Thought this would be another trendy fashion guide? If so, you’re mistaken! This is the Hot & Not list: lifestyle edition.
2016 was quite a ride, and 2017 will undoubtedly bring its own challenges. We’ll face those as they come, just like we always do. But in the meantime, let’s resolve to not repeat the things that brought us down this year.
Life is all about progression after all…so leave the baggage of 2016 in 2016 and keep it pushing!
Let’s take a look back at the past year and consider what’s hot – and not – for personal growth.
HOT: Actively Contributing to a Cause you Believe In
NOT: Sharing a hashtag on social media and thinking your work is done
I think most of us can agree that 2016 was a hot mess. From the rampant police violence, the #wtf Trump-Clinton election trail, and states of emergency in Flint, Orlando, and Standing Rock (to name a few), we’ve seen a lot to give us good reason to feel frustrated and hopeless.
But on the flip-side, 2016 has given us ample opportunities to stand for something.
We saw hundreds of national protests, fundraisers, and community organizing efforts in response to the tragedies and injustices of the year.
Real change came from these movements, and the fight continues. But one thing we’ve learned and must carry into 2017 is that passive activism serves no one. Being proactive in taking a stand is how real progress is made.
HOT: Embracing Your Background Despite the Haters & Celebrating Yourself As a Beautiful Woman of Color
NOT: Shrinking yourself to fit into the “acceptable” model of what a woman of color should be
Women of color have long been subjected to stereotypes and prejudices about their existence. The “angry” black woman, “saucy” (read: crazy or over-sexualized) Latina, and “meek” or “excessively book-smart” Asian woman are tropes that repeat themselves constantly in our daily experiences.
It’s hard to feel supported when you face assumptions and rejection based on your culture. But what can we do in the face of these very real challenges? As long as we are of non-European descent, we will never fit some people’s mold of what “acceptable” looks like.
So why should we break our backs trying?
Cherish your culture, and stick it to anyone who dares to think you shouldn’t.
NOT: Taking on the burdens of the world, allowing your own health and quality of life to suffer
There is a noted stigma against mental health treatment and admitting to needing emotional support within the minority community.
Two months ago, rapper Kid Cudi opened up about his struggles with depression and anxiety. He talked about feeling pressured to mask his struggle and push on in spite. For many in the minority community, this is what we’ve been taught.
But the internet came through for Cudi with buckets of love. A hashtag of support—#YouGoodMan—sprang up and gave other men, particularly men of color, a platform to confront the issues around society’s concept of masculinity.
It’s time for women to examine our need to hold everything together for seemingly everyone… but ourselves.
There is no shame in seeking help when you need it, just as there is no honor in pushing your own needs aside for another’s.
Self-care is the primary component in successfully caring for others.
HOT: Refusing to Argue with “All Lives Matter” Idiots
NOT: Failing to recognize the willfully ignorant when you see them
Listen… Some people will hear you out. Some won’t. Some people know exactly what you’re saying, and choose to play deaf-and-dumb because they don’t like it.
…as are yours.
Save your education efforts for those who have their ears open and brains on. We have more than explained by now that “Black Lives Matter” should not be a controversial statement.
HOT: Striving to be a Vision of Perfect Health
NOT: Striving for the perfect body, by any means necessary
Hey, I’m not here to judge. Some people swear by their waist trainers and fit-teas, and that’s ok.
But being a slave to the newest trend claiming to quick-fix your weight and snatch your figure can be a never-ending battle.
Eventually you find yourself chasing some contrived idea of “perfection” that you’ll never actually reach.
Do you… but if you’ll never be satisfied until you have “the perfect body”, you’ll probably never be satisfied. Better to aim for perfect health instead—and realistically, end up somewhere below perfect, but with great habits and a healthy lifestyle.
HOT: Friends and Lovers who Push you to be your Best Self
NOT: Place-holder relationships and stagnant friendships
We’ve all been told this time and time again. Yet it’s worth repeating, because it’s a trap we all manage to find ourselves in.
Are they serving your growth? Do they inspire you to be a better person, dream bigger, and aim higher?
It’s easy to get stuck in relationships because they’re comfortable, ignoring the fact that they aren’t going anywhere. Getting unstuck takes admitting that you deserve more from your relationships than just “okay”.
This year, be bold enough to insist that the company you keep benefits your growth. Dare to stand alone if your relationships don’t fit the bill.
New Years is a time when we examine our life’s direction with the level of attention it deserves all year! And understandably so…something about resetting the calendar inspires us to start anew and put our best foot forward.
These were my tips for slaying the New Year, but don’t stop here!
Think about other areas of your life that could use some attention, and be proactive in bettering them. Even if 2016 was great to you, there’s always room for growth.
Hope you had a great holiday, and have an even better 2017.
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