If you are anything like me, the stress over the disaster that was 2020, continues to make you weary of good things in your life. Since the New Year, I have consistently tried to give this year my best shot — focusing on both my physical and mental health — in order to give myself the best chance at a healthy prosperous year.
If I am being honest, On December 31st I was on a high. I was surrounded by the people I love and sure that this year would be my year — that high ended rather quickly. On January 6th, the day of the insurrection of the Capitol, my world flipped upside down and I was left again, wondering how to pick up the pieces and continue my efforts of having a better year than the last.
So, here I am on January 29, still trying to figure it out. It hasn’t been easy and every day I am met with a new challenge. But above all else, which I share because I am sure you too are going through similar hardship, I think it is important to remain confident in the possibility of this year.
Here are few things that I learned, that help me to make sure that every day, is the best it can possibly be.
Lean on your faith — We are only as big as our capacity to believe
Last year my faith was tested and unfortunately, I moved away from my belief in something bigger than myself. What I found from abandoning my faith, is that if you believe in nothing one day you will reach a point in your life where you lack the tools necessary to overcome life’s inevitable challenges.
I have always been someone that doesn’t believe there is not a right or wrong faith or worship. Regardless of what you choose to believe in or what your spirit calls on, make sure that it is something that can sustain you. During my darkest days, when I feel blinded by uncertainty, I find that I cannot do it on my own. Further, I find that neither my family nor my friends can save me — they have their own trials to overcome.
Comforting, however, has been my recommitment to faith. I choose to believe in a God that challenges yet protects. That’s the beauty in Faith that I have found, it requires you to surrender to difficulties while also providing you the confidence to know those difficulties have a profound purpose.
Recently, I had the pleasure of jumping back into Bible Study with one of my good friends. Towards the end of our session Wednesday he closed out with this:
“Emptiness allows miracles to happen.” He further added that life’s most chaotic and uncertain moments, allow the power of Faith and the creator to be discovered. I have found that discovery to be healing.
Sit in silence — If you are constantly running, you will never learn
I am a runner by nature — both physically and mentally. I have a running joke with myself that is something along the lines of: “When the going gets tough, Nia stops going.” Essentially, when I find myself stuck in a hard place or feeling overtly sad, I brush it off and press on.
This personality trait has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because my avoidant behavior allows me to remain focused on the bigger picture and the positive aspects of life. A curse because I often live in denial of how draining life and people can really be.
These past couple of weeks I’ve been forcing myself to cope, realistically, with whatever my reality is in that moment. Instead of running from problems and disappoint out of fear that it will quite literally internally kill you, challenge yourself to meet the emotions face to face.
Thankfully, sitting in silence with my emotions did not in fact destroy me like I thought they would. Instead, they saved me.
I think there is something beautiful about sitting with yourself in complete silence. It teaches you that internal unrest is both inevitable and manageable. Your negative thoughts, ideas and emotions, once confronted, are not as scary as they pretend to be.
From silence and confrontation with myself, I’ve learned that failure, doubt and fear are more often than not, rooted in imaginary circumstances. Life’s too short to miss reality.
GO TO COUNSELING — Broken people finish last
Counseling has this limiting taboo associated with it, that convinces people that it has no purpose and will yield no change. To be frank, we all need counseling, especially after the year we had.
I recently started counseling, after years of not seeing the point. I mean after all it is not illogical to think that a stranger knowing your deepest darkest secrets is strange, to say the least. My therapist, refreshingly, has proved very helpful.
Think of it like a diary that talks back to you and compartmentalizes and validates your emotions with you. With counseling, you unlock the opportunity to tell it 1000% like it is without fear of offending or over-telling.
We are in a trying season and there is much to lose and gain depending on how we weather it. I encourage you, even if you feel good, to just go talk to someone, even if it is once a month.
One day something will come a long that is a too much for you to handle alone, and if you start counseling now you will likely be better equipped to get through difficult times.
“If you don’t like something change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.” — Maya Angelou