Unlearning & The Myth of Strong People
At age 4 I started setting goals for the New Year and have been consistently doing so since...until the end of 2015.
2016 was the first year I did not set any goals for myself. Part if it was because I did not know what kind of goals I would set that would top 2015 - the year where I graduated from law school, took the bar exam, passed the bar exam, gained the confidence to call myself a yoga instructor, and started working as a lawyer at a law firm (all before I turned 21). The other part of it was that achievement is exhausting and all the stress of being a high achiever had finally caught up with me and I had no energy left to dream.
And so December came and turned into January, and my goal sheet was left completely blank. If I could be completely honest with you, there was one word that came to mind when I thought about 2016 but I was too ashamed to write it down as a goal.
That word was survive...
Obviously if you know how my 2016 is ending you know that I did not just survive. I THRIVED!! 2016 definitely topped 2015 in my achievement meter - starting a law firm, traveling to my favorite continent in the world and hosting a mega successful conference with African women, going deeper in my self care/yoga/meditation practices and sharing that with other women through my yoga classes, making enough money to do the things I care about doing and bless the people I've been led to bless.
While all of that is fun to share about - I want to share about the in-between space. I would rather share about the process because we all know that the hard work happens in the process.
The process of 2016 for me has been all about unlearning! If I had to sum it all up in a nice pretty word package, I would say: You have to un-learn to become.
- We have to unlearn patterns in our thought life that don't serve us well [the not-good-enoughs, cannot's, and fear based thoughts].
- We have to unlearn the shame and fear feelings that come with being vulnerable.
- We have to unlearn our perception of disappointment and unmet expectations.
- We have to unlearn our relationship with ourselves, food, sex, money, pleasure, addiction, God, and achievement.
- We have to unlearn the expectation of fulfillment at all times.
And all of that is hard work.
And all of it is worthy work.
Have I said that is hard work? Because looking at yourself and seeing all the things you would rather not see, but choosing to call yourself good in the presence and revelation of all of unpleasant things is simultaneously the Most Divine and the most nerve wracking thing you can do.
BUT here is why its worth it, you don't 'become' if you don't do the work.
And unlearning + becoming is what makes people appear strong.
While this is worthy work, I would like to caution you against thinking you are not strong unless you do all of this! You are already so strong. Always remember that. Knowing and owning the strength you already possess is what will give you the courage to go inward and do the work on yourself. Others may not recognize your intrinsic strength, but always know that you are strong enough!
As I have evolved from insecure, shy, and unsure to confident, highly educated, and leader I try to remind myself that I didn't become strong overnight. I did not become strong the day I graduated law school, the day I started a law firm, or my first night in a country 8000 miles away from home. The truth is that I have always been strong, and you have always been strong!!
That is one of the most significant things I have reconciled within myself in this process of unlearning. There are more and I would gladly share them over a cup of tea with you sometime but I think this is the most freeing thing and I could not help but share it because New Years brings with it a certain kind of pressure to achieve and be more. While I do believe in dreaming and visioneering, I think sometimes the best things we can do for ourselves and our life plan is surrender to the process of unlearning and just see where it takes you?
2016 has shocked me in every way and again not one vision was cast for the year. I wonder what your year would look like if you just let things unfold naturally at their own pace and let the year teach you what it wills?