JET Love

Love Countdown: 10 Things I Learned in 2016

“Throw it away” has been the recurring theme as 2016 comes to a close. I usually don’t take the liberty of speaking for others, but I’m sure no one would object to throwing this entire year away.

By far, this has been one of thee most emotionally, mentally, physically, financially taxing years ever. Individually and collectively, we have been exhausted and tried to no end this year.

While I am one who typically despises the “New year, new me” mantra, I believe we all deserve to have a clean slate in 2017. As we crawl into 2017 begging for mercy, let us not leave without taking our lessons from 2016 with us. This year taught us enough about love to create more stable and rewarding unions in 2017.

Here are ten love lessons I learned in 2016.

1) Great souls will eventually leave their physical form, so make amends and love harder.

When Prince and Muhammad Ali died, I knew this year was going to be a miserable one. As the year continued we lost so many great artists, public figures and great minds. 2016 reminded us how inevitable death is. Our time is so limited here on Earth, so it is imperative we express gratitude and cherish the people we love while we can.

2) We have to protect one another.

I have two words for you: Donald Trump. We are living in a country that is saturated with sexist, homophobic, and racist people who no longer feel obligated to keep their feels and bigotry in the closet. If the intense social and political climate alone doesn’t make you want to find someone to love on, I’m not sure what will. Now more than ever, we need to be protective and nurturing of one another. We are fighting every single day, we need less combativeness in our homes.

3) Some people can’t move with you into the next stage of your life.

2016 refused to let us forget that all things come to an end. Many of us struggle with the idea of letting people leave our lives, even when we know they must go. We can have countless emotionally expensive encounters with someone and still try to justify keeping them in our lives. This year has taken so much emotional fortitude, we could no longer afford to keep those around who were contributing to our frustrations. In 2017, don’t wait until you’re pushed and depressed by a person’s actions before you remove them from your life. When you recover from this year, be adamant about keeping your sacred space stress-free.

4) The way a person treats you is the way they feel about you.

We were on edge this entire year, just waiting for the next death, the next police murder, the next incident to prove that our nation is going to hell in a hand basket. When you are cautious and always on the defense, you learn to be watchful of people’s actions. This same concept applies relationships. This year taught us to be attentive to how people treat us, not what they say. When you are keen on behavior, your aim is to ensure a person’s actions line up with what they say. This is the process of sharpening your sense of discernment, which we all could use a little more of.

5) You need someone who is going to nurture you.

One of those deep South, God-fearing, soul food cooking Grandma hugs is the type of comfort so many of us needed this year. This year gave us insight into why it is so precious to have someone who nurtures and consoles you. Your relationship has to be more than physical, specifically during times when it feels like everything is in disarray and we are loses our footing.

6) There are plenty of fish in the sea. 

Black folk are getting hip to the majesty of world travel. There are Black millennial travel groups popping up across the nation, and leaving the country changes your love and relationship experience. When you jump outside of your comfort zone, you suddenly understand the phrase, “There’s plenty of fish in the sea.”

7) Don’t let time heal, heal yourself.

When we become uncomfortable in life, we are more prone to act. 2016 has made us discontent with the way things are and have been. We no longer want to act happy; we want to be happy. This year taught us to make self-love a priority. Don’t wait for time to heal your wounds, start practicing self-care and other self nurturing behaviors immediately.

8) If they can’t add value, they have to go!

Last year we took an L, but 2016 we bounced back. This year made us resilient beyond belief, and we are tough because of it. We aren’t taking any losses into 2017, including love. We are refusing to let anyone take anything from us—not our spirit, not our energy, not our passion or our glow. In 2017, if they can’t add value, they have to go!

9) Make sure a person isn’t just into the thought of you.

Social media and online dating has now become the marketplace for shopping for a mate. The downside to that is that people can easily fall in love with the idea of you and not who you truly are. A tweet went viral of a young man who met a girl online and took her for a date. Mid movie, she goes to the bathroom and texts him an apology. She bailed on him mid-date because she didn’t feel like he looked as sexy in person as he did on social media. Don’t let this be your experience in 2017. Take time to access if someone is really interested in getting to know you, versus who they have imagined you to be.

10) There is no such thing as “impossible” when the right people align.

As we prepare to see our president off, we are reminded of how powerful real love can be when the right spirits align. We have watched Barack and Michelle run our nation with grace and dignity. Despite the multiple character attacks that have come against the Obamas, the power couple stood hand in hand. They let the world see that their bond…and love is unbreakable. Barack and Michelle love each other fiercely and have raised their children to become remarkable young women. As we watch them depart, their impression on our hearts and the way they have kept our hope that true love still exist is one beautiful lesson that will never be forgotten.

Jazz Keyes is a community activist, poetess and a nationally certified Life Purpose and Career Coach. She has devoted a great deal of her time and energy on mastering the art of communication in order to create healthy, dynamic, long-lasting relationships. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @jazzkeyes.