6 month lessons

It’s half-way through 2012 and I can’t believe all that I’ve learned so far this year. Being a person who finds a great deal of value in reflection, I’ve learned that one of the best ways to instill freshly learned lessons is to make them tangible. So, here it goes:

1) Listen to people. Don’t just hear their words and wait to speak– listen with intention. People notice when you listen and everyone wants to feel like what they are saying matters.

2) Don’t force things to happen. Nothing is more disappointing than trying to force an experience before it’s ready. Life has a way of working things out. Just because you want something to happen right now, doesn’t meant it’s the best thing that should happen now.

3) The more you follow your intuition, practice awareness, and are honest with yourself and others, the better off you’ll be.

4) Don’t underestimate meaningful little memories from years past. You might be amazed at the impact they may have in your present life.

5) Don’t be anyone but you. The moment you try to become something you’re not in order to impress someone else, you betray yourself.

6) Think less, do more. Over-analyzing can destroy you if you let it, so quit thinking so much and just do.

7) Practice letting go of expectations for yourself and others. All they do is weigh you down and cause disappointment. Let life unfold the way it’s supposed to. You start where you start and that’s all that matters.

8) Timing really is everything.

9) Let yourself feel things, even if it hurts. The longer you try to avoid feeling whatever emotion needs to be felt, the longer it will fester and not be released. Feeling emotions allows them to end.

10) Pay attention to your life and the things it’s trying to teach you. You will continue to be faced with the same scenario until you learn to properly deal with it. Without question.

11) Gather inspiration from anywhere you can find it. It will help you figure out the kind of life you want to live and the kind of person you want to be.

12) Don’t be afraid to admit that you need to work on a part of your life that causes you to be vulnerable, even if it’s embarrassing, shameful, or intimidating. We all have our issues.

13) You are responsible for your feelings. If someone or something upsets you, address it. But don’t expect anyone to do it for you. No one is a mind reader. Likewise, you are responsible for your boundaries with others. Be comfortable with their dimensions and don’t be afraid to make them known.

14) Gratitude can transform your perspective. If you have all your limbs, a roof under your head, a job, money for food, and are breathing on your own, you are lucky. We are not entitled to anything. Remember that.

15) Don’t be afraid to do things alone. Buy yourself a nice dinner, walk on the pier, see a movie, go to a concert, plan a trip, try something new. The presence of another person only enhances some experiences, but it isn’t a requirement to enjoy them.

16) Pay attention to the small things that make you happy, no matter how small or slight, and try to make them a frequent occurrence. Buy yourself that fancy latte, take the scenic way home, get yourself a nice bottle of wine. Allow yourself to feel special by treating yourself as such.

17) Make peace with the things you don’t like about yourself. We are all works in progress. Learn to live with the things you are working on in whatever condition they may be in. One day you’ll look back and realize how much you’ve grown in the part of your life that currently makes you feel uncomfortable. Don’t be mad at yourself for needing to take a while to get to that place. Trust the process.

18) “Never allow someone to be your priority, while allowing yourself to only be their option.”

19) The mind, body, and spirit are inextricably connected. If you neglect one area, you neglect them all. Likewise, if you nourish one area, the others benefit in ways you never would’ve known.

20) Balance is important. Don’t be completely available to any one person 100% of the time if they do not hold you in the same regard. You will wind up resenting them.

21) Don’t feel bad if you have unpopular interests, simple ideals, or traditional values. They are what make you who you are — they are your story. There are too many people who follow the trend du jour, which makes them anything but unique.

22) Try not to be jealous. You have what you have, don’t have what you don’t have, and are experiencing what you’re experiencing for a reason. Things eventually tend to even out. Besides, some of those things you wish you had are just illusions.

23) Find out what your values are and build your life around them. This helps maintain self-respect, purpose, and contentment.

24) Take a risk or two. Do something you wouldn’t normally do. And try not to predict what that experience will be like before you actually do it.

25) Have a little more faith in yourself. We relentlessly limit ourselves. Try to get rid of that tendency.

26) A lot of things won’t work out the way you hope they will. And you’ll be disappointed and wonder what to do next. Don’t worry though; life knows what it’s doing.

27) Quarter life crises really do exist. Take the time to work through them and trust the process, as slow or as uncomfortable as it may be. And focus on building your identity on things that don’t have the ability to abandon you.

28) Character supersedes most things. Always remember that.

29) Say what you need to say and do what you need to do. Doing what’s right for you doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy.

30) Spend more time outside. It’s the way we were meant to live.