8 lessons I learned (and re-learned) in 2019.Feb 07, 2020
2019 was a humbling yet insightful year. It was full of brand new lessons and reminders of things I knew but needed to practice. In this post, I’ve compiled the 8 lessons I learned (and re-learned) in 2019. I hope you will find something that shifts your perspective the way it shifted mine.
#1: Think less of yourself
In 2019, I decided to purposely think less of myself. When I say that, I don’t mean that I was putting myself down. Rather, I stopped thinking things were happening to me and that every experience was about me.
Every experience is neutral.
You decide whether it is positive or negative.
We have a choice in how we internalize and respond to interactions with others. Remember, it’s not always about you. The undesired actions of others are not always a slight to you. That doesn’t mean that their actions don’t hurt or make you feel some kind of way, but it does require you to think less of yourself. When you feel slighted, remember first that people are thinking of themselves more than you. Then ask, what are they experiencing that lead them to this action? I encourage you to do that IRL, not just in your head. You will find that even those closest to you are dealing with and juggling things you knew nothing about.
#2: People are not responding to you. They are responding to how what you do makes them feel about themselves.
In 2019, I shared my plans with parents, friends, co-workers, and others to leave my job and live out of a van. There were many people who were excited, but there were others who responded with confusion, challenging questions, and concerns. While I am always thrilled by the positive response, I often get fixated on the responses that are lackluster. Reflecting on those moments, I realize that the underwhelming responses weren’t really about me. They were about them. It was about their fears, disappointment, curiosity, and the impact this decision could have on their life.
It’s not easy to care less about the opinions of others, but reminding yourself that it’s probably not about you will help. Taking this to heart will also remind us to respond to the experiences of others as it relates to their life, not ours.
#3: Be unbothered by selfishness.
This advice may seem in opposition to the lessons above, but I think it’s possible to think less of yourself while also being selfish. You deserve to be unbothered about choosing selfishness. Not in a spoiled, only child, kicking, screaming and pouting kind of way. Just by being confident in choosing yourself, always.
No one will care more about the life you’re creating than you do. And while many people care about you, they will always care about the life they are creating more – and that’s a great thing. Choosing ourselves gives us all the freedom to be, have, do and focus on what serves us best.
#4: If you want to be a hero in someone else’s story, act accordingly.
In 2019, I decided to stop being upset about the stories people share about me or anxious about how my story may upset others. My story is my truth. Their story is their truth. If someone looks unflattering its because they were. If I look unflattering, its because I was. None of us have the right to edit the story of someone else’s life because we don’t like the way we look. If we want to be painted as heroes rather than villains, we must take responsibility for our actions and act accordingly.
#5: Only you can validate the impact of your experience.
There is no order of importance in this post, but if there were, this lesson would come in close second. Lesson #8 would be first.
In this day and age, it sometimes seems that we are in a game of scars, battling with each other to decide who is hurt or struggling more. The idea that it could always be worse is pervasive. What if just for a moment, you decided for yourself the validity and impact of your story?
Just because you have a roof over your head, food on the table, and wifi to read this blog, does not mean you are not struggling. It shows that you are blessed and healing. This is the case for every human being. No matter your circumstance, you are blessed in some way while also learning, growing and healing. The fact that someone is “worse off” does not invalidate your struggle.
The same is true as we relate to others. We should not minimize the struggles of others because someone has not carried their struggle like us. We never know the struggle or sacrifice that another person has experienced and from what I hear, looks can be deceiving.
#6: You need people. You cannot do it alone.
As a child, I often felt like I could only depend on myself. I also believed that if I wanted something done right, I should just do it myself. As an adult, those ideas have hindered me more than they have helped.
If you’ve often felt the same, I would encourage you to let go of these beliefs for 3 reasons:
- Everyone wants to be apart of something
- There is someone who does it better than you
- Success is greater when it is shared.
As you build something or grow in your journey, you have an opportunity to take people with you. These people will celebrate you, support you, and maybe even share your story. By working alone, we become workaholics who see success, but have no one to celebrate with. We may also look up and find that we weren’t there to celebrate the wins of others.
#7: You also need boundaries.
While you’re corralling the troops, remember to set boundaries.
Boundaries are the only way to protect your yourself. This is where you get to decide who/what comes first. Do your boundaries have to be rigid? Not necessarily, but you should adhere to them more often than not. Asking others to respect your boundaries is a form of self-respect. If you would not uphold a boundary for your benefit, why should anyone else?
#8: You can only live for yourself.
Of all the lessons, this one is most important.
At the beginning of 2020, I quit my job. Well before this decision came to pass, I was shedding an identity that no longer served me through minimalism. Through this journey I have learned what I love, who I am, what I will tolerate and who I desire to be. I have also let go of what does not serve me. The result has been phenomenal, but it has also been uncomfortable.
Shedding an identity means redefining your relationships, changing habits, setting boundaries and acting differently than you’ve always known. It will be tough, not just for you but for the people in your life. Everyone won’t understand, but no one else is living your life other than you. Every day, you must wake in your skin and live with the consequences of the life you’ve created.
Will you live miserably or happily?
Only you can decide.