Was 2020 the catalyst required for the next generation of humanity
In life we seem to always forget that growth feels uncomfortable. Leading up to any evolution can feel excruciating. We see it physically in our bodies: the pain we feel when our teeth are coming in, growing pains leading up to spurts, the burning feeling in our bodies while excising to enlarge our muscles, the uncomfortable itch of stomachs growing during pregnancy.
These pains are all explainable and at the end of the process we can visibly see the results.
Intellectual, spiritual, metaphysical - whatever you want to call it - growth is often difficult to see or to clearly measure. You may go through a transformation and looking back you could realize you've changed. But often as we are going through intangible growth, we can’t see the fruits of our labours in a clear, concise, measurable ways.
Intangible growth is still painful. Think of the pain you felt the first time you received major criticism. It is uncomfortable to hear that something you worked so hard on did not meet expectations. As you develop, the feedback loop becomes easier and you learn the proper way to take feedback. Taking feedback does not mean changing everything. It means listening to someone’s perspective and remembering exactly that – it’s just their perspective. You use what works and makes sense and discard the rest.
You can’t pinpoint exactly the moment it happens, but one day you are in that same uncomfortable predicament of hearing feedback and you take it and you move on with your day. You may look back and remember the days a critical conversation would lead to days of heartbreak, but now, just like that, here you stand confident in your work and taking feedback like a champ.
Take a moment and imagine the last goal you set for yourself. It could have been to run that marathon, a promotion at work, to start your own business.
Remember all the set-backs and frustration, when it wasn't as easy as you thought it was going to be?
Remember that uncomfortable feeling of having a hard time figuring things out?
Remember feeling like you were never going to get the hang of it?
And then boom! You reached your goal. Or maybe you didn't. Either way though, you changed, you grew, you came out of that experience stronger and more knowledgeable.
Failure is also such an important piece of growth. From our mistakes we learn and we use those learnings to help us succeed in the future. Failure is painful, but it's important because it leads to growth.
Often I find myself feeling so anxious and that anxiety leads to my body feeling physically uncomfortable. I can't always pinpoint where the feeling is coming from, but usually something happens. I make that breakthrough towards my goals and then looking back I can see that the anxiety and uncomfortableness was coming from growth. Now when I'm going through these times - I stop and I think. I think about what I am working on? What I am worried about? And now that uncomfortable feeling almost excites me. It excites me because I know I'm on the right path and whether I succeed or fail, that whatever I'm doing in this moment is contributing to my overall growth.
2020 was hard. It was really really hard. We were challenged in so many ways. We had to adapt fast to a new way of living, working, loving and simply interacting.
Our morals and values were challenged with the Black Lives Matter movement. We had to examine ourselves, our families, our friends, our Facebook communities and realign our values. We had to say goodbye too many people, who we were giving free passes to for far too long because maybe "they were from another generation and didn't understand" or "it's my aunt and family is family".
In retrospect I've always believed that Black Lives Matter and always appreciated and craved diversity. I feel embarrassed that I gave away these free passes. I should have always spoken up. No matter who the person speaking hate was or no matter how uncomfortable of a situation it would have created.
Again though this uncomfortable feeling: that I was once not as strong of an ally as I could have been. This has evolved me into someone who is going to try harder and do better to always speak up.
In 2020 we were let down. We were let down by elected officials who told us one thing and did another. We were let down by celebrities who flaunted their wealth and had big parties and went on big trips, while we "did our part" and stayed home. We were let down with the reminder of how white supremacy and hate still live in our communities and at an alarming rate. We were let down by each other as covid cases climbed and it became apparent that our communities were not following guidelines. We were let down by people who couldn't simply wear a mask and stay 6 ft apart, just for a small period of time, because they believed it was a violation of their human rights.
2020 highlighted for us how greed and power have taken over our society. Greed and power have always been a downside of capitalism, but 2020 provided us with a magnifying glass to really see the effects of greed and how some people will do anything to obtain and maintain power.
We saw huge corporations lobby with government to deem their businesses essential, so they could send their employees into unsafe working conditions to ensure their profit remained unchanged. We saw companies making short term decisions like laying people off, adding to the issues within the overall economy, as well as overworking the staff they kept, just so they could keep shareholders happy with results.
We saw the President of the United States do whatever it takes, even trying to overthrow democracy in order to stay in power. Members of the senate and the media aided him, in trying to overturn an election.
We always knew the government spoke out of both sides of their mouths, but this year we got to really see how this structure impacts us. We learned the importance of having strong leaders in charge and why we have to stay informed and we have to vote. It's our duty to be active members of society in order to care for ourselves, our families and each other.
Some of us lost our businesses, our jobs, opportunities, special events and most importantly loved ones.
Collectively we felt a huge amount of pain and for the majority of 2020 we were uncomfortable. The beauty in all of this, is this was a year of growth.
I truly believe we are coming out of 2020 as different people. Within myself I feel more solidified in my values than I ever have in my whole life. People in my life don't need to match with what I feel 100%. I still love debate and a difference of opinions, but I now know what values are non-negotiable, when choosing friends or supporting artists, candidates and even companies I'm purchasing from.
In the past I would have called myself a capitalist and I'm not going to lie, money is still a huge motivator for me, but now I know that humanity and people are more important to me than money.
I have a whole new outlook on taxes. For the first time ever I'm happy to pay my taxes. I see why our taxes are so high and all those great benefits it affords to our communities. I want to see where that money is going and I want to elect people I trust to spend that money, but I'm happy to contribute to a greater good.
I want to give more than I have in the past to charities. I see how valuable all these amazing organizations and initiatives are and all the work they do to protect our most vulnerable. I want to play a material role in my community and feel proud of what I am contributing to humanity overall.
I want to support local and I want to see my friends succeed. Even if it means life will get more expensive. I want to buy from people who are making their dreams come true and making quality products.
I'm willing to pay more for products that I know are being ethically produced. I want everyone to be paid fairly for the work they are putting in. This will mean I have less stuff but to me that's also good news. We are consuming at an alarming rate and it's killing our planet. We need to normalize repeating outfits and only having a few pairs of shoes. We need to normalize buying secondhand for quality crafted pieces. We don't need every lipstick that every celebrity produces.
Most importantly in 2021 I am taking back my power. We create these culture leaders in our society by following them, buying their products, supporting their arts. Without us they would literally have nothing, so let's all take back our power. If someone isn't representing your values and beliefs, unfollow, stop buying, stop showing up for people who aren't showing up for mankind.
Gratitude was a huge theme for me in 2020. Every day I woke up happy that my family, friends and I were healthy. As cliché as it is when we have less, we actually feel more fulfilled. When we go back to travel, nights-out and parties, let's remember how lucky we are to simply wake up every day.
I'm going into 2021 cautiously optimistic as I realize we still have a lot of work to do, but I know I've grown and I know you have too. Together we are going to make this world the best possible version. This is just the tipping point.
Remember when it feels uncomfortable you know it's worth it!
Interested in more content like this - check out the authors podcast Nikk Needs to Know coming in early February. Follow them on Instagram @NikkNeedstoKnow
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