Until we are secure.
Here is what I’ve learned in my thirties:
1. Get real about who you are.
It’s so easy to accept someone else’s definition of us. Based on what others want for our lives. What they see. What they hope for. Some of those things I will always carry with me because they are genuine and true. And some of those things, honestly, were never me. Or my dream for myself. As time starts ticking away, you are forced to really analyze and decide what it is YOU want. And that is a very freeing thing.
2. Everyone does not love/think like you do.
After a few crushing heartbreaks from guys you really thought cared. Or the loss of friendships from people that should have cared. You start to realize that just because you love/care doesn’t require the other person to do the same. Just because you are honest. Loyal. Forgiving. Doesn’t require someone else to be the same. Honestly, this fact has devastated me more times than I care to admit. You just naturally assume other people are being genuine with you. Truth is, some are and some aren’t. You have to open your eyes and read the signs better. You may have to just love and accept a friend for who they are, rather than who you wish they were. And you may have to stop loving a guy you loved so much, simply because he doesn’t love you back.
3. Find your voice.
Some women are good at this. The rest of us are not. When I was younger, I struggled to fight for myself. I accepted disrespect way longer than I should have and then I found unhealthy ways of dealing with it, or just simply running away from it. Certain situations, circumstances require you to stand up for yourself. If a boss is a bully. If a friend is taking advantage of you. If a guy you are dating is manipulating you because he knows you care too much.
At times you have to stand up to these people. Not just shrink off. Not just run away. But stand and let them know who they are dealing with. And by the way, it’s not to teach that person a lesson because most likely they are moron. It’s for you. It’s to show yourself that you are confident and strong and worth respect. That will bleed into your life in ways you can’t even imagine. Trust me.
4. Learn the Art of Forgiveness.
I call it an art because it is a beautiful lesson. And it is the best thing you could ever do for yourself. You can literally feel the hate and anger melt away when you allow your heart to absorb it and just let it go. We tend to hold back on forgiveness because it feels like we are letting someone else get away with something. Let me ask you this? How successful were you ever at teaching someone who hurt you a lesson? If they hurt you. They don’t respect you or care so nothing you try to do in revenge is going to hurt them. It just hurts you.
The best way to deal with the hurt someone has caused you is to feel it and then let it go. Forgive. Understand the situation. Look at it and SEE it. Once you do you will realize you WANT to let it go. And by doing that you move on. People don’t know how to respond to that. They expect hate. They except revenge. When you let go, realizing you are better than that. They are left to their own demise. And you are free.
5. Let go of what you THINK you should have.
When we are young we spend a lot of time thinking about how our life “will be.” And then as life starts unfolding we feel out of control. Life never follows the plan. And we take that personal thinking we messed up somewhere. Truth is, life never intended to follow “our plan” in the first place. Life is doing what it does. We have to live it with open hands and open hearts. Letting opportunities and people come and go. Death happens. Setbacks happen. Heartbreaks happen. And we are crushed. Broken. Feeling so lost and out of control.
Trust me, I have been struggling with all of this. And what I have realized is that life doesn’t care so much what my plans were. I am the one that has to learn to bend to life. I have to love knowing I could lose again. I have to learn to live without my best friend. I have to keep going even when everything seems to be crashing down around me. Why? Because I have no choice. Life doesn’t ask our opinion. How we respond to life is our choice though. We can learn to get through these things. We can learn to navigate. We don’t have to always like it. But we can do it. Trusting that some of the unplanned things coming will be beautiful.
6. You are stronger than you think you are.
Strength comes in many forms. My intuition is my strength. That deep knowing. The instincts that pick at me. They always seem to know. As I’ve grown older I’ve learned to trust them. As I said in the beginning. Life can never really be secure, until you are with yourself. And that means trusting yourself.
It means looking back at all the times when you pulled yourself up, by yourself, dusted off and started walking again. Some have strong support systems. My mom used to be mine. And then I lost her suddenly to cancer. I never thought about having to live without my mom. She was my backbone. My everything. My absolute best and most trusted friend on earth. You don’t think about who you would be without them. And then I had to. And I thought I was going to just die. But I didn’t. I kept walking.
It has not always been pretty, but I’m still here. Life is different. It’s lonely in a way losing your mom, your best friend naturally would be lonely. And there are many times I just collapse on the path for a while and cry. My heart physically aches. But then I get back up. Dust off and keep walking. I didn’t know I could do that. I didn’t know that was in me. The things she taught me are now my survival skills. And after having had to live through this, nothing that happens to me now keeps me down for long.
Because you see I am living through my biggest heartbreak. My biggest fear in life was losing her. And I am still living. So nothing that comes at me now will break me. I know that. And that is what has made me dangerous. Because when you realize what kind of strength you possess. Life. Death. Things just don’t scare you like they used to.
And that is exactly what my mom would want me to know and to feel right now. This is my new superpower. It doesn’t mean things won’t hurt. Or take me down. But I will always know I can get through it.