2015 was a challenging year. There were a lot of happy moments that I wouldn’t trade for the world, and there were also very sad and dark moments that had me questioning every choice that I had made in my life. But looking back, I can say that there is not one choice I made in 2015 that I would change. Each and every decision I made and experience I had taught me a lesson that has made me stronger and wiser today. So for 2016, I don’t want to make resolutions. Instead I want to take the lessons I’ve learned and use them to shape my goals and intentions for 2016. So without further ado, here are the lessons I’ve learned in 2015.
Trust your instincts – In 2015 I accepted a job that I knew wasn’t right for me. I wanted to learn a new field and was excited for the new venture. But from the first day, there were red flags all around and I knew that my experience would never be appreciated. At that point, I learned a valuable lesson. Always, always, always listen to your instincts. While it’s great to venture into unknown territory (how else re you gping to learn new things), trust your instincts and follow your heart. When you follow your passion, you’ll never work a day in your life.
Listen to your body – Despite working long hours and pushing myself beyond my limits, I refused to listen to my body and suffered the consequences when I hit a wall. We know that it’s important to take time for ourselves and reconnect with ourselves. But sometimes that’s just not enough.
Forgiveness is for you (not the other person) – For years I didn’t want to forgive those who had hurt me because I thought that by doing that, I would be providing them some kind of benefit. Today I know that that’s not the case. Holding on to anger is like walking around with a clenched fist all day, every day, which isn’t good for you. Forgiveness is all about you letting go of these feelings of hurt and resentment. And the one who benefits from forgiveness the most is YOU.
Life is all about the journey, not the destination – Most of us live our lives with an end goal in mind. While there’s nothing wrong with having goals, we are often so focused on the destination that we forget to enjoy the journey (which I am definitely guilty of). Knowing this, I’ve been trying to be more mindful in everything I do instead of thinking of the next thing. It’s not easy, but the times that I have been able to do this, I’ve truly enjoyed what I was doing, whether it was enjoying a home-cooked meal or doing the dishes. I have discovered that there can be joy in beauty in everything.
Believing in yourself starts with you – If you don’t believe in yourself and if you don’t believe that you are worthy and capable, don’t expect anyone else to. When you don’t believe in yourself, you end up acting on that belief and people will treat you based on that belief. Treat yourself knowing that you are a beautiful person capable of amazing things and the world will treat you the same way.
Gratitude is the attitude – I believe in the law of attraction. Science has proven that as humans, it is much easier to focus on the negative than the positive. Instead of looking at all the ways in which the world sucks, look at all the wonderful things around you, all the great things you have in your life and everything you are grateful for. You’ll see that the more you do that, the more reasons you’ll have to be grateful. A great tool that I’ve adopted to help me build gratitude is the Five Minute Journal, which has helped me start and end each day with a grateful heart.
All things happen for a reason – Steve Jobs said it best when he said “You can’t connect the dots going forward, you can only connect them looking backwards”. There are a number of events in my life that I can look back on when I was disappointed when things didn’t quite turn out the way I expected, but that ended up being for the best because a bigger and better opportunity was waiting for me just around the corner.
Don’t sweat the small stuff – This is a tough one, but one I try to practice. It doesn’t really matter who put the dishes away, that a stranger cut me off while walking on the sidewalk, or that it’s raining again. These are all little things that just don’t matter in the greater scheme of things. Learning to let things go and choose your battles is key to happiness.
You are the company you keep – I know you’ve heard this one before, but it’s true so it’s worth repeating – you are a combination of the five people you spend the most time with. If you want to change your life, take a look at the people around you. Do they support you? Do they believe in you? Do they mirror your values?
Every death is different – This year I said goodbye to a dear friend who chose to end his life. Before this, the most significant death in my life was my dad. I never thought that I could feel such strong sadness, but I was wrong. But the pain and sadness I felt this time was different than what I felt when my father passed. Death will aways be difficult to understand and different to deal with in each case. But grieving with friends and family remains the best way to cope and keep their spirit alive.