Reflecting on your life is a positive way to reinforce how far you’ve come. I found some old photos this past weekend and it got me thinking about the ways in which I’ve changed over the past ten years. Some have been for the better. A few have been to my detriment.
I don’t take as much shit:
I was always a timid person. Raised on the golden rule, I preferred to be tormented than anyone dislike me. Now I just don’t care. I am the best person I can be. If you don’t like me, I believe it’s your problem, not mine. This is a huge shift for me and has made my life much easier.
I don’t have to believe you:
I used to think everyone else’s opinion was worth more than my own. As if everyone else had more knowledge, more skill, and more savvy. While this hasn’t changed in every situation, I’ve come to realize (on the whole), my opinion is not only valid, I also have a clearer picture than a hell of a lot of people out there. I’m wise, I’m intuitive, and I’m also very intelligent. Now, I choose to ignore rather than feel like I have to justify myself.
My past doesn’t define me:
This was a hard habit to break. It didn’t help that certain people in my life loved (and still love) to remind me of my mistakes. I’d always been “her”, the one who’d let others walk all over her. The one who rebelled and got burned for it.
Now I know, who I tried to become, the person I saw in my mind’s eye, was who I always was. She just needed a few lessons to learn from along the way: to toughen her up, to teach her how to be loved and who was worthy of her time. There were a lot of people who didn’t make the cut because…
Only give your time to people who deserve it:
This one goes hand-in-hand with another adage I’ve adopted- people are in your life for as long as they’re needed. I try not to hold on to people I’ve lost because I realize we were no longer symbiotic. If a relationship isn’t giving you support, encouragement, fun times, depth, or love, then it’s not right for you. So, let it go and….
Find your tribe:
This one is so important. Only after having too many friendships that were shallow and one-sided did I realize this was a choice I was making. I should’ve been more selective about who I gave myself to. Don’t give pieces of yourself to anyone but a tribe member. They won’t take advantage, abuse, or desert you. They will also always be there, understand as best they can, and pull you up when you’re down.
Last, but most important…
Be your own best friend:
This was the hardest to learn. Those times when you feel lonely and feel like no one cares, it’s so hard to rely on yourself. But we need to. We need to realize the only person we need is the one inside. I don’t need anyone to watch my favorite movies with. I don’t need someone to discuss my favorite books with, to philosophize about the meaning of life. It’s nice to have that person, but I don’t need them.
And, the biggest thing that’s changed that wasn’t for the better:
I’ve lost my childhood glee.
That wonder, whimsy, and excitement for the world is gone. I’ve been looking for it. There are moments I catch glimpses, little sparks behind my eyes. Having my boys helps- watching them take in the world around them- but nothing seems to last anymore.
What ways have you changed in the last ten years? Do you like who you’ve become?