It’s taken me a few days to wrap my head around the fact that 2016 is O-V-E-R. Damn but that was the most intense rollercoaster ride of my life. I’m grateful yet so happy it’s over.
I was broken down last year. All the layers of “me” were stripped, piece by piece, until I was left raw and exposed. It’s not until you go through that process yourself that you appreciate how exhausting it is.
Now that I’ve come out the other side and had a couple of days to relish the start of a new year (and Universal cycle), I’m grateful for the lessons 2016 taught me. Though I can’t say it was fun (and those who know me know I loooooove fun), my experience was exactly what I needed.
Over the next few days, I’ll be sharing the lessons I learned and how you can take your 2016 (and now, 2017) experience to help yourself.
1) HEALING IS LIFELONG
I came into 2016 cocky. I was in a scary-ass accident right before the new year started, was embarking on my entrepreneurial journey for the first time but at least I had my mental health handled. Since that had been my first priority for a few years, I figured it would always be that way.
Ha. Ha. Ha.
It took about a month for my morning routine to fall by the wayside. This routine helped me stay grounded all day (incredibly important for my mental health) and set me up for success. By neglecting it, I became more reactive and volatile emotionally leading to me losing trust in myself, which affected me and my business (more on this later).
In my rush to move forward, I forgot the fundamentals to my health. I had stopped walking my talk. This fact slowly, subconsciously, eroded my self-confidence … affecting how I showed up for my clients.
Added to that I got obsessed with learning new healing modalities (this is like crack for me) but stopped reinforcing the fundamentals.
The lesson here: healing is lifelong. It’s not for a few months or a few years of life. It’s for the rest of my life. This meant 2 things – a) it’s not always going to be the #1 priority in my life … and that’s OK. b) When in doubt, stick to the basics.
Anxiety provides me with an incredible imagination. It also makes me overcomplicate simple things REGULARLY. It’s the balance between them I’m constantly aiming for. When I had episodes of severe anxiety and depression during 2016, I focused on incorporating the new healing modalities I was learning (and was by no means an expert in yet) rather than focusing on my fundamental healing to, at minimum, lessen my mental load. Instead, I put all this unnecessary pressure on myself to use my new knowledge, triggering anxiety which led to analysis paralysis … and inertia.
Ultimately, it was this dreaded inertia that led me back to the fundamentals of my healing and helped me show up the way I desired. I understood I had my whole life to learn new stuff and apply it but when I have a bigger priority in my business that needs my attention, it’s enough to do what’s needed and not what’s wanted.
2) BALANCE IS DYNAMIC & INTERNAL
Balance is one of my core values in coaching, business and life. Figuring out where my sweet spot is between any 2 extremes is important to me, particularly having lived most of my life at one extreme or another.
I spent most of last year endlessly *searching* for my balance. Typing that out now, it sounds completely ludicrous but that’s exactly what I did. I never “found” it until I stopped trying so hard.
One of the fundamental principles of the human body is HOMEOSTASIS. In a nutshell, homeostasis is the concept of a dynamic equilibrium (read: balance) between all the different variables in the body. The key word here is DYNAMIC.
Homeostasis when you eat is different than when you sleep, workout, talk or walk.
Balance within myself, my life, my business is not a set destination that once I reach it, all is great with the world. Rather, balance is a state of being, a mindset of constant awareness of what feeds and drains me. I was hoping for an “X marks the spot” kinda deal and instead, learned that there is no ONE spot.
Balance means different things to different people. Balance also changes within a day, week, month and year for everyone. Once I stopped searching for balance outside of myself, I was able to BE balanced from within.
3) THE MORE DETACHED I AM, THE LESS SUFFERING I EXPERIENCE
This was a tricky lesson to embody every day and frankly, this is a still a work in progress for me.
I had talked to so many women last year with differing diagnoses – from cancer and autoimmune conditions to mental illness. Each one displayed a sense of attachment to their diagnosis, so much so that many weren’t willing to change their health maintenance plan.
I found myself taking on the diagnoses of depression and anxiety more and more, especially when things got out of control. I was using the diagnoses as excuses to be inconsistent, wallow and complain. We all know that doesn’t get us ANYWHERE!
At some point during the fall, I realized what I was doing and how it was affecting how I showed up for my business. I’m ALL for self-care first and foremost, but I also knew that I have a tendency to use self-care as an excuse to do nothing (when I should be taking action, even if it’s small). Instead of being someone who was experiencing depression/anxiety and listening to what these were trying to communicate to me, I became one with them and fell back into inertia. A recipe for disaster!!! 😱😱😱
I slowly worked on separating myself from my symptoms and made a conscious effort for months to look at my situation objectively. It was challenging at first #notgonnalie but within a handful of days, I was able to hear my intuition more clearly.
This detachment also led to me actually acknowledging my feelings and processing them rather than spinning my wheels in their muck. THIS WAS HUGE. I started making progress in my mindset, business and relationships without ANY of the stress that I was used to dealing with for the previous months. It was so eye-opening to see almost instantaneous change within myself when I didn’t make suffering personal.
Now, by no means have I mastered detachment but every day is another day I’m working on it. And each day I do, I have less and less depressive and anxious symptoms – which is my ultimate goal.
4) INSTINCT AND INTUITION ARE TWO VERY DIFFERENT THINGS
This one took me almost the whole year to understand and accept. But the Universe kept tossing me this tough love over and over and over and over again.
Instinct is primordial, old, instantly comforting, safety-based programming – a necessary failsafe. Intuition is uncomfortable, peaceful and quiet. Understanding the distinction between these within my body was a yearlong process.
There were weeks where staying connected to my intuition was a full day affair – constant grounding, meditation and self-reflection. #realtalk it was draining. But over time, it got easier and easier to hear IF I did what was necessary for me to hear it.
On the flip side, I had to come to terms that my instinct wasn’t always for my highest good. My instinct would tell me:
🚫to take the day off (to feed into inconsistency, not for self-care)
🚫to feel threatened and incompetent when I saw someone else’s message that was similar to mine
🚫I wasn’t cut out to have the life of my dreams.
My instinct would lead me to stay feeling depressed, anxious and out of control. My intuition always led me to feeling energized, accomplished and at peace. The tug of war I felt between these 2 last year was exhausting but incredibly eye-opening. It taught me the difference between my wants and needs, how to have both instant and delayed gratification in a healthy way and how to train my instinct to be more intuitive.
5) I ALWAYS HAVE A CHOICE
2016 was a mix of good and bad. I connected with some incredible people who taught me a lot. I also made some bad investments that left me worse than before I had invested.
Through all the ups and downs, there were times I was tempted to blame others; there were a couple of instances where it was completely warranted. But at every junction, I always looked at my personal responsibility in the situation and what choices I had in that moment.
I remember in July, I was upset and frustrated about the state of my business – like complete meltdown level upset. I couldn’t get ahold of my coach, I was convinced my boyfriend couldn’t understand my experience, I had bills piling up which was triggering massive anxiety attacks. I was a Hot. Mess.
After an ugly cry with my boyfriend (where he supported me the best way he knew how *bless his heart*), I reached out for more support in a group I felt comfortable in and received A TON of support on how to move myself forward.
At that moment (and many others throughout the year), I had a choice. I could’ve isolated myself and continued spiraling further down into despair. Or I could’ve asked for help until I got the support I needed.
The right choice may not always (read: almost never is) the easy one or the safe one; the right choice is often the uncomfortable one. Understanding I had a choice and then acting on it was the difference between me running my life or allowing anxiety to take over. This lesson was imperative in reminding me that no matter how “bad” my experience may seem, the power to change it always lies within me.
6) IT ALL COMES DOWN TO HABITS
This is actually an old lesson that was beaten into me by 2016. I started learning about habits about 10 years ago but really used that information to transform my life almost 7 years ago. Using habit research and tactics, I lost a bunch of weight, overcame a lot of childhood trauma, dealt with a breakup and brother’s chemotherapy, all the while working 3 jobs. Without those well-formed, nourishing habits, I would’ve been a basket case.
Instead of improving upon the habits I had painstakingly put into place in my life, I spent most of 2016 reverting back to 2006 Rahma. This supposed de-evolution, while frustrating, ultimately helped me get back to basics. With a completely different life now than I had been planning and working toward, I had to overhaul my habits so I could be the best Rahma I could be NOW.
In a weird, roundabout way, I actually ended up in exactly the position I always wanted to – just waaaaaay sooner than I had expected. I was the CEO of my own company, I led a healthy lifestyle and I was in a loving relationship – now I had the chance to live it.
I had a bunch of fits and starts changing my habits. That’s normal and expected. Some of the habits included:
📌how to love myself despite my perceived flaws and struggles
📌how to use depression and anxiety symptoms as a useful tool to navigate my business and life
📌how to stop being scared of what I had done or would do and become present
Each of these habits are essential my mental health. Along with nutrition and exercise, maintaining a strong love connection to myself and steady mindset work led to rapid changes within my energy and subsequently, my life.
Connecting all this back to lesson 1, healing is a lifelong journey and it’s important to have your foundation solid. That foundation is made of habits and a truckload of self-love. Choose the habits that feed your self-love and healing won’t be far behind.
Thanks so much for sticking with me through this series. I’d love to hear from you – what lessons did you learn in 2016 that you’re bringing into 2017? Share in the comments!