5 Important Lessons 2015 Taught Me

review_story_640_jpg__640x360_q85_cropIt’s the end of the year and just about everyone and their ‘momma’s momma’ is compiling lists of top 2015 highlights.

Some of my favorites include the Forbes.com lists of this year’s top earning companies, celebrities, and entrepreneurs as well as Billboard’s Hot 100’s archive of 2015’s most successful hit singles.

But while I love hearing about the rich and famous, I find myself thinking about major milestones from my own life this year.

If you’ve ever had a year so challenging you wondered how you even survived, you can relate to how this year has been for me! 2015 has brought in the toughest personal realities I’ve ever experienced. From disappointments to breakups–betrayals to life-altering diagnoses.

This year should have wiped me out!

But it didn’t. In fact, instead of discouragement or despair, I actually feel a sense of awe and gratitude for how these hardships have made me a better person.

I have never felt stronger, more content, or more in tune with what matters in life than now—all of which has happened as a result of what I’ve been through.

Below is a list of the top 5 lessons that transformed me the most and which I hope can inspire you to live a richer, more fulfilling life.

# 1: LET GO OF TOXIC PEOPLE

You know who they are. They’re the people in your life who mean well but really don’t know how to steward your heart. When you’re with them, you don’t feel safe and it’s always a struggle to be yourself. Let them go. They may get mad at you for deciding to exit the relationship but never forget that YOU teach people how to treat you. If you don’t respect yourself enough to not tolerate emotional (or physical) abuse, why should they? Get out and find people who actually love you well enough to treat you as you should be treated.

# 2: FAMILY MATTERS MOST
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Photo of my big sister’s Bridal Party, 2014

I know this is cliché but this truth has dawned on me like never before. You never know what you have until you almost lose it. Some people don’t realize this until it’s too late. Family is like that. No matter how annoying, difficult, or messed up your family is, they’re still yours. Cherish them while you can and don’t take your time with them for granted. Whether they’re blood relatives, ‘might-as-well-be-family’, or a church community—they are the ones who will stick with you through thick and thin. As this year comes to a close, I am so grateful I learned to cherish, prioritize, and enjoy my quirky, hilarious, Haitian family before it was too late.

# 3: Communication is ‘Errthing’

OMG! Why didn’t anyone tell me how powerful, freeing, and AWESOME communicating candidly and vulnerably is? Seriously, my closest friends know that I am on a ROLL when it comes to ‘keeping it real’. I used to be afraid of confronting issues with people. I would feel something was 11068384_10205733451748407_9122556634378495853_noff but would most honorably, “overlook the offense, such as to not rock the boat.” STUPID. Not dealing with hiccups in relationships is plain old fear masquerading itself as forgiveness. Communicate. Talk. Don’t go accusing the person of x, y, & z but speak openly about how you are feeling and what your needs are. (P.S., if you’re looking for a great book on healthy confrontation in relationships, Keep Your Love On by Danny Silk is by far my favorite!!)

I can’t tell you how many times this year, simply having a conversation about where a disconnect happened brought clarification, reconciliation, and beautification! Most shocking of all was realizing that what I was so sure had happened between the other person and I, wasn’t always the case! There are always two sides to every story and being honest about your side while inviting the other person to share theirs, will go a long way in building strong, healthy relationships.

#4 SELF-ESTEEM IS UNDERRATED

I never knew how much my perception of myself affected every aspect of my life. IMG_7780It’s the difference between always feeling like a victim and finally feeling like a powerful person. So much of the rejection I used to perceive from others, I now realize actually originated in my own feelings of unworthiness! Sometimes we can be our own worst critic. But this year, I decided to become my own greatest fan.

One way I’ve done this is by incorporating daily affirmations into my routine in order to retrain my subconscious to think positively about myself. In other words, every day, I say a series of positive statements about myself so that overtime, I begin to fully believe that I am all of the wonderful things that God says I am! The result is hope,  excitement about life, and purpose in my steps. It’s given me a new motivation to be  nothing but U N A P O L O G E T I C A L L Y | M E because I actually believe that being me is enough. (For more on this subject, check out two of my favorite videos: The Power of Vulnerability and Think & Grow Rich Audio Book)

#5 LIFE IS SHORT AND UNPREDICTABLE. SO LIVE IT ON PURPOSE AND TO THE FULLEST

This year, I have taken more risks than ever before and in the process, have found that whether I failed or succeeded, I won! Either I personally experienced the breakthrough, inspired others to step out of their comfort zones, or learned what not to do again! Ha

2015 is the year I dared to pay off my debt and then threw a party to show my friends how to do the same. I also took a leap of faith and quit my stable job to focus on pursuing my dreams. I’ve seen some of my aspirations come true while I’ve failed miserably at others. Like the fact that I become the first in my family to pursue a Master’s Degree and yet broke up with the man I thought I was going to marry. Guess what? I don’t regret a thing!  We live, we learn, we ache, we soar! That’s what makes us human and makes life worth the living!

IMG_7787As 2016 makes its way around the corner, my hope is that this blog has inspired you to make positive changes that will make it a good year. With my new found life tools, I look forward to pursuing my dreams with unprecedented vigor. Whether I succeed right away or fail at first matters not to me. What I care most about is the fact that I loved. The fact that I gave. And the fact that I know my God holds me close, tenderly, and passionately. Life is short. So why not live it running wild, living free, and loving strong?

 

Thanks for reading!

–Naida Lynn

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By Naida Lynn

3 Comments

  • Emanuela Dauphin

    28 Dec 2015 / Reply

    Amazing challenging and encouraging words. I love the part about speaking encouraging word to yourself. For some reason I have been cursed with notion that it’s bad to think highly of yourself. But I realize that’s just the enemy’s way of bringing confusion to who l am. Thank you and you are going far.

    • Naida Lynn

      28 Dec 2015 / Reply

      Awwww!!! Thank you so much Emma! You truly are a gem. I see the day when you’ll fully get a hold of how lovely you already are! What a day of rejoicing that will be :-).

  • Patrice

    01 Jan 2016 / Reply

    Love it!

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