7 Vital Lessons Learned in 2015 to Take Into the New Year

I won't trouble you with typical phrases like "New Year, New Me". Been there. Done that. BUT I did realize that I've learned some very valuable lessons in 2015. It was a whirlwind with just as many highs as lows. Those lessons learned have the potential to make 2016 phenomenal. I wanted to share with you all my top 7 lessons I learned that can help you take on 2016 like a BOSS!

1. Embrace your HUMANITY.

I’ve had a lot of people ask me why I’m always so positive or can always find the silver lining. I’ve even been told that I’m TOO positive (because that’s a thing?). When asked how this is possible, I tell people this: I allow myself to FEEL. For every silver lining, there has probably been a moment where I embraced being engulfed in what felt like endless darkness and uncertainty. I've allowed myself to worry. I’ve allowed myself to be disappointed. I've allowed myself to be heartbroken. The summer of 2013 after getting my heart broken by a person I just KNEW was my soulmate, I cried every single day for about two months straight. At night, I listened to this playlist I created full of great breakup songs (thank you Melanie Fiona, Lianne La Havas, RaVaughn...and every single artist on the Waiting to Exhale soundtrack) and wailed into my pillow. For the first time in my life, I felt like my heart had actually shattered in my chest. I wallowed in that pain and let myself feel every wave of emotional trauma. Then, after a few months, I cried less and less until the tears dried up completely. I focused on loving me and enjoying life. And eventually, when love decided to roll around again, I was ready. Too often, people will be dismissive of the “bad” emotions. But things like anger, heartbreak, disappointment, and sadness aren’t bad. They’re necessary to create balance and for comparison. Love feels even better when you’ve known heartbreak. The joys of success feel amazing when you've felt the disappointment of failure. Mind you, I don’t encourage you to dwell too long. But don’t shun those so-called “bad” emotions. Embrace them. Let yourself feel. You’ll be a stronger human because of that.

2. Give back.

2015 was a year full of blessings for me. As I was transitioning to my new home, money was tight. Like, leather leggings tight. But I had people who gave me everything from household items to boxes of food. I couponed and used discounts whenever I could. My mom filled up my tank and covered my water bill for a couple of months. Finally, I landed a new, better paying job. I started gaining more clients for my writing business. Life was really looking up! Instead of just sitting around basking in those blessings, I started paying it forward and giving back. Of course, it began with those that helped me. Then, I extended it to strangers. I wanted to start doing giveaways. I offered free writing services for those who needed it. I made it a weekly mission to tip the guitarist playing outside of the Starbucks whenever I got coffee before work. Giving just feels good! There’s magic in the human exchange of kindness. I found that being nice helped to lift my spirits on a bad day. I’m definitely not saying go out and give away your entire paycheck. Start small and be realistic. Maybe you could buy the coffee of a customer in front of you at your favorite coffee shop. Offer to buy a few office supplies for a teacher that you know. It’s not about how much you give or what’s given, but rather about your good intentions behind giving it.

3. Invest in yourself.

Investing in “YOU” is such a beautiful thing because it can manifest itself in so many different ways. For me, this came into play last year when I finally purchased the domain of my website. I had created this site via Wix TWO YEARS AGO. It was pretty much complete, but I always hesitated to buy the domain. One day, while sitting at work, something inside me just said “DO IT!” I finally went to the site, pulled out my credit card, and made it official. I finally realized that I couldn’t ask for people to invest in me as an artist if I didn’t invest in myself first. I am worth it. Investing in yourself looks different for everyone. Some may invest in themselves by increasing the amount of self-care they implement in their lives. They may take more vacations or schedule more spa treatments. For others, it may be buying a new wardrobe for work or purchasing that expensive Nixon camera to kick start their photography business. Whatever that looks like for you, DO IT. Stop hesitating. When it comes to doing things that will better YOU as an individual, you don’t have to second guess it.