27 Ways I Survived 2016

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2016 was one hell of a mess. Despite this, there were still some meaningful takeaways that helped me grow up and shift my life perspective in preparation for a, hopefully, smoother 2017 and beyond. I will share them with you below.

What did you realize this year that you think helped you become a better you?

One unforgettable thing about 2016 is the political drama. Families divided, friends broke up, dreams set on fire. Political opinions are like a loved ones bad cooking – theyre hard to swallow and leave a funny taste in your mouth, but saying what you really thinkwill likelyend up hurting both of you. Ive realized theres almost zero chance of persuading someone to sing to your tune. We can only politely engage in discourseto giveothers a glimpse atour point of view, but we shouldnt expect unique individuals to do a complete 180 on their set beliefs and principles from a Facebook conversation.

In the likely event someone declares their support for Trump or your countrys dictatorregardless of the fact this guts you on a personal level, respect it. We must be open to diverse perspectives. Respect peoples choices and opinions no matter how misguided or incorrect they may seem TO YOU.

As frustratedyou may be enough to tweet “or “take a moment to self-reflect instead. I dont mean to say youre the problem, but you dont have the same reality as people with opposing principles as you. I assure you there are legitimate underlying reasons why people think and vote the way they do.

Its difficult to put yourself in someone elses shoes, but you dont need to fully understand someonein orderto empathize with them. Be compassionate and receptive. Dont talk down to someone if they initially sound ignorant.

If the only act youre doing is looking down on Trump supporters by calling themidiots, racists, sexists, etc. will they really be willing to open up and understand YOUR side? We have to empower others with the knowledge and information we were fortunate enough to gain early on and invite them in the movement. If you are unable to wrap your head around someone elses POV, extend your empathy to gain some level of insight.

That said, do not blanket somebodys ignorance to protect their ego. The moment you explain why you feel oppressed by someones privilege or why you think someones beliefs tramples over your rights, but all you get is condescension and close-mindedness, then unleash your justified wrath. If a personcalls you or others Libtards, Democunts, Stupid, etc. youve pursued a mature discussion with them, then you dont need that kind of person in your life. Bye, Felicia.

(Side-note: The word Millennial is not and will never be an insult.)

This is the year you come to terms with all the toxic relationships in your life. By toxic, I dont mean to say you were a victim and other people were solely at fault. It could also mean people youve hurt in the past who dont want to forgive you; people who maintain a passive-aggressive treatment of you; people who, despite your efforts, dont want to recognize the good in you or give you a chance to better yourself; people who just plainly dislike you.

Some people may think you dont deserve a shot at happiness and successor you dont have a rightto promote unapologetic self-love because once upon a time you did them wrong. Thats not true! You deserve every second of positivityyou achieve and its not your burden to make them see why.

Dont be around people who trigger you to revert to old habits. Dont be around people who intentionally make sure to let you know they dont like you, they dont believe in you, and they dont want you. If a person deliberately makes you feel crap without any constructive motive, remember: how a person treats you has little to do with you and has more to do about the other persons character.

Say goodbye to your internalized guilt. Doesnt matter if you were a toxic person yourself with your share of screw ups. As long as youve made peace with your mistakes, continue to embrace yet improve the nastiest parts of you, and consciously extend your amends or apologies with words and/or actions, then its okay to let go of that shame.

Merely avoiding your past self wont help. Face it head-on and give it the middle finger before finally waving farewell.

If people still dont want to acknowledgehow youre trying to be a nicer, healthier person, then whatevs. Thats their prerogative.Other people are under no obligation to make you feel good about yourself or your journey.

You dont need someone else to forgive you. need to forgive you.

In order to progress we must distance ourselves from that which triggers us to regress. Self-healing can come with consequences and sometimes its in the form of people leaving you or you leaving them. You may feel like but this is a normal emotion youll have to experience if you want to take a step forward in your healing process. Delete people on social media, stop texting back, sever years-long ties. Do what you think is best for you.

Surround yourself with people who celebrate you at your highs and guide you through your lows. Treasure thosewho dont only see the bad side of you, who dont hold your shortcomings against you. You will find people who will know about the goriest uncensored parts of you and still adore who you are now. Even if youre already 25, 35, 45, or 55, there are always opportunities for building new close friendships. You will meet loads of people and become close friends with the most unlikely individuals in the most unlikely circumstances. How cool is that? (Hi besh!) Also, durable old friendships will last the test of time and distance, even with low maintenance.

Cut off those who think its okay to belittle you or your journey because it doesnt feel real to them. Its real to you are who dragged your ass to therapy; who slaved for hours on your job so you could pay for medication and counseling; who made the hard work to reevaluate your entire self, unlearn negative behaviors, and painstakingly strive to change rooted personality traits. Nobody else but you knows the genuine challenging labor youve done, and continue to do, to be in the healthier state you are in right now.

You dont need someone to validate you, your niceness, or your self-improvement. Youre trying to be a good person for you, not them, not anyone else.

Theres a chance your parents may be disapproving of your life choices. Rebel against your inner nature to be an obedient, pleasing child.

Although youve successfully distanced yourself from an abusive parent (or other loved one) you may still get hurt or affected when they do something akin to their old maltreatment of you. Again, this is normal. You cant control how you feel towards an abuser, but you can control how you react.Dont allow their words/actions to have a lasting impression. Squish that rising resentment and self-doubt like a cockroach smacked with a shoe.

In the event of depression, seasonal or otherwise, stick to your routine. A once-in-awhile-lay-in-bed-all-day break is fine on your absolute worst day, but sticking to your routine is essential for you to get back on track again. Force yourself to go to work, to bike to the gym, to take a shower, to do your makeup, to have a date night, to take a walk outside, to clean the house, to buy groceries, to cook food and eat it, to cross the 10 short steps to the kitchen to take your meds.

If every day is beginning to feel like your worst day, seek help. Its okay to voice your vulnerability and ask others for help. You shouldnt keep it bottled up all the time. I promise people wont think less of you when you do it.

As straightforward as this sounds, its quite easy to forget: just because youre depressed today doesnt mean youll be depressed tomorrow. Just because things are shit this week, doesnt mean theyll be shit the next. Endure, have patience.

Learning a new hobby can make a huge difference in your daily survival.

Start doing the things you promised your childhood self youd do: stuff your face with cotton candy, buy a ton of chocolate only for yourself, learn how to do a cartwheel, cross-stitch, visit Disneyland, marathon episodes of Scooby-Doo, bake cookies on a Monday and lick raw cookie dough from your fingers without mom forbidding you.

You dont have to watch a TV show all the way to the end just because you feel obligated to know what happens next. If your favorite TV show is beginning to suck or be boring, let it gooooo and invest your time elsewhere. #byeTWD #byePLL #byeHTGAWM

As long as they are not hurting anyone, allow other people to enjoy things even if they are things you dont like. Allow other people to make grammar mistakes without mocking them. Allow other people to feel what they feel and say what they want without you dictating them to stop whining about it.

Do you really have to complain aboutLGBTQ+, African Americans, or other minorities who are understandably upsetover Trump winning (especially if you are white and upper middle class)? Is it necessary to bashothersasfake fans because they just discovered Coldplay today instead of back in 1996? Will there be any positive impact on societyafter you complain about such petty things?

If someone on social mediaannoys you so much then unfriend or unfollow that person instead of typing another blind item Facebook status. Otherwise, learn to scroll past.

Stand up for your principles. Yes, be nice and try your damnedest to be nice even when you are tempted to be otherwise, but know when its a circumstance that needs calling out misogyny, ignorance, sexism, racism, rude neighbors, or just social media pettiness. Pick your battles wisely, but dont be afraid to raise your voice regarding topics you are passionate about.

The universe treats you only as good as you treat yourself.

The viewis magnificentfrom atop a ferris wheel even though your height phobia is literally making you weep. You will miss out on a lot of great experiences if you do not try to overcome your fears everynow and then.

Take risks not just with yourself but with others. Trustwhen someone is kind to you. Trustthe good in you. Trustwhen things seem too wonderful to be true. These moments do not come as often as we would like so savor them.

Do not bethreatened byoutspoken social media loversor other peoples seemingly more exciting relationships. Focus on you and your partner. Lavish romantic gesturesdo not equal domestic/maritalbliss.

Try not to buy too much into the practice of materialism. The less unnecessary things you own, the more space you have to live.

Demand love. Demand respect. Do no expect these from the get-go, but dont let it slide when you sense you are not being treated as a social equal by someone.If a person is not as emotionally invested in you as you are with them then give them a wake-up call.

Honestly? Fuck what people think of you.

Never forget the people who love you and care for you. On your darkest days, they can be your light. Never forget to show them you appreciate them.

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