I know it’s not the New Year, which is when yearly reflection usually takes place, but seeing as I enjoy going deep sea diving with my thoughts, I felt it appropriate to take my own time and reflect on some things I’ve learned over the past year about myself. Most of the things I’ve learned I have known for some time but they have been re invented in my life over the past year.
1. My health is important.Yup, this one is pretty straightforward and I’m sure somewhat stupid to re-consider, however I’m certainly realizing that my age is (somewhat) starting to speak to me. I can’t just go out and have a burger (…meal) at McDonalds without REALLY feeling the cost anymore. Or sucking down my favorite sweet treats without my mouth feeling like it needs a dentist over haul.
But more importantly, I’ve learned that healthy living isn’t just about the food I eat, or exercise I do to stay “healthy”.
My health is also based on my environment, the people I am in relationship with and interact with, the choices I make, what I understand and know about the world
— it’s about creating a sort of holistic lifestyle with health in mind rather than just eating right and exercising. I think being healthy is really a state of mind. If you want to be healthy it’s discovering and learning WHY it’s important (if it is important) and what affects it. I know my gut senses unhealthiness, even in relationships or situations. It’s not a good feeling to be unhealthy, and the journey to discover how to get out of it is the cost we must pay in order for it to last.
2. Crap happens and it’s up to me to make the best of it. I have wanted to write something specifically on this point because I think it’s been a huge part of my life and other people’s lives I know and I’ve had to really digest and work through my honest thoughts about it.
When crap happens to you over and over again it is exhausting.
It’s okay to bounce back after one tough or unwanted situation BUT if things keep coming up constantly that you either didn’t plan for, don’t like and just can’t really get out of, it’s just flat out exhausting. But the simplest and (not easy) truth is that regardless of how often crap happens to you, you have to keep on fighting.
Don’t let just one situation get at you. Yes of course take the time to be human— cry, scream, throw something. But then pick yourself up, be positive and make the best of it.
I’m just seeing now (in small glimpses) how some of the things I’ve gone through a while ago are shaping my personality, or causing me to see things differently than if I hadn’t have gone through it. And the truth is real. These things that happen may never turn into positive things. It’s not a promise of sunshine and roses at all. The truth is it may be awful still, or sad or hard. But who we become because of it is priceless if fighting and positive mind is attached to it.
3. I need to be my own cheerleader. To believe in your own self is vital. I’ve found that if I don’t cheer for myself most likely no one else will and I can’t expect it either. I am my best cheerleader, the best person to believe in who I am and what I am capable of.
ME, has to be enough for myself.
It’s awesome to have a fan base behind you. But to expect it or rely on it is unhealthy and can lead to disappointment and questioning yourself. If you know you are beautiful and believe it, the power of that belief is stronger than any other person’s voice or opinion. In a time where everyone loves to have an opinion about someone else, it’s crucial to find your inner strength for yourself. It will be what carries you through.
4. Sometimes if you want something done, you best do it yourself. This lesson is a bit of an extension from number 3 but does have it’s own place. Waiting for something to happen in life or someone else to do something for me is tiring, disappointing and useless. It’s great working in teams, having partners and collaborating on something. It’s my first choice for most things I like to do. However, you may not have the luxury of having someone else to get something accomplished or done with or for you. You may just need to step up, figure it out and do it yourself.
5. “Love” isn’t enough in a relationship. You can love someone dearly, but have relationships fail. I am no relationship expert by any means, however in my own experience I’ve noticed that there needs to be more than just love in a relationship.
Misunderstanding and just straight up not wanting to understand others has been a key to relationship issues I’ve faced.
The moment I’ve chosen (and of course the other person has too) to not be afraid to open up and be clear, honest and willing to have grace for the other person’s point of view is when break through has taken place and things have really changed. Everyone is so different, and it’s a good thing if our differences can be embraced rather than become a threat to one another.
6. I am not defined by what I do, what I’ve done or where I’m at in life. This has been the hardest lesson that I’ve continued to learn because I have really prided myself on what I’m capable of, can do or have done. I think this lesson is put to it’s truest test when you’re stripped of EVERYTHING you had, have or could have. That’s when you’re all alone and left to figure YOU out.
I am not defined, worthy, meaningful, precious or important because of the things I do or have done.
You are you because of what is behind all of that. What makes you happy, your passions, interests, and convictions. What you are naturally drawn to, your quirks and sense of humor or lack of. These things can sometimes get lost behind the hard work or collected persona you give off. They certainly have been for me. Being transparent isn’t and shouldn’t be considered a weakness. It’s your own unique strength.
Your own self-brand.
In a world where we live off of an edited life by comparing our background life to other’s highlighted reels, it’s vital that we understand, respect and love ourselves.
Thrive in being you— but make sure to take the time to strip it all away and figure YOU out first.
7. I need to live for something greater than myself. This is something that is quite a common cliché and hopefully assumed in life, at least for myself. HOWEVER, figuring it out and understanding what it is for me has been a whole other story. Even though some take a life time to discover what “it” is, all I know Is that living for something more than myself, money, fame or likes is the only way I can fill my soul with satisfaction and contentment and feel free.
You can move/travel all over the world, work in all sorts of jobs, make new friends, have loads of money but without giving up a place (big or small) in your life for something more than just your own self, I believe you will never be satisfied.
8. It’s okay to stand up for something and not be liked because of it. Standing up, voicing and believing in your convictions is important to build your own backbone. You may see something or feel something wrong but it takes gut to act on it.
It’s not easy to do the right thing or the things you feel convicted about.
The world loves followers and people who break molds or stand up to things are always pointed out. But it’s not enough to just do what everyone else thinks or wants for you. It may start off simple in your head, but what complicates the situation or thing in question is when you try and think of reasons not to do it or ways out of it or justifications for it being okay/right. And I’m not talking only about big un-ethical or moral convictions even though it could be that. I’m talking about things you believe or don’t believe in for yourself. Something you feel off about doing for your own health reasons, own convictions or even something that may conflict with your personality.
Standing up against or for something is okay and choosing the harder choices is okay because you leave knowing that it was your choice and no one else’s. And regardless of the outcome your backbone got that much more stronger.
9. Too many choices can be crippling if you get caught in comparing them. I’ve found the deeper I go in my thoughts about a choice between something and something else, the more stuck I get in comparing the crap out of them. I start to weigh out the good and bad and they become equal in their own ways and I have no clue what to do. I’ve watched numerous TedTalks about this problem and most all of the professionals end up with similar conclusions.
Their advice is usually centred on not over thinking your choices, even the huge ones.
Now that’s not to say you don’t consider the weight of the decision you’ll make, but from my own experience I’ve found the longer and deeper I get stuck in my head about a decision I’m wanting to make, the more likely I am to either regret the choice, be unhappy with it or just not choose anything. I’ve loved having to make the best of a choice that needed to be made because of restrictions or lack of options, (maybe not enjoyed all of them, as noted in number 2) or when I was able to make a choice and alter it as I went. Happiness and freedom normally follows because your not stuck in comparing the options constantly, or thinking “what if” about life through the eyes of the other option.
Regret, sadness, uncertainty and un-contentment are the fruit of the path where options begin to weigh on your mind. Choosing something, moving on and making it work out (or not) is always the right way to go, at least from what I’ve been discovering.
10. It’s okay to not have life, people or situations figured out. I’ve found that the more I’ve tried to give advice or understand a situation/someone the more I realize I just don’t know the full picture or that something is a lot deeper than I anticipated. And you know what, that’s okay.
But what’s not okay is when I’ve assumed that I have the right to make other’s “projects” or think I know better and have “arrived”… really anywhere in life.
Sure people have wisdom in older age, or go through certain situations that allow you authority to speak about it however what I’ve been learning is that no one person really should have the right to know more than another person especially when it comes to that other person’s life. Parents try and raise their children the best they know how. They should be the ones that know them the best. But how many stories have you heard of children breaking free from parental molds they were trying to be placed in. The best feeling I’ve felt for myself is when I’ve been in situations, or around people I know or have just met where I was free to share who I was and felt an equal exchange of life.
Now don’t get me wrong, I do believe it’s healthy and necessary to have people in your life who can give a good verbal butt whippin’ sometimes. But that’s not to say I think we should carry ourselves with the title of “know-it-alls” or “advice givers”.
We all have our own journey’s to live out and WE are the only ones who end up living and dealing with the things that happen to us. I believe we can always be learning from others no matter who we are. One of my favorite authors is Malcolm Gladwell. He’s been praised for his unique style of writing and has written some best selling books such as The Tipping Point and David and Goliath. His approach is considered unique because he expresses things he’s learned or points he wants to get across from a story telling point of view and that is—people’s stories. He takes unpresuming stories and shows them off in a way that expresses a different perspective on a particular point. This is an approach I want to and am learning to model in my own life. Finding out how there can be a good exchange of life between others and myself I encounter and making people more equal rather than living through a hierarchy.
We may never know someone without understanding him or her properly and taking the time to hear their story with no agenda in mind other than to listen.