my 20/20 experience
This year has definitely given me clearer vision and to be truly transparent, sometimes I'm at a loss for words when thinking about all of the challenges I have faced this year. Not too long ago, I was having one of those sad and woe is me kind of quarantine days and while scrolling through Instagram I came across the most insightful post.
Plot twist: 2020 has actually been the best year of your life. You've faced challenge after challenge, you've adapted, and you've overcome. 2020 has forced you to grow exponentially. Don't take that for granted!
God was so incredible to give me this message in a time of need. When I saw this it made me reflect and realize that 2020 has been the year of growth. I've learned a lot but the most important lesson I've learned this year, is to always value myself and walk away from situations that no longer serve me. These past two years God has put me in situations that have forced me to choose me. In the moment, I despised it but looking back now, I know that it was detrimental for my growth.
This year I put my green thumb to the test and I am still learning ways to keep my plants healthy, however, one thing I have enjoyed about this new habit is getting the chance to witness growth. I get a jolt of excitement just at the sight of new life! I mean, I helped make that happen, I put in the time and effort. I researched ways to make the plant stronger and healthier and once that new leaf comes in it brings me pure joy! It proves that the time it took was necessary and all of that effort wasn't a waste. That's how 2020 truly has been, for me. This year I established roots, built a stronger foundation, and developed healthier habits that I am certain will aid me to break generational curses.
Doing it Afraid
For years I have let fear dictate my decisions. I would talk myself out of doing things because the thought of failing crippled me. However, after all the hardships I have faced this year, I finally decided to take the leap of faith even if it meant doing it afraid.
I moved out to Los Angeles in 2015 and after years of trying to get into the entertainment industry, God finally granted me the opportunity I had been begging for. I secured a job working with an entertainment company that allowed me to develop numerous skills. However, after the pandemic hit, I had begun to realize it wasn't everything that I had hoped for. I was overworked and underpaid! I was vocal about the importance of creating structure and how we needed to take on projects that were realistic for our team. We were a small but mighty team, however, we didn't have the bandwidth to take on every opportunity and ultimately, my suggestions fell on deaf ears.
After my roommate had moved out of our two bedroom apartment, I was forced to take a hard look at my finances. Giving the current climate of all that was happening within the industry, I had proposed a plan to my boss that would be beneficial to both parties. I suggested that reducing my hours would give me the opportunity to find ways to supplement my income. Needless to say, the conversation didn't quite go as planned, but I ultimately was granted the reduction in hours. However, after a conversation with my colleague I learned something that really left me shattered.
I was extremely disheartened to find out that he was being compensated more.
We did the same job, worked the same hours, but I ultimately had to cut back my hours with the company so I could supplement my income and he didn't have to. I had enough and I came to realize that the job was no longer serving me, so I quit. I know, during a pandemic. Although, I am extremely grateful for the opportunity and learned so much, the bottom line was I wasn't being treated equally and that's a form of disrespect. I won't/don't allow anyone to disrespect me.
After many discussions with my mother about how unhappy I was she suggested that I quit and once you get that go 'head from yo mama, you good! When the thought first entered my mind I immediately tried to dismiss it, but the more I dwelled on it and realized how many times God has gotten me through the most insane situations, I thought, 'why would this be any different?' This was my time to show God that I trust him fully and if he promised me that he would take care of me, I am going to hold him to it. I can't tell you how proud of myself I am, the fact that I choose me, in spite of everything going on. I looked at the situation and didn't like how I was being treated and so I walked. That's such a powerful move and I am so glad that I made it. No longer will I allow fear to dictate my decisions.
Although I still have a long way to go, I can safely say that I am definitely on the right track when it comes to disciplining myself. I have learned to push myself past my comfort zones and get things done regardless of how I feel.
One thing that has helped me to discipline myself is waking up earlier. You will be amazed at all the things that you can accomplish the earlier you rise. I try and get up at 5am, not always, but I am ALWAYS up and active by 7am.
I also force myself to get some type of physical activity in whether it be a run, yoga or just a casual morning stroll to my favorite coffee shop. Getting active before the day starts really clears the mind, boosts endorphins and sets the day on the right track. Now listen, my body doesn't always want to get out of bed, especially now that the weather is cooler but I constantly reminding myself that my mind is in control, not my body! I then force myself to remember how incredible I feel after a quick workout and then I drag myself out of bed.
You can begin disciplining yourself by starting with small challenges. A great starting point is your diet. Challenge yourself to start drinking a gallon of water a day or consume less meat. Our diet is something that we can control and the more extreme it is the more control we'll have to maintain. Just recently, I decided to eat less meat and allow myself to eat it once or twice a week. Yes, I did go a little crazy during the holidays, but I didn't allow myself to stay there and got right back on track the following week.
Make sure, whatever you choose is realistic and not too extreme, otherwise the mind will view it as an impossible goal and then negative thoughts will infiltrate the mind, which could ultimately lead to failure. Start small, then work your way up!
How to say "NO"
This one was hard for me and the main reason is because I don't like being told no. However, after focusing on myself, evaluating my needs and how to properly care for my mental health I learned how to tell people NO! Women generally give much more of themselves than necessary because we are natural nurturers and we were literally put here to help, but sometimes we can't help everyone and we shouldn't have to!
Before you say Yes and commit to something, ask yourself, "Can I perform this task to the best of my ability?" If the answer is Yes, then do it, but if the answer is No, say that. If you already have too much on your plate and don't have the bandwidth, utilize those communication skills you brag so much about on your resume and tell them NO!
Truthfully, it has become quite of a turn on for me to tell people No. It makes me feel powerful and in complete control.
Not everyone deserves to access me and I am no longer feeling sorry for defending my boundaries.
So say no, say it often and when you damn well please. Anyone mature enough will understand. We are letting go of things that don't serve us and if it doesn't serve you, just say NO to it.
The Importance of Self Care
I am a huge supporter of self care and I have found even more ways to take care of myself emotionally, mentally, and physically. I have listed a few of my favorite and most recent ways of maintaining my mental health in my article, 5 TIPS TO SUPPORT YOUR MENTAL HEALTH. Ultimately, self care techniques are unique to the individual and may not be the same for everyone.
However, making time for yourself is crucial! As the saying goes "You can't pour from an empty cup". So fill your cup first and find fun and exciting ways to take care of you!
Expressing and Effectively Communicating My Feelings
One of the many books that I read this year was 4 Essential Keys To Effective Communication by Bento C. Leal III. The book talks about the importance of expressing empathy, listening and how to express yourself when you're upset. It also includes a 12 day communication challenge to help you hone your communication skills.
I, myself am an incredibly emotional person and there have been times that I let my emotions cloud my judgement and have reacted in ways that I am not so proud of. However, this year I have done a lot of shadow work and worked on how to properly convey my feelings in a more effective manner.
I've found that people tend to remember how your deliver a message and sometimes not the message itself.
The more emotional temper tantrums I threw the less prone people were to take the time to really understand what made me so upset. Meditation has really helped me to properly understand my feelings and figure out the best way to deliver them. Remember, a healthy relationship will allow you to express your feelings without friction or making you feel bad for doing so. Learn how to express your feelings and how to control your emotions. It will make your life so much easier.
So to sum it all up, 2020 was hard but very much necessary. I feel so enlightened, powerful and I am so incredibly excited to be stepping into a new decade next year!
As always, I am interested to hear about what you learned this year! How has 2020 aided in your growth? I hope I encouraged you to look at this year differently and see the good in all the chaos we experienced collectively.