Dear 2021: 21 Things I Learned Last Year

Happy New Year all! I think that we could all agree that last year was definitely somewhat of a rollercoaster - so, I wanted to share a few things that I learned last year to reflect on the craziness!

1 - Vulnerability is cool


I never knew how much I valued vulnerability in others until last year. It's probably the thing that I admire most in other people - maybe because I have a hard time being vulnerable and opening up to people in person.


However, one of my personal goals is to become more willing to be vulnerable around others; it's something that helps us connect to others and shows courage.


2 - 22 is not old


One thing that society harbors on is that youth is the epitome of life - this can leave people feeling like their lives are over once they reach 24!


I think that we should try to focus more on encouraging each other to follow our aspirations at any age and enjoying the process. Life is made up of a lot of small moments that we can miss out on if we don't take time to appreciate where we're at.


3 - Versatility is my superpower


In my career, I often struggle with wanting to be trendy and conform to a niche that would gain me followers and popularity. However, it has simply never been possible for me because I'm just not a "niche" gal - I couldn't just choose one "aesthetic" to base my life off of.


Versatility is a part of who I am, and I won't give that up simply for the fact of easier career growth.


4 - Sharing is caring


This past year, I have tried to have more courage in sharing God's word with my audience and people around me. Sharing the scripture is not something that comes easily to me, especially within the industry that I work.


The goal is to have God at the center of all I do, so having more courage to share about Him is something that I hope for in my future!


5 - Mental health is a battle


I struggled with my mental health in 2021 more than in my entire life combined. I never felt true depression until last spring and it was definitely something that I learned a lot from.


Mental health issues are things that you truly can't understand, until you do.


If you're feeling like you're going through a really rough patch, please reach out to others who care for you - and I will be here praying for you if you need it!


6 - Spend more time with loved ones


I hung out with my family and friends a lot last year - but I am happy to confirm that they are all my favorite people! I am truly so grateful for the people around me, and I'm looking forward to all of the new memories that we will create this year.


7 - Relationship growth


In the past year, I've gotten so much closer to my friends and family. I've tried my best to be more considerate and intentional in my relationships. As I mentioned earlier, I really value vulnerability, which is something that I saw more of last year in my relationships as well.


I hope to continue growing my relationships and to bring new life into all of them!


8 - Relevance in the industry


In a quickly evolving industry, it is easy to base your worth off of whether or not you feel like others view you as "relevant". In the past month or so, I've felt more "irrelevant" than I ever have in my career.


Although my friends would tell me otherwise about my relevance, it is not a characteristic that we should place on people or their careers.


9 - People are always watching


Social media has made it easier than ever before to see many moments of others' lives. Whether you feel seen or not, there's always someone actively paying attention to what you're doing/posting on social media.


This can be discouraging or encouraging when it comes to your career because you can feel constrained at some points and free at others.


10 - Tell people how much you care


One thing that I struggle with, which I've gotten a little better at this past year, is telling people that I care. Messages like "I'm so excited to hang out", "I like your presence", or simply checking up on people are ways that I've worked on showing people that I care.


The love languages that I show are gift giving and quality time, but I understand that others in my life appreciate words of affirmation more, and loving people the way they want to be loved is just as important as how you want to love them.


Although I'm still struggling with the "I love you" phrase, it is certainly in my future!


11 - I am not my appearance


It is much too easy to get caught up in forming your identity through your appearance - it is also very dangerous because humans naturally change all of the time.


I've definitely tried to step away from defining my worth based on how I look - don't get me wrong, looking good often makes me feel good as well, but I've been working on feeling just as good when I'm not all done up.


12 - Communication is key


Communicating can be very difficult for some of us, even if we don't want to admit it. When we try our best to communicate with others, it shows that you value the situation.


I find that even when what you're communicating doesn't come across how you'd like it to, or you don't want to have to communicate certain feelings, it's always beneficial to try because then both parties know the other is trying and cares about the relationship.


13 - Others don't determine your worth


When you assess your worth of yourself based on how others have treated you, then you are doing yourself a disservice. As I mentioned earlier, I sometimes have trouble with feeling "relevant" which can infringe on my self-worth at times. Although I probably won't ever completely escape the feeling of others defining my worth, it's something that I hope to mostly grow out of in life.


14 - You don't have to partake in trends


In the age of social media, it's a lot easier to follow trends, wear the same exact cute outfits as everyone else, and strive for all of the same things.


I encourage everyone to take a step back and try focus on what you truly like and find value in your uniqueness.


15 - Patience


Patience really is a virtue! God has instilled a lot of patience in me this past year and I'm very grateful for that. However, this does not come without trial and tribulation - I had to go through a lot of internal battles to become more patient with others and myself.


I hope to become more patient in the future because everyone could use a little bit more of it!


16 - All work and no play kills


I will say this until my lungs give out. Take. Breaks. All work and no play will quite literally kill you if you don't get on top of taking care of yourself.


These days, we all feel a little rushed, pressured by society to become more, and to be the next "girl boss". You can't girl boss if you aren't functioning properly from a lack of self-care!


17 - Take time away from social media


In 2021, I took a lot of time away from social media, mostly due to mental health struggles.


We never know how much time we spend on social media and how it affects us mentally until we take a step back.


18 - Simply being there is enough


Being present and showing up for your friends can be emotionally taxing sometimes, but they'll always appreciate your presence when they need you. Sometimes, we just want to be told that we're not crazy and that our feelings as valid - and that's enough. Other times, we really need a strong shoulder to cry on.


God wants us to be support systems for others and he'll give you the strength you need to do so.


19 - New chapters are scary


Change is always happening - in us, around us, through us, everywhere!


Changes bring new chapters in life and sometimes we don't even know that we're stepping into a new journey, it kind of just happens. But although change is scary, being stagnant is even scarier.


20 - Love is weird


Romantic, platonic, or familial, love does crazy things.


21 - I am nothing without my support system


Number 21 is certainly not a new lesson that I learned last year, but it's something that I carry with me every day of my life.


One myth that I think we should debunk, is the concept of being "self-made" - none of us are self-made. We all had some kind of support behind us, whether it was strangers supporting us, family, friends, colleagues, or a system, we can't have successes without others.


With that, I want to thank my family, friends, and the Lord for being the best support system I could have ever imagined - they have seen the good, bad, and ugly, and have been along for the ride since the beginning. I owe the majority of my wins to them and I could never thank them enough.


-


Head over to my Instagram (@faithblackshear) and TikTok (@faithblackshear) to check out the latest in my life and how my style is evolving!


"The Lord redeems the soul of his servants: and none of those that trust in him shall be desolate"


Psalms 34:22


-- Faith Blackshear

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