This month I am entering into a new decade of life. As I look back and review the previous decade I see the many lessons I have learned and how much I have grown. Some lessons were things I had head knowledge of, but until I fully accepted them, they would repeat. Here are some of the lessons I learned and relearned over the last ten years.
- Be who you are created to be. This is a struggle. There are so many competing voices telling you who you should be that your own voice can get drowned out. To accomplish this, I had to take time for myself and examine my life.
- Have confidence in yourself. Fear can enter your life and make you doubt everything. When you are vulnerable from loss, fear and doubt can be a persistent problem. To overcome fear and doubt I had to ask myself if what I was believing true.
- The importance of setting boundaries. It is important to set boundaries in relationships. Especially when the relationship is new. The longer you wait, the harder it is for the other person to respect your boundaries. Without boundaries, people will walk all over your kindness. I had to start saying no and voicing my feelings.
- The importance of letting go of toxic relationships. The term toxic is being used regularly these days. So much so that we can minimize the impact of toxic behaviors. It is important for yourself esteem to get rid of toxic relationships. I had to let go of people and jobs that would not respect me or my boundaries. I let go of people who were controlling and manipulative. It was hard but worth it as I now have peace of mind and self worth.
- To forgive. It is much easier to hold on to grudges, bad feelings and being the victim. But I have learned by holding on to all those things I would always be imprisoned by them. I would never have peace. Forgiving is about letting go and releasing the offense. It is not excusing the offense or putting a band aid on the issue. I also had to release the offender as well. You don’t have to become best friends with them because you choose to forgive them. Forgiving others is for you, not them. This is one of those lessons that will repeat until you have let go completely. Bitterness runs deep.
- Listen to your inner voice. Only you know what is best for you. Do not let others sway your decisions. Question their motives. Does their advice benefit you or them? If you are confused by an issue, find someone who can guide you to find the answer. Not someone who will tell you their answer. I had to learn how to trust myself and quiet the voices of others.
- Don’t judge based on other people’s opinions. Make sure you test things for your self before you pass judgement. Everyone has biases. Don’t let others influence you against something with their gossip, slander and opinions. Check it out for yourself. I had to learn to stop taking phone calls from a co-worker. They would call to complain and gossip about another every day. I learned it was okay not to answer the phone.
- Try new things. I have discovered a lot of wonderful things that in the past I was to afraid to try. I didn’t think I would like it and was to set in my ways. Finally I began to try new things and a new world has opened up for me.
- Do it afraid. To overcome fear we must do things afraid. Fear does not go away until we do the thing we are afraid of. Face the fear and go through it. I learned to face the fear with pep talks before doing it afraid. With each step I took, the less afraid I was.
- Even in my weakness I am strong with God’s help. My strength comes from the Lord. My faith has seen me through all the struggles life has thrown at me. God brings me comfort, joy and unending, unconditional love. Through prayer I gave God my weakness and through reading His word, He gave me strength to move forward.
I never imagined that I would go through these milestones as a widow. I thought that Richard and I would grow old together. However, I do carry Richard’s love in my heart. Even though he is gone, I know I will see him again and that gives me strength to go on and face another decade without him.
I wonder what new lessons and exciting experiences are waiting for me…
As always I welcome your feedback and questions. You can leave them in the comments below. If you like what you read let me know with a thumbs up.
Remember that you are not alone, I am here to walk along side of you.
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