One of the most beautiful things about being human is our ability to constantly grow and evolve as a person. Every year, I feel like I’ve learned countless new life lessons and sometimes looking back on the years, I feel like I’m a completely new person in comparison to who I was a year or two ago. Sometimes the lessons I learn are completely brand new ones, while other times they’re rediscovered lessons. Today, I want to share 18 lessons I’ve learned in 2018.
Sometimes, you just won’t be able to let go, of a situation, a person, or even a moment, and that’s okay.
You can agonize over your inability to let go, or you can show yourself some love and acceptance instead. Going over the situation a million times in your head or hating yourself for your weakness won’t make you magically get over what happened. Neither will focusing all your efforts on getting yourself to let go. Sometimes, for whatever reason, things impact us deeply and when that happens, all we can really do is show ourselves understanding and kindness just as a good friend would.
If someone in your life consistently brings you down, it’s alright to limit their presence in your life or to even cut them off entirely if that’s what you think is best.
You can never be 100% certain that the choice you’re making is the right one and I think that’s the main reason we hesitate to cut off negative people. We wonder if we’ll regret it later and if we’re really making the best choice. I’m a sensitive person and I tend to see the good in other people. If you’re anything like me, it can be hard to let go of that flame of hope that maybe one day that person will treat you better. Don’t sacrifice your mental and emotional well-being for that hope. Limit that person’s involvement in your life instead. You’ll be surprised by how liberated that makes you feel.
There is always something to be grateful for no matter what’s going on in your life.
This year, I finally decided to start gratitude journaling – something I’d been hoping to get into for a couple of years now. I’m so glad I decided to make this a daily practice because it really helped me shift my focus from what I don’t have, to all the positives instead. Set aside a bit of time every single day and appreciate the little things that brought you joy throughout your day or made you realize you have privileges that you weren’t even aware of. There is always something to be grateful for even if it’s just for life itself.
Don’t put so much pressure on yourself to maintain a perfect streak.
So often in life, we put all this unnecessary pressure on ourselves to maintain a perfect streak in whatever we do. If you decide to keep a journal of some sort and forget to write one day, don’t give up or lose interest in the activity all together. Give yourself permission to be imperfect and miss a day or even a dozen. Don’t let that be the reason you abandon habits that will help you better yourself over the long-run.
Loving and caring for yourself are not selfish choices.
Putting yourself first is not a selfish choice. When you prioritize your own well-being, you create a nurturing environment for everyone around you as well. It is not selfish to want to be in the best place possible mentally, physically, and emotionally. Love yourself the way you love your closest loved ones.
When you really want to accomplish something, don’t listen to a word the naysayers say.
When you set your heart on something, you’re bound to run into people that simply just don’t understand and who discourage you from pursuing things instead of making the effort to be understanding and supportive. Sometimes this comes from a place of genuine concern, other times, it can come from the mere fact that most people are very scared of stepping outside of their comfort zone and try to project that onto others around them as well. Whatever the reason may be, as long as you’ve done your homework and analyzed all the possible pros and cons of your endeavors, don’t let the naysayers discourage you from exploring and adventuring to your heart’s content. At the end of the day, it’s your life and it’s important to live a life of few regrets.
Explore the world as much as you can. You’ll be surprised by all the new things you’ll learn.
The world is absolutely HUGE with all sorts of different places, things, people, cultures, to explore with all your senses. If you don’t explore, you’ll never know about all the things that are waiting to be discovered and fallen in love with by you. Try new hobbies, go to new towns, cities, and countries. Try different foods, try out different styles, listen to new kinds of music, meet and talk to different kinds of people, and learn to really live in the real world to the fullest capacity possible while limiting your time in the digital one. You’ll be amazed at how much you learn about yourself and the world in the process.
Don’t be afraid of being wrong and messing up because the best lessons are waiting to be discovered in your future mistakes.
How often do you avoid doing something because you’re afraid of messing up? Maybe you’re afraid to open yourself up to another human being because you’re afraid that you’ll be wrong about them, or maybe you hesitate to write in a pretty notebook because you’re afraid of messing it up. Or maybe someone mentions a word that you don’t know and you nod along out of the fear of looking stupid instead of just asking. There are so many little things in which our fears randomly pop up in, and the only thing those fears do is keep us trapped in a box. Life is inevitably filled with all sorts of mistakes, but those mistakes are not something to be afraid of – instead they’re lessons that teach us so much more than they take from us. Let yourself love, let yourself dream, and let yourself open up to the possibility of making mistakes and messing up because those mistakes will only make you stronger and wiser.
Do your part to be a kind, caring, and helpful person, but don’t let that translate into being taken advantage of by others.
I think it’s really important to be kind and caring towards other people and yourself and I think it’s important to give a helping hand to others when they need it. But, sometimes, people take kindness and helpfulness to mean you’re a pushover and take advantage of your kind nature instead. Don’t set yourself up for being taken advantage of. Maintain a healthy balance between being helpful and respectfully saying “no” to situations that demand too much of you. It’s important to have healthy boundaries.
Push yourself out of your comfort zones every so often.
New things can be scary, whether it’s speaking up more often or trying to make friends with a new person, but a lot of cool things lie outside of the comfort zones we erect around ourselves. So, push yourself to venture outside of your comfort zones every so often – that’s how you grow as an individual.
This world is a cruel place and so, it’s important to maintain a healthy balance between acknowledging that very real fact and focusing on the good that does exist.
I think a lot of people live in a bubble of positivity and actually prefer it to acknowledging the cruelty in this world. Ignorance can be bliss, but it’s also very, very dangerous to the well-being of our world and I think it’s important to be an educated and informed individual that recognizes all the atrocities constantly being committed everywhere and all the sheer cruelty that human greed continues to feed. Yet, at the same time, it can be easy to lose all hope and purpose if you dwell on the reality of suffering for too long, so take the time to acknowledge the good that exists in this world too. When you create a healthy balance between the two, you create a better mental space from which to propel positive change.
Never stop prioritizing learning. Maintain a steady thirst for knowledge.
Knowledge is power and luckily there’s so much to learn, that even if we were to spend every waking moment slurping up knowledge, we still wouldn’t be able to acquire even a fraction of it all by the time we died. There are thousands of subjects to learn about – astronomy, geology, mathematics, programming, politics, geopolitics, languages, literature, psychology, medicine, biology, sailing, sewing, and I could literally go on forever – so pick some subjects and activities that interest you and start learning! Not only can you pick up all sorts of interesting skills but a constant thirst for knowledge keeps your brain healthy too.
Less is truly more.
This year, I really made huge strides in minimalism in all areas of my life. While I’ve been a minimalist for quite a few years now, this year I brought the philosophy of minimalism into other aspects of my life where I hadn’t applied it before. And, the results have been absolutely amazing! I’ve never felt more free, peaceful, stress-free, and happy than I do at this point in my life. No matter what phase of life you’re in, minimalism is a philosophy you can start applying to your life right away. Less truly is more. If you want to get started with minimalism, but don’t know how to begin, check out my post on how to get started with minimalism.
Sometimes, you just don’t “click” with another person. That doesn’t mean something is wrong with you, or them. It just is.
Have you ever started talking to someone and just instantly “clicked” with them? No awkwardness at all and you just feel like you can talk to them openly. Now, have you ever felt the opposite? Where you try to be open and not awkward but no matter how much of an effort you make, you just can’t make a connection with the other person. When the latter happens, sometimes we can lay the blame on our own doorstep and criticize ourselves for all these imagined faults, when the truth is simple, and it’s actually nobody’s fault. Sometimes you just don’t click with another person, and that’s perfectly okay!
Everyone is creative. Nurture that inner creativity by working on a creative project just for yourself.
I’ve heard a lot of people say stuff like, “I’m just not a creative person.” Nothing could be further from the truth! Everyone is creative in their own way – you just have to figure out what ways your own personal brand of creativity shines through and then nurture it. Creativity can be found in everything you do, from the way you clean your house or cook your meals, to the way you plan out your life. Once you find your own vessel for creativity, it’s important to grow it by having some sort of creative project in the works at all times that feeds your soul. A project just for you with no other purpose to it but to engage your creativity muscle and bring you joy.
Make time for the things that are important.
Carve out time for the important things in life such as self-care, working out, eating healthy, and spending time with loved ones. People’s biggest regret is usually not making time for the things that truly mattered. Make time for the things that are special to you – no amount of money can ever buy back the moments you’ve missed.
Read – a lot! Develop a love for devouring all sorts of books – it will serve you well.
It’s almost hard to even begin to describe how powerful and amazing reading regularly can be. Reading can be an escape into a magical fantasy world or it can be a foray into the vast depths of all sorts of knowledge. If you’re someone who doesn’t like to read, you just haven’t discovered the right genre yet so try out different types of books. I promise eventually you’ll land on a gateway book and from there you won’t know how to stop your book addiction!
You’ll rarely “feel like” doing something when you’re just getting started with something.
I think one of the most important lessons we can learn is that motivation is fleeting. You “feel like it” for a short while and then the feeling vanishes. Sometimes the feeling doesn’t even come at all, especially when you’re just getting started with a new activity or habit. Realize that you’ll rarely “feel like it” and just do it anyway. The more you do this, the easier it’ll get. Sometimes the only way to get important things done is to put mind over matter.
Whew! Those were a lot of lessons! I’m so grateful to have had a year filled with all sorts of challenges and self revelations. This year was like a reset button for me and I’m so excited to see what the new year will bring! I hope some of my lessons resonated with you and I’d love to hear about some of your own 2018 lessons in the comments down below.