Happy New Year? Well, it depends on who you ask. Some would say nothing will change and the same cycle of boredom and unhappiness will continue on into 2013. The same drama will continue to disrupt their lives. There will continue to be missed opportunities and lack of success because the universe is against them. LEAVE THAT MENTALITY BEHIND! 2012 was my life-changing year because it was during 2012 that I realized my full potential, accepted my authentic self, and accepted the fact that the only person holding me back was me. Instead of listing all the personal accomplishments from this past year, I’d rather inspire you with some lessons I learned that will continue to impact me for years to come. Many of them will tie together, but each one is equally important on it’s own.
1). LIVE YOUR LIFE AUTHENTICALLY.
2). STOP CARING ABOUT WHAT OTHER’S THINK.
3). DON’T LET FEAR CONTROL YOU.
4). CHOOSE TO BE HAPPY AND EMBRACE IT.
5). SURROUND YOURSELF WITH PEOPLE WHO MAKE YOU BETTER.
Life is a series of lessons and choices. In the last couple of months I made quite a few choices. I chose to stop focusing on the negative and worrying about “what if”. I chose to be happy and go confidently in the direction of my dreams. I chose to let and keep certain people in my life, but let go of others. I chose to not let others control how I live my life because my happiness should never be dependent upon someone else.
Back in October, I wrote a post on Facebook that was one of the most authentic things I’ve ever written:
“Don’t know who this is for, but I just had to say what’s on my mind. It took me a while to realize how unhappy you can be when you are not being truly authentic. Many people are terrified of what others think and say about them and choose to hide certain parts of who they are out of FEAR. Because of this they pretend and even strive to be the person that others want them to be instead of who they truly are.
Why would you want to surround yourself with people who can’t love you for you? Suppressing parts of yourself to appease people who don’t have to live your life is dumb. You can’t continue to let others dictate who you should be, how you should act, what path you should take, who you should love, or how you should live YOUR life. Being inauthentic with yourself and others only leads to false happiness. On the flip side, why not give people a chance to get to know the real you?
I’ve struggled with being myself for years. Growing up as a preacher’s kid, there was a lot of pressure and expectations from family, the congregation, and friends that a lot of kids didn’t have to deal with. There was also a fear of being judged for some reason even though I was raised to believe that only God can judge me. It wasn’t until this summer that I truly realized how that still affects me today.
For those who have been following my web series, Chasing L.A. (http://youtube.com/chasingla), you see that I’m no longer afraid to open up and be myself in front of the camera (still opening up). That’s not easy for me. I had to learn how to let people in and not be afraid of judgment. When I began hosting at AfterBuzz and later enrolled in hosting classes with Maureen Browne, I was shy and timid. Those who truly know me, know that I’m exactly opposite. However, when put in situations where I had to be myself with strangers, I was afraid to let loose and let people get to know the real me. I was lacking confidence because I wasn’t comfortable being authentic. That’s what happens when you hide behind a facade for so long.
Long story short, BE YOURSELF. Hopefully somebody gets something from this. I’m thankful for the growth that I’ve experienced so far this year and for the people who have encouraged me to be Emile Ennis Jr. 🙂
In that post I was vulnerable and exposed a part of myself that was hidden because of fear. It was through this post that I found freedom. The freedom to let people in and get to know the real me. The freedom to embrace a part of myself that I was afraid people wouldn’t accept or understand. The freedom to welcome the thought that I CAN be happy being me regardless of what I’ve been told. I’m reminded of a quote that’s widely attributed to Dr. Seuss that I think we should all follow:
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”
In 2013, please remove all the negative energy from your life and focus on the positive things that are happening. Remain hopeful that good things are going to happen for you and don’t give up on your dreams. Never be afraid to be yourself and most importantly, enjoy your life. Worrying and stressing accomplishes absolutely nothing. Be proactive and change your life. Keep chasing your dreams, and I’ll keep chasing mine.