Every January, I, along with many others, pledge: “this is my year”. I did it in 2012, I did it in 2013, and I’m doing it again in 2014.
What set 2013 apart from every other year of my life is how much I’ve learned. Its like I took the ultimate crash course on life throughout the last 12 months and its set me up to have a productive, successful 2014. So here are some of the most important lessons I’ve learned this year.
1) The Law of Attraction – I learned about the LOA early on in 2013 and its changed my life. The basis is simple: what you put out into the universe is what you get. Its not necessarily karma, but its as if you, your soul, or your energy (whichever you believe in) is a magnet. If you put positivity out there, you’ll always get positivity back. If you put negativity out there, you’ll always get negativity back. Its easier said than done; if I wake up and find that I have a flat tire, its easier to be pissed off about it the rest of the day, in which case more “bad” things are likely to happen, but if I just change the tire, get to work late and move on with my day, the better the day will get. I’ve started a LOA journal; I don’t write it it every day, or even every month, but when the mood strikes, I write and it helps to visualize my goals and what I want out of life that I know I can have if I just stay positive and keep believing that I deserve and can have anything/everything I want.
2) Gratitude – this does tie in with the LOA, part of the whole positivity thing, but I never realized how helpful and important it was until recently. If you think using your head and your heart, “thank you”, or “I’m thankful for…”, I can’t explain it, but you just start to feel better! You can be grateful for the tiniest things: birds chirping, green lights, open doors, or for the largest things: the love of your life, your family, your job. Anything and everything is something to be grateful for. I also have a gratitude journal, but if I’m driving and think of something I’m thankful for, its kinda hard to write it down right then, so I find that while writing things down is very effective, if I put genuine feeling behind my thoughts of gratitude, I feel that works just as well.
3) Presence – One of my biggest faults and biggest struggles has been: “When xxxxx happens, I’ll he happy.” I mean, this has been since the dawn of time: “When I get to high school, things will be better.”, “When I get to college, I’ll be happy.”, “When I get a real job, things will be better.” ”When I move out of my house, everything will be better.” Not only is it EXHAUSTING, but its NOT TRUE!! Stopping and smelling the roses, again, easier said than done. I’ve been a control freak all of my life, a habit that I picked up from my mother, and I’ve always made these plans for far, far in the future. And its great to have goals, but these were not goals, they were set-in-stone plans that I not only wanted to control the outcome of, but the process of. Its not at all enjoyable to live that way. Again, this has been a more recent development, but to focus on one thing at a time rather than the one thing that’s going on now and the 10 things that may or may not occur afterward, is so much more enjoyable, rewarding, and less stressful.
4) Self-Love – I’ve always thought of myself as an awesome person, often saying when I was younger that I would date myself. I still feel that way, until I look in the mirror. I’ve bullied myself my whole life for my appearance and I haven’t been able to better my physical self because that push for change has never come from a place of love, but from a place of disappointment and self-hatred. Getting in shape is a great thing; its not something that should be done because you hate yourself, it should be done because you LOVE yourself; its a form of self-care and thin, small, big, heavy, built, wiry, there’s always room to improve and make yourself the best version of yourself. There’s no shame in that. I believe any self-improvement journey (spiritual, mental, or physical) is possible if you love that part of yourself and nurture it. Bullying yourself is counterproductive and I’m not going to do it to myself anymore.
5) Be Open – About two months ago, I was in a place where I felt stuck. I felt like I was standing at the center of a fork in the road, stagnant because I couldn’t decide if I should go right or left, so I sat down in the middle of the road. I didn’t know where to turn; I considered a life coach but they seemed too expensive, so I remembered my friend’s cousin saying that she had a psychic reading and it helped her through a similar situation. Its not that I didn’t believe in psychics, but I was always afraid of finding out something I didn’t want to know. So another friend of mine referred me to someone who practices Santeria and he game me a reading. This reading not only made me feel GREAT, but it opened my eyes, heart, and mind to the next steps I should take. I don’t know what I would have done had I not opened myself up to the unknown and put my faith into something I’d never even heard of before. When you open yourself up, you find answers in some of the most unexpected places.
6) Say No – I’ve always been a yes person. I think a lot of people are, to a fault. One thing my reading told me was that I say yes to doing someone a favor, and then complain about it because I don’t really want to do it, but I feel bad saying no. Well, this is going to be the year of “no”. I’ve already begun to put it into practice and it feels good, and then it makes all the times that you do say yes, even better because you’re genuine about it.
7) Stop Cursing Myself – another thing my reading said was to stop cursing myself. I’m hard on myself: if I make a mistake or screw something up, I get mad at myself and beat myself up about it. I’ve begun to be more aware of the negative thoughts I have of myself in those kind of situations and made an effort to say to myself: “its okay, its not a big deal” or “you’ll get it right next time. its okay”. Its a big help to be kinder to myself.
I think I could continue on for a while, but those are the most important things I’ve learned in the last 12 months. Not to discredit the things I’ve learned in past years, like overcoming mental illness and things like that, but there is a difference between learning to overcome and learning to grow. To overcome something makes you stronger, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity and the fortune to learn to overcome something that seemed like an impossibly high mountain to climb, because it made me an incredibly strong and resilient human being. But when you learn lessons that help you grow, equally important as the former, you set yourself up for evolution. 2013 was my year to learn, and 2014 is my year to evolve. Bring it on