Good Riddance; Letting Go and Moving Forward

With each year, as we approach the closing of the year, we begin to reflect on life reminiscing about the past years adventure, contemplating the things that we had hoped to experience, or move away from.  Every year is the same story – we have 365 days to try to get it right.  Some of us go full force with guns blazing, and others of us get sidetracked, or simply give up.  Unsuccessful, you learn to accept that some challenges were not met head on, and prioritize them into your current set of goals in the new year to come.

Every year I have the intention to work on “me” – convincing myself to let go of things that hurt or caused me to feel in a negative manner, and figure out better, more cathartic methods, of trying to overcome obstacles in my life.

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The past few years have been devoted to learning how to balance family, friends, and my career.  It has not been easy.  Each day I work through how to put 150% effort into each of these really important things in my life … there never seems to be a cut and dry answer, and sadly when I do have days when I feel like life is feeling balanced, and my efforts are evenly distributed amongst my family, friends, and career, I find that the one thing I do forget about is myself.

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My goals for the past year included finding a job that I dreamed of – being in an environment that I not only loved, but felt comfortable, challenged, and motivated.  I wanted a job I was passionate about, and not just a job that I would “settle” at.  

My family goals were to be a better mother, and wife – which, I am still not sure exactly what that means.  Does that mean I smile more so than not? or am I just never grumpy, or bitchy towards my husband? 

My friends goal was to weed out the manipulative, negative, and hurtful persons, and get closer to the ones that I felt had a more authentic, genuine, and loyal persona.  The biggest challenge over the past two years  was being disappointed in people’s expectations of me, and individuals lack of loyalty and respect towards the friendships that I shared with them.  I am sensitivite to things that are said to me, or behind my back.  I am an emotional being, as most of us are, and have let things take effect on me far more than they ever had the right to be in my world.  Slowly I am learning that i’ve kept far too many negative people in my life for much longer than they should have ever been there for.  It wasn’t “them” that was doing something to me, it was “me” allowing these individuals the “right” to be in my world.  Unlearning the rule of “be nice to everyone” was difficult because I felt that it was going against all of what I knew to be “right” – what God taught, what elders preached.

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Did I get it right last year?  when I sit here and write out my view on where I started, and ended in 2015 I feel like there was a progression.  But do I feel 100% satisfied?  No.  I think that goals are great, and working on creating a better, positive, and more fulfilling life, in general, is a healthy thing to desire.  There is nothing wrong with wanting the best for yourself.  It is not selfish when you want the best version of your life – creating this will make you a better person in return.  There is always room for improvement, and that is one of the beautiful things about this life – we have the right to create our own choices – our own path, and our own destination.

Each year we have the chance to start over again, to move forward from the hurt, the lessons, the challenges, and try to do it right. Celebrate the accomplishments you made this year, and reevaluate where you would want to be a year from now.  Hold yourself accountable for what you want in your life, and make it happen.  In a few days you will be able to close the door on this chapter, and move forward into the next.  What you choose to bring with you is up to you – take life lightly, love with all of your will, and remember to make yourself a priority in 2016 xo

2016 New Year celebration display with the date outlined with fiery sparklers in green and blue on a black background

 

 

 

 

 

Faking The Funk: Authenticity At It’s Finest

Real.  What does that word mean to you?  I think tangible things are “real”, and I believe emotions I feel are “real” but what about friendships – are they real?  Are they authentic?

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It occurred to me one day that there are a lot of “non-authentic” people in this world.  I guess in other words one would describe them as “fake”, or “two-faced”.  WHY?  How can people not be real .  What causes a person to hide who they are, or not say what they mean, or even lie to your face saying one thing to you, and speaking a whole other version to someone else?.

We’ve all told white lies, or sugar-coated situations, but i’m talking about the individuals that are one way to your face and a completely different person behind your back.  Where you even question their loyalty to you as a friend, family member, or acquaintance.

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Keep toxic people in your life at arms length.  Do not give them the satisfaction, or power, to manipulate you.  Here a are a few ways that may guide you to determine if the friendship, relationships, etc… may be harmful to you in the long run – always keep in mind these “red flags”, and trust your gut instinct – most of the time you will have the right reasons to be hesitant … over time you will come to understand this, and learn that there is always a reason for the way that you feel.  Be responsible and love yourself enough to know that there are a billion, and one people on this earth – why waste your time on a person, or people that do not appreciate you, love you, respect you, and care for you the same way that you do for them?  Don’t fake the funk!  Be Authentic!

A person’s belief system is often a direct reflection of who they spend their time with. To ensure a positive social environment built for your success, make sure the people you trust the most aren’t guilty of these ten things true friends don’t do.

1. They don’t gossip behind your back.

True friends distance themselves from unnecessary drama. If a close one spreads rumors or shares secrets that you asked to be kept private, then they aren’t a true friend worthy of your trust.

2. They don’t resort to personal attacks.

True friends aren’t in the business of making you feel bad about yourself. They communicate with words of kindness, not cruelty. They focus on your similarities, not your differences. They speak of your qualities, not your shortcomings.

3. They don’t start pointless arguments.

True friends know that there is nothing less productive than starting an argument you can’t win. “Reading that status update sure made me rethink my entire existence,” said nobody, anywhere, ever. A true friend should be willing to accept a person as they are, whether they agree or not. This isn’t to say you can’t have friends you disagree with (in fact, I highly recommend it as it puts things in perspective). But if you’re going to argue, do so respectfully.

4. They don’t interrupt your every word.

True friends aren’t so obsessed with themselves that they aren’t interested in how you feel. A fair and balanced friendship can’t exist in a situation where one half does all of the talking and none of the listening.

5. They don’t discourage you from pursuing your goals.

True friends are willing to offer feedback without mincing words if they feel it is necessary for your personal development, but they don’t do so in a condescending or hateful fashion. Instead, they offer constructive, helpful advice that inspires you to become a better version of yourself.

6. They don’t look down on you for your past.

True friends aren’t concerned with your past, no matter how colorful it might be. If you’re courageous enough to reveal a few skeletons living in your closet, a true friend shouldn’t think any less of you; instead, they should offer you comfort and support, expressing an appreciation for your willingness to open up.

7. They don’t abandon you in social situations.

True friends are emotionally intelligent enough to know that bringing a friend to a party where they don’t know anyone, and then proceeding to throw them to the fishes, is a very inconsiderate thing to do (especially if said friend happens to be an introvert). 

8. They don’t get jealous of your success.

True friends don’t waste their time in a pit of jealousy when something good happens to another person. They know it is much more productive to be happy for other people’s success (and maybe even take some notes about how they did it), than it is to be pout and play the “Why didn’t they pick me?” game. Less complaining, more hustling.

9. They don’t judge you or try to “fix” you.

True friends know it’s silly to try to “fix” a person while their own inner-houses are in disorder. As Jesus Christ said, “Let him who is without sin cast the first stone.” Recall that Jesus spent most of the Gospels hanging out with the very sinners people love to judge today instead of the moralizing Pharisees, who were so blinded by judgment that they couldn’t take an honest look at themselves and their own faults. True friends can admit that they themselves are far from perfect, so it’s a bit absurd to expect anything more from another person. You might not be perfect, but you are good enough, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

10. They don’t take your friendship for granted.

True friends don’t see a relationship as a short-term fling that can be tossed aside when it becomes inconvenient, but rather a long-term commitment of high importance. A friend worth having isn’t only interested in doing fun stuff like drinking Tequila shots, playing miniature golf, watching goofy videos on the Internet, riding roller coasters, lounging on the beach or dancing at the club; they are also willing to help you through difficult times by doing things like supporting you after a death in the family, and encouraging you to put yourself back together after a brutal break-up or unexpected job loss. Will Smith captured this top trait of true friends when he said,

“If you’re absent during my struggle, don’t expect to be present during my success.”

Self Love; Making Yourself the Priority

I cannot tell you how many times I have let peoples opinions of me dictate my mood, my beliefs, my values and the way I see the outside world.  Constantly torn between standing up for my beliefs and opinions or keeping my mouth shut out of the goodness of my heart as to not hurt anyone else.

~ While I lacked the willpower to express my own ideas, I found myself in a state of annoyance and frustration from allowing others to indirectly control my life. Feeling helpless and unaware of who I really was took a toll on my mental well-being ~

As I reflect back on my relationships over the years I found myself feeling saddened by the continued lack of respect I had towards myself – allowing individuals to hurt me with their words, and actions.  Why couldn’t I stand up for myself?  I had a voice, and I should have used it – what was I so scared of?

I admired so deeply the friendships I had with strong and confident individuals – people that would stand up for themselves, and speak their opinions.  I craved acceptance of others, yet looking back I realize it was at my expense.  I lacked the willpower to be me.  I was not being authentic to myself and repressed the ability to be honest with myself and express my needs.

Over the years I have now realized that my opinion matters and the thoughts I have do have a right to be heard.  When I kept things inside I began to feel resentment, second guessing myself and beating myself up as I played out the different scenarios – the should haves and could haves – it would literally eat me alive!

When I think about the people who have hurt me over the years, by things that have been said, I know that there is aspect of truth to their words.  In order to express your words one must believe in what they are saying – it’s just from a different point of view.  How we receive other’s beliefs is in fact a reflection of us, and how we perceive ourselves.

I am sensitive by nature, and with all of the repressing, and suppressing of my needs that I did in the past you can only imagine how much chaos was whirling around in my mind – so when situations arose that would hurt me I was not well equipped to handle them in a mature, and understanding nature.  I would immediately feel defensive, and hurt.  I felt criticized, and unappreciated.

Over time I have begun to see that there are indeed the real, and the not so real friends.  The way that someone tells you their version of the truth can usually identify their intensions and can give you a red flag as to their mindset, and intensions towards you as a human being.  Don’t let empathy blind you, or confuse you.  Always make your feelings the priority.

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