Lessons Learned: What I Learned This Year
I made it! Another year is almost over and frankly I cannot wait. 2021 has been the year that has tested so many people personally and professionally. A new president was sworn into office, crazy weather events happened across the country, and coronavirus continued to disturb the regular routines of life. Despite all of that, I learned so many things of value this year that will serve me well for 2022 and beyond.
Someone once told me that difficult times that end in a lesson are blessings. For many years I did not understand that statement because when you are going through tough times, you do not see a tough time as a blessing. However, if you learn the lesson to avoid going through that traumatic event again, that is the blessing. This year has been a year of blessings on epic levels.
You are your biggest supporter and critic
Everyone has an opinion about how you live your life but the only opinion that really matters is your own. When I was younger, I used to spend a lot of time worrying about how other people would interpret my choices and sometimes that stopped me from doing what I really wanted. Living with intention knowing every decision I make will not turn out how I want, but knowing I cannot grow without moving outside my comfort zone is living a good life.
This year I learned to be my biggest supporter. I must be fully committed to myself and do what is required to reach the goals I have set. There were times I was more committed to the goals and dreams of other people than I was for myself. When I went all in for myself this year it made a huge difference. That does not mean that every goal I set I knocked it out of the park, however, I knew that if I kept trying eventually, I would accomplish the goal.
Supporting your dreams and accomplishments is great but you must hold yourself accountable too. This is where being your own critic is helpful. I have always been my best critic. Honestly, sometimes I was more of a critic than a supporter of my own dreams. I have talked myself out of opportunities or ideas because I allowed my fear to be the driver. But sometimes my inner critic also made me step up on a higher level and do more than I ever imagined.
Meet people where they are in life
Sometimes we assume that everyone has had the same shared experiences but that is not the reality for everyone. Making assumptions about what people should know can limit opportunities to expose yourself and others to new experiences or new perspectives.
This year I challenged myself to meet people where they are in life. I stopped assuming what other people may know or have experienced. I started to be opened to sharing a new way of seeing the world or a new way to approach a situation when interacting with people. Taking this approach changed the way people perceived me as well and allowed us to really connect.
Try to meet people where they are in life. When you meet people where they are in life, you learn a valuable lesson about life and happiness. You gain knowledge and the ability to be open to new experiences.
Self-care is essential to survival
My mom always used to say if you don’t take care of you, you can’t take care of anyone else. Growing into the understanding that putting my health and wellness first does not make me selfish but is a display in self-love. This year I challenged myself to exercise some self-care each day.
Indulging in self-care doesn’t have to be expensive or extravagant. Sometimes I went to breakfast, a day at the spa, a nice dinner or even a nice walk at the end of a long day. Each one of those moments allowed me to recharge and reset. I always came away feeling empowered and motivated after spending time with myself.
The pandemic required most of us to be at home with family which made doing self-care a littler more difficult. This required me to be more intentional about my self-care and find moments to focus just on myself so that I can grow. You will notice a change in how you approach your life when you consistently take time for you.
Give yourself grace
Because I am my own worst critic, there are times I beat myself up for not doing the things I either promised myself or someone else. I do not like disappointment in any capacity. Since I have an aversion to disappointment, I used to default to berating myself when I did not meet my own expectations.
This year I learned to give myself grace. To give myself grace means I am patient with myself and forgive myself when I don’t live up to my own expectations. This is easier said than done. When it comes to giving grace, I am willing to give it to others, however, in the past I did not think I was worthy of that same grace. I am worthy of grace.
When I started to give myself grace, it allowed me to focus on how I could be better next time instead of beating myself up. It wasn’t easy to change my previous way of thinking and start to give myself grace. Life is a process and this year I was able to keep putting in the work to get to a point of giving myself grace.
This year has been full, but it also feels like the year went by in a flash. I had failures and some achievements. Life was sometimes difficult to maneuver but most often it was full of good experiences and people. All the lessons learned made me a better person. I expect the new year to bring so much more into my life and I am excited and ready. The new year is going to be awesome! How do I know? All of the lessons I learned this year has already proved it.