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It's No Secret. This Year Sucked.

Listen, this COVID shit is no joke. People have got sick. People have died. They've lost jobs, businesses & divorced the person they said: 'For better or for worse' to. You can't do all the things you once loved. Everything's been cancelled. Hell, you can't even have a night out to dinner with your friends! It's been hard- on everyone. Yes, even on the most optimistic & positive people like me! I'm not immune to feeling like crap, missing my friends, wanting to travel, attend live events or simply having whoever the hell I want to have over in my own house! I totally get it- It absolutely sucks! Since we're all human, go ahead & take 5 full minutes to dwell on the suckiness of COVID, 2020 & whatever the future holds until we're allowed to get back to everything we love. It's been hard for me to run a business through this just as I'm sure it's been hard to raise a family, date, get married, have a baby or go through a divorce. Life is still happening through these tough times and there are plenty of things that aren't being 'paused & put on hold due to COVID'. Just because everything around us seemingly stopped & shut down, doesn't mean life itself has. It's important to not overlook & glaze over your negative feelings, but to truly feel them for a short period of time. So, do that & take the 5 minutes to reflect on all the reasons COVID has sucked. Then, join me for the rest of this blog in uncovering the blessings & all the greatness that'll come out of it.

Are you back from your 5 minute pitty party you just threw yourself? I hope you had cake! 

Don't feel guilty for feeling negative emotions, feel guilty about letting them fester & stick around for far too long! Getting control of your emotions & making a conscious choice as to the length of time you stay in a negative state of mind will actually change your life. It did mine. As I've talked about in my previous blogs, negative emotions are part of being human. Positive & happy people are not positive & happy 100% of the time, they're like that 80% of the time, which is the majority but not the entirety. 

Anytime anything negative or bad happens, I always look for the lessons to be learned. What is this situation trying to teach me? How can I prevent this from happening again? What should I do differently next time? Ask yourself these important questions, I think you'll surprise yourself with the answers you come up with. 

COVID is changing our society. It may return to normal-ish at some point, but we'll never be the same. The generations living through this will be impacted substantially, just the way previous generations were impacted by the world wars or the great depression. It changes the way you think & your behaviors going forward. No one is coming out of this the same person they went into it as. No one. In many ways I feel like it's a huge wake up call to everyone, myself included, to take a step back from the lives we were previously living and ask ourselves if this is the life we actually want? Or is it just a byproduct of what's accumulated as a result of our lack of presence, awareness & ability to intentionally create the life of our dreams? 

In a society that was once so used to hiding behind social media, whom would avoid deep self reflection and dismiss the uncomfortable realities, we're now faced with the time and space to actually look inward & take inventory of our lives. COVID has locked us down & got rid of most of the distractions that we previously had at our disposal to numb and fill voids. Guess what? It's uncomfortable. This year has forced us to look inward in ways we've never done before & it's changing us and the way we live our lives from this moment on. 

It's as if the universe said 'you guys are so distracted by your phones, social media, your businesses, money, freedom and all the luxuries of life & not only are you taking it all for granted, but you're letting it numb and distract you from finding true meaning & fulfillment in your lives. Let me get rid of all the distractions & bring you back to basics with a cold hard reality check - Yours Truly, The Universe.'

Well... As much I haven't enjoyed having my freedoms taken away & watching most of my favourite activities be banned, I can't help but reflect on how all the simple things I'd previously enjoyed were totally taken for granted. I'm sure you can relate. Think about all the things you're missing right now that you were able to do freely before COVID with zero thought, appreciation or worry that any of it would get taken away from you? I bet those simple things bring you so much more gratitude as you reflect on how much you miss them & cannot wait to be able to enjoy them freely again. See, in order for us to deeply appreciate something, we have to had experienced the opposite. The negative things allow us to appreciate the positive things. Just like how I appreciate the beautiful home I live in now because I'd previously lived in a crappy basement apartment with tiny (almost non existent) windows when I moved out at 16 years old. Or how I appreciate my husband because of the people I'd dated in the past. It's just human nature, in order to feel grateful we need a negative comparison to reflect on. 

Hate your job? How about all the people who lost theirs this year & got laid off before Christmas and have to downsize their life. Be grateful you have a job. If it's not your dream job, guess what? You can still be grateful AND work towards other goals. In fact, you'll be that much more successful if you let gratitude lead your life & decisions. Gratitude is not meant to convince you to stop growing and not chase your dreams. Gratitude is meant to make you feel grateful & blessed for the things you have now. There's a quote I came across recently that said: "You can still be grateful for where you are & still want more". I love that quote because gratitude & growth are key components to living a successful and fulfilled life. 

COVID happened the year I decided I was going to make some major changes & I feel like it was testing me big time. These changes were going to be challenging enough as it was, I did not need COVID making them nearly impossible. I wanted to get into shape, stick to a healthy diet, go to the gym, make new friends, network and go to more live events. You have to understand that these might not seem like a big deal to you, but to me, they were huge! So in a year where the gyms closed down, one of the only means for entertainment was take out food, social distancing & hanging out with only the people in your household was the law, you better believe I had to fight through the challenges to achieve these goals. I believe the universe has a weird way to show you the tough love you need in order to develop the kind of strength you require to push through hard things in life. I can recall many times where I decided I was going to do something major & challenging just to be thrown unimaginable curve balls. It was as if the universe was like " Oh yeah? You think you can handle this... How about NOW?" As much as I joke about it, by pushing through the toughest of challenges to achieve my goals, I've learned that I'm so much stronger than I've ever known. You are too, you just have to dig deep & commit. Do not let any excuse get in your way, even if the excuse sounds legit- do not let it win. Be stronger than your excuses.

I'd encourage you to take a moment now to look for the lessons you can take away from this year. Ask yourself some deep questions & turn this awful year into one of  the greatest gifts you've ever received! Here are some questions I've asked myself that have allowed me to face the reality & make necessary changes:

What lessons did this year teach you?  
Do you feel fulfilled & happy with who you are as a person fundamentally or do you need to do more work to get there?
When you're alone, how do you feel? 
How do you want to feel when you're alone?
What are all the activities you loved that COVID took away from you this year?
How will you feel when you're allowed to fully do them again?
How can you ensure you'll never take these things for granted again?
What areas of your life were you previously trying to ignore & numb?
How did you previously numb & ignore these areas (what would you do to distract yourself from facing the truth)? 
Who have you been forced to spend lock down with & do they truly make you happy?
Are there people in your life you haven't talked to in a while that you miss? 
Are there people in your life that you talk to who no longer bring joy or match your goals & values?

All of these questions will allow you to unveil the bigger picture and see which areas need your attention. The more you keep ignoring your problems, the more 'life lessons' the Universe will chuck your way to try to wake you the F up! So, if you're sick of having to go through the same hard shit, then start tuning into yourself & pay attention! If I ever have to deal with the same situations over & over again I know it's because I didn't fully understand the lesson the first time. 

Happiness, fulfillment & the life of your dreams is on the other side of all this soul searching you're doing. Don't waste the gift of lock down by Netflix-ing it up! Come out on top & a better person than the one who entered it. 

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