I usually write a recap of the year expressing what I’ve learned; however, I can honestly say that this year encompassed what feels like five years in terms of growth, and I’m positive I could not encapsulate it all within this post.
Perhaps that sounds arrogant, but once you understood why I grew so much you will see that it wasn’t like other years in terms of growth: in retrospect my 2010 year end entry strikes me as arrogant in many ways.
In past years, I’ve approached growth very one dimensionally; I’ve viewed improvement from a largely narcissistic perspective and I’ve failed to take an actual honest, hard look at myself. I selfishly sought to improve only on the areas that I failed at, instead of looking at the reasons that were actually holding me back. That sounds like some stupid obvious bullshit from the jacket of a self-improvement book, but it wasn’t like I had some realization, no – 2012 forced me to see.
I didn’t say, hey ‘I’m going to really be honest with myself and focus on internal growth rather than external because blah blah blah’. No. 2012 simply kicked my ass. I went up against it, and 2012 told me to shut up and sit the fuck down.
I had no choice in 2012 but to face the harsh truths because 2012 brought me face-to-face with them.
It wasn’t a bad year (okay, maybe it was), and it wasn’t my worst, (it had some very low points tho!) but it wasn’t rock bottom. I’ve been there, and I’ll be the first to tell you that being at rock-bottom in life isn’t going to bring you face to face with the harshest of truths. If that was the case, then the surest path to success and happiness would be hitting rock bottom; It isn’t – many people never bounce back from there. And others slip continually lower. It’s an extremely tough place to come back from.
Coming face to face with the harshest truths requires trying your motherfucking hardest and still sitting at the bottom – because you realize that your hardest isn’t going to be good enough. For me facing the harsh truths in 2012 was an absolute necessity if I wanted to escape the definition of insanity.
It wasn’t the classic cliche realization of ‘I am capable of so much more’ – I’ve thought that forever, no – it was more of a realization that I’m not capable of more unless I become more. Unless I first accept the harsh truth that I’m not that fucking great, in fact – there is a lot of things that suck about me.
For anyone who knows me, that would probably come as a shock. And not because it’s untrue, but moreso because I haven’t been known to have a low opinion of myself.
I recently had the pleasure of reading a personal account of someone describing the single harshest truth he had to face in life, and the subsequent effect this truth had on him.
Essentially, this gentleman came to face the harsh truth that he was ‘a poor example of a human being’ and that he ‘had to change’.
In his words:
I decided to embrace the pain, to acknowledge my mistakes, and start to change my thoughts, habits, and actions.
Reading this gentleman’s story is what led me to see that I had gone through a very similar experience in 2012.
In 2012 I faced some truths that I was aware of but had never before been ready to face, and I became aware of some truths that I’m still working on facing.
I also dispelled some false assumptions that I had previously believed to be true, and in the process uncovered new assumptions that I’m still becoming more aware of.
But most importantly I embraced the pain, which allowed me to acknowledge my mistakes and start to change my thoughts, habits, and actions.
For me the journey of life is partly about getting better at living. It’s ultimately about creating the reality that’s within me. And In 2012 I’ve learned that getting to know yourself better is the best way to do that. And if you want to get to know yourself, you are going to have to face the harsh truths. Because those are what will truly allow you to change your thoughts, habits, and actions.
So, in closing – I’ll throw down a short list, just as a memento to some of the things I learned about myself in 2012.
Mental Clarity – I have to take care of my health, exercise, diet, etc. I am capable of blowing it big time in this dept. (Once I turned this around I put on 20lbs in 2012 of much needed weight). By taking wonderful care of my mental, physical, and spiritual health, I have woken up to a new world and it’s beautiful. Plus, it helps you look good (naked ; ), which makes you feel good too.
Judgement – In the past I was a very judgmental person. I just didn’t think people were good. And I’ve realized, that’s not only toxic and unhealthy, but it’s unfair too – because people are generally good.
Acceptance & Letting Go – I used to really cast down people in my mind for their actions because I took everything personally. “Oh, how could they’, ‘that’s awful of them’ ‘pathetic’ ‘what a bitch’ ‘that’s not what family or friends are supposed to do’ etc. etc. I’d hold onto the pain forever. But I realized something in 2012: We are all doing our best. No matter how badly I blame someone and let it hurt me, the simple truth is that like me they are just doing their best to get by and their best given what they want and what they need. And yes, sometimes their best isn’t that great – and you deserve better, so let go and move on.
Control – I’ve learned that my personality type is a very difficult one. I’m very charismatic, passionate, aggressive, dominant, and I like to be in control of things. However, knowing this taught me that I’m going to be better off learning how to leverage it and minimizing the negative aspects than trying to change it completely. Knowing this is a massive asset to me for all of my relationships.
Lifestyle – As much as I love to be spontaneous and as much as I hate planning, I have to have some routine in my lifestyle. It’s healthy for me. I have an extreme personality. I’m very sensitive to things and having basic routines, even small ones like skincare routine in the a.m. and p.m. or sleep routine, or going into the office at set times, make HUGE differences for me.
Self-Sabotage – I am my biggest enemy. I will sell myself short mentally, physically, emotionally, spiritually, professionally, personally, etc. It’s just the mind. It will hold you back if you let it. You have to master your emotions and be in control of your thoughts.
What’s Important – I use to be a far more materialistic, arrogant, eh, well – you get the idea. This has changed so much, because the things that are important to me have changed. Or moreso, they have rearranged themselves. I put myself and my family first. I put everything else under that in order of the promises I have made to myself.
### There’s a lot more, but those are some of the key things. ###
So, if I sucked in 2012, or you think I sucked before that it’s because I sucked. I was doing my best then, and in many of the most important respects, it was pretty shitty. It’s getting a lot better.
2012 gave me a choice – I could have kept fighting who I was and kept the same cycles in motion, or I could crawl up off the bathroom floor and embrace the pain of the harsh truths. And it was really hard, and it took months to turn things around and to notice the changes and to progress – but I did it. I simply learned to hate the things about me that I needed to, and I’m finally learning how to take care of myself and how to love myself. That’s making me better at taking care of the people I love and better at loving others.
I am a baby. I am new unto this world and I am still getting to know myself. It’s a beautiful, almost spiritual experience to really live those new thoughts, habits, and, actions.
And the beautiful thing is that when you remove the bullshit, the baggage, the fear, and the loathing that comes with all of it, you find a version of you that you know so much better.
These will be the years. I swear to you that 2013 will kick ass – I’ve made a promise to myself.