- Relationships are #1. Keep close the people who love you, invest in you, and are there for you. And remember to offer them all of the same… even when they forget sometimes.
- Occasionally you will have to let go of a relationship that’s not working for you. It might suck. But it does open up more space for you to invest in the ones that are there. It can be confusing to figure out the difference between the friends that are just human beings and accidentally hurt us vs. the people that we need to let go of. Here’s a simple way to figure out the difference: if you are feeling hurt by or upset with a friend, talk to them about it. I like to call it a “repair conversation”. If you are able to work through things together, you’ll likely discover that your relationship is stronger than before it all happened. If they don’t seem able to work through things with you, it might be time to say goodbye. (And if you ever feel yourself feeling unsafe with someone, this lets you know that one of those repair convos needs to happen.)
- There aren’t any shortcuts. Want to achieve something particularly physically challenging? Keep at it. Make a business successful? Keep at it. Create a lasting partnership? Yep, same three words. There’s no quick fix, magic diet, weekend intensive, life hack, (fill in the blank) that’s going to make anything worthwhile and lasting happen in your life.
- Those who love you do not care any less about you because you failed. In fact, let them know about it and they’ll probably care more. I was pretty anxious about sharing with someone really close to me that a business I launched was not going gangbusters as I hoped it would be. In fact, it had a bunch of months where it lost money. But I decided to share what was going on. And she said, “Oh, thanks for letting me know. Gosh, I bet that’s stressful sometimes.” It was amazing. She not only said she appreciated hearing about the thing that wasn’t going so well, she also validated what I was feeling inside. A thousand bucks wouldn’t have felt better.
- Those who love you do not care about you any more because you succeeded. Whether you got the promotion or published the book or landed the relationship or achieved the thing, no one who already loves you feels any differently. They just love and accept you. Period.
- Responsiveness always wins. We are wired for attachment, so we love it when people get back to us. In little ways like texts and facebook posts. And in big ways like showing up for meaningful moments in our lives or when we really need a shoulder to cry on. My sister was often difficult to get in touch with since she was busy with work and school and friends and romance and all the other stuff that fills up our lives at a certain age. Then she had kids. And as busy as I know she (still) is, she has become incredibly responsive. If she can’t pick up the phone, she texts, “Hey, can I call you when I put the kids down for a nap?” Man, this kind of stuff means the world to me. We talk more. I think of her more. And our relationship has just moved to a whole other level. So good.
- Our bodies function as well or as poorly as the quality of fuel we provide to power it. Eight hours sleep, lots of veggies/whole grains/proteins, daily movement, doing stuff we’re passionate about, and hang-time with our favorite people will fuel a pretty incredible rocketship. Moderating sugar/substances/junk food/toxic relationships/screen-time will keep this incredible machine firing at 100%.
- Technology is cool, but has rapidly diminishing returns. People and connections are absolute magic. If you’re ever unsure about this fact, look at your phone screen for a few seconds. Then do the same thing into the eyes of any human being you meet. I know, magical right?! I got a brand new computer for my birthday. Awesome, flashy, Apple, fast, and lots of other cool words. As I sit and type on it a few months later, I rarely notice any difference vs. my old computer which was slow, old, heavy and lots of other not so cool words. But every time I share a warm “Hello!” or a longer lasting convo with someone, my heart just lights up. Never. Gets. Old.
- Reducing the preferences and particulars you need to feel content sets you up for a whole lot of goodness. The more of life that breezes by, the more specific we get about what we like, how we want things to go, and the preferences we have. Unfortunately, this sets us up for a lot of anxiety and disappointments. As one of my mentor’s voices often rings in my ear, “Life gets pretty easy if you don’t have any preferences.”
- Being judgy is easy but just doesn’t feel that great. On the other hand, being compassionate and seeing that beautiful detail you might have missed feels fantastic.
- Climbing a mountain is pretty daunting. You’ll notice though, that taking a few steps up a hill makes that mountain not seem as tall. Quick story: I sat down to write a book this past summer but felt remarkably scared/uncertain/lazy about doing it. So I decided instead to just write for a little bit then shut my computer and wait a day or two until writing a little more. About 4 months later I was looking at a completed rough draft of my first book.
- Set incredibly small goals. Big ones don’t get completed and leave us feeling more dejected than when we started. For example, I’ve always been intimidated as #$% at the idea of sitting still for any length of time. Then a buddy of mine did a sit for 10 days. Something like 13 hours of sitting still each day. (I know, “Yikes!” right.) For 2015, I decided I’d try to sit still and watch my breath for 4 minutes a day. Since that was actually successful, I’m proud to announce I’m bumping that number way up. You ready: all the way up to 5 minutes a day.
- We are tribal. Sure, there’s tens of thousands of years of history and anthropology to reflect this, but we don’t even need to get into all that. I just know it cuz I feel it. We like to share the errata of our lives and for people to let us know it matters. Then ask us about it next time we see them. And laugh about stuff we have in common. And gather around a table for a bite or a beverage. And lament that challenge. And high-five that success. Sure, our tribe needs regular investments. But man, the dividends it pays out are just ridiculously good.
- Try doing that thing for a few minutes or even seconds longer than you thought you could. I bet you’ll surprise yourself. Three years ago I set a personal goal to be able to do a certain type of inversion (handstand press-ups in case you’re a fellow enthusiast). Today I still cannot do this kind of inversion. But thanks to a dear teacher in my life, I’ve discovered I could hold handstand for a couple seconds longer than I thought I could. Then those seconds eventually turned into a whole breath. And as breath has now become breaths, I am confident that handstand press-ups are in my future. I’ll keep you posted 🙂
- Beauty is all around us.
- We humans are crazy resilient.
- Everyone has a story.
- I’m worth it. You are worth it.
- Closeness and intimacy beats distance and disconnection 10 times out of 10.
- We are getting older.
- When we shave away the outer layers, we are incredibly similar.
Happy 2016 to you.
What did you discover & rediscover in 2015? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below.
Jeremi McManus is a Relationship Therapist, Couples Therapist, and Author who works with people who want more fulfilling and satisfying relationships. His own ups and downs in dating and relating were instrumental in leading him into this field. If you feel like you could use some perspective, he looks forward to hearing from you. Jeremi is a Licensed Psychotherapist and delighted to call San Francisco home.