The Biggest Lessons of The Year

Today, on and off, I had occasion to think about things like principles and values, goals, you know, random stuff like that. With the year’s end looming and despite a rather sparse list of achievements for 2015, I have much to be thankful for.

Over and above the obvious (I became a mother again, such a blessing!) 2015 has been quite a year. There are several lessons I’ve learned that I’m extremely grateful for and that I’d like to share. I haven’t been keeping up with my good deeds lately so consider this act of sharing as one to take me guilt-free into the New Year. *smile*

Last year I made some grand statements about love. I spoke at length and made sweeping declarations, in writing even, about what I would and would no longer tolerate in my romantic entanglements. I waxed lyrical about where women went wrong. Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t mean that in the sense of ‘this is why nobody wants you,‘ but more along the lines of ‘here’s where you drop the ball, here’s where you treat yourself badly, here’s where you do yourself a disservice.

It was relatively easy to speak of such things the way I did because I was single; my views came from blunt-force trauma to the heart, all my experiences of trying to find romantic commitment over the past decade or so. I spoke with authority because I spoke from experience, though of course I have no way of knowing that I was listened to with the same degree of seriousness with which I spoke. That was 2014.

In 2015 I got to put all my theories and philosophies to the test and boy…*wipes sweat off brow*

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pondering 2015 and looking forward to 2016 #afro-art
These are the things I now know to be true. Bear in mind, ymmv.

  1. The difference between where you are and where you want to be is the thing that needs to change.

Things will only be different if you do the work to make them different. This was such an eye-opener for me. In my head I have a vision of what my life looks like. The vision in my head closely resembles my reality in some ways, but in others the two are extremely divergent. Wherever there are points of difference is where I need to put in effort because the ONLY thing keeping me from living my dream is that I haven’t yet put in the work to get to where I want to be. Once you’ve established what/where the change needs to be ‘all’ you need to do is put it into effect, no ifs ands or buts. Simple and easy, right?

Want to eat better? Eat better. Want to write? Write.
No matter how many dieting books or style manuals you read, until you CHANGE, until you PUT IN THE WORK, all of that will remain head knowledge and never manifest in your reality. Recognising that the thing that needs to change is the difference between where you are and where you want to be gives you a new perspective on things. Suddenly, you’re in charge. You can’t blame anybody else for anything because you have the vision, you know what to do to see it manifest; if your reality is not aligning to the vision it’s nobody’s fault but your own.

The question then is, what does this mean for relationships where there is a whole ‘nother person whose dreams and goals may be and often are diametrically opposed to your own?

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the dream, right?
In 2015 I learnt that all my ideas about love are both wrong and true.

Love hurts, period.
This is true and it is also wrong, because love shouldn’t hurt. However, while the idea that love shouldn’t hurt is true it is also wrong, because this side of heaven love does hurt, no doubt. The problem you see, is other people. Remove other people from the equation – with their unpredictability, insensitivity and sheer idiocy – remove them and love is nothing but roses no thorns because you know, vacuum. Seeing as how you don’t exist in a vacuum and even if you did, can’t love in a vacuum, you need to learn how to love imperfect people because you’re no less imperfect; you’re just as capable of hurting others. Imperfect people mess things up and so here we are, hurting and hurting others because we’re all, every single one of us, imperfect and our love is just as imperfect as we are.

The only thing we can do then is seek to be that which we are looking for. If you’re looking for a love that’s real, masks off, no games, understand that you need to be authentic and you need to ‘keep it real’ with yourself and with whomever your engage, no matter the level.
In 2015 I showed my heart to a boy. I stopped just short of saying ‘I’m just a girl…’ I showed him my authentic self and he took off after a second look. I didn’t quite break because there is nothing I would do differently … That’s the power of authenticity – negligible regret and a clear conscience. In 2015 I learnt that painful as it is to be rejected, better to be rejected on the grounds of who you are than to indulge in a false love and build relationships based on anything other than your authentic self.

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it’s either you love or you leave me aloo-oone…-BougaLuv
  1. To err is human; to forgive, divine.

When you let the fact of human imperfection hit home, you’re that much harder to hurt. Not because you don’t feel, but because you feel even the things that are so deeply hidden you would swear they aren’t there. If someone were to hurt you and instead of seeing the pettiness at the surface you drilled deep and saw the mass of fear at their core, how would your attitude towards them change? If you knew that the only reason you’re crying right now is because deep down they’re crying too (hurting people hurt people I hear), would that make you cry harder or less? Hint: wipe your pretty eyes, let go and move on; it’s not about you.
If you’ve ever looked deep into your own soul (not for the faint-hearted, this exercise) and seen your own sadness, smallness and pettiness manifest as fear so dark and slimy you can’t bear to face yourself without wanting to run screaming for the hills, you know what I’m talking about. Most people are only vaguely aware of their own truths, which is a pretty sad state of affairs, and the biggest reason why most of us are the walking wounded and the walking dead, maiming others as we go.

Forgiveness isn’t about being a doormat (you love yourself too much, remember); it’s about not holding grudges because you have better things toward which to direct your energies, and it’s about always seeking to do the most loving thing toward yourself and toward others, because love is the be-all and end-all, the point of everything, that which makes everything brighter and better. Forgiveness is about wishing the other that which you wish for yourself.
In short, when you know you have much to be forgiven for, you can forgive much.

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*in Adele voice* Helloooo…

2015 was a great year and a terrible year, but 2015 is also the year that I decided to put negativity and fear behind me and embrace my destiny. Somebody said to me that 2015 will go down in history as the year they met me, me being so awesome and all, you know *hair flick*. Well, for me 2015 goes down as the year I finally met myself. I hope to re-read this in December 2016 and say that I have only grown from strength and strength.

Happy 2016. May the New Year bring you only good things.

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