This has been a year where I sat back, observed and did things for me. I usually spend my years thinking of others, being with others, and doing for others, but this year, I took time with just me in mind. In my observations, I've learned a few things:
Positivity Is Not the Only Key
A year or so ago, the trend seemed to be "positivity". Everything was "positive vibes" this and "stay positive" that, and I hate(d) it!
I literally watched people put on airs all over social media about how positivism will get them through all types of preposterous things. Earthquakes, 'Oh stay positive, it'll never happen again.' Death in the family, 'Well you know, you guys should have just been more positive.' Wanting a promotion, 'Oh, I'll just stay positive and it will come.'
I have learned that "positivity" is just another thing that people use as an excuse or a crutch. Anything to keep from actually having to work hard, right? But hard work is what gets you across that finish line and then to the stars.
Positivity is just another minuscule thing that helps you towards the finish line, but it alone could never get you to the heights that you could reach with hard work.
Not All Rings Are Worth the Wringer
Throughout college and post-graduate life, I watched friends and family members rush to marry who they thought was the 'love of their lives'. I've even watched old friends marry people who they know aren't the loves of their lives. And so begins the trend of marrying just to marry.
The sad part about this is that one person will always end up hurt, devaluing themselves, and putting up with a ton of things that will only leave them bitter in the end (because it will end). When marriage happens just because you both can afford rings and are both off on Monday when the courthouse will be open, you should know that it will not last. In these instances, there may be pain, infidelity, and more pain, but you have to also know that you are worthy of more than what he/she has decided to put you through. If you take the time to know yourself and love yourself, then you will know when you are truly able to know and love someone else.
Putting yourself first is lonely, but it is necessary. We’ve said in posts prior to this one, take the time to be alone, and appreciate and learn You before you try to become “One” with someone else. Without the proper foundation, you are not able to compromise, to emphasize, and to love selflessly the way you should in a marriage and neither is your partner.
Rushing into marriage just for the title will lead to pain. Take time out for You before attempting to give yourself to someone else.
There's No Way That One Is The Loneliest Number
Again, do not be afraid to be alone. There are plenty of movie scenes and television shows that depict the model "popular girl/guy" surrounded by a group of people only to learn how lonely and misplaced she/he feels inside. Being surrounded by people does not make you feel any less lonely especially if those people are not truly your friends, or if they do not truly support you.
I have embraced being alone because it has helped me weed out the majority of the bad and fake friends in my life. I am now left with about four people that I can actually count on, and I would not change that at all.
It's not always the numbers that matter. Get to the meat and potatoes of the person and decide whether or not they are aligned with who you are before calling them 'Friend'. Let's all strive to not be the lonely person amongst a group of people.
Nothing Is More Toxic Than Remaining Close To The 'Victim'
This one is fairly self-explanatory. I am sure that many of us have encountered at least one person in our lives thus far who lives in a state of "Woe is Me". This person wants to be the victim in every possible situation and it is, in my opinion, sad. However, we have to also take a look at what brought us to be in this type of person's line of communication to determine what we are doing wrong.
If we are, essentially, a reflection of who we surround ourselves with, then how did I end up with a Chronic Victim as a friend? That is certainly not my title nor is it my role, but I did find that I enabled this person to play the victim around me by either coddling this person or giving the dry nod and "mmhmm" that I do all too well. These types of friendships and relationships are toxic for both you (for enabling), and the Chronic Victim (because you are neither helping them nor changing them).
If you are not going to help this person out of the Chronic Victim role and into a better role then you are hurting them and yourself. The choice is to either help them reflect on why they choose this role, or leave them be completely, but do not remain in this toxic space because it will surely bring you down as well.
You Cannot Learn & Grow With Your Mouth Open
My parents always say, "I cannot tell you anything because you always think you have an answer". This may be a typical Black parent thing, or it may just be a typical parenting-past-the-teens thing, but either way, I hear it all too much and it leads me to my final lesson from 2017.
Now that I have seen this first hand, I can fully agree with my parents when they talk about how annoying it is to not be able to talk to a "Know It All". This type of person only listens enough to pick out their favorite word from your sentence so that they can then turn around and tell you their opinion and then everything that they know about that word! It's annoying, to say the least. But, most of all, it keeps that person from learning.
As someone who is constantly on a mission to grow, change, and inspire this is an important lesson for me to keep in mind daily. It is difficult, in many instances, to actively listen because a lot of the times people's opinions cloud the actual facts. But, still in all, it is more necessary to listen than to talk.
A closed mouth may not get "fed", but it does allow for an opened ear.
In closing, 2017 may not have been the most memorable year for me, but it was full of lessons. All it takes is a little time to reflect on them, a little application and a lot of hard work to ensure that, next year I am learning bigger and better lessons, and not these same ones all over again.
Thank you all for reading our first three-part series. Thank you for adding to the reason that we continue to create content, and thank you for providing a listening ear and a hand of support.