Happy New Year (mine officially started in February)!
I thought the best way to kick-start my blog would be through sharing what I learned in 2017, and how these lessons have put me in better stead for this year. I hope that you can relate to some, or even better, gain more wisdom and understanding from some of these.
So, in no particular order:
1) Be unapologetically you!
When you truly realise and acknowledge your worth, what makes you unique and embrace your flaws; that is when you become the truest version of yourself. When you find freedom in who you are and what you’ve experienced, nothing can hold you hostage any longer.
2) Disappointment is inevitable.
Unfortunately, life will not always turn out how we hope. There is a purpose for every disappointment you encounter. Nothing is certain in this life, so when you let go of certain expectations and outcomes (that you have no control over), you become more resilient.
3) Some people may stop showing they care and some just don’t care at all.
However, there are usually some who do. It is in the toughest of times that you realise this. There may be times when your faith is tested and you’re left feeling lost and alone, but God cares. He just sometimes has a funny way of showing you.
4) Family is everything!
Although no family is perfect, what matters most is that even when you feel like everyone else has abandoned you, your family are always there. If you are blessed to have supportive people in your family, treasure them and let them support you.
5) Having Depression & Anxiety is a constant battle.
It is even harder when some people lack empathy. There are no ‘quick fixes’ when you are struggling mentally and emotionally. You can feel like you’re making progress one day, yet feel completely hopeless the next. However, as long as you keep on pushing forward, taking one day at a time, you will slowly become more hopeful.
6) Counselling can be one of the most intensive, yet transforming experiences of your life.
Too often we are told not to tell ‘strangers’ our business, when in reality, Counsellors are trained to listen without judgment and give emotional support. If more people were encouraged to seek professional help when battling with mental health issues, their loads would most likely feel a lot lighter.
7) Helpers need help too; never be afraid to ask for it!
As someone who is often the person everyone turns to during difficult times, you can easily become so readily available to everyone else – so much so that you forget or fail to see when you need help yourself. It is not weak to ask for help, but rather a sign of strength in being vulnerable and honest.
8) You cannot put a time limit on healing; it is a process.
As cliché as it sounds, people will constantly tell you that ‘time is a great healer’. However, the time it took for someone else to heal will not necessarily be the same for you. Everyone’s healing process is different. Although time may eventually lessen the pain, it doesn’t remove scars or cause you to forget.
9) All is most definitely not what it seems.
The snapshot of perfection that people choose to show you on social media is rarely ever a true depiction of their everyday life. Do not be fooled or made to feel inadequate by comparing yourself to others. What appears to glisten is not always real gold.
10) Self-love and self-care are two of the most crucial things you can give yourself.
You cannot serve others from an empty vessel. Before you attempt to place the oxygen mask on someone else, you must put yours on first.
11) Small triumphs are still something to be proud of.
Self-care is something to be triumphant about. After going through dark periods in your life where you feel unable to function, simply going out for a walk or tidying/reorganising your room can be small triumphs. Goals do not have to be immense.
12) When life is spinning out of control, you can only take one day at a time.
Thinking about tomorrow or next year can often cause more stress, anxiety and fear. When you focus on the present, taking one day at a time, you relieve yourself of additional pressure.
13) Life becomes more manageable when you focus more on the things you can control.
There are so many situations that are beyond our control. When you realise the few things you can control, you become more able to change those things over time.
14) Solitude is necessary to become more self-aware and comfortable in your own company.
If we can’t be happy alone, how can we expect to be happy in the presence of others? Happiness should not be dependent on people or things.
15) Balance is sometimes challenging, but important.
In life we often take too much on until we feel burdened. When we make time for the things we enjoy and love, we slowly become more balanced.
16) There is truly POWER in PRAYER.
I cannot express this enough! Prayer has carried me through to this year in so many ways – without talking to God, I would be lost. I can only speak from personal experience, so I can only encourage you to put your faith wholly in God and see how His strength can be made perfect in your weakness.
17) Writing (or any form of art) is definitely a form of therapy.
Writing, journaling and poetry can help you process your thoughts, feelings and frustrations. Writing is your experience, your words and your expression.
18) How you think manifests in your everyday life.
Thoughts have power to either help or hinder. When we replace negative thoughts with positive affirmations, it strengthens the mind and builds confidence.
19) Sometimes doing nothing (excessive) is necessary.
Don’t be afraid to decline invitations out to places you don’t wish to go. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’ to people who ask you to do something your heart is not in. Protect your peace of mind, your time and your energy – they are sacred.
20) Struggles build strength you never realised you had.
Sometimes God allows you to go through certain struggles to show He is the ultimate source of comfort, so that we can then be experienced enough to comfort others.
21) It’s okay not to be okay.
It is more of a burden to pretend that you have it all together, than to admit you are not happy or in a good space. Not everyone will understand and we can’t always expect them to either.
22) Some people are cowards.
There are times when they would rather turn their back on you – even in your darkest hour, all because they are incapable of facing the truth and supporting you sufficiently. However, that is more of a reflection on their character than yours.
23) Some people are for life, others are just seasonal.
God will send the right people into your life (or even remind you of the gems that already existed in it), at the right time.
24) Sometimes the prayers that seem unanswered are signs to slow down, be still and WAIT on The Lord.
It’s always challenging to put our time frames on the back burner when we are so convinced that certain things have to occur by a certain date. In fact, sometimes we aren’t even completely ready to receive what we pray for. Although it sometimes seems like forever, I’m learning that God’s timing is perfect. Sometimes we must simply ‘Let go and let God.’
25) Sometimes you can be considerate to a fault.
We can be so considerate of others and their thoughts/feelings that we fail to consider what’s truly best for our own progress and peace of mind. Some people selfishly make decisions that are hurtful – without being considerate of your feelings, so why go out of your way for them, when they never extend the same courtesy to you? I’m not saying you shouldn’t be considerate at all, but just ensure that your self-care is prioritised first.
26) Your journey is YOUR journey.
It is so crucial that we follow our own paths – regardless of what everyone else appears to be doing. When you live your life based on comparison and looking through someone else’s lense, your vision and focus can become blurred. Your path is unique – own it. It is not a race. Never measure yourself against another person’s success. Furthermore, success is subjective. What some view as successful, may not necessarily be successful to others. Success is what YOU make it. It does not have to be defined by labels, finances or material things. Your worth is not determined by society, others’ timelines or mere external factors.
Each year, I always reflect on what I’ve learnt to help me move onwards and upwards. This year, I’m sure there are still many more life lessons ahead.
I hope this year is full of growth and learning from all situations that life throws at you!