I’m not one who has a long list of New Year’s resolutions or goals because, for me, they add a lot of pressure to an already hectic life. Yet at the end of this year I’ve found myself thinking about some of the lessons I’ve learned, some of which are lessons that I have to remind myself on a near constant basis.
1 and 2) It’s okay to make a mistake and The idea that we all have to be perfect is a lie: When I make a mistake I beat myself over the head with said mistake and when my head can’t take it anymore I start in on my heart. Making a mistake doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person, it doesn’t mean that you’re less of a person, all it means is that you’re a person. Welcome to the human experience-we all make mistakes, we all do things that we wish we could have done a little better or differently. There’s an idea out there that we have to be “perfect” or that things have to be done a certain way-it’s a lie. Every person has their own idea of perfection. Your way isn’t the only way and that is one of the most beautiful things about life.
3) It’s okay to say “no”, in fact, sometimes it’s recommended: Know your limits. I have a tendency to just say, “Oh yeah, no problem” A LOT. Ignoring the signs that my body is sending me is a big no-no, it’s not just bad for my physical health but for my emotional health as well. There are all things that we all need to say “no” to because the truth is we can’t do everything.
4) Let go: Let go of fear, anger, friends, etc. whatever it is that’s holding you back from being your best self- LET GO. Like a balloon, just take your hand away from the string and let go of whatever it is.
I’ve wanted to be a full-fledged writer but despite my declarations of being a writer something has held me back: FEAR. After realizing that fear could no longer rule my life I’ve embraced writing, made a writing room, started a book nook, and now I’m wearing the title of writer like a proud gold medal.
5) You’re stronger than you think you are: This year I’ve watched people I love go through hard, soul crushing situations. We’ve shed tears in our separate habitats somehow able to talk on the phone or send a text message days later. All of us watch people go through things and we think, “I could never handle that,” but the truth of the matter is that you could. You absolutely could. Because you have the strength. Somehow we all the strength to get through the situations that are given to us. At the end of this year the strength of my loved ones amidst their difficulties serves as my daily inspiration.
6) There is still good in the world: Some days it seems like there is nothing but negativity encompassing the world. You wonder where all the good people are but they’re still here; dropping surprises off at the door, smiling at you when you need it most, shoveling driveways. Goodness is all around us and its here to stay.
7) People will hurt you but you should still keep your heart open: I’ve known this for a long time but it’s something that I’ve tried to actually carry out in my life. I have a tendency to shut myself away and when I say shut myself away I mean encapsulate myself in a layer of emotional granite. I’ve lived this way for years, much to my detriment.
Mark Nepo explains it best, “Each time I tried to close up what had been opened. It was a reflex, natural enough. But the lesson was, of course, the other way. The lesson was in never closing again.”
8) Listen and trust the voice within: The last half of 2014 I decided it was time to start listening to my inner voice and to actually trust it for a change. At first it didn’t seem like my life was any different but it was because I was only occasionally listening and shutting it down the rest of the time. It took a lot of meditation and prayer but I finally promised myself that I would completely listen and trust and my life changed.
I thought my inner voice was going to tell me some crazy stuff, hence the trust issues, but really what my inner voice told me was how to make the world a better place. It told me when I needed to slow it down, it told me when I needed to listen to God’s voice and send someone flowers, it told me what my talents are. Through experience I’m learning that often the answers we’re searching for are already inside of us.
These are but 8 of the lessons that I’ve learned in 2014 and I’m reminding myself to keep my heart open so I can learn the lessons that 2015 has to teach me. Maybe 2015 will just remind me of the lessons already learned and for the first time I’m okay with that.
I’m Stroked to Life aka Kendra. After suffering a cerebral venous thrombosis at 25 I have found myself trying to drink in life, knowing that life is a gift and truly but a moment. (For my entire stroke story you can click here and here) I’m a mother, a writer, an art lover, a design appreciator, and in my spare time I love to curl up with a book. I want people to know that even after the worst of experiences there is life after the ickiness and it can filled with as much beauty as you choose. If you can’t find me here you can reach me at email@example.com or on Instagram @strokedtolife.