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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.

Categories
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!

Categories
Food For Thought My Life Self Love and Personal Growth

The Dream I Had

I had a dream a month or so ago that woke me up feeling some type of way I cannot really explain. I wholeheartedly believe dreams that are remembered can tell you a lot. They pull from your subconscious. They can spark your creativity and imagination, remind you of something you have forgotten or have been meaning to do, teach you lessons, and even tell you how you feel. In this dream, there was a bunch of things happening, but the part I am going in to detail about is the part I remember the most that resonates the most with me.

I suppose I was a teacher in the dream. I had a whole group of people with me, all in their twenties-around the same age as me. I don’t know what kind of class it was. It seemed like the mission was to complete an escape room like experiment. A lot of us had finished it on our own already. There was one person who hadn’t experienced the escape room yet.

One of the stages required the participant(s) to knock out this monster guarding the next round. The way to achieve this was to pull the ropes so that the monster would be enticed to go near the dangling slab of concrete attached to the rope, which you’d end up releasing on its head. The person who didn’t complete the escape room beforehand, lets just call her “Student,” performed this step with the help of everyone else. As the teacher I allowed it, though I was getting a little annoyed because she was meant to do it herself.

We moved through that round of the escape room and got to a huge room with two sections. As you walk in you would see a desk with with papers on it, with a drawer and a lock. To the right of that was a huge window that opens out with another desk underneath it. Shelves covered in books, vases, and plants decorated the walls. An archway to the left led to treasure chests with key holes on top of chairs. Bookcases were on the walls behind that.

The group that was there started explaining to Student how to get the keys to open the locked drawers and chests without her exploring the room and finding them for herself. I was getting more and more agitated. At one point I told them all to stop feeding her information. She found a key with their help and searched for which keyhole it opened by herself. She went to the first keyhole she saw and attempted to open it. It needed a code. She couldn’t figure out the code, so the drawer wasn’t opening.

Everyone knew the key wasn’t meant for the desk drawer. The key opened the treasure chest in the archway. A group of people moved there because they were getting restless. It seemed like a lot of time was passing. I was worried that she would assume the key opened a treasure chest in that room simply because everyone gravitated there. Then, someone opened up the treasure chest and pulled out a plant, which was what Student was meant to find. I yelled at that person for sabotaging this whole experiment which was meant for Student to learn. Turns out that person took the plant that was inside to mess with, who I assume, is the other person who facilitated the experiment. Their actions had nothing to do with helping or harming Student although it would affect her.

I went outside to recover the plant that was taken and when I got back inside, Student was crying hysterically. The drawer just wouldn’t open and she was frustrated. Someone else was crying watching her. I approached Student and consoled her, holding the plant behind my back. Someone took it from me as I told her, “Hey, obviously this isn’t working. This key isn’t for that drawer. You know that. Why do you keep trying? Find the right keyhole.”

She ended up going to the room everyone gravitated to. She picked the right treasure chest and opened it. Although the plant she was meant to find wasn’t in there, it would’ve been. One of the members of the group revealed it to her. Student seemed satisfied and asked, “See. Wouldn’t it have been easier to just tell me how to do it?”

“No,” I answered, “Because this was meant to teach you how to think critically and problem solve. I would’ve let you keep going but we’re running out of time. Now it’s time to open the desk drawer.” The code to the drawer was outside, on the ground, which could be discovered by looking out of the window. I was worried she wouldn’t find it.

Then I woke up.

I took away a couple explanations and lessons from this dream. A part of me felt like I was talking to my daughter just because I am pregnant with a girl and mothers tend to teach lessons to their children.

However, I also took away how Student was trying the same thing over and over again. It wasn’t working, she knew it wasn’t working, but she kept trying. And though getting up after you get kicked down is admirable, it is equally as important to recognize when your approach is wrong. Trying the same thing over and over again, expecting a different result, is insanity. It’s important to be flexible and to learn when to keep going, walk away, or approach the situation differently.

I was upset in the dream because I wanted Student to figure out things for herself. When you are always given all the answers, you become dependent on others. It can make it hard to know where to start when you are met with a problem. It can, in some ways, hinder your growth. Problem solving and critical thinking are skills. Skills need to be developed and sharpened. This doesn’t mean not to ask for help or rely on others. It’s just a reminder to trust yourself and your instincts as well.

People providing Student with answers also bothered me because it did not allow her to look for clues. Escape rooms somewhat require you to solve a puzzle by looking at all the details to make sure you don’t miss anything. Student wasn’t turning every stone. She looked at the directions she was pointed to instead of the bigger picture. She also wasn’t looking at the details. You can learn a lot by stepping back to see the whole picture and by zooming in to look closely at the details.

It can be hard or disheartening to watch, but sometimes you have to watch people figure it out on their own. You can give your opinions and advice, but ultimately it is their life. You can tell your kids not to touch the hot stove, but they will not understand how hot it is until they touch it. Similarly, sometimes you have to learn the lessons for yourself. I mean, how many times has someone given you advice that you did not listen to? How many times were those people right? It is different to hear it than experience it.

Lastly, upon editing this post, I was reminded that life happens. People, events, and situations may interfere with your life and unknowingly (or knowingly) affect your life. The person who stole the plant was not thinking about Student when they did so, but the chest was still empty when Student unlocked it. Intentions matter, but they do not always warrant forgiveness.

Maybe I think too much, but those were the lessons I took from that dream I had. It was so random but the fact I remembered meant something to me. It felt like a metaphor when I woke up. I had to share what I learned and was reminded of.