I’m in changes little. It makes me cherish and appreciative of the good days. Because you don’t realize how much you walk or sit until it hurts to do that.

Even if They Want To, They Might Not

I don’t like the phrase “if they wanted to, the would.” (If I said it before in a post, please disregard as I no longer feel like this). How many times have you said you wanted something, but made no effort towards achieving it? Or made a little effort but not enough to achieve it?

Sometimes people want something and go after it. Sometimes people say they are interested in having you in their life, but don’t meant it at all. However, we are all grown. We all have things going on. As someone who is in consistent pain, has a child, and has anxiety, I don’t always do what I want to do. I don’t have the energy or space to be present and put in the effort for others the way I wish I could be. I acknowledge that’s something I need to work on.

I also think “if they wanted to they would,” comes from a place of privilege. You also have to be able to acknowledge when they make effort, even if it isn’t in the way you want. (Like texting versus calling, interacting with your posts, sending letters versus doing nothing, supporting you). No one has to have patience with you and they’re allowed to want more. Still, people who truly care and have the space for inconsistency, will.

Use Your Sick and Vacation Hours

Your position will be up for replacement when you leave, even if you aren’t replaceable. Your managers might care about you, if you have that type of relationship, but they will create a paper trail and fire you without notice. Your job will rely on you to pick up the slack and do more work without raising your pay. They’ll knowingly or unknowingly take advantage of you. And in my case, they’ll try to get you to stay, then tell your new prospect not to hire you.

I say all this to say, use your sick and vacation hours. Don’t work for free. Try not to go above and beyond- just do what’s required. If you can help, don’t work for less than you deserve.

Personalities Changes Over Time

I was listening to the “Feel in the Blank” podcast and they were doing their personality tests. They pointed out that our personalities change over time. I used to think we change overtime, but our personalities stay the same which doesn’t make sense. Our personalities adapt to our environment and change the more we discover who we are. The same is true for other people. I’ve gone through periods where I was more extroverted and times where I was less direct. How has your personality changed?

Vulnerability is Hard

I feel like I’m on open book, but I don’t open up unless someone else leads in turning the pages. Like if someone asks, I’ll answer, but I’m not vulnerable enough to start the conversations. Vulnerability is something I have always struggled with because it’s hard to open yourself up to disappointment. It’s something I am still working on.

Speak Up

In your relationships, it is important to speak up if something is bothering you- if the relationship is worth saving. At your work environment, it is important to speak up if something isn’t serving you. If nothing changes, you can’t say it isn’t for lack of trying.

Intentions Matter

Someone’s intentions do not always negate their actions, but intentions do matter. If you’re unsure about anything really, speak up and communicate how you perceived it. Making assumptions is in my top three pet peeves. The best way to avoid assumptions is clear communication.

In 2022, I had covid twice. I’ve had numerous flare ups from my autoimmune disease. Ive had health scares. I’ve sobbed. I’ve laughed. I’ve connected with great people. I’ve listened to new music and discovered my interest in podcasts. I started therapy. I got a new job that paid more and taught me something new. I experienced a new year of parenting. I wasn’t sure what to expect in 2022 but I am genuinely excited for what 2023 will bring.

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Food For Thought My Life Self Love and Personal Growth

Rest

Why is it hard to rest? Why is it hard for me to just sit still? I’ve been sick with covid for the past week and still feel some of its effects. Covid has exacerbated my auto immune disease by increasing the amount of inflammation in my body. Still, while feeling pain and weak and coughing up my lungs, I felt like I was doing something wrong by lying in bed. I didn’t allow myself to fully rest. I tricked myself into thinking I recovered, only to be drained by going into work prematurely. This led me to take today off to recover once again.

Is it the mom guilt? Is it my resistance to ask for help? I was quarantined to my room and I had to lean on my support system to take care of my daughter and me. I still do because I haven’t fully recovered from either sickness. Is it the need to feel productive? Society is quick to call people lazy before hearing their story. Plus, I’m in bed thinking of all the things I could be doing if I felt differently. Stuck worrying and anxious instead of embracing the time I get to myself which is rarity now that I am a mom.

It makes me think of what my life coach asked me in a different context. What would you tell your friend if they were in your situation? I would obviously tell them to rest. To give themselves some grace and allow their body to recover. So, why have I been treating myself, someone I love, differently? Why are we harder on ourselves? Why are our expectations higher? Why do we force ourselves to prove how strong and capable we are, when we could just not?

I could push through the fatigue and the pain and do the chores I’ve been putting off or do some work. However, in doing that I’m not allowing myself to rest and that prolongs the recovery process. On top of that, when we spend the time we could be resting worried about this, that, and the third, we aren’t truly resting because our mind is going. That takes energy. That is draining, especially if you’re running on caffeine and vibes. If you are in survival mode.

I, we, are deserving of rest without guilt. We are deserving of grace. Especially in this time amongst inflation, the rapid spread of diseases, and social and political unrest. Please note, that you don’t have to be feeling unwell or exhausted to be deserving of rest. By then, the rest is probably overdue.

I need to make a conscious effort to set aside time for myself to truly rest without worries and distractions. Do you?

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Food For Thought My Life Self Love and Personal Growth

Grieving the Past

It’s recently occurred to me that I’ve been unknowingly grieving my old life before the pandemic started and before becoming a mom. Not because I want to go back and change anything, but because life changed so abruptly and seriously in multiple ways. I never felt like I had time to stop and reflect on it. I had one positive test, and I couldn’t stop throwing up. One positive test, and every smell or step at work depleted me. One positive test, and I couldn’t eat anything. Then, add a pandemic on top of the whole pregnancy thing. And then, add moving back to your hometown and finishing your last class of college alongside being pregnant in a pandemic. Life came at me fast.

So when I left college, I didn’t treat my departure as an ending, as if I was never coming back. I never said goodbye to anyone. I never got to look back and close that chapter of my life. I didn’t even get to cross the stage in a cap and gown to signify the end of my college career. I assumed I would get to go back because I had to get the rest of my items. I assumed I would be able to say goodbye and introduce my baby to everyone who touched my life. I assumed covid would be over by the time I gave birth. I assumed I had time to fully, mentally close that chapter of my life.

Time has told, all of those assumptions were wrong. I still haven’t been able to make it back, despite plans to go. Suddenly, I put a pause in my career and eventually went in a new direction. Suddenly, I was no longer a student. Suddenly, the dynamics of all the friendships and relationships I made, changed. Let’s be real. It has been two years since the start of the pandemic and we have all changed since it began.

Grieving is weird. I’m sure you’ve heard, it’s a five step process. It can occur out of thin air and last for ages. It’s not linear, meaning we can jump back and forth between the different stages. Most of the times I have heard or seen it, it has been associated with the death of a loved one. But that’s not the only time we grieve. When anything ends- a relationship, a career path, a life path, an idea or plan we are passionate about- we grieve. We may not experience every step, or experience it very deeply, but it’s still a grieving process.

I am starting to understand that my grief has been presenting as anxiety. I’ve looked back at my college years, and worried I wasn’t present or fun enough, worried I wasn’t vulnerable or expressive enough. I worried I didn’t show my appreciation or cherish the moment enough. I’ve cringed at stupid and embarrassing situations I’ve put myself in or reacted to. I’ve missed the community that comes with college life. The freedom of not having a kid. The times I spent with friends and coworkers, even the ones where our relationships have ended. I’ve missed the moments I wish I could relive again and again so I never forget the feeling.

And being nostalgic about those memories makes me nostalgic and existential in general because life changes and moves so fast and you don’t even realize it until you’re in the future. Like my daughter has met people I have known for ten or more years. It’s a trippy experience to realize how much time goes by. My baby is almost two years old! It’s already been two years since I graduated college, since I left Vegas, since I was pregnant, and it has just recently began to feel like Vegas is my past. And that’s what makes grieving and nostalgia so weird, because in that grief state (especially in my case which was mixed with a little postpartum, post grad, pandemic depression), time flies by but it doesn’t seem like we are moving with it.

A loss isn’t always a loss- it can be a good thing. And that makes grieving weird. Because grieving brings about feelings of nostalgia. It makes you reminisce about the past, even if you’re happy with your present and excited about your future. I grieve the simplicity of life in college and before. I reflect on who I was. Still, I think everything happened for me the way it should’ve. I think I needed to leave Vegas, and I wouldn’t have done it without a push.

Eventually, we stop grieving. Eventually, we catch up. Recently I turned a new leaf. And it was once I accepted where I am now, that I realized I hadn’t accepted it until then. Vegas was my past and now that I am no longer grieving, I can live in the present. I’m not who I was before the baby, the pandemic, and graduating college and other people aren’t the same either. Changing, growing, getting older, grieving, and reminiscing is all a part of life.

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Food For Thought My Life Self Love and Personal Growth

Turning a New Leaf

I’ve spent the months since covid first started two years ago, the months since I was pregnant, the months since I became a new mom, the months since I’ve graduated college, the months of entering adulthood, really the months of entering the “real world” moving back and forth between a headspace full of anxiousness and depressing thoughts and feeling at peace and confident with myself.

There have been, and probably will truthfully continue to be, days when I want to keep to myself. Days I overthink too much about everything. Days I worry about the ways of the world and the future for my daughter. Days I worry about my future. Days when I’m irritable and easily over simulated. Days when I feel like I’m not enough. Days when I feel alone.

But right now, in these few weeks, in this moment, something’s changed. Recently, I turned a new leaf because I finally have a therapist/coach, after two plus years of leaving that on my to-do list, to help me work through my baggage and to heal for both me and my daughter. Recently, I turned a new leaf, because I left the job that made me feel misunderstood, anxious, overworked, and under-appreciated. Recently, I turned a new leaf because my confidence boosted and I started to feel beautiful and more like myself again.

With me, feelings come in waves. And though right now, things are looking up, I recognize that one day, hopefully in the distant future, I’ll probably start feeling down again. So right now, I’m basking in the sun and embracing the wave of contentment, confidence, and appreciation. Appreciation for the people in my life who have stuck around and reached out to me, even when I’m not the easiest to talk to. Appreciation for my new job where I work longer hours but feel stable, uplifted, supported, and valued. Appreciation for my little girl who constantly manages to surprise me. Appreciation for my family who always helps me when I need it. Appreciation for my life and the little things I experience day by day.

I say all of this to say that even if things are horrible or at least feel horrible right now, it doesn’t mean it will always be. And even though we may not be the same and our situations might not be the same, it couldn’t hurt to remember life happens in stages and chapters. What we feel and experience today, we may not in a year, a month, a week, a day, or an hour. Though there are many factors of our life that are uncontrollable and there’s nuances to everything, sometimes situations or even our thoughts and feelings about said situations have to change for it to feel and be different.

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End of The Year Food For Thought My Life Self Love and Personal Growth

2021 lessons

In 2021, I celebrated my 2020 wins. I really graduated from college. I really gave birth. I really moved states, back into my childhood home. I really started a new phase of my life.

I spent 2021 raising a newborn for the first time. In 2021, I recovered from childbirth and surgery. I can admit now that I went in and out of postpartum depression. I watched my baby grow and celebrated her first birthday. I started working again for the first time in a year, going back to a company I was working for for years. I then quit said company months later. Then, I started a new full time position elsewhere and was recently told that I am getting promoted. I was hesitant about getting vaccinated, then got vaccinated, then helped out with covid vaccination clinics. I recently got my booster shot. I saw movies in the theater for the first time in a year. I saw family and friends for the first time in (a) year(s).

2021, like every year, had its own ups and downs. I managed to meet some of the goals I set and that is worth celebrating. Every year, I have takeaways. In the last days and beginning of the year, I always reflect. These are the lessons I learned or relearned in 2021.

Be flexible

It’s beneficial to have a plan but some things happen out of the blue, regardless of prior planning. It’s just as important to be able to adjust to what life brings as it is to stick to your plans. Also, some deadlines or goals are unrealistic from the start. Sometimes we need more time. Sometimes a goal that was once achievable suddenly won’t be because of new information or life events. Release tight control on how you want things to go. Sometimes those unplanned moments can lead to something bigger and better.

Be realistic

You can do almost anything you set your mind to. Go after what you want. But also, figure out if what you want is realistic for your life. Make sure your desires are workable and not a fantasy. If they are out of reach, make adjustments to make it realistic if it is actually what you are willing to work for. Please note: it is easier to stick to a goal when you are specific, hold yourself accountable daily, and qualify it. In a way, this goes hand in hand with being flexible. It wasn’t until halfway through the year that I realized some of my goals weren’t realistic. Some of this was due to my recovery from surgery, or because of covid and my desire to be extra careful for my daughter, or because of work, or because I simply didn’t want it anymore. Coming to terms with the fact that not all of our goals are realistic is a part of life. It can actually encourage our growth and steer us in the direction of something that is actually attainable.

To do lists are helpful

Writing things down not only can remind you a task needs completing. For me, it seals the desire to do it. It’s a tangible list of what my plans are. Whether it is for a day, a week, a month, to do lists help me manage my time and encourage me to complete what I have in mind. Crossing of an item, no matter how simple, releases some serotonin.

The US is systematically flawed

If you know you know. If you don’t, I won’t be the person to convince you otherwise.

Parenting is a whirlwind

Parenting is different than I thought it would be-not in a bad way. I’ve talked about motherhood in different posts. My biggest takeaway so far is that there is no right way to parent. And as parents, no matter how much we research, we make it all up as we go along. Parenting is a different type of unconditional love. Parenting provides a new perspective for everything.

Forgiveness doesn’t have to lead to anything more

Forgiving a person for harming you is not even necessary or realistic all of the time. I believe you can heal and move on without forgiveness. Maybe one day I’ll feel differently. That being said, you can also forgive someone for what they’ve done to you, without rebuilding or reconnecting with them. People can apologize and you can accept it, but it doesn’t change what has happened. Trust doesn’t automatically restore forgiveness. You can forgive and still be done with them. I did.

All relationships take mutual effort

Relationships are give and take. And when a problem arises, it is not up to only one person to fix it, no matter who is at fault. The effort may not always be equal because our lives demand different things. However, both people should be trying to some extent.

Every relationship is different

I mention this in a separate post too. It touches on the fact that we can know the same people, but have a different view or relationship with them than the with another person, and that is okay. It also means someone being kind to you doesn’t mean they aren’t horrible to someone else.

Meet people where they are

People are who they are. Sometimes they change. Sometimes they don’t. We can’t rely on who we want them to be. We can’t rely on who we think they will be. They are who they are. If we want more out of them, it is up to us to confront them. If they don’t change, it is up to us to accept them and the relationship for what it is, or to move on. We can only control ourselves.

Balance is hard

Being a full time parent and a full time employee has taught me that balance is hard and time moves fast. It’s difficult to find the balance between commuting and working, spending time with my kid and my family, making time for friends, making time for myself and my hobbies, eating, exercising, cleaning, and relaxing. Balance is important. It is also hard. I hope to get a better handle on it in 2022.

Not everything is an excuse

Balancing is hard. Time moves quickly when there is a lot going on. Someone saying they don’t have time is not always an “excuse.” Just because you “have time” or “make the time” doesn’t mean someone else has to as well. I’ve always hated the word excuse anyways, because the word excuse is subjective in nature. A reason to me can be an excuse to you and vice versa. The difference between a reason and an excuse, in a broad sense, is someone validating whether it is a good or bad reason. When it solely involves ourselves, we are the only ones who can truly decide, if our justification is a reason or an excuse.

Overworking (grinding) is not always good

Please rest. Please plan to take a break and to sleep and reset if you can. It’s important. There are health benefits.

People project a lot

I’m pretty sure I mentioned this in last year’s end of the year post too, but people project more than I thought. A singular sentence can be thrown out there and people will come up with different conclusions because they are projecting their life experience on it. Please note: some of those experiences are rooted in objective truths- because of things like racism and misogyny and how that impacts every system put into place. Sometimes though, their projection has no merit in the reality because everyone lives different lives. I don’t have to put up with something just because you do and vice versa. You don’t have to approve of some else’s life choices for them to live the life they do. Not referring to politics or laws, not everyone will feel the same way about topics that you do, and it is unfair to project your values and thoughts on to them.

Mindset affects reality

I kind of hate this saying, but it’s true. Your thoughts can shape your reality. Life is hard and it can be hard to control your thoughts. Intrusive thoughts exist. However being negative all the time, even if the situation is negative, will make things worse. This isn’t to say you should always see the brighter side of things either. But again, balance and moderation is important.

Be intentional with your time

Even if what you’re trying to do is waste time, that is still intentional. Life speeds by and you never know what’s going to happen and when. It was a 2021 goal of mine and it led to me being more present.

There is nuance to everything

Most subjects are multidimensional. There are layers to things and in order to have a full understanding, you have to acknowledge and understand each layer. The easiest way for me to explain this would be to compare it to intersectionality. As women, life is different than men’s. But as a black woman, it’s really different than a man’s experience. Different factors influence people’s choices and realities. That’s why some situations may not always be as it is seen on the surface.

2022 is here!

2021 went by so fast; it didn’t even feel like holiday season. 2022 has started and it has already been interesting to say the least. Here’s to hoping that this year will be an improvement from the last. Here’s to the future!