I Was Good in 2016, But I’ll Be Better in 2017

As I close out the year, I think about those I may have hurt with my words, actions, or attitude. At times I was aware, and at times I wasn’t. I wish I wouldn’t have made assumptions. I wish I would’ve been more understanding. I wish I would’ve been more conscious and aware. I wish I would’ve spent more time listening and less time talking. I often tried to apply the advice I had given to others. Most of the time it worked, but sometimes it didn’t. I am a living witness of things being easier said than done. But, that’s life. You have to accept the good with the bad.

On another note, I wondered if I looked better than I did last year or if I looked worse. I wondered if people saw me the same as they did when I was in high school. I held my stomach in while taking pictures. I took over a hundred selfies and only liked a few of them. I wore clothes that should have been passed on because I did not want to accept my weight gain. I practiced smiling in the mirror, so I could always be picture ready. I liked my smile in the mirror but hated it on pictures sometimes. I often wondered what it would be like to look like the celebrities on television. I always thought I could use a little more tits and butt. I also thought my waistline could be thinner, and my legs could be a little thicker. I thought my hair could be longer and straighter. I thought my skin could be smoother and less oily. I thought my face could be slimmer and shorter. Oh, and I thought my feet could be smaller to wear those cut shoes. If I changed everything I could, I wouldn’t have been myself anymore.

I laughed, I cried, and I loved with my whole heart. But I wonder if it was ever enough? I spent a lot of time thinking, meditating, and praying to get answers on what my future would be like. I spent a lot of time caring about what others thought of me. I paid too much attention to who was liking my posts versus who was actually viewing them. I entertained frivolous matters that did not contribute to my success. I worried about money too much. I focused on numbers too much. I pouted too much. I shouted too much. I cursed too much. I complained too much. But I’ve retained the lessons learned in this year.

I know I won’t be perfect next year, but I know I will be better. Don’t judge me until you read to the end of this letter. I cared, I loved, I gave, I prayed, I forgave, and put others before me. I smiled to lift people’s spirits, not so others would adore me. I prayed for people I did not know. I gave from the heart, not for show. I listened to people out of compassion, not for the tea, gossip, or attraction. I let little stuff get me down, but I didn’t spread my feelings around. I got mad when things didn’t go my way, but I didn’t bring it into the next day. I didn’t get everything I wanted, but I maintained a fabulous image to flaunt it. I didn’t finish everything I started, but I gave my all regardless. I didn’t achieve all my goals, but I watched my blessings unfold. I stayed away from drama and avoided strife. I don’t have an appetite for foolishness, but I have a huge appetite for life.

I will change what I can and accept what I can’t, but just because I can doesn’t mean I should.

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When You Know Better, You Do Better

It’s easy to criticize and judge the character of a lost soul, when making wise choices come easy for you. People come from different walks of life, struggles, and hardships. How you deal with your pain and disappointment might be different from that of your brother’s or sister’s. I certainly agree that malign behavior should be punishable by law – no doubt. Nonetheless, I believe all people were born innocent before being corrupted by the world. That’s why rehabilitation programs are prevailing across the country. Otherwise, more jails would be overcrowded with people who weren’t given a second chance.

I used to judge people who did not have similar morals or values as myself. I didn’t think I was better than them, but I knew I made better choices. I believe we were all born with equal potential and abilities. I could never assume that I am better than another individual when all it takes is one bad decision to gain a new identity and an unfair stigma. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s just that some of us get caught. Many of us do things intentionally and try to call it a mistake, once we are caught. As long as you grow from your mistakes or nefarious intentions, you too deserve a second chance.

Heartfelt testimonies, stories, and accounts of people’s lives have drastically increased my awareness of behavior challenges stunting personal growth and development. How is a child who has been beaten all his or her life supposed to function normally in society? How is a girl who was robbed of her innocence supposed to have trust in men? What does a boy introduced to drug dealing at an early age know about having a regular job? What does a man born to a pimp know about respecting women? What do the motherless and fatherless know about togetherness?


Some people were born into abuse, misuse, neglect, and dysfunction. Until someone directs them to the light at the end of the tunnel, they are forever in darkness and despair. You do have to make the change on your own, but someone or something has to spark a desire for you to change. Everyone has an opportunity to minister to someone at some point in life. You never know what a short, positive conversation can do for a person. It is okay to criticize, as long as you do so constructively, but don’t just sit back and judge that person as if your past is squeaky clean.

If you have a gift for encouraging, inspiring, or motivating people, use it. Sometimes, that’s all people need. If you have an awakening story or experience that might relate to what a person’s enduring, don’t be ashamed or embarrassed to share. Your testimony might lift the burden of fear and doubt. That’s why groups are formed for former alcoholics, battered women, convicts, etc. No one can relate better than a person who has had a similar experience. In groups, ideas on how to cope with certain situations are exchanged and a person’s battles/concerns are heard with considerable attention.

For every sad, sorry, or sinful individual who lost his or her way, there’s a hero just one conversation away. Make it your daily assignment to ignite someone with a positive voice. You might prevent someone from becoming a statistic.

And remember…
“Make sense of what you do, and make every cent count.”

What are your thoughts? I’d love to hear them.

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Photo 1: Flickr. Change by Sebastien Wiertz CC
Photo 2: Flickr. Tough Girls, Part 2 by Comrade King CC

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