Day #28 of 30

What are the 10 most valuable lessons you’ve learned in life?

Not everyone is going to like you. Be okay with that. Like yourself first, and be happy being you. Others may take you, or they may leave you, but you will still be you.

Be true to who you are. Don’t try to fit into someone else’s mold or idea of how you should be. There is a reason and/or purpose for your life on this earth, and it’s not to be someone else’s puppet.

If you don’t take a chance, you won’t have one. Put another way, if you don’t ask for what you want in life, the answer will always be “No.” Fear equals death to your dreams. Just go for it!

Worry gets you nowhere and will only devour your precious time. That’s time wasted. It’s time that you can’t ever get back. Oh, and what a hard habit worrying is to break. But, it can be done, or at least minimized.

The old saying, “It’s in the valleys we grow,” is 100% true! Our greatest lessons and growth come from the most significant challenges in life. The valleys are what mold us into who we’re going to be. Without them, we would stagnate.

We all have scars. Some things happen in life that will have a lasting emotional or physical impact on you. You can spend the rest of your life being angry, hating, blaming, and forever remaining a victim, or you can say, “Okay, this happened to me. It was a bad experience. It left this damage. Now, what am I going to do to help myself heal? How can I release the anger and hatred and live my life to the fullest?” If you stay in victim mode, you are allowing someone to continue to hurt you. Stop it! They’ve basically left you with a burden while they’re off living their happy, care-free lives, never giving you a single millisecond of thought. Yes, it’s horribly unfair because they did this…and they should be made to pay for their mistake! Karma needs to show up at their house and unleash its wrath, and it would be oh so very satisfying to see them get what they so richly deserve. But, the fact remains — you are left with the mess. You can wallow in it, or you can seek help for your own healing. It’s entirely up to YOU. Stop giving your past the power to keep hurting you! You need to take care of you.

We’ve all heard the saying, “The older you get, the faster time goes.” It really does seem to fly by faster and faster the older I get, but I don’t think that time is literally moving faster. Sixty seconds is still only sixty seconds, after all. The clock ticks at the same speed it has up until now. My theory is that while our minds are continually playing life’s memories like a non-stop film reel, it distracts us from what’s currently happening. As little kids, we didn’t have that many memories, so we were much more engaged in each and every minute we spent playing. Remember how long summers seemed to last when we were in grade school? It’s because we were paying attention to what we were currently doing. Adults can relearn how to do that. It’s called being in the present, in the now. When you do that, time really does seem to slow down, almost standing still at times, while you savor each moment in life. It’s wonderful. I think that also explains why our long-term memories are often much more vivid than our short-term memories. Did we pay closer attention way back when?

There are controlling people in the world, and some of them may enter your life. They can be family, romantic interests, or micro-managing co-workers. In my experience, I’ve found that many of these types of people, let’s call them “control freaks,” are functioning out of their own fear, their fear of having no control. They were once or are currently being controlled and/or manipulated. Or, perhaps, they endured a traumatic experience against their will. Now, they feel they have to control everything to make up for that lack of control. You need to realize that this is the control freak’s issue, try to have compassion, and work toward a relationship of mutual respect (this can be genuinely challenging). In general, humans will only tolerate control freaks for a time — until they’ve reached their limit. Then they’re flat-out done, out the door, gone. If you can identify with being a control freak, please seek help. Controlling every aspect of your life and/or others’ lives will not fix the hurt and fear you hide inside.

That it is okay to remove toxic people from your life. Those people who live in the vortex of their sob stories and will jump at every opportunity to regale a new listener with every last daunting detail of their “poor me” perpetual victimhood. Over and over and over. I…simply…cannot — plop. They’re often referred to as energy vampires. Though you may feel deep compassion for their suffering and have a sincere desire to help, these people’s interactions can leave you mentally and emotionally drained. It’s heartbreaking to see another suffer. However, you cannot fix them. It is up to them to do that. There is a hole in their spirit, soul, and heart that you cannot repair for them. Regardless of how much effort you put into helping them, only they can fill that emptiness. Sure, you can listen to their drama and offer them all the understanding and encouragement that you can muster. You will feel that you’ve filled their cup after you’ve poured all of yours into it and that you did a good deed. It was a good deed. Inevitably, however, all the love you poured into the energy vampire’s cup will drip right back out of their spirit’s hole. They’ll come running back to you for another feeding. You are their host now, and they’ll often return before you’ve even had a chance to refill your own cup. They’ve lured you in, you are their new source of emotional nourishment, and they will drain your cup, again and again. Life experience has taught me how to quickly identify these vampires and when I meet them, I think, “Oooh…you’re one of those. So here’s another at-arm’s-length kind of friend/acquaintance.” Not going there. No, but thank you. It’s okay and necessary to protect yourself.

Always listen to your gut, that intuitive feeling or internal nudge. Call it what you want — your guardian angel, the spirit of a dearly departed loved one, or the Almighty. These intuitive feelings are real, and they serve as guidance and protection throughout our lives. In the past, I’m sure you’ve said, “I wish I’d followed my gut on that one,” or “I’m so glad I followed my gut this time.” When you don’t follow your intuition, it’ll undoubtedly teach you a lesson. It won’t necessarily be a dramatic lesson, though there will be some of those, and you will learn to trust that nudge in the future.

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