I’ve been trying to write my “lessons I’ve learned from 2016” post for several days now and for some reason I just can’t get it done. I keep sitting down to write it, putting a few things on paper and then getting frustrated when I’m not able to articulate what I’m trying to say. Or I’m not able to really even explain the concept to myself, much less put it into words.
I’ve learned so much this year, I really have. But I think the truth is that I’m still learning and that some of the life lessons I’m wanting to share with y’all are still in progress – so to say. Like, I’m still figuring things out and not able to list them out in perfectly packaged points just yet. This really frustrates me. But I can’t fight it, and like always, all I can do is be honest.
The “things I’ve learned” range all over the board, across a variety of different subjects. Some things are personal and others are more universal – but I hope you’re able to relate to one or a few of them. If so, please join in the conversation via the comments below. I would love to get a dialog going between y’all.
Good communication takes effort
Relationships are everything. But like most good things in life, they require effort and attention in order to grow. Investing in our relationships and taking the time to cultivate them takes conscious effort and requires continual commitment. This might sound obvious (because it is), but one of the biggest drivers and key components of any relationship is communication. How we communicate – or rather how we interact, talk and express ourselves to the other person is how we’re able to connect and relate to one another. And one thing I’m really starting to appreciate is that communicating isn’t always easy. Sometimes loving someone requires us to go out of our comfort zone. I’ve realized that I have certain ways of communicating my needs or feelings that look different than how others communicate. And I’ve learned that I can’t assume others express themselves the same way – and this goes for family, friendships, acquaintances and significant others.
If you fail to plan, you plan to fail
Believe it or not, I don’t really like to plan. Or wait, it’s not that I don’t like to plan things – it’s just that I have commitment issues. Well, sort of, but that’s besides the case. I don’t like to plan things because then that locks me into it and eliminates all my other options. As I’m writing this, I’m thinking “okay wow Brighton, yeah you have issues”. But whatever. The point is that there have been a few times this year where I’ve forced myself to suck it up and do some planning. As my team over at BTD has grown, I’ve actually been forced to plan more in order to efficiently work well with other people – since it’s not just me doing things at my own pace all the time. And the times where I have forced myself to plan and make decisions, I’ve seen that I’m able to get SO MUCH more done. I literally have to remind myself of this simple truth almost every single day.
It’s okay to not be okay
I have to remind myself of this one often. I’m a pretty extreme person and I tend to swing from highs and lows on the reg. And something you might not know about me is that I’m a pretty intense person, too – I think deeply and feel intensely. From the outside looking in, it may seem like I’m a very happy-go-lucky kind of gal. And sometimes I am. But a lot of the time, I’m struggling or dealing with a lot. And sometimes, I’m not okay. And I’m learning that it’s quite alright to not be okay all the time. And I want you to know that too. Maybe I’ll write more on this later. But for now, I just wanted to state the fact and encourage you in whatever you may be “not okay” with.
There will always be people who don’t agree with you
I know this is an obvious one, but if there’s one thing you learn by blogging or any job where you’re constantly putting yourself out there, it’s that you can’t please everyone. And gosh, I hear this all the time. But it’s true. And if you spend your time trying to please anyone or meet certain expectations that don’t align with what you believe and where you want to go (etc.), you’ll lose yourself in the process.
I need to be better about setting boundaries
Yep, I learned slash am still learning this – every damn day. There’s always (always!) going to be more to do and that “more” shouldn’t keep you (or me) from living your (my) life now. At the end of just about every single day, I head to my next activity/commitment or whatever I’ve got planned that night feeling unfinished or like I didn’t get to 1/2 of what I needed to get done that day. And maybe this is more of a problem of wanting to do too much. But whatever the case, I wanted to state the obvious; that there will ALWAYS be more that you can do or get done in a day. So it’s important to set boundaries to protect yourself from that to-do list haunting you. I’m still trying to figure this one out.
Forgiveness is not a feeling
I’ve heard this many a time, but it doesn’t really hit home for you until you actually have to forgive someone you don’t want to forgive. I’ve also heard that forgiving someone can set you free because it’s more about you moving on and your healing than it is about what the other person did to you. And I’m sure this is true in some sense, but I think that it’s a process and you’re not going to feel the “freedom” immediately or even all at once. And it’s not like forgiving someone is a one-time act either – it’s a continual decision, one that you have to make over and over again.
Doing the small things is what leads to big changes
Doing small things is often times more important than doing big things. It’s more important what you do every day than what you do every once in awhile. You can learn to change a habit, but it’s going to take commitment and continued re-commitment.
Grief is weird
Grief is weird and looks different for everyone. I’ve been faced with grief a few times in my life but this year I got to know it differently than I ever have before – and in a few different ways. I don’t want to share too much on the blog, but I’ll mention that this year alone I’ve walked through a lot of stuff including a very unexpected and confusing breakup, dealing with my past in strange (yet also cathartic) ways, and a suicide of someone very close to me. I’m pretty terrified to say more because these things involve people other than myself and it’s hard to figure out what my place is in whether or not I can share those things – since they’re not just about me personally. But it’s been a heavy year for me to say the least.
The one thing that people say about grief is that it’s unpredictable and different for everyone. Oh, and that you just have to let yourself feel the things and go through it because if you try and avoid it, you’ll have to deal with it later and it’ll be much worse. I’ve learned that as nice as it is to be around people when you’re feeling the strange and uncomfortable feelings of grief, I personally have to be alone to truly feel better yet endure it. There’s a certain degree of vulnerability that you’ll allow yourself to experience when you’re alone that simply doesn’t happen when you’re with other people. Or maybe that’s just me?
As you get older and experience more life, grief will enter in some way or another. And when it does (or if it already has), I hope you remember that it’s okay to feel weird and confused and alone. All these things are normal. Like I mentioned in one of my other lessons above, it’s okay to not be okay. Give yourself some grace.
It’s Never going to be Good Enough
I’m starting to pick up on something about myself – a quality or characteristic that I’m not particularly fond of either. And this is that no matter what the situation or case, it’s never good enough for me. No matter what I achieve or what I “get”, there’s something deep down inside of me that always feels unsatisfied, lonely, empty. Or rather, there’s a part of me that’s always waiting for the next best thing wondering if when I have X or get to X status, if THAT’S when everything will feel right in this life? That’s not to say that I don’t celebrate small victories and successes. I most certainly do. But behind every milestone or goal reached, there’s still a feeling of inadequacy or fear or self-doubting that casts a shadow on whatever I’m supposed to be celebrating.
Having faith requires embracing uncertainty
Faith is believing that God will do what He says, will do, and that He is who He says He is. As someone who’s very black and white and often resorts to taking things literally, the concept of faith sometimes escapes me. And even though my faith is something that defines every single thing I do and every single day of my life, it’s still hard to deal with the uncertainty and the doubts. And sometimes the promises of the bible seem so far-fetched and unrealistic. But it brings me to peace to know that there MUST be a level of uncertainty involved. There must a bit of “stretch” involved – or leap of faith as cliche as it may be – in order to truly experience the trust that faith requires. It’s scary to believe in something you can’t see or hope in things you don’t know will happen, but that’s the very premise of what faith is. Right?
More To come (I Hope)
Okay that’s all I’ve got for y’all today, although I for sure learned SO MUCH more in 2016. I hope to revisit this topic soon and talk about more of these deeper, more substantial things on my blog – despite how nervous I get about it. More than ever, with these kinds of posts it means so much to hear from you. If something here resonated with you, please let me know. Speak up and say something because it will encourage me in sharing these things and hopefully to do more of it! I hope you’ve had a great new year and I’m excited to enter into 2017 with y’all!
It’s moving week this week! So I’ve got to go pack now :) I love y’all!
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