With a new year comes new resolutions, new goals, and new lessons. The end of 2019 for me was about reflection. Yes, reflection on the year but also on the decade. Looking back on who I was in 2010 compared to who I am going into 2020, I honestly couldn’t be more grateful! I’ve listed 10 of the biggest lessons I learned in the past 10 years.
1. You are who you surround yourself with.
As I grow older, I don’t use the word friend lightly. I am so intentional about who I surround myself with. When I look back on who I used to be surrounded with, my life was full of partying, drinking, gossiping and negativity. I had to cut people out in order to change my life. When I go out with my friends now, our conversations are filled with so much encouragement, uplifting, prayers, and positivity. We can’t even waste energy talking about other people because we are so focused on our own goals and how we can help each other. Look at the 5 people closest to you. Do they inspire you? Push you to be better, want to do better? Also, don’t try to be anybody but yourself. You will attract the right people who will GLADLY be a part of your life. You should never have to force a friendship and you should never compromise who you are in order to be liked.
2. It’s okay to let go.
This is a big one and it’s one we have to remind ourselves. Letting go of things that upset you or disrupt your peace is okay. It may be hurtful to you or to someone else, but at the end of the day, you matter; your mental health and wellness matters. This goes for relationships, friends and even family members. If you have to distance yourself from certain things or people, it’s OKAY!
3. Happiness and Joy are two different things.
You hear of and meet people who have it all. The money, the family, the house, the career etc. but yet are miserable. Sometimes, we as humans chase things thinking they will make us happy. “Once I complete this, once I get this job, once I’m married, once I buy this...” but when we achieve it, we feel happy for a moment, but then it fades and we’re on to the next. Whereas JOY is not tied to external things. It’s being present in moments, it’s being grateful every day no matter the circumstances, it’s being content with what you have and being at peace with who God created you to be, knowing He has a plan for your life.
4. You can’t hate people who talk about you.
I mean, you shouldn’t hate anyone period. But I’ve been in situations where I’ve walked into people speaking negatively about me or was told by people close to me things that were said by someone or you’re out somewhere and people just make it 100% obvious they are talking about you by staring, pointing or laughing and then you feel uncomfortable? Yeah, I’ve been there, and it does hurt. But I’ve realized that people who talk about you are saying way more about themselves then they are about you. These people are usually hurting or struggling with something they don’t like about themselves, so talking about someone else makes them feel better. It’s a bitter and sad thing, but it’s something they need to become aware of and want to change themselves. Anything anybody says about me now, I don’t give it energy. I don't let it affect me because I’m comfortable and know exactly who I am.
5. Do a Heart Check
While traveling, I have come across some of the most beautiful human beings I have ever seen. Men and women. But it’s crazy some of the personalities they had. You can have the nicest body, tanned skin, a beautiful face, the best outfits, but if you don’t treat people nicely or have an unfriendly personality you can come across as unattractive. Sometimes people spend so much money on their looks that people forget to take care of their heart. Who they are as a person. The world constantly tries to tell us every day who we should be, what we should look like, how we should act. It can leave us feeling depressed and anxious, always trying to change ourselves. I think it’s so crucial to take time and learn about you. What are your values? What are your morals? Remember, God is more concerned about your heart than your outward appearance!
This can also go can hand in hand with self-love. Learn to love yourself! It’s an on-going journey, but one that is powerful. I was in relationships trying to love these amazing people when I didn’t even know how to love myself. Take yourself on dates, try new things, put yourself first when you can, pick up new hobbies, take care of your body. Once you start loving yourself, amazing things will happen.
6. Be careful with your words.
Proverbs 18:21 says that the tongue has the power of life and death. Sometimes in arguments, we can say things that we don’t mean, sometimes we can say things to our kids, our family, our friends that we think wouldn’t affect them. But words have a way of deeply affecting people – even for years. If you are called a negative word for so long, eventually you will start to believe it. This is why it is soo important to think before you speak and always just speak love and life into people. I saw this quote floating around that said “If you see something beautiful in someone, speak it” You honestly never know what your kind words can do for someone’s soul. Also, be careful with how you speak to yourself. Even if you’re just joking around. Be kind and compassionate to yourself. Speak truth, speak positivity. You are amazing. You are worthy. You are beautiful.
7. The mind is powerful.
This one is SO huge to me. Realizing this was transformational in my life. I used to spend my time binge-watching Netflix series, listening to rap, reading magazines. Now, there’s nothing wrong with Netflix, rap or magazines; but what enters your mind has a lot to do with the life you live each day. With the person I strive to be, with the goals I want to accomplish, things needed to change. I am so aware of what I listen to, what I watch, what I read, what type of conversations I have; all because I realize the impact it has on my life. TV shows, movies, music, books can be so influential. So why not watch or listen to things that expand your knowledge, that help you grow in areas of your life that push you closer to your dreams.
8. Time is so valuable.
Life is so short. We’ve had some sad unexpected deaths in our family that open your eyes to realize that you really never know when it's your time. We live each day as if we KNOW we have years left. When in reality, we aren’t promised tomorrow. It’s kind of scary, but it should also push you to live more. We all have 24 hours in a day. What you do with that time matters. I’m very intentional with who I spend and what I do with my time. Also, give people your time. Sometimes it means more to them than material things. People want to be listened to, heard. Spend more time with loved ones, and more time doing things that bring you joy.
9. Step out of your comfort zone.
SO important!!! The feeling I got when I first stepped foot on a cruise ship when I was 21 was probably the most exhilarating, scared, beautiful feeling I’ve ever had. I was stepping into the unknown and it ended up being one of the best, most exciting times of my life. Same with skydiving, ziplining, moving to Spain and many more things. Sometimes we get so comfortable in our life, in our routine that we fear change. While for some people change is uncomfortable however, being uncomfortable can bring growth. You never know what new things you’ll learn about life, about yourself or what new people you’ll meet if you don’t take that first step.
10. Have Faith.
Growing my relationship with God has been the biggest change in my life. Believe me, I’ve tried to live life my way, plenty of times. But the amazing thing is that all those times I turned my back on God, He never left my side. I look back on everything I went through, the challenges, the struggles, the heartbreak and I can literally see God's hand in every single situation. I don’t regret anything, and my heart is so full of gratitude to how far God has brought me in my life. It’s easy to say have faith, the hard part is truly believing. I’m definitely not where I want to be, but God has an incredible plan and it’s something I stand firm on and believe in. Jeremiah 29:11
*Bonus: My quote from young has always been ‘Life is Beautiful’, I know its cliché, and it’s not actually “my” quote, but it’s something that I believe to be true. Try to look for the beauty in every situation, in every person you come in contact with and every place you are able to travel too. Also, anyone who knows me, knows that sunsets are my favorite thing ever, and they are truly a reminder that no matter what happens throughout your day, it always ends with something beautiful.
There is so much more I could write that I’ve learned from every situation and every person who enters my life, but I would be writing all day! I hope at least one of these resonates with you. Thank you for reading and feel free to reach out anytime and share with me some things you’ve learned! I’m looking forward to what this new year and decade brings!