My birthday just passed and this seemed like a really fitting thing to post at the moment. I’ve been thinking, 37 years is a lot of years that have gone by, not to say I’m old because I am not, lol. But it did have me asking myself, “what have I learned over all these years?” So it’s time to dig a little and I thought I’d share some things that I have personally learned over 37 years of my life. (They aren’t in any particular order, just random)
- Self-care is important: It took me a long time to realize that taking care of myself physically, mentally and spiritually is very vital. I can’t keep withdrawing from an account without putting something into it right? Funds will run out eventually. Self-care is NOT selfish!
- We have choices: I’ve learned that in MANY situations I have choices. I know I’ve been in a mindset where I thought avoiding to make a choice would help or maybe hold me less accountable in some way. But I’ve realized that not making a choice is essentially making a choice.
- People come and go: This isn’t an easy one for me. But I have learned that not everyone is meant to stay in our lives. Losing people closest to you is never easy but maybe their part in your story isn’t meant to last forever and that is okay. Loss may hurt a little or a lot….but in time that hurt will fade.
- Forgiveness is POWERFUL: True forgiveness is beyond powerful and it’s taken me 37 years to get to a point of genuine forgiveness and I have a long way to go. But I’ve experienced it, finally, and it is such a freeing feeling to truly forgive someone and let go of those heavy feelings weighing on my heart. Imagine what it is like to forgive yourself for something? Try that!
- Your past doesn’t define you: Circumstances from my past do not define who I am as a person. I’ve certainly made ineffective choices or have had not such good things happen to me but those things will never define who I am.
- God loves YOU: I have learned that God loves me no matter what and his grace is sufficient. Giving my life to God has been one of the best decisions I have made in life and that journey is so incredible.
- Not everyone is your friend: To reiterate number 3, people come and go. Not everyone is my friend and I don’t have to be close to everyone. In my experience, a small circle of great friends is perfect for me.
- There will be setbacks: I will fall down occasionally and that’s okay. As long as I get back up, dust off and put one foot in front of the other I will continue to survive. If I fall down seven times I will get back up eight!
- It’s ok to ask for help: Asking for help doesn’t make me weak. It’s quite the opposite, humbling myself enough to ask for help or even prayer is actually a strength. I’m proud of myself when I allow myself to reach out for help.
- You are talented: I have to give myself credit because I am talented and creative and I believe that’s just one of my greatest qualities. I am full of many talents!
- You have a voice. Use it: This one I am definitely still trying to uncover and use more. With that said, I do have a voice that deserves to be heard and it’s an empowering feeling when I do use it. It’s a work in progress for sure!
- People love you: I spent a long time telling myself no one loved me or cared and that is such a lonely and sad place to be in. That’s also a lie straight from the enemy himself. The TRUTH is, many people love and care for me and that is what I know deep down in my heart.
- Music is powerful: From as far back as I can remember music was always a big thing in my life. It is one of my best coping skills. I love MANY different types of music. I have to pay attention to what mood I am in and what I listen to. There are so many songs that can drag me further down or lift me up higher. I have to choose wisely.
- Spending time alone isn’t a bad thing: It’s taken me a long time to even begin to enjoy my own company. I always felt like I had to have someone around. Fact is, I don’t. Learning to enjoy my own company is also something I’m still working on but I have definitely come a long way with it and more often than before I do enjoy my own company.
- You cannot change or fix others: There’s no use in trying. I cannot change or fix anyone and no one is going to fix or change me. The only one I can change or fix is myself and that’s enough of a job, haha.
- Revenge isn’t worth it: I’ve learned revenge is worth zero. Another work in progress, but I am learning little by little to simply pray for those who have hurt me in any way. It would take up more time to seek revenge anyway, why waste that time?!
- If you’re not happy single then how could you be happy in a relationship?: No use in putting broken people together cause that just isn’t going to work out well. I want to be completely happy on my own before being in a relationship with anyone.
- It’s worth trying things more than once: There have been many things I didn’t like when I first tried it. Some things I have tried it again and I have ended up loving it. Give things you have tried more than just one chance.
- Always be kind: I never know what someone else is dealing with in their lives. I try my best to just be kind to others, it is pretty simple honestly. If you can’t find it in yourself to be kind, walk away.
- Don’t always take everything so serious: I love my sense of humor and am a pretty good judge at what to take serious and what to just have fun with. The best kind of laughter happens when I laugh at myself for something I did or said.
- No one is ever too old to learn: Going to college for the first time at 34 is my best example of this. Life is a learning experience and I know I will never stop learning as I grow older.
- It’s ok to say NO: This took a long time for me to learn. It is okay for me to say no to someone. If it’s something I don’t want to do or don’t feel comfortable doing I can say no and it is ok to refuse to compromise. I’ve learned that my “yes” needs to be yes and my “no” needs to be a no. There isn’t always an in between.
- Spend time with those who lift you higher: Surrounding myself with people who are encouraging and positive has helped me tremendously. There is no room in my life for outside negativity. I have to fight that inner negativity often and that is enough. There is worth in my time…I’d rather spend it with those who love me.
- Life isn’t a competition: I don’t need to “keep up” with someone. I also don’t need to compare myself to anyone in any way. I may need to go at a slower pace with things and that is okay. I may go at a faster pace with other things and that also is okay.
- Tell people when you are thinking of them: When I think of someone special to me I will stop what I am doing and send them a message or call them to let them know. I know one thing that makes me feel special is just knowing someone has thought of me. So I love letting someone know that they are important and thought of.
- Gratitude is important: Stopping and reflecting on my day to pull out things I am grateful for can instantly change my mood from bad to wonderful. I have found that gratitude lists really help lift my mood. I try to remember: be grateful for the big things AND the little things. Pay attention to the small things.
- Are you scared? Do it anyway: I have certainly done this before. Fear has and will always try to keep me from a lot of things but I have to do it anyway. I’ve been prouder of myself for doing it as opposed to allowing fear to hold me back and then I end up feeling “defeated”.
- There’s always room for improvement: No matter what I think I may have “mastered” there is always room for improvement in my life. Things are always evolving and I will always have room for growth.
- Expectations lead to disappointment: It’s natural, I think, to have expectations but to consciously tell myself I am not going to have them has helped me a lot. Expectations placed on situations or people usually just end up badly for me. So why should I set myself up for that? It’s better to just let things flow without placing expectations onto things or people.
- Follow your gut instinct: I don’t always do this out of not really paying much attention to my instincts at times. I know I have avoided many negative things though, simply because I have trusted my gut instinct about a situation or person and have been able to turn away from that.
- You don’t always have to DO something about negative feelings: I’ve learned over the years that it’s okay to feel the feelings and just let it go. Not every feeling needs a response or action to go with it. When the negative feeling comes, notice it, feel it for a bit then let it go. Holding onto it is pointless and will make things worse.
- It’s okay to choose yourself: It’s so important for me to choose myself and invest in MY future. Who else will? If I spent as much time invested in myself as much as I am invested in others I could accomplish a lot more! It’s okay to be a little selfish and choose myself and I am doing that more and more.
- No one owes you anything: I’m responsible for my life and the choices that I have made or will make in the future. I owe everything to myself. No one owes me anything.
- It’s okay to admit when you are wrong: Admitting when I’m wrong is not shameful. When I admit when I am wrong I am taking responsibility for what I have done or may have said. I don’t allow myself to feel defeated when apologizing for being wrong. It helps me to become a more considerate and kind person.
- Hugs are the best medicine: I’m a hugger. When I’m upset or feeling some type of not so good way all I want is a hug. Some hugs are the perfect dosage of love and you can literally feel love radiate through a simple hug. Those are the best kind. Even when I am feeling great a hug makes that feeling even better. Hugs are an amazing dose of medicine.
- Failure is important: As much as I don’t enjoy “failure” it truly is an important part of life. Embracing my failures and learning from them is important and it makes me stronger.
- Be who you are: I refuse to pretend I am someone that I am not. I am learning to love and accept myself the way that I am. I have to change for no one.
I think it’s safe to say I have learned a lot over the last 37 years. What have you learned in your life and through your own experiences? Reflect and really think about it. You’d be surprised at what you have learned.
This was eye-opening for me to write out and I wanted to share it with you all. It’s taken me a long time to learn certain things and I am also still working on a lot of these things.
Progress, not perfection.