Saturday, January 20, 2007

Lessons to be Learned

Around the start of each year, I reflect on the things I've learned in life up to this point. Every new year brings new lessons and occasionally revists some old ones that I haven't fully learned and that I need more practice with.

Here are some of the lessons I've learned:

Quitting gets a bad rap. There are things worth your blood, sweat, and tears and there are things that are not. Learn the difference.

Letting Go: Learning to let go is very, very difficult. I believe it's hardwired into humans to hold on as tight as we can to people, places, and jobs just to name a few things. Each time in my life that I've had to let go, I've found better things waiting for me.

Moving On: Moving on is different from letting go. Moving on means you've made peace with your past and your mistakes. You've owned your fault in a given situation, put your guilt to bed, and locked the door on it all. Always remember: Life is patiently waiting for you.

Heartbreak is like a broken bone. Given time, it will heal, but it always leaves the bone weaker than it might otherwise have been. If you break your elbow, you might not heal with the same range of motion you once had. Heartbreak is much the same. The fracture in your heart heals, but the next time it breaks, it hurts a little more and may not bounce back as fully as it once did. But, if you learn to let go and move on, you can regain the heart's "range of motion."

Dreams: Never be afraid to dream big. Bet on yourself and bet big! You really can have what you want in this life if you're willing to put the effort into it. People will try to dissuade you from your dreams, but their journey, their choices do not have to be yours.

Advice: Do not seek advice. Seek mentorship and guidance instead. What one person would do isn't necessairily right for your life and your circumstances. Mentors offer guidance in helping you make your choices, but ultimately it is up to you to decide the path of your life. Learn to rely on your intelligence and your ability to do what is right for you. There are no mistakes, only lessons.

Read Maya Angelou: She is the ultimate mentor. Her words speak to life's challenges and joys in a way that no other person has ever done. She will remind you of all that can be done in this world and all you can do in your life.

Love: Choose the right mate for you in life. If you've chosen the wrong mate, gently and kindly let them go so you can find the right person for you and they can do the same. True love is at the same time work, effortless, joy, and tears. But when you have more of the work and tears and less of the effortless and joy, there is something wrong and you must have the courage to shed light on what that is and do something about it. You can waste years of your life with the wrong person. There is nothing sadder than meeting the right person for you when you are attached to the wrong one already.

Courage: Face your demons. Monsters live in the dark. Turn on the light. Confront the things that bother you and cause you pain. Know that within you there is great courage to right the wrongs in your life. Do it.

Humor: Find humor in every situation, even the ones that don't seem at all funny. It will help you cope.

Friendship: Hold fast to your true friends and know who your true friends are. Often, the ones you think are friends really are not. Friends are the people you can call at 2 a.m. when life has come crushing down on you and you feel that taking another breath is just too much effort. They cry with you and they celebrate with you. They tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear. Give your energy to those who give you theirs. Let go of the rest.

Cope: The world is not coming to an end...learn to cope.