2018 was not only a year for exponential growth, but one that taught me numerous valuable lessons. To be quite honest as I look back at the beginning of the year. I can’t recognize who I used to be. I now visualize myself with more inner peace and a better understanding of who I am. This year I surpassed situations that I thought I couldn’t overcome. Circumstances that required me to not only confront my inner demons, but re-evaluate who I am.
Here are my top 10 Lessons:
- An ideal self: I always lived with the notion that I had to create a new me. I yearned to become a person who lived accordingly to their values. An individual who is happy. It wasn’t till this year that I realized, in order to become that person I didn’t have to build a new me from scratch. What I need to do it shed myself from what I am not. Rid myself from what society taught me I should be. I already know who I am. The trick here is to let go, stand up to myself, and follow my intuition and heart.
- I am complete: Since I was a child, I could remember feeling lonely. I believed that if no man loved me, then it meant I wasn’t of value. This year I acknowledged that if I cannot be happy by myself then I won’t be happy with anyone else. I decided to stay single and explore every corner of my inner being. That’s when I discovered I am not half. I released the false belief that I needed to find another person to be complete.
I am my own beauty: I grew up being bombarded with images of the ideal American beauty. Growing up I always heard all my crushes say, “I prefer a white woman with blonde hair, light blue or green eyes, and is thin”. Mind you I am an afro-Latina, with kinky coily hair, caramel colored skin, dark brown eyes, and with curves. It made me feel inferior. I strove to be someone I wasn’t. This year I had enough and decided to embrace my unique beauty. By looking in the mirror and loving every part of myself taught me that I needed to be proud of my heritage. Accepting the black in me felt liberating.
- Other women’s beauty doesn’t take away my own: My family always pressured me to be perfect. I was taught to be ashamed of my natural beauty. That if I wasn’t picture ready, I wouldn’t be worthy. I would be told comments such as; “If you don’t dress up and wear makeup, then another woman would take away the guy I liked”. I ended seeing other women as superior. I thought I was in a constant competition. Now I know this to not be true. Every woman is unique.
- It’s okay to be introverted: Growing up I felt like an outcast. People perceived me to be awkward. I enjoy reading books. I despise small talk. I hate parties. I feel drained being surrounded by people. I enjoy being alone. I pressured myself to be like everyone else. I pushed myself to go to parties. I believed that I needed to be popular and have many friends. This year I accepted the fact that I am introverted. By saying no to the things or situation I don’t want, gave room to do things that fulfill me as an introvert.
Food is an addiction: I am an extremely emotional eater. Every time I felt overly stressed or depressed, I would eat the whole fridge. Food gave me comfort. I denied that fact that I was addicted to junk food. Due to this I gained weight. By accepting I had an eating problem I was able to do something about it. Eating healthy is an act of self-respect. This new way to look at food, changed my perspective. I now am losing weight. My goal isn’t to be fit in order to be attractive. I am doing this to feel healthy and energized.
- Follow my own dreams: Growing up insecure, made me doubt what I truly wanted. I allowed people to tell me what to do. I followed what other people said was correct. This brought me sadness. I wasn’t satisfied with the life I was living. I have a big imagination. I dreamed of a future that not many fathom. Every time I spoke about my dreams and goals, I was belittled. People made me feel childish for dreaming such things. This year I had enough. I no longer want to live according to others. I decided to pursue my dreams despite it being a lonely road.
- Not everything needs an answer: I have always been inpatient. Constantly wanting to know what is ahead. I felt like I needed to know where I was going. I believed I needed to be prepared for everything life would throw at me. I realized that it is okay to not know what I am doing. Every obstacle I thought I couldn’t surpass. I did despite not knowing what to do half the time. That is the beauty of life. To grow, evolve and transform. Not knowing everything gives us room to grow.
Family isn’t blood: I grew up with an abusive father. My mistake was believing that my father needed to be there for me simply because he is my dad. This broke me for years. I thought that family is family no matter what. This can’t be farther from the truth. Just because someone is family, doesn’t give them the right to mistreat us. I decided to let go of my toxic father. This brought peace to my life.
- Life is outside my comfort zone: I viewed life as hostile. I was defensive all the time. I felt comfortable living in misery. New situations scared me. I have many regrets because of this. There are so many things I wish I did. This year I took steps outside my comfort zone. I felt vulnerable and exposed. But by doing so I grew stronger emotionally. I now know I can do anything I set out to do.
This year was challenging, but I wouldn’t wish it to be different. The difficulties I faced gave me valuable lessons. Did you face similar situations? What other lessons did you learn? Do you agree with this article? Let me know in the comment section below.