It’s only day 59 of 365, and all I can say is wow. 2023 is off to an intense start, and I’m not quite sure where this will all go or how. Nevertheless, I’m filled with glee and delight. I have learned so much already, especially about the journey and plight called life. An immense amount of lessons keep on surfacing my head. They’re screaming, “One step closer, and then you’ll be ahead!” As we celebrate the end of Black History Month, I’d like to cheers to the occasion. Number one, thank you for all the times I was alone; those were the times I was truly reborn in every situation. Every single moment I have spent in solace, I have taken away a key lesson. And that’s that life is merely a test; but we’re nothing without the rest. By “rest” I speak literally and figuratively. We are nothing without each other; but we are also nothing without some few moments alone and at peace with whatever we are doing. I’ve learned that it takes a brave soul to be able to be comfortable alone… to listen to their own thoughts constantly, and to be okay with laughing and crying to themselves at virtually every situation. It requires a lot of strength..more than one can ever fathom.
There’s a couple of rules I’m following in 2023. I’d like to share them with you, let me know if they are too extreme. Rule 1: Always go with my gut. I’ve laughed. I’ve cried. I’ve screamed of joy; and I’ve been heartbroken… yet again. But most importantly, this year, I’ve witnessed the mere fact that every time I felt that something that something was wrong, I was always right. I’ve learned that all you want is completely possible and feasible, you just have to want it bad enough to work diligently for it. But I’ve also learned that sometimes that which you wish for, is not what you need. Most people associate the word diligent with hard-work. But for me, personally, I like to look at diligence as hard-work and perseverance. I think you have to go through the whole “blood, sweat and tears” process of hard-work; but more importantly, I think you have to be willing to persevere through the trials that the road to X desired direction throws at you. In math, we have ranges and domains. In life, we have hills and valleys. I think you have to be willing to go through the ups and lows of life in order to truly succeed and appreciate what you have been through. The quicker you accept rejection and learn to look at failures as an opportunity to learn, the wiser you will become, and the less challenging it will be to accept things as they come. But most importantly, learn to listen to your gut. Because more than half the time… you were right.
Rule 2 that I’m following is this: Keep on pushing until what you’ve earned is bliss. I highlighted the word earned because it is crucial to the conversation. As a server, as someone who shadows a Neurosurgeon, as an assistant professor, and as a student both in school and of life, I have learned one key lesson from watching people in different settings. Most people who have things that they never had to work for, never appreciate them. There’s something about things that “come easy” that just turns people off. This is true in relationships, in careers, in finances… everything. That’s why there is a saying that “fast money, goes fast.” It’s a mere fact that is intrinsic to our nature, and one that can be observed through Neuroscience. We chase for things that release dopamine, and solving challenges give us a rush of dopamine. New Neuroimaging research even shows that the ventral striatum, a brain region that plays a key role in processing rewarding outcomes, is more strongly activated when we achieve something through higher effort than lower effort. It makes sense, then, that people would appreciate things that they have worked for more than those that were given to them. Nevertheless, this world still requires rigor and valor, or a great courage in the face of danger, especially in battle. Life is a battle, so buckle up and work hard until what you feel from the inside and out, is absolute bliss.
My rule #3 is a trilogy that is easy to remember, but the most difficult one for me to embody. It’s this: Love others, don’t take anything personally, and treat everyone/everything as you would treat yourself. It is so important to recognize that loving people unconditionally, especially while they are acting on a self-serving bias, is hard and an arduous task. However, it’s all a part of this game called life. You have to give more than you can take. You must have boundaries, of course. We are nothing without boundaries. But I’m happy I learned the lesson to love others beyond what they can do for me early; as I have been blessed with so much more because of it. There is a saying that in the African language, there is no word for “try”… in other words, you must always “do”. You can’t “try” to be a kinder person… you just are. This puts so much into perspective for me – and it allows me to embrace new challenges an opportunities because every single one of them has taught me something of deep value. The “don’t take anything personally” part is difficult because it’s so easy to get wrapped up in your head about what others do and/or say, but I promise you, life get’s easier once you adapt to this motto.
I’d like to say that I am so happy to be back on stacyrahaka.com. We went through a little hiccup with my domain name being stolen and everything, but we are back and better than ever! Thank you for your continued support.
With much love,
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