2018 was undoubtedly the year of the petty. We saw the word itself go from inner city homes to Time Magazine pieces in no time. And once pop culture adopts a word, you know it’s just about time to lay it to rest. Petty, that time has come. Sure, watching people being petty is somewhat amusing but we tend to pump our breaks for car wrecks too so maybe everything that catches our eye isn’t worth the attention we give it. Let’s be honest, the word petty is a colloquialism for childish, childish is an adult-friendly word for immature and immature has never been something to strive for. We all needed the laughs, reads and memes to survive the foolishness that was 2018, but for the new year, let’s leave the petty behind.
Allowing Others To Determine Your Worth
2018 was the year of “Knowing Your Worth”. Unfortunately, not many of us got that far in the self discovery process but that didn’t stop us from passing the ball every chance we got. Whether it was some guy who ghosted us or a friend who missed a meet up or maybe an employer who had us all the way messed up with their job offer, we let way too many people dictate to us just what our worth was. And all that did was put the work of determining our value for and through ourselves on the back burner. Instead we zeroed I’m on others opinions of us and completely lost sight of the fact that our worth is a value only we can assess. You don’t go into a store, grab a piece of fruit and then tell the cashier what you think it’s worth. The worth is already established before you even decide to go shopping because only the grocer knows what work went into making the fruit available and appealing to you in the first place. In 2019, you dictate your worth because only you know what work went into making you who you are. Those who can’t afford to buy have no business browsing.
I think it’s fair to say 2018 was a tough year for most of us. Filled with enough tragedies and triumphs to give us all a nice case of the breaks (shout out to Curtis Blow). With political and social tensions running high in this county and economic collapse just beyond the globally warned horizon, it’s no surprise we spent most of 2018 on the edge of our seats. Using just about any coping mechanism to get ourselves from day to day. Stress is common, it may even be normal by today’s standards, but believe it or not, there are better ways to deal with stress than stressing. In 2019, we’re using healthy stress management techniques to keep those stressful situations from resulting in physical and psychological stress. We’re tracking and attacking our stressors head on. Establishing mental boundaries, identifying areas that require action and those that require patience, and making the conscious decision to trust our own abilities. Cause you are too blessed to be stressed and al those other auntie cliches.
Staying In One Sided Relationships
2018 was the year of struggle love. High off of watching Gucci Mane use an actual sword to cut through his $75,000 wedding cake, we all fawned as pop culture praised Keyshia Kay’or for being the quintessential ride or die. But for every one Keyshia, we had a slew of Cardi B’s, women who set out to be the textbook definition of “ride or die” only to have the decision backfire again and again. What we learned by watching these very public fall outs is that some of us get so hung up on having a relationship, that we don’t care if it’s one worth having. We’ll play the fool Monday through Friday if it means keeping up appearances over the weekend. And just like our celebrity besties, many of us were just as guilty of staying in relationships that guaranteed we’d come out on the losing end for the appeasement of outsiders. Let’s leave those one sided relationships and the drama that comes with them in 2018. If for nothing else, for the simple fact that relationships, even with all their challenges and ups and downs, are supposed to enhance your life. If you have to fight to keep someone in relation with you, that someone may not be deserving of your effort or your love.
Prolonging Decisions That Benefit You
How many of us are trying to live our best lives according to someone else’s plan? Sometimes it’s mom who maps out your life from birth til pharmacy school. Other times it’s Dad who saw you pick up that knitting needle and impale your baby brother and knew from that point on that his baby girl was bound to be a Physician. Regardless of whose dreaming the dream, it’s not your obligation to make it a reality. The only person whose dreams you’re obligated to make come true are your own. Dassit. And you don’t owe it to anyone to make your dreams backup plans to theirs. If you detour your plans to include the hopes and wishes of others, you only have yourself to blame when those original plans fall by the way side. Your goals should be your first priority, while other people are telling you what to do with your life they’ll be damned if they follow any advice you give them for theirs. So make sure the best life you’re living is really yours.
Saying Yes When You Mean No
I say yes a lot, way more than I should and nothing makes me say yes faster than wanting to say no. The socialization of overextending oneself is real amongst young girls. If someone asks, you say yes and you deal with your remorse another time. As adults, we become professional yes women. We’ll even beat you to the punch, ask you the question and hope you’ll say no on our behalf. Never works. My dad used to tell me “There’s a reason banks spend millions teaching their employees to say No”. And there’s a reason this didn’t hit home until I became an adult and my reluctant yeses became far more costly.
Allowing Anxiety To Limit Your Growth
I’ve suffered from anxiety most of my life. If you’ve never seen someone make a mountain out of a molehill, you’ve just met someone who can. Likely stemming from my sometimes tense childhood, anxiety has just always been a part of my life. It’s when my anxiety seeped into my decision making that I realized I had a fairly serious situation. Anxiety tells you that situations and outcomes are out of your control, that you don’t have the tools to tackle your problems and that even if you did you’d find yourself outmatched by their severity. And like most things that climb up in our heads to keep us stagnant, anxiety is dead wrong. The idea that there are things that come into your life that you don’t have the power to control, change or resolve is an idea that only serves to keep you from doing either and there’s no growth without some movement. In 2019, don’t let your anxiety keep you expecting new outcomes by doing more of the same.
Being A Caretaker
Every New Year we get to hear folks rant about all the people they’ve left in the previous year. We get tons of stories about how people allowed themselves to be used and abused by friends, relatives and partners alike, only to come to the recent determination that they’d finally had enough. The same people post this declaration year after year, pretending a date change is enough to modify their behavior? But allowing oneself to be consistently overextended is just as much about us as it is about the people we extend ourselves to. Truth is some of us are just emotional caretakers, people who feel obligated to take care of others needs before their own and caretakers naturally attract people who need cared for. Prioritizing others every once in a while isn’t a horrible thing, but when it becomes habitual and a cause of stress, it’s time to evaluate your habits. If every year end you find yourself eliminating people from your life for doing things you allowed them to get away with, maybe this is the year to shift some of that energy inward.
Choosing Unhappiness Because It’s Familiar
We all have a friend who hates their current situation but hates the thought of changing it even more. Could be a job, living situation, relationship, whatever it is they’d rather complain to you about it than actually Fix it. We assume being unhappy is uncomfortable but it’s not. In fact, the longer you’re uncomfortable the more comfortable it becomes. And when faced with a choice between comfort and discomfort, our inertia, the human tendency to do nothing or remain unchanged, will choose comfort every time. The part of our brain that control our habits and conscious decision making abilities carves neural pathways to common choices making them easier decisions to make. This is why our bodies reject those gym intensive New Years resolutions and opt for the all too familiar Ben & Jerry’s & Netflix night instead.
Unhappiness is a habit, and habits don’t break themselves. So in 2019 leave that job you hate, break up with him and move out of that $2,400 studio in East Harlem you hate so much, knowing that the temporary discomfort will be worth it in the end. Let this be the last year your friends have to mute you on Facebook for complaining about that guy you’ve known for years is no good. There’s no one else to blame for your situational unhappiness but you, let this be the year you do something about it.