Time seems to fly by so much faster the older I get. It’s hard for me to believe that I’m finishing out another year, ending my first full year as a Floridian, and looking forward in anticipation of 2016 (seriously, wasn’t it just 2005?!). This was a year of learning for me. Every year is in its own way, but my 2015 was dominated by lessons, each painful, eye-opening, and beautiful in their own way. I’ve done my best to sum up the 10 biggest takeaways this year has brought me:
- Put God first.
I thought I knew what this was before, but I had no idea. I credit the growth of my spiritual walk to my surroundings, the fact that my circumstances wouldn’t allow for much else, and to the people who came into my life this year. My parents have always been believers, and through living (geographically) closer to them, we have grown close spiritually. My dad always has a way of sternly pushing me toward the path that’s best, but it’s up to me to take the steps. Taking steps was a lot easier this year because I took most of them with friends who similarly believe in peace, prayer, meditation, forgiveness, and internal growth. I probably lost more friends this year than ever before due to both my physical and mental move away, but the few people I’m surrounded by now who I choose to call my friends did a really great job of leading by example to show me what it’s like to not only profess faith, but live it, and I’m really grateful.
- Water your marriage garden.
I’ve written about my marriage and the troubles its seen in recent years on this blog before. I think maturity in marriage is knowing when to show grace, throwing away the score card of who’s burned who and in what ways how many times, and, if you’re partners in parenting too, choosing to do what’s best for the good of your family, always. I got better at these things this year after listening to Chalene Johnson speak about relationships at Summit.
- Humble yourself.
This is another lesson I thought I had mastered, but I had no idea. A humble woman or man doesn’t need praise, doesn’t do things for show and recognition, doesn’t need to tell others of her/his greatness. I had my feelings hurt this year as I witnessed the exact opposite of humility with a person who thought her place in the world made it okay to slander a friend of mine publicly for the sake of making herself look good. She didn’t succeed in this; in the end, she only made herself look really ugly. In seeing this – reading all of her hateful words (she chose to write them in a public blog), and seeing glimpses of her angry soul – I decided that she was someone I never wanted to be. I am far from perfect, but as I focus on the path ahead of me, I will be damned if I carry forth an attitude of entitlement because I live my life differently than how others choose to. After all, my name isn’t Jesus. I’ve got no place judging. Where’s my tea?
- Be more confident.
Up until about three months ago, I believed confidence had to be fueled by the input of others. People believe in themselves to a degree and then when others tell them that what they’re doing is great, their confidence is formed. As a professor of communication who’s taught countless lessons on the formation of self, you’d think I knew better. I had no choice but to get it right this year though, because when you’re left with nothing else to rely on but your faith and your own strong will, you better find some damn confidence or be prepared to be run over, chewed up, spit out, shit on, burned, and drowned…and all of that happened to me in 2015, not particularly in that order.
I used to seek validation from other people and hardly get it, and then doubt myself. I had it wrong. A person can’t bestow on me the validation I’ve been seeking. Not even my husband. Not even our daughter. Not even my mom.
It comes from a higher power.
- Learn to be okay with being disliked.
This is the second part to the “be more confident” puzzle. Moving to a new place, venturing into new hobbies, choosing faith, and choosing to stick by these things, regardless of what heckling you receive, whatever shade Internet trolls wish to throw on you, in spite of the strange looks you’ll receive from the people closest to you, and whispers behind your back that you can still hear…THAT requires true strength. I feel like I could write a follow up to Toby Young’s How to Lose Friends & Alienate People because if you’re ever wanting to shake things up and test your relationships, try running into the fire that YOU STARTED to rescue your own marriage from inferno, become a pole dancer and tell others about it on social media, become a Beachbody coach and tell others about it on social media, and make God your priority and tell others about it on social media all in 365 days and see how many people stop talking to you. Once you’ve done that, learn to be okay with them not talking to you. Don’t run back to reopen doors that have closed. Learn to let words like “fake,” “annoying,” “bullshitter,” “betrayal,” and “different” (said in that ominous, ‘I said I’m not judging you but my face and tone clearly indicate that I am’ kind of way) roll off your shoulders and bounce off your skin.
Eventually, you’ll arrive in a place where you’re too tired to care anymore because no matter what you say or do or wear or believe, someone will always have a problem with it. You’ll start living your life the way you need to in order to keep your world in order and you won’t look to see who’s watching or clapping in approval. When you get to that gorgeous place, look around. You’ll surely find me chillin’ on a chaise lounger with a fresh green smoothie in hand, likely reading a Jen Sincero book. Sup?
- Learn to forgive others.
This is the final piece to this security trifecta, and I placed these all in order on purpose. One book I read this year was The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, and one of the four agreements is to never take anything personally. The things people do and say to you are reflections of their souls first and foremost, not your own. Therefore, when someone acts ugly, it’s probably a reaction to something else that’s happening with them. Insecurity abounds whether or not anyone wants to admit it, and the actions of most people are usually reactions born out of their personal insecurities. Our culture breeds this. It’s not entirely our fault. Holding on to the hurt and frustration and keeping up the grudge is too exhausting and only hurts you in the end. Even the people who have hurt me the most I hold forgiveness for. After all, mere heathens can be nice to those who are nice to them first, and I am much more virtuous than a heathen.
- Add time for peace to your schedule.
Given all of this spiritual and emotional fighting I’ve had to do, I’ve also had to learn that it’s okay to pencil in time to take an Epsom salt soak, to leave the house alone for a walk, and to turn my phone off and ignore Facebook for a few hours or days. I make myself available to my students, my boss, my friends, my coaches, and my challengers willingly, but these are all withdrawals to my emotional bank account, and I want my emotional bank account to stay full. I fell to a zero balance too many times this year before learning that I can only give so much, and that as a work at home wife and mom, entrepreneur, coach, and friend, I am more than allowed to give to myself, too.
- Stay in the present.
In May of this year, I wrote a Facebook status update that said, “I miss my old life.” I promptly deleted it and gave myself a firm talking to about reeling in my social media participation, but I also received two text messages in response to this. The first was from my success partner, who told me that wishing to go back to my old life was throwing away all that she thought we were working toward and that if I wanted to live in a negative place like that to feel free to do so alone because she’s not about that life (it was something to that affect…you get the idea). The next was from pole ballerina Jacqueline Valdez who echoed Dorilin’s sentiments and added that wishing to go back meant I wouldn’t be around for people who cared about me, like her. Needless to say, I learned in those moments that I need to be more careful with my words, and also that life happens now, not yesterday, not tomorrow. It’s wise to plan – a farmer who doesn’t work at harvest starves during the winter with only himself to blame – but looking forward with fear and anxiety is pointless because we can only cross bridges when we get to them. By looking back or too far forward, we also miss what’s happening before us. Because I am a mom, I see the value in appreciating the present. Once the moments have passed, they’re gone forever, so living fully in them is a good idea.
- Live your passion.
Once you’ve shaken off the stigma through lesson 5, this becomes easy. And boy did I live my passion this year. I had to learn this year that there are other things I’m passionate about that I either wasn’t before or didn’t know I had been, but I’m glad I chose to embrace these things and live in them this year. They made for some incredible experiences!
My faith is my passion.
Being the best I can be is my passion.
My family is my passion.
Sharing health and fitness with others is my passion.
Challenging myself is my passion.
Being inspired is my passion.
My fit family is my passion.
Pole fitness is my passion.
My friends are my passion.
Setting a positive example is my passion.
- Love with all of your heart.
C’mon. Why love with half your heart? Get over the, “it’ll make me vulnerable” BS and come clean with your feelings. If you care for someone, you love them, you’d be affected by their absence in your life…tell them. Say it. It doesn’t make you weak, it makes you true to your word.
Thanks, 2015, for all you brought me. I was broken down with this year, but only to be rebuilt stronger than I was before. You did not kill me, and you know what they say about things that don’t kill you…