Welcome to 2014. It’s going to be a special one coming up to the 4th anniversary of this blog, and especially as we are going to have the fearless African femme fatale energy present.
But before settling in to the new year: if you could sum up 2013 in one word only, what would it be?
In my case it would be ‘learning’. Especially gaining knowledge through experience. It was a year of change for me; I lost my grandma on my mum’s side. She was my only link to Finland (where my mum is from) so her passing felt like my ties to Finland lessened also. Romantically, my relationship of soon three years went through difficult but necessary changes. My attitude towards my work changed, I started to trust myself more and to feel more confident about the path that I’ve chosen. I lost and made friends. And I began to heal old wounds. For instance, I wrote about being raped, an experience that had silenced a part of me for too long.
Amidst changes and self reflection, the deep feelings that makes our emotional lives; the joys, anxieties and yearnings, I learnt something that I’m taking with me into 2014 and beyond. Namely that emotional awareness is not only knowing how you feel about the world but valuing your emotions as the ultimate source of learning.
We live in a world that encourages reason over sentiment but emotions are the most logical tools we have for self knowledge. Life is an embodiment of emotion. Intelligence itself is a feeling not a fact. Yet feelings are seen as inconvenient because a person who is in tune with themselves is difficult to control. Women who express their true feelings are especially disruptive because women’s preconceived roles keep up so many of society’s facades: the falsehood of harmonious nationhood, of “pure” family (also the source of racial prejudice), of war as justice, would all be severely threatened if women revealed their true feelings about these institutions.
Emotional awareness is not wearing your sentiments on your sleeve but it is you (rather than everybody else) knowing exactly how you feel about everything happening in your life. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
Emotional awareness means looking at ourselves honestly. Not just the nice things, our generosity or friendliness or smartness, but also the feelings that we are less proud of: resentment, bitterness or competitiveness. It is love without the frills: unprocessed, unpackaged humanness and it’s a beautiful way to live. In fact it’s the only way to be alive.
So if you make one resolution in 2014, let this be it: to be emotionally aware.
Wishing you a fantastic 2014 and one of raw, expressive feeling.
Happy New Year!
I am sorry to learn about the passing of your maternal grandmother. Having my heritage grounded in the United States South, when my grandparents past, I felt that the loss was a broken link to another time, and to the ancestors.
I am glad to learn about your continued quest to learn, both personally and professionally. If I am completely honest with myself, I have to admit that my emotional intelligence needs work; with others, yes, and, more important, with myself. So, thank you for the post. It has provided me with the prompting I need.
Hey! Thanks for the comment, so glad it resonated.
Happy New Year – is 2014, is finally here. Your focus is priceless in this reflective post you have written for the year ahead. The way you defined and discussed Emotional Awareness as ” knowing exactly how you feel about everything happening in your life. E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G.
Emotional awareness means looking at ourselves honestly. Not just the nice things, our generosity or friendliness or smartness, but also the feelings that we are less proud of: resentment, bitterness or competitiveness. It is love without the frills: unprocessed, unpackaged humanness and it’s a beautiful way to live. In fact it’s the only way to be alive” – is priceless. This is exactly the same notions that I have been learning in my own own journey especially starting last year. This is very, very, very nice to read from another source rather than only myself. I guess at 26 I am making a good sense of my emotions over the course of years. What you say is truly crucial – emotional awareness I feel is the path to being your true self, not only with others but first and primarily with yourself. Loving yourself in spite of things you might dislike about yourself….and firstly admitting those things to yourself too. Something like that. You have said it all very well. Thank you for this reflection and sharing.
Thanks! You sound like a young lady on the right path, keep it up.
Thank you for this post Minna. Concise and totally resonates with me in many ways. Emotional awareness as well as an overall self awareness and acceptance are very crucial to becoming ‘whole’ (if there is such a thing). Knowing exactly who we are, what we want, how we want it and being quite unapologetic about it brings about a form of ‘freedom’ that I believe everyone should dare to experience.
Here is to a fabulous year ahead.. Cheers!
Thanks Ms 🙂
Uduak Oduok says
I needed this. Thank you. Our 2013 experiences mirrored each other. I also shared my rape story in 2011. Not easy even till today. https://africamusiclaw.com/five-nigerian-men-gang-rape-female-student-call-to-action-violent-rape-crimes/
Happy new year Uduak. Thank you for being strong. Wishing you a prosperous year ahead and continued healing.
Refilwe Mokoena says
Happy New Year Minna – and thank you for choosing such an important theme for the year. Like you 2013, was tumultuous for me. There were significant changes in my life that forced me to face up to all the sides of myself – as you said the beautiful and the ugly – and it has been refreshing and at times very painful to take in. It was also a year of beginning to unpack my “demons” – a process that I’ll be continuing with this year. All in all I’m looking forward to 2014 and all the learning and growing that I know will come from it, and am grateful for the scars of 2013 since it wouldn’t have been possible to start this process without them. Thank you again for your post. Here’s to an emotionally aware and brutally honest 2014!
Selah! Happy 2014, Refilwe.
Jessica Easter says
So many of us feeling this is way forward. All together now- all together now. x
Thanks Jessica 🙂
Toja Okoh says
Yes. Here's to focusing on self-awareness in 2014! Happy New Year to you, and thank you for all your important work.
Thank you Toja, and thanks for your support last year. Look forward to continued discussions.
Masha Dowell says
I agree! Happy new year!