Another big year has come to an end, and as I reflect, I am conscious of the lessons, the blessings, the emotional roller coaster, the joy, and the continuing need to jump out of my nest, and continue knocking down any walls that appear in front of me and around me.
One of the biggest learnings I have had is that I’m the only one who can trap myself—put myself in a cage. And I am the only one who holds the key to set myself free.
So as we step into 2022, let’s reflect upon what we as compassionate human beings can do and what more we can learn, because if we are truly honest with ourselves, we all have much to learn about ourselves, about life, about the universe, and most of all, about humanity.
Here are some lessons and reflections I have taken from 2021:
1. Life is an echo
The energy you put out there will radiate back to you. You really do reap what you sow. Finding fault, judging, being unkind, these are our own insecurities and no amount of projection onto others will change our situation.
You want better? Do better. Be better. Show compassion, kindness, gratitude, and respect and watch it come back to you. Be nasty, disrespectful, judgmental, and bullying and watch how that negatively impacts your life. Elevate yourself and step above the bullsh*t.
2. Do the inner work
We talk so much about growth and change. Maybe there’s a version of ourselves we so desperately want to attain, but we first must do the hard inner work. It’s not for the fainthearted, and it’s not without pain, but without it, you will never grow nor will you ever sustain what you are trying to achieve. If you think you have no healing or inner work to do, I feel terribly sad for you, as a lack of self-awareness will see you forever stuck in the same space, repeating the same mistakes and never learning from them.
We know the body keeps the score—it always keeps the score. If you distract, bury, ignore, and rug-sweep your emotions, feelings, wounds, and truth, you will eventually suffer a far greater pain. Meet your shadows and live your truth, regardless of what that looks like to others.
3. Pay attention to actions
We’ve all been lost in another’s words before. Words can be so damn beautiful and meaningful. The right words said can have you convinced things are different; they can pull on your emotions and feelings; they can take you back to moments; they can f*cking make you believe someone is who you want them to be. But we must always pay close attention to actions because sometimes actions defy the words spoken. It’s the actions that are important.
4. Steer clear of toxic positivity
Aaah yes, this unhelpful and disrespectful chestnut. Toxic positivity is used by people who are too afraid to do their own work or think bypassing is the way to move forward. Focused on presenting their own lives in a particular way that is not always authentic because they need to appear happy and successful. It’s called toxic positivity because it’s poisonous to us, and it’s fake. Be wary of anyone who doesn’t accept negative human emotions and chases external happiness. Be wary of anyone who doesn’t understand that to move forward and grow, you actually must go back and heal first.
5. Learn to let go
Sometimes you need to say goodbye and let go of people you still care about or maybe even hold love for. Not everyone is meant to be part of your whole story; sometimes they are just a chapter, maybe even just a page. Sometimes they are the reason your story changes, and sometimes they remind you to reread the story you have written so far and edit what needs to be edited.
Sometimes through your darkest hours, you see people’s true colours and they exit your life, and that’s okay; be grateful they have created space for you to grow into the space they abandoned—that they have left room for more authentic people to enter your life and love the beautifully messy human that you are.
6. Grappling with grief
Grief is one hell of a ride. Losing people we care about to death is not the only grief we endure. Relationship endings and any major life change can result in grief. This bad boy is a toughie and there’s no timeline; there’s no flipping a switch and getting over it; there’s no quick fix. There’s just the journey, the f*cking brutal, painful, and gut-wrenching process that is grief.
You just need to go through it, because trying to go around it just causes us more long-term pain. Feel it and accept that it’s okay to feel however you are feeling. Get help in need but never ever try and bury it or avoid it and never allow anyone to invalidate your feelings.
In my darkest hours, I made friends with my grief; I learnt to respect her and rather than fight her or push her away in the desperate need not to feel, I let her come and sit with me. I let her move through me until I arrived at the shore, exhausted but alive, with a new understanding and determination of who I am and what I want.
7. Understanding people
People can only ever meet you at their level of consciousness—their level of self-awareness. Everyone is at a different stage of their journey and will never be able to meet you where you are if they have not yet reached that place. A person’s behaviour is always a reflection of them, and those who cannot, will not, or don’t believe they have work and healing to do will always be triggered and project that onto you.
Sometimes the only thing you can do is leave people where they are at. It’s never our job to fix or change another. It’s our job to accept people as they are, or walk away. And it’s our job to forever improve who we are.
8. Don’t fear change
Change can be scary and we all feel safe cocooned in our comfort zones. Comfortable with the person we’ve been with for years, the life we’ve always known, the person we portray ourselves to be. But you know deep within that you can never really grow unless you step way outside that comfort zone.
Sometimes that means big changes and sometimes it means small changes. Sometimes it means being really brave and uprooting your whole life. What if a far more amazing life awaits you when you finally step off that ledge? A comfortable life is a beautiful thing, but a life filled with passion and soul…now that’s a life worth jumping off the cliff for.
9. Don’t apologise for vulnerability
Being vulnerable takes real courage. When you can stand there no mask, no bullsh*t, and show your raw emotions and feelings, you allow others to see the real you. Speak your truth, write your truth, sing your truth—just be who you really are. The façade created to show the life we want others to see is not only fake, but in the end, it’s sad, because doing this stops us from pursuing what we really want.
Live your truth and live it from an open heart space.
10. Don’t fear being alone
I had never really been alone, and by that, I mean live alone. There’s something freeing and liberating about being alone. It’s where you learn the most about yourself. It’s where you understand what it is you really desire. It’s where all the outside white noise stops and you start listening to what’s inside of you. It’s where you seek healing because in this space, you finally hear and feel what needs to be healed. It’s where you discover yourself, and ultimately, where you find you. The essence of who you are.
11. Being loved, finding love, and losing love
So often we think love is elusive, when in fact, it’s with us all the time—if we choose to look within ourselves. The love we give ourselves determines the love we accept from another. Love starts with us—feel it, embody it, be it. I think trying to find love is where we often go wrong. The right love will come in when we are ready and our energy is vibrationally high. Rather than finding love, allow it the freedom to find you.
Do we ever fully lose love? I don’t think we ever fully stop loving another that we had a deep soul connection with. Perhaps the love changes, but I don’t think it ever fully disappears. This past year has shown me I haven’t yet met all the people who are going to love me, and I haven’t yet met those I will love. And what a beautiful thing that is.
12. Follow your soul
So many of us are reluctant to follow our souls. Why? Because it can be terrifying. Our soul knows our true desires and what we really want, but sometimes that does not fit the mold our families and/or we have carved out.
For a long time, I followed my head because it’s logical, weighing up the pros and cons. Balancing the perception of others versus what I really wanted. Many times my heart was torn and it had me confused and uncertain. It was like my heart was split in two. But when I finally silenced my head and my heart and understood what my soul was screaming at me, I realised what I needed to do, where I needed to be, what I truly wanted.
It isn’t without fear and a level of pain to get there, but it is where we are meant to be. Your soul will lead you to incredible destinations—if you are brave enough to listen to her.
So what can we expect from 2022?
We cannot control external events, but we can control how we react and behave. We can control how we live our lives and the people we surround ourselves with. We can control the way we treat others and how we allow others to treat us. We can choose to be kind and compassionate and emit the type of energy we would like to receive back into our lives. We can choose to do the work and grow into better versions of ourselves. We can choose to keep it real and live our truth. We can choose love, and if we are brave enough, we can choose to follow our soul and let her lead us to the life destined for us.
For me, I choose all of the above, and no matter how hard it gets, I will keep choosing them because a life without authenticity, passion, truth, and soul, really isn’t a life at all.
I walk into 2022 with guts, grace, and gratitude.