With 2015 coming to a close, this is the time of year where we all take some quiet moments to reflect on what we’ve achieved, learned, and overcome. Some of the experiences were joyful and exhilarating, while others were painful and unsettling.
I love feeling a sense of connection to these feelings through words. Quite obviously then, my favorite way to seek inspiration and represent said thoughts is through quotes. I’ve saved myself hundreds of dollars of therapy by finding the perfectly-stated sentiment or enlightening article. (Thank you, Internet!)
“Be softer with you. You are a breathing thing. A memory to someone. A home to a life.” – Nayyirah Waheed
“You can’t eat beauty, it doesn’t sustain you. What is fundamentally beautiful is compassion, for yourself and those around you. That kind of beauty enflames the heart and enchants the soul.” – Lupita Nyong’o
“Being your true self is the most effective formula for success there is.” – Danielle Laporte
“I used to think I was the strangest person in the world, but then I thought there are so many people in the world, there must be someone just like me who feels bizarre and flawed in the same ways I do. I would imagine her, and imagine that she must be out there thinking of me, too. Well, I hope that if you are out there and read this and know that, yes, it’s true I’m here, and I’m just as strange as you.” – Frida Kahlo
“Love ourselves completely for who we are and not who we think we were or should be.” – Satsuki Shibuya
And there it is. After taking inventory of my personal struggles and doubts, my word for 2016 is…
I decided to choose a word to live by and work toward for the new year starting in 2014. That first year’s word was intention and 2015 was focus. It was a life-giving decision. Delving in and grasping those words helped me more fully understand myself. Introspection and self-awareness is never an easy task, but it is crucial for growth and leading a content life.
I am now at a place in my life where I need to practice self-love. Somewhere along the way I turned into a people-pleaser, and while it is a wonderful thing to be respectful and considerate of people’s feelings, I have neglected my own. And honestly, I have spent the last few months in a place of self-doubt and anger. I allowed my soul and personality to be robbed of its unique traits because I wanted be well-liked by everyone I encountered. Unfortunately, that is impossible. People do not share unifying beliefs or standards, no matter how ideal it sounds. Being unacknowledged or disliked is the crossfire of that truth. But it doesn’t mean we are any less—that I am any less. In fact, it means I am true to my personality, including its quirks and weirdness.
Throughout my life I’ve battled with depression and anxiety, and my perception of that was immensely shifted once I heard that depression is anger turned inward. After picking up the pieces of my brain from my mind being blown, I allowed that statement to grant me absolution and set me free.
Self-love is embracing my distinct characteristics. I want to look at other people’s beauty and not doubt my own. I want to give myself permission to experience negative feelings without letting them control my life. I want to say no without feeling guilty or fearful, and I want to say yes without feeling guilty or fearful. I want to listen to my mind and body when it says, “I need a break!” and honor that impression. I want to listen to more music that sets my chest on fire. I want to recognize and celebrate the talents of others and cease from letting my mind fill with envy. I want to practice honest forgiveness. I want to take better care of my body and fill my days with more activity and time spent in nature. I want to fulfill my need to create art and do it with an unrestrained courage. I want 2016 to be the year where I stop criticizing myself, which will help me halt my oftentimes harsh criticism of others, in turn giving power to a pure outward love.