What a year 2018 has been! Am I the only one who can’t believe how time has just flown by?! When I look back and reflect, I definitely didn’t think I would be where I am now. One Twitter user asked people to share life lessons they had learnt this year and I couldn’t help but share a few pearls of wisdom.
These pearls of wisdom are the focus of this post. So I will be elaborating on each lesson learnt and how I believe it has helped to make me become a better person. As always, I encourage you to get involved and share your own lessons from 2018 and of course, your hopes for 2019!
Lesson 1 – I am stronger than I thought I was
My faith and my entire existence has been tested so much this year. You know what they say about things coming in three’s? Well, that’s exactly what happened to me. I won’t go into too much detail but it all started the day after I came back from Venice. Never have I had a holiday glow disappear so quickly! At the time, I actually believed the three trials I experienced had come to destroy me and staying positive was incredibly hard. One day, I came across a quote by Maya Angelou which said ‘ You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated‘ and I was able to relate.
I’ve stared defeat in the face so many times and for those of you who have struggled with mental health problems like I have, the temptation to just give up often rears it’s head. Thankfully, I was able to overcome the difficult season in my life. It doesn’t mean that I am immune from tough times but I was surprised by my strength, my resilience and the power I had to accept what was happening and also to strive to make things better for myself.
Lesson 2 – It’s OK not to be OK
In 2018, the stigma around mental health significantly reduced. People are a lot more open about their struggles, myself included. Tuning in with your mood is one of the best things you can do for yourself. Just be honest, be your own best friend. If you are having a bad day, acknowledge it. If a negative mood is consistent, you may need to speak to a friend or go to your GP. Self care isn’t just about eating great food and having spa days, it’s about taking proper care of you.
Every single person on this earth has a bad day, so when you’re feeling down don’t alienate yourself from your emotions. Going to therapy for the second time in two years made me feel so ashamed. I spent many nights crying my eyes out and thinking about people who I felt would need therapy more than me. I remember telling my therapist that I shouldn’t be sat in front of her because I never used to feel down or depressed. I remember being the bubbliest person in the world but reality is that as you get older, life comes at you fast so open up, talk to people you trust and work towards having a better, healthier outlook on life.
Lesson 3 – Live your best life
This year for me has been all about experiences. Whether it’s holidays, concerts, nights out with friends: I really have lived in 2018! It’s amazing how one trip to Amsterdam made me want to travel more. I have had the pleasure of going to Berlin, Prague, Paris and Venice this year. A goal of mine for 2019 is definitely to travel more as I have a few destinations in mind. I definitely want to go back to Paris again as I just had so much fun and it was my first solo trip. A friend of mine said there was no way I could travel solo and I saw that as a challenge and then booked Paris. When the train was leaving St Pancras, I started to well up a little because I realised what I was about to do but you know what? I’d do it all over again if I could.
When it comes to living the life that you want, don’t have a heavy reliance on others. Maintain your friendships but don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you want to do. Take yourself out to eat, visit another town for a day, go to the movies by yourself. Enjoying your own company does not mean you are lonely. You learn a lot about yourself when you experience different things. Plan things in advance and also try to do something that you’ve never done before. Personally, I hate being outside of my comfort zone but once I’ve done new things, I feel really good after. Some of you may be able to relate.
Lesson 4 – Sometimes, no matter how hard you want to hold on, you’ve just got to cut certain people off
Why is it that whenever you appear to have your s*** together, someone from your past decides to try to make a reappearance into your life? There are probably so many answers to that question which I’m not going to go into now but it is a thing. People from your past can smell progression and happiness and all those lovely things, so they decide to come running back. I love to give people the benefit of the doubt but one day, I had to take a good, hard look at myself in the mirror and just admit that I need to let go of certain relationships in my life. Having people who are no good in your life can seriously disturb your aura.
Strangely enough, when I became single, I came to the realisation that certain relationships in your life can drain your energy if you are not careful. You need to discern which ones do. Forcing relationships is something I have refused to do in 2018. Time also doesn’t determine the quality of a personal relationship, this is another lesson I have learned. Sometimes, cutting people off is just the right thing to do. Cutting people off isn’t about proving a point. It is about acceptance. Acceptance is just about seeing things as they are and moving forward with grace.Evaluating all relationships in my life has now become something I do on a regular basis. If something or someone just isn’t adding value to my life, they have got to go.
Lesson 5 – Don’t rely on the validation of others when it comes to being your true self. BE authentic, BE you!
Seeking validation is the most exhausting sport anyone can engage in. Trying to be everything to everyone will never bring you the joy you desire. As I sat in conversation with my therapist, we talked about seeking approval from others. It is funny how most of our less than perfect traits can be linked back to our childhoods and I do remember a few events where I was made to feel like I had to be a certain person in order to be accepted.
Addressing this in therapy was one of the best things I ever did for myself. Knowing who you are and developing a sense of self worth will take you far. You are valued, you are important and you are loved and you should never forget this. Hold on to that truth and don’t let anyone tell you anything different. If you live off the approval of others, you can never be your authentic self. Something will always hold you back and your confidence will take a hit. Understand why you seek approval and find a way to change your perception of yourself.
I know this post has been a lengthy one but 2018 has been a very eventful year. Here’s to a fantastic 2019.
What are some of the life lessons you have learnt in 2018?
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