Dear Leading Ladies:
In 2016, I learned so much! I pride myself on being a student of life, but I really think it was all a myth in my mind. It sounded good to say it... "Student of Life". I am a Student of Life. Say it with me, I am a Student of Life. Well... what does it really mean to be a student of life? To study life forms, like in biology? Ummm no! To study other people and pick and choose the traits that you like and don't like and then create yourself from the findings? Or does it mean that you study the trends and analyze the years, the days, etc. Heck, I don't know and I said it religiously to myself and anyone else that I thought would listen.
Shakesphere wrote in his play, Hamlet, "To Thine Ownself Be True". If I were to be transparent for just a moment, I would tell you that as I studied my life in 2016, I have learned that I have not been true to myself. Whew! That was a difficult statement to let flow through the keys of my laptop and even more difficult to allow my brain to accept. You see for many years, I have done what was "right", acceptable, the status quo, and basically what others thought I should do.
Now don't get me wrong, there is no dishonor in doing the right thing. But sometimes the right thing is the easy thing. It's the go along to get along thing to do. But you really want to say no thank you! I just want to sit in my house coat all day and have me time by singing Jill Scott and India Arie songs in my mirror. But in my world, doing the right thing was really doing what everyone else thought I should do and not necessarily what I wanted to do.
So about midway through this year, I was asked an important question that I still haven't truly answered. What do you want to do? It doesn't sound like a tricky or profound question at all, however it has been quite difficult to answer. Why? Because I spend a great deal of time focusing on just meeting my needs that when I was asked about wants, I was floored. I want peace on earth of course, but what else?
So as I reflect over the year 2016, I really realize that it has been a study of myself. I have started studying myself by doing just a few things and I would like to share them with you as you enter 2017. Perhaps you will have an easier time answering the question, What do you want? than I did. However, I want to share with you the process I am following.
1) Journal Daily - Journaling is the most cathartic practice in my life. Sometimes I journal, which is just writing your thoughts, for an hour or for 10 minutes. It is a powerful tool that allows you to look back on your life days, weeks, months and years later to see growth and progress. Our thoughts change with each circumstance, with each hardship or piece of happiness that we encounter. Looking back over your notes to see where you were and what you were thinking is the most valuable way to discover YOU! How you reacted to certain situations, how happy certain events, places, people or things made you and how you spent your time can play a part in how you move forward during a new test.
2) Ask yourself daily what do you want? - Ask in terms of personal wants, professional wants, spiritual wants, physical wants, mental and emotional wants. Remember this is not what you need. I always go back to my needs. Think about this question as if resources didn't matter because they are unlimited and you have a continuous supply. Write down all that you WANT and then start making action lists that get you to where you want to go.
3) Find Time for Self-Care - I have heard the term self-care more than a dozen times in the last two weeks. But what does it mean? It means to take care of you. I have a friend who is a care-giver for her younger brother who is suffering from a terminal illness. I asked her one day, what she was doing to take care of herself. Like I thought, she said, "nothing, all my energy goes to my brother". I asked her how could she take care of him and not take care of herself? We have to find time for self-care. That means doing what we need to do to continue our journey. Maybe take yourself to a movie. I like to people watch. I will sit outside of a restaurant or a business and watch people go in an out. Strange, but that's self-care to me. I like to read. I like to write. I like to watch movies and talk to intellectual people. These are all ways that I take care of me. But you may enjoy a workout, a massage, or a trip to the ice cream parlor. Find time for yourself!
Be be true to you in 2017!!! #JustforToday #SweetTee