5 meaningful things I learned in 2020
It’s no secret this past year has been a hell of a ride. Within the world madness, I personally faced challenges that affected my mental health. On the positive side, it teached me important life leçons.
1. Predict the unpredictable
Are you the kind of person that plans your life and likes to be in control?
It’s fine and even encouraged to be organized, set goals, and have at least a vague idea of what you’re doing. But hey, you have to make space in your mind and your schedule for the element of surprise, and even the possibility that nothing goes as planned.
Fall outs, accidents, and even a damn global pandemic are things that can put your world upside down. Make peace with it, and take it into account. It could help you to not set impossible expectations for yourself, and to heal faster and stronger. Maybe you’ll learn to take bigger risks, go out of your comfort zone, and let yourself be carried.
As Gina Linetti from Brooklyn 99 says : “Life is chaos, success is arbitrary, and confidence is everything.”
2. Feel your feelings
It’s okay to be overwhelmed. Sorrow, confusion, anger, anxiety, or any kind of negative emotions are a part of life. It is healthy to let them exist for what they are, instead of faking a state of constant happiness. It gives us the tools to process the challenges of our lives.
It’s okay to share them as well, to expose your wounds, even in a modern culture that seems to be very uncomfortable with any sign of unhappiness. Most of all, letting it be is letting it go, eventually. It opens the door to empathy, and brings catharsis over an event too difficult for your rational brain to manage alone.
I mean, haven’t you seen Pixar’s “Inside Out”? Sadness has a purpose.
3. Limit your limitations
What a wonderful thing it is to learn how to say “no”. Without any excuses or explanations, just because you know you don’t want to. It's a marvellous idea to unfollow someone on social media who makes you feel bad about yourself. And to express clearly what you need and want in any kind of relationship, without settling for anything less.
It’s so important to respect your own boundaries and needs. No, that doesn’t mean you get to stay in your self centered bubble forever and be a bad friend. You also should be open to change, and listen to other people's advice. But you are allowed to think only about yourself every once in a while.
And to follow your own path without letting people’s ideas of you come first. Like Rachel Green, you’re a purse, not a shoe. Got it?
4. Don’t devalue your value
If you’re reading this, you have survived this past year. Congratulations. There hasn’t been a lot of opportunities for us to be satisfied with just the fact of being alive. But honestly right now, being here, and not totally suck as a human being, that’s already more than enough. You don’t need to be rich, famous, or climb the Mont Blanc to be allowed to exist.
Actually who defines what makes you successful, as a person? Who decided that going to work every morning (or in 2020, working from your sofa) is what makes you valuable? What makes you think that you need to feel beautiful to love yourself? Not that there's anything wrong with that, but what you do for a living, as well as what you look like, should be separated from your worth.
Doing the best you can, that’s being human. And therefore you have value, to quote Zendaya in Spider Man.
5. Talk the real talk
Your secret garden is locked in your mind and should be kept as such. But there are things you experience, and other stuff you witness, that you are very much encouraged to talk about. To share your deepest thoughts and fears with the people you feel safe with, will only make you closer. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask for help, you’ll find way more compassion than you think.
Going to therapy if you can, getting the advice of mental health professionals, searching and finding THE person and method that suits you the most, it’s the best gift you can give yourself and people around you. And while you’re at it, use your platform and any kind of privilege you might be given to speak up about what you see as unfair.
Use your voice for yourself and for others. Because "we're all in this together, once we know that we are, we're all stars."