I walked into 2019 thinking “now THIS is definitely gonna be my year!” I was super excited, optimistic, and confident that all my hard work would finally pay off, I would finally see the meaning behind all my endless years of suffering, and I would finally be rewarded with true love and success…finally!! Aaaaaaaand here we are, 2 days before 2020, and to say the least, 2019 was probably the most painful year yet. In reflecting on the hundreds of painful lessons learned, I boiled them all down to FIVE, and here they are:
LESSON 1: Social Media and Your Mental Health:
Social media can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you use it. Using it mindlessly, I found it usually left me feeling empty, even lonely. By being selective of who and what I follow, I’m able to make sure that the time I spend on social media feeds my soul and makes me feel more connected to those I care about and the world. All that power was literally in the palm of my hands and no one else’s.
LESSON #2: Investing in Myself (It Started With My Integrity)
First, I define integrity. It’s a complex concept, but it all boils down to living consistently and as honestly as possible to our values and beliefs. Our integrity is our most prized possession because our life satisfaction, happiness and internal peace all depend on our integrity.
Do NOT sacrifice your integrity for anyone.
Nothing and no one is worth losing your integrity.
Take all the time you want
to process what needs processing
but do NOT let anyone take away your integrity.
I used to be a walking doormat. I used to react to people’s attitudes and behaviors flushing my integrity down the toilet. I was equally as guilty of questionable integrity as those I blamed. So, how do we strengthen our integrity? First, you gotta know who you are and what you stand for. That requires self-honesty. You must embrace and acknowledge who you really are (the parts you don’t want to admit to, the parts you want to change, and the parts you try to hide from everyone, including yourself). You can’t go forward without that. So take some time to sit down with yourself, just BE with yourself, and get to know that person, just like you would with anyone else.
If you don’t think you’re worth
taking the time to
sit down with and REALLY getting to know,
then why would anyone else want to??
Investing in yourself is the best and most profitable investment you will ever make. There are tons of ways to do that, but the investments that make the most impact are the ones that last. Investing in makeup, botox, and bigger boobs aren’t going to change who you are to your core… Invest in your physical and mental health. Invest in your education. Invest in the things that last.
But in this process, I had to remind myself to go easy on myself. We’ll never be perfect. There will always be a gap between who are are and who we aspire to be. It’s a life process. No one has their shit together. We are all one f*ing mess just trying to pick up the pieces of our sh*t show life. Some of us are better at it than others, but none of us have our sh*t together. So in the process of being kind and understanding toward yourself, be kind and understanding to others. Pick your favorite shit show, buckle in, and ride with it.
Note: there are things you DO need to be hard on yourself about: shaving, showering, brushing your teeth, making your bed, cleaning your house, getting dressed up… all these things are for you. Don’t NOT shave or shower just because you aren’t going to be around people. Don’t live in filth because no one is coming over. Good habits remind you of your worth. They also make you feel like you got your sh*t together which can come in handy when sh*t inevitably hits the fan. At least you look and smell nice and your bed is made and your house is clean… Oh! And sleep 6-8 hours a day, and no more.
LESSON #3: How to Identify People That are Bad for You (so you can avoid them):
Some people (*cough* me) can be too understanding, too accommodating, too empathic, too forgiving, too open minded… I give people more trust than they deserve, and give people the benefit of the doubt while blinding myself to all the red flags. And in the end, those I loved and trusted most with my heart and life lied to me, used me, cheated on me, stole from me, and threatened my life. There’s lots of these people, and I used to think identifying them was difficult, until now.
Identify one thing they are significantly unhappy with, and then:
1) find out how they believe they got in that situation,
2) look at how they are actively dealing with it.
3) examine how long it takes for them to find healing from it (effort=results)
Are they healing from it? Are they growing from it? Where are they in the process of healing? How long have they been there? You must know that healing requires time, a LOT of hard work (emotional and physical), DAILY active attention (commitment to developing new habits, getting rid of old habits, etc.), and endless humility (admitting we are wrong to ourselves and others, and changing).
Examine their attitude toward their hardship. Are they bitter? Blaming? Complaining but not doing anything effective or positive to resolve the situation? Do they cover up their pain? Do they escape or avoid it? Do they drink it away or drown it in other addictive behaviors? Does this pattern repeat in other areas of their life? Watch carefully.
This is so important, because if you ever become a perceived problem, in any way, whatsoever, big or small, that’s how they will deal with you as well. That’s how they deal with life. Run from these people. It’s not worth it.
LESSON #4: LET IT GO, You CAN’T Make Sense Out of NONSENSE
Some things don’t make any sense because they aren’t supposed to make any sense. We can spend countless hours, weeks, months, and years trying to understand why someone did something to us, and it will never make any sense. We suffer because we want it to make sense. This keeps us living in the past, and one immediate result is being imprisoned with remorse, guilt, shame, resentment, and bitterness.
You have ZERO control over the past.
That means that all the thinking in the world
won’t change a thing.
Keep your focus forward facing as you commit to being the best version of yourself possible.
If it’s meant to be it will be,
NO. MATTER. WHAT.
Never forget that.
Whether your goal in clinging to the past is to offer compassion and understanding, or just to get emotional closure, both require you to let go. Only when you let it go will you find freedom.
LET IT GO.
And the most important lesson I learned:
LESSON #5: LOVE ALWAYS WINS
Life is full of curve balls and f*ed up people who do some REALLY, and unbelievably f*ed up things. Sickness, death, loss, breakups, divorce, betrayals… so many really, truly, sh*tty things are happening, unexpectedly, and randomly. You never know when it could be you. And when this pain comes knocking at your door, you will doubt the goodness in the world. You may even doubt yourself. There will be horrific people that make you doubt the goodness of humanity. You may be tempted to decide no one can be trusted, and close your heart to the world.
There will be moments that make you question
if this life is worth living.
Don’t let the darkness dim your light. Don’t let evil people dim your soul.
Don’t let hardship dim your faith.
If you do, darkness wins.
And you’re bigger and better and brighter than all of that.
Never doubt the power of your light, no matter how dark it gets.
Do whatever you need to do to keep your light shining. Love always wins. Let love prevail. The seed you plant now will grow in time AND unfortunately (because that’s how love works) you will likely NOT be there to witness it in its final blossom… but the whole world will be better because of YOU. So love truly, wholly, love bravely, love unconditionally. LOVE ALWAYS WINS. Never forget that.