In any given moment we have 2 options: To step forward into Growth or to Step back into Safety. – Abraham Maslow
Two years ago I had a client who would come to the sessions with all types of organized chaos in the form of notes, journals, quotes, etc. She placed a high emphasis on feeling like she was doing and not just thinking or reflecting. She seemed to need and rely upon concrete tools as perhaps mental accountability. Having something concrete seemed to drive her self-improvement journey into action. Towards the end of 2015, my client came in assessing herself on how she had (or had not) lived up to that current year’s personal theme she had set for herself. She also declared and discussed the theme she was setting for 2016, the upcoming year at the time.
Setting a theme helped her to reroute her specific choices, experiences, and behaviors all back to correspond with the theme she set for her growth. I remember really loving the idea at the time and also got a kick out of the cool ass titles she named her themes.
As 2017 is quickly approaching its demise, I find myself inspired by this client’s idea and particular theme. So I am setting an overall theme I want to live by in 2018: “NO BITCHASSNESS”!!!
Reflecting upon my past year, I identified how I’ve both progressed in some areas and remained stagnant in others. Curiosity weighed on me…. HOW exactly had I achieved the deep end of the pool and made huge splashes and waves on some ends? WHY exactly was I still lingering in the kiddie end of the pool in other areas? Using that exact metaphor is when it dawned on me…..I’m actually terrified of water, specifically my face going under, ever since a nearly drowning experience when I was 13. I can barely swim at all. Therefore the answers to both: How had I moved forward AND why had I stayed immobile-each involved….My fear of water.
I had to test this hypothesis out. It was easy to identify fears and struggles in the areas I had stayed within the safe confinements of the shallow end. But the real test of this realization was for me to think about if perhaps my areas of progress had been absent of any fears, which could explain or justify why I had achieved them.
Guess what?! Applying the water example actually held validity for me. I was also able to identify similar underlying fears in each area of progression as well. Only difference being this: where I made progress is where I took concrete actions– basically dove into the deep end regardless of the sacrifice, discomfort or fear. Where I remained stagnant, is where I was too afraid to drown. The fear of not knowing how to swim had ultimately kept me still, and had served as the perfect justification of why I had not done something.
So this is how I arrived at my theme. ‘Bitchassness’, is a term coined by Sean “P Diddy” Combs, from the reality show, “Making the Band”. It can range in its exact definitions and context usage. However some examples of definitions (from Diddy himself and Urban Dictionary) include: negative/stank attitude; arrogance/thinking you’re better than those around you; envy; coward; being an overall hater; deceitful; not taking responsibility; making sorry excuses; etc.
My 2018 theme of, “No BITCHASSNESS”, will be defined and assessed by these 3 specific components that I’ll be personally striving for in the New Year:
 Boss Up – Be accountable for your shit!
1st –Self-awareness. If you’re not aware of your feelings, needs and limitations, then you certainly can’t take full responsibility for them nor voice them to others.
2nd- No Blame/No Shame– Don’t give away your power by blaming others or thinking anyone, other than you, is responsible for your feelings, choices or life. No excuses. No guilting. No shaming allowed for your feelings, needs or struggles. Lots of self-acceptance and self-compassion (No beating yourself up with negative self talk).
3rd–When in Doubt-Figure it the F#%k Out-Sorry, but let’s face it….absolutely anything we don’t know by now is a How To Book Read/Google Search/or Commitment to be open and try to learn from someone who does know-Away.
 Be Bold with Boundaries –What are your limits?
Knowing, setting, expressing, and then acting in accord of your limits. Ask yourself: “What’s ok for me vs. not ok? What do I want/need vs. what don’t I want/need”? Be able to say and accept a “no”. Communicate honestly, clearly, and concisely. Do not abandon your feelings or needs- even if someone else discounts them, doesn’t match them, or is simply unable to meet them. Hold onto your values despite what others want. Make your actions and choices match your values and needs. Trust yourself. Honor yourself. It’s your life to live. Your theme to set. Your rules to play by. **This also includes accepting, respecting, and not infringing upon someone else’s limits and boundaries**.
 Be Brave #AF – Basically, Take Risks.
Let fear be what guides you rather than what stalls you. Fear is such a consistent driving force in many of our lives that it eventually feels safe to hide behind it or pretend it’s not there. Instead, recognize and admit when it’s present. Then use that discomfort as a propelling sign to take counterintuitive actions– actions that go against the initial defense mechanisms of deny, justify, deflect or avoid. Brave can look different depending on your own struggles. Ultimately just ask yourself: “When, where or with whom do I feel the most nervous, uncomfortable or intimidated? And why”? For me-it’s around admitting certain needs or struggles or asking for help, being vulnerable with people I love or emotionally depend on the most, and being afraid of rejection, loss or failure. Then ask yourself, “Who am I striving to be and Why”? Finally…make choices that align with what you envision, hope or desire your Most Evolved Self would do (even if you feel like you’re not quite there yet).
So, as you move into the New Year, think about your own goals, desires, and wishes for personal evolvement in 2018. What’s your theme for the New Year? But before you go cue the Rocky music theme song, remember this: The only way to know you’re really working towards changing or evolving is by paying attention to whether it feels easy or hard. Change actually should feel uncomfortable, scary and sometimes downright inconvenient. If it feels comfortable and easy-you’re probably not changing at all. New Year or not; for many different complex reasons, sometimes we simply aren’t yet ready to swim out of the kiddie end of the pool.