Lessons I Wish I had Learned Earlier

“Learn from the past, live for the present, and hope for the future.” Albert Einstein was a famous scientist who lived throughout the 20th century.

I recently turned 38 years old. Birthdays and new years often make me reflect and, for a long time, bemoan my accomplishments—what I’ve done and what I’ve accomplished. This time, though, there was a significant difference.

What has meant to me over the last twelve months has been the people I’ve met, the places I’ve seen, the experiences I’ve had, and the things I’ve learned about myself—none of which has resulted in anything tangible.

I’ve learned life lessons that have transformed my life for the better and that, to be honest, I wish I’d learned sooner. Perhaps these will be of assistance to you as well.

It is not about what we accomplish that makes us happy.

As someone who has spent so much of her life accomplishing, striving to attain, and competing to win, I had to start with this one. I aspired to ride for my nation and compete in the Olympics for the first half of my life, then to succeed in business, then intellectually, and always in relationships.

It makes no difference what I accomplish. No amount of money, a promotion, a relationship, a mansion, the highest mountain, or a gold medal will ever change the way I feel about myself.

Achievement is the frosting on the cake, so we must first learn to like the cake that is the total of who we are so that we can frost it. 

We’re all giving it our all.

I used to hold myself to the greatest standards of scrutiny and morality.

As judge, jailer, and executioner for every minor imperfection, mistake, or underachievement, I was a master at delivering self-punishment.

Other people, on the other hand, I would forgive for their flaws, choices, and indiscretions. I anticipated little accountability or duty from others but a lot from myself.

I’ve learned to balance everything out by being kinder, more forgiving, and loving to myself, and realizing that we’re all doing our best—and I’m no exception.

We must be aware of and respect our deal breaker factors.

Because self-worth is an activity, I was able to identify my relationship deal breakers. Unfortunately, I’ve allowed a lot of people to treat me badly throughout my life—lie, cheat, take liberties, bully, blame, shame, and even abuse. I was not a believer in anything. I couldn’t refuse. My yes was worthless without the no.

Respect, honesty, and responsibility are now my deal breakers. Being a woman in the workplace could be a double-edged sword. You should set the boundaries.

We don’t accept abuse when we know our deal breakers because we know we’re worth more.

We must trust our instincts.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes in my life because I didn’t trust my intuition, which is nature’s survival gift that allows us to flourish.

I got myself involved with the wrong people, relationships, and jobs, despite the fact that I knew they weren’t suitable for me from the start, and then paid the price by squandering time and energy attempting to make them work.

Sometimes intuition is as loud as someone screaming in your ear, and other times it is more subtle.

We save a lot of time and trouble if we slow down, take our time, allow things to clear up, and listen.

No amount of studying will ever be sufficient.

I’ve spent years studying people and trying to figure out what life, love, and the world are all about. To show it, I have letters after my name, and much of it was a waste of time.

The majority of things are merely stepping stones to something else, frequently on a cyclical journey back to what you already understood.

Knowledge is power, but wisdom comes from experience with it: using it, applying it, feeling how it feels, and making mistakes.

You become intelligent by good old-fashioned hands-on living and having the fortitude to get involved and experience. Then you have a lovely lesson to impart.

Facing your fears is a must.

I squandered a lot of time hiding from the boogie monster, the terrifying truth within me. All I had to do was be brave and confront how I felt and what I desired.

Instead of attempting to unlock it all with information or having someone else tell me what to do, I had to feel all I had concealed, repressed, and buried.

Only then did I feel free; I could stop caring if other people liked me or not and simply love myself and realize what was important to me.

We journey through life alone, and we no longer have to worry about being unloved if we become our own closest friends.

Recognize that life and people are unpredictable.

I, like everyone else, was reliant on people as a child, and I needed them to be consistent in order for me to feel safe in the world. Unfortunately, they weren’t, and I became trapped in a cycle of wanting to please others in order for them to take care of me, yet I was constantly disappointed.

I felt like a drowning young woman at sea, tossed around by the waves with nothing to cling to because I had nothing solid to rely on.

The only thing that remains constant is change. Accepting this gives us the ability to learn to rely on ourselves.

We have the ability to be our own best friends.

I learned to like, love, and respect myself as I faced my fears, became clear about my deal breakers, began to trust my intuition, and forgave myself.

I decided to use my curiosity to learn more about myself and what I like, like, and don’t want. I became my own best friend, and if there’s an issue, I’ve got your back.

I learned about myself, inside and out, and what matters to me, so I built a solid boat and am no longer drowning. Like the sea, the world around me can be wild and variable, but I can now ride out the waves without fear. The same may be said of you.

We are sufficient.

By keeping a clean house, cooking like a chef, and making wild passionate love every night, or by becoming a CEO, earning a fortune, or having a gold medal or a Ph.D., I never needed to struggle to be anyone’s best friend, girlfriend, or wife.

It’s exhausting simply writing about it, but that’s how I used to live.

Yes, I do some fascinating, exciting, and intriguing things from time to time; I am curious about the world and enjoy my existence. But there are moments when I don’t want to be bothered.

I enjoy lounging around in my pajamas while watching classic movies. I wake up with morning breath and matted hair, but I can clean up and go to the ballet.

Not because of what I do, but because of who I am, I now know who I am, what makes me happy, and the value I can contribute to any relationship or scenario.

We’re one-of-a-kind, priceless, and irreplaceable, as well as the sum of all our experiences.

Our most important relationship is with ourselves because it is through it that we learn to truly love others, particularly our children. And we can receive the most delight out of our lives when we demonstrate how to love ourselves.

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