written by Vanessa Kaelyn

This year, instead of writing out what I want to do for the New Year, I decided I would determine what I wanted to didn’t want to do. Here are 16 things that I believed we all need to leave behind in 2016:

  1. Living in the Past: Nostalgia can often consume our entire being. When dwelling in the past, we begin to say to ourselves, “It was so much better when…” or “I should have done so and so differently.” Doing so only creates an unhealthy obsession with the past that we can no longer see the present or future clearly. But we can never move forward if we are looking back. The past is meant to be visited, not lived in. Learn from your mistakes, forgive yourself, and find ways to benefit your present and future self from your past experiences.
  2. Playing God: 2016 was definitely a very unique year that was overflowing with heartbreaking moments that enforced growth and self-awareness within all of us. As much distress that the world is going through however, we must remind ourselves that we cannot save everybody. We just can’t. You can be a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on, but you cannot be that person’s Savior. Much of the time, we can guilt ourselves into believing that we have to be there for everybody every second of every day and that is impossible. What you can do is love others in the simplest, and most looked over ways. Smile at strangers, give up your seat on the subway, engage in a meaningful conversation. Know that helping someone even just a little goes a long way.
  3. Expecting a Knight in Shining Armor: Just as you can’t expect to save everybody, you should not expect to be saved by anybody. I am not telling you to not depend on others or accept help, we need others to lean on. Humans are unified in essence and cutting off connections would go against human nature. The message I am trying to convey is that you must know how to take care of and love yourself first. If you do not take the time to understand your own self worth and learn how to love yourself, you will constantly be trying to find identity and affirmation in your relationships. This, if not tended to, becomes a toxic relationship where your connections with others become superficial and self-serving if you are constantly trying to find out what they can do for you.
  4. Teen Angst: Society has definitely deemed hating as something “cool” and “edgy.” I am here to tell you that hating is definitely anything but cool. Intentionally being rude, selfish, or mean is simply ridiculous. The world does not need any more negativity. And you do not need to try to be anything else in order to appear collected and all put together. The truth is: nobody truly has it together. We are going through times of transition and growth. Learn to forgive, love, and spread positivity. Hate will get you nowhere.
  5. Romanticization of Mental Illness: Slowly and then all at once, the media has idealized mental illnesses such as depression and eating disorders. Mental illness is not a light matter. There are millions of individuals all around the world who face the immense struggle to get better from their illnesses while others are naive enough to believe this is a life they want. Mental illness is not a fashion trend you can just take on and take off. Mental illness is not a trend you can just follow. Do not go confusing yourself and self-diagnosing. If you believe there is truly something wrong, please visit a professional.
  6. Centralization of Eros Love: Romantic relationships are not the most important relationships. Although eros love is what society often deems as the most valuable, agape, phileo, and storge exist as well. Do not look over these types of loves. The best relationships often emerge from these three before eros love even comes around. So take time to appreciate the love of your friends and family and do not lose them when you focus solely on finding eros.
  7. Jumping on the Bandwagon : Remember your roots and do not lose faith in what you believe in. I find that many individuals are keen to hold the opinions of their friends, family, and or authoritative figures in order to conform with the majority. By doing so, you are losing a part of yourself. You have to stand up for what you believe in. Believing in everything is the same as believing in nothing at all.
  8. The Fixation with Social Media: Social media is truly toxic. According to a multitude of studies, we spend hours on our phones every day. The more time we spend on social media, the more time we become engrossed with our own and other’s social media appearances. Instead of spending so much time on your phone, take more time to do what you love. Go outside, make art, plan a date with your friends.
  9. Disunity: Last year, many events provoked separation between all of us. I believe that we should leave this in 2016, and learn to benefit and grow from each other’s differences and not just similarities.
  10. Treating People How You Want to be Treated: The phrase”treat others how they want to be treated” is flawed. You are a completely unique individual and not one person is on the same path as you.Treat people how they want to be treated. To do so, take time with your friends and family to learn their love language and what behavior to conduct in order to best fit their needs.
  11. Procrastination: Although this is something we all joke about, I think that it has become somewhat of a social accepted form of laziness. I myself find that I procrastinate far too often. But if we were to ditch procrastination, we would be able to avoid stress, learn hard work, and make more time to do the things we want and need to.
  12. Toxic Relationships: Get out of unhealthy relationships!!! I cannot stress how detrimental these relationships are to you. If someone is treating your badly, whether it be physical, mental, and/or emotional abuse, please end that relationship and get help. You deserve so much more than someone who insults, coerces, or degrades you. Instead, fill your life with pure and honest people who will help you grow and not tear you down.
  13. Four Wall Isolation: It is so easy to just stay within the confines of your own room. And for many introverts like myself, staying within the four walls of your room is a perfect day. Despite the desire for alone time however, do not time forget to spend a little time out and about nor human interaction completely. Isolation can so often lead to depression, and spending time with others is sometimes better than spending too much time in your own head.
  14. Wallowing in Self-Pity: A bad day, does not mean a bad life. I understand that there are hardships many of us should not have to go through but we do. It is what we do with those experiences that illustrate who we are. Find some wisdom in what you have gone through and use to flourish and support others in your life. You are alive for a reason, don’t spend the time you have here on earth pitying yourself.
  15. Body Shaming: You would think that in this day and age, people would have stopped shaming people for who they are. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The good news is that we are getting there. Whether you believe we were made by a Divine Entity or stardust, either way you were created beautifully and wonderfully. And if you were created in such an intricate and unique way, so was all the other people who surround you. Different does not mean bad.
  16. Being a Variation on a Theme: You do you best. The truth is, trying to be someone else is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. So often, we try to attain riches and physical appearances that other people have because we want their happiness. Happiness begins with you and not anybody else. You are a human being in need of love and care that contrast from how someone else might need love and care.Love the skin you’re in. Take care of yourself by making sure you wash your face every day, brush your teeth and hair, moisturize, shower, eat healthy foods, wear clean clothes, clean space, and good for what ails you because your body is a temple.



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