For years, I’ve watched people make New Year’s resolutions and set goals for the start of a brand new year. I have watched the campaign and seen the slogan “new year, new me” more times than I can count. This phrase is so popular, it has been used to advertise almost any product that guarantees a transformation. A week into the new year and many people are still riding the high of their new year, new me ambitions. Me on the other hand, I’m still riding the waves of everything I gained last year. And while I am not focused on a “new me”, I have spent countless hours reflecting on my growth, lessons learned and increasing my development for a better me. 2017 brought me lots of peace and contentment from learning how to deal with and execute these five things:
- Exercising my power/strength – Last year, I prayed fervently for strength beyond my beliefs. While I’ve always cautioned myself about what I pray for, I wanted to grow physically, emotionally and spiritually. I needed God to show me I was stronger than what I perceived myself to be and he gave me exactly what I asked for. Death visited my family so much in 2017 that at one point it appeared we were immune to the idea of it. Sometimes, I had to be the comforter and often times I was being comforted. But each day, after presented with a different mountain, God gave me the strength to not only climb the mountain, but also give it the appeal of an easy task to those on the outside looking in. I remember receiving a text that read, “I’m thinking about you. I admire your strength and perseverance to strive forward. Keep your head up!” This indicated to me that people were truly watching how I handle my battles and I had an opportunity to show them how awesome my God is. He truly taught me how to move mountains.
- Saying “no” without explanation – Although I don’t consider myself a “people pleaser”, I have definitely tried to meet the demands of my loved ones. When I couldn’t do what I was asked to do, I always felt the need to explain why I couldn’t do it. Long gone are those days. 2017 gave me the understanding that, “No” is a complete sentence and I don’t have to follow-up with any type of justification. If I didn’t feel like doing something, I simply didn’t do it. End of story!
- Understanding the importance of my time – I always felt if people thought enough of me to invite me to their event, I should feel privileged about the opportunity to attend. However, I started finding myself tired, frustrated and drained trying to appear at multiple functions throughout the weekend. Then I started getting last-minute invitations and this would throw my entire agenda off trying to fit the activities of others into my already brimming schedule. And one day I decided, I was going to miss a function and rest. It was refreshing to stay at home, relax and take naps throughout the day. And from that day forward, I started prioritizing events and other people’s consideration of my time. If I did not receive at least a three-day notice, I was not attending. If I felt I was being invited to fluff party numbers, I was not attending. If I was only being imvited because I give the “good gifts”, I definitely wasn’t attending. Making time for me again was reinvigorating!
- Disconnecting from people who emptied my cup – Whew! Enough said. I’ve tried to maintain friendships or some sort of relationship with people simply because we have history. I found myself around people that weren’t as committed to our relationship as I was or some that never wanted to be held accountable for their actions. And so, I let go. I refused to let people empty me that wouldn’t take the opportunity to refuel me when needed. People that never offered an encouraging word, people that always called when they needed something but never called to see if I was in need, people that never asked the simple question, “How are you?”, etc. were all dismissed without hesitation or explanation.
- Connecting with people whom I could serve – I consider myself to have a very strong support system and whenever it appeared I could count myself out, someone was there to pick up the pieces. From needing a babysitter for my son to having dinner on the table, I never had to worry about my needs being met. Whether it was family, friends or colleagues picking up the pieces, my family was always taken care of. In 2017, I met a few young ladies that were sweet as pie but unfortunately shared some of the same struggles I had in previous years. Without hesitation, I stepped in and helped serve a need. It has been a blessing to give to others and pay forward all the good deeds that were done for me.
Last year I learned to let go of the past and free myself of failures and disappointments. I lost a lot but I gained so much more. I embraced a new perspective and stood firm in the declaration that it was my year, and now I am more than ready to build on my foundation.