Things that I learnt in 2017

2017 was a real roller coaster full of twists and turns, with more downs than ups. I feel like 2018 will be the year when I’ll have to deal with some deep rooted issues from the past and frankly, it terrifies me.

It’s the time when social media are inevitably flooded by people’s new year resolutions; I bow down to anyone who manages to stick to them for more than two weeks.

While I leave the planning and setting goals to those superhumans, I will content myself with reflecting on what I learned in the past year and what I’m still trying to work on. Hopefully, it will remind me that 2017 wasn’t all trash.

I. Feelings demand to be felt

This lesson was inspired by John Green’s quote: “That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt”.

It’s so easy to shove a negative feeling in the far corner of your heart and hope that it dies on its own without you having to deal with it. Before you know it, pushing down your feelings becomes a habit, and that habit becomes a whole elaborate but unhealthy coping mechanism. But those feelings only grow in number and size and they affect you in ways that you can’t control. And one day, the dam that has been holding them back will crack and a huge tsunami will burst through, leaving behind a path of destruction and carnage.

It’s a very apocalyptic way to describe it but it should you give an idea of the consequences. I’m not telling you to lash out at your asshole boss. But find a way to face it and process it. It might be a discussion with your boss when you have calmed down a bit, it might be a midnight run to clear up your thoughts, it might be a dinner talk with your family to purge it out of your system.

You have the right to feel the negative emotions, it only makes you human. But learn to process them and don’t let them take control of your actions and words.

II. Finding your own rhythm

Nowadays to be a capable human adult, you have to juggle so many things at the same time that it takes serious organizational skills to do it all. In addition, if you are a victim of perfectionism ( yes, a victim) then you either excel or you completely shut down.

I know that productive people will tell you to stick to a precise schedule and finish what you’ve started right away so that you stay focused. But for chronic procrastinators and anxious people, a tight schedule will only add pressure and be having to finish something in one go will result in giving it up altogether.

So I’m testing a new method of working that will hopefully spare me fewer shutdowns. It’s a method of which legitimacy I still have yet to confirm but allow me to share it. What is working for me is finding activities that don’t demand too much effort and that I enjoy but are still somewhat productive. For example, photography and reading books. These are the activities that are pressure free but will still help me grow. When I need to write a blog post but I can’t, I pick up a book and read it instead. In other words, when you feel like you’re blocking on something, then switch up to something easier that is still productive. And when you go back to the initial activity, it’ll be easier to face it because while you’ve been doing that second activity, your brain was still working on the first one (in theory lol). That way, it keeps you away from the real distractions like Youtube, Facebook or Netflix. Bit by bit, discipline will come more easily to you because when you feel less pressure to do the activities that you need to do, it is so much more pleasant to do them.

That’s it. Some people will have longer lists but for me, 2017 raised more questions than it answered. I sure hope that I figure out some stuff this year. A lot of stuff.

So here’s to more hope, more faith and trust, here’s to fewer breakdowns, stress, and self-doubt. Here’s to healing, learning and growing in the hopefully wonderful year of 2018!


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