Written by blogging contributor, Daniela Forte.
As this year draws to a close, I find myself in a bittersweet position. This year for me was a whirlwind of sorts with a tremendous amount of changes, some of which I never saw coming. With those changes, I learned several valuable lessons that I will take with me into the New Year.
While I won’t sit here and list all of the lessons I’ve learned, here are a good number of them that I am still working through in my personal life that I hope all of you reading this can learn a little bit from too.
Be Good to Yourself: No matter what happens in the world around you, no matter what people may think about you, say about you or treat you, be good to yourself. Remember what other people say, think, and feel about you is none of your business. That is right. While you may think, “How could it not be any of my business, when it’s about me?” It’s not about you. It never is. Here’s the thing, you will always be judged, you will always make someone unhappy, you will always make mistakes because you are human and it’s a part of life. At the end of the day you are all you have. So cut yourself some slack and know that you are doing the best you can.
Would it Matter if You Died Tomorrow?: This is a bit morbid to think about, but this year I found myself constantly looking at “the grand scheme of things” especially when there were days I could barely get out of bed to face the world. And on days where I could think logically about the areas of my life that were causing me stress, I began to think, if I were to die tomorrow, would this matter? It’s a bit of perspective I guess. Life is short, live your life. No matter who you are, what you have done you absolutely have the divine right to live your life.
Calm the Fuck Down: I am speaking to myself here and everyone who is riddled with anxiety and nerves on a daily basis. With all that is going on in the world right now and in our daily lives, it is so hard to keep calm. I strongly encourage you to find a way to be calm. Take a walk, exercise, spend time or talk with people who bring you joy, meditate, find a few words that are your “safety words” that will train your mind that you are in fact OK! Remember that no matter what happens, you are and will be okay.
You Will Lose People: It’s the nature of the beast of life. We lose people through disagreements and simply because it’s time to move forward. Some losses are unexpected, but often times when you look back you realize they needed to happen for you to grow and become the person you were meant to be. Sounds a bit cliché and an excuse to “deal with it” but it is true. We lose people every day, sometimes it’s our fault and sometimes it isn’t and honestly, sometimes it doesn’t matter whose fault it is, it’s the nature of how things need to go in order to move forward. And sadly, that person’s part in your life story is over. This was the hardest lesson I was forced to learn this year.
Be Grateful: It’s so easy to look at all the negatives in our lives, all the people and things that cause us stress and unhappiness; that we forget to be grateful. This was a challenge for me this year, but whenever I felt overwhelmed, angry or sad, I had to stop and remember what I am grateful for. Think about your friends, your family, anyone who shows genuine care and support for your health and well-being. When you aren’t doing that, think about other things to be grateful for, a good cup of coffee, a beautiful sunset, a good night’s sleep. Tell those that make you happy how much you appreciate them; let go of what doesn’t make your soul happy and cherish those people and things that do.
Let Go of Your Expectations: Expectations are a beast too. Didn’t you know? We have this heavy bag of expectations that we carry over our shoulders each day, asking and wanting every person and situation in our lives to live up to them. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard myself and friends of mine say, “I expected that because I was this way…” “I expected them to ….” “I expected this situation to…” Not everyone will meet your standards, not every situation you encounter will be what you thought. Sometimes it will be better, other times it will be worse. Letting these expectations go, will allow you to lead a much happier life and sometimes when you don’t expect anything from anyone or any situation, life grants you a sweet reward.
Trust your Gut: That quiet voice in your head that alerts you when something is wrong, sometimes yells at you if you aren’t listening, that is your gut. If there is anything I could share with you all this year is to trust your gut. When everything around you seems fuzzy and uncertain, your gut will lead you in the right direction. When the world around you seems to be closing in, listen to that little voice, when you can’t make heads or tails of anything, listen to that little voice. Trust yourself above everything.
Let Your Past Teach You, but Never Define You: I’ve held onto a lot of anger for stuff that has happened in my past, often times allowing it to define who I am. This year, was the first time I allowed it to teach me. I never thought it could ever teach me anything; I hated it too much to go back and let it be my teacher. But, this year it taught me that darkness doesn’t last too long and you will find your way eventually. Let your past be your guide down your unknown path, but never let it define who you become. Don’t be afraid to feel your past again and look for clues on how to handle what is going on in your life presently.
Say your Prayers: Even if you aren’t the praying kind, pray when you need it. Pray for others, pray for yourself. Pray for an answer. Just pray. Prayers are also a way to say “thank you” for all you have been given too. It’s not just asking, but also showing your gratitude.
Small Acts of Kindness: I saw a lot of this this year. I saw kindness from my friends, my co-workers, my family, neighbors and even random strangers. At times I was surprised, other times I saw the true value of these small acts of kindness. The thing about kindness is that it doesn’t cost anything and it feels so good give out to people. So in the year ahead if you have a chance, give some kindness out, you will be surprised what comes your way!