The turn of the New Year is always such an exciting time. I always look forward to starting fresh and putting my best foot forward into the possibilities that lie in the days ahead. While looking into the future can be sparkly and exciting, I also like looking back at the past year and reflecting on what I have learned. It reminds me of how far I have come!
The girl I was 365 day ago is very different than the girl I see in the mirror now. I have learned more about myself this past year then I have in the past five! Life has a really funny way of challenging us in areas of our life that need the most work. It reminds me of Pema Chodron’s quote “Nothing ever goes away until it teaches us what we need to know.”
Below are some “truths” I have found in the past year that have lead me to a better life. I plan to carry these with me into the New Year while (hopefully) simultaneously learning more in 2017!
- You can’t save anybody until you save yourself first.
This goes back to the cheesy thing flight attendants always say before takeoff, something like “if the plane goes down please put the oxygen mask on yourself before assisting others.” So many people want to be the very best friend, parent, spouse, co-worker, etc. It may seem incredibly selfish to hear that putting your own self care needs before the needs of others is important, but you can’t do anybody any good if you are the run down, exhausted, and overwhelmed version of yourself.
Evaluate your own needs and take the time to rejuvenate your mind, body, and soul, in whatever way that you are in need of.
Get enough sleep. Take a relaxing bath. Go for a walk. Sip wine on your back porch- this one is my favorite! Do whatever it is that you need to take care of you! When you put your needs first you can be the brightest, sparkliest version of yourself for others who need you.
- Not everybody is crazy about you, and that’s okay.
If there was a central theme of 2016 it would be accepting the fact that people pleasing was simply not working for me anymore. I have been a people-pleaser ever since I can remember, hello second grade, where I opted to skip recess to sharpen pencils for Ms. Daley. I don’t even think she needed (or wanted) her pencils sharpened… Point is, all I ever wanted was for people to like me and not ever be upset or angry with me. I would bend over backwards for people who weren’t even nice to me. I would cry, thinking “I’m trying so hard to make this person like me and they still don’t. What will it take to make this person happy with me?” As Oprah likes to say, I had an “a-ha moment” and thought “Am I really willing to do anything to make this person happy, even if that thing doesn’t align with who I am?”
After that realization it became pretty clear that people-pleasing was something I wanted to make a part of my past! I still work daily to make this a reality, but good things happen to those who wait and work hard ;).
- Business is Business and your Personal life is Personal.
This one can be tricky and I know that all company cultures are different, but I have truly learned that when I keep my professional life and my personal life separate, I feel much happier in the work space.
This certainly doesn’t mean you can’t be friends with your coworkers but remember, work comes first! Create some healthy professional habits such as avoiding the latest water cooler gossip, and please, less oversharing of your personal life! Creating boundaries in the work space allows for a happier safe work environment for everybody involved. It will make focusing on the task at hand much easier.
Keep your head down and work hard, be kind, be fair, and don’t let your emotions get the best of you when you don’t get your way (i.e. sulking, yelling, underhanded insults, or other tantrum related behaviors).
Also, it’s not the worst idea in the world to not be Snapchat friends with coworkers, just saying!
- The harder I work the luckier I get.
I’m a self-proclaimed self-help junkie! And yes, I know all about the term “psychobabble.” I was a psyche major in college after all! But recently I was listening to a motivational speech by Tony Robbins where he spoke about the importance of taking “massive action” in order to fulfill your dreams vs. passively wishing for optimum results.
“I don’t believe you should go to your garden and chant, ‘There’s no weeds, there’s no weeds, there’s no weeds,’ and think that that’s going to solve something. I’m a believer in find the weed and rip it out. I do believe in the power of positive thinking, but I also believe that those positive thoughts need to be followed up with action and hard work!” – Tony Robbins
I used to look up to women who seemed to just have it all and wonder, ‘wow, I wish I could be as lucky as she is.’ Then ta-da! Another “aha moment” came to me- successful women are not lucky… they work really freaking hard! Do you want rock hard abs like Candice Swanepoel? Then stop fantasizing on the couch and get your butt into the gym! Want that promotion at work? Then burn the candle from both ends and spend a late night or five in the office. When you crave results, put your nose to the grindstone and watch the beauty that unfolds.
- You create your calm within your own heart.
Chaotic is a great word to describe my 2016. Between planning a wedding and getting married, balancing a full time job, and other stressors that life sometimes loves to throw your way there have been times where I have felt like crawling back into bed and avoiding all of it!
This past year I have tried to keep positive in all situations, (I struggle with this daily, trust me this does not come naturally- calm is a super power after all) even ones where I have felt complete hopelessness. When negativity comes flying your way, try your best not to internalize it and keep on shining bright just like the diamond you are, praises to Rihanna. Don’t take other people’s negative energy to heart and try to find your calm from within.
- Take responsibility for your own personal happiness.
Nobody else is responsible for my own personal happiness except for me. This can be a difficult mindset to own, especially if we have been let down or hurt by others in the past. It sometimes feels good to point the blame at somebody else, but owing the fact that our own personal happiness lies in our own hands and is our own to solve can be extremely liberating.
I love my husband with all my heart, but to rely on him to make me happy would be unfair to the both of us. Find a true love within for yourself and watch the relationships around you grow even deeper.
Take action in the areas of your life that aren’t bringing you joy. Cut the cord and end that bad relationship that leaves you feeling worthless. See a therapist to work on the pains left over from the past that leave your mind reeling. This all, of course, is easier said than done, but when you make the commitment to get down to business and truly begin to recognize yourself as an individual deserving of love and tremendous joy, you will find that all of the hard work is worth it!
Some people wait for happiness to happen to them, but what they don’t realize is that happiness is a choice.
“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world.” – Lucille Ball