5 Key Life Lessons I’ve Learned Along the Way
I felt stuck and uncomfortable for much of my life and as much as I tried, I couldn’t figure out a way to get unstuck. In many ways the tragic events that happened on the day my mother was killed seem to have been prophetic. It was a culmination of all of my angst that had built up inside of me. The events surrounding her death and the end of my long-term relationship, was analogous to a purging – an explosion of everything that ailed me.
The experience left me feeling alone, terrified and naked in the darkness, but as I look back now, I’ve come to view these events as something quite profound – a turning point in my life. I knew that my life wasn’t working. I knew I was miserably unhappy. My beliefs, my thoughts and the people in my life were suffocating me. I was not me, just a zombie-like version of who I really was.
Living the way I had been became so unbearable that I had no choice, but to change, because staying where I was was too painful, yet I lacked the courage to do anything about it. So the Universe did what it does to those who are living unauthentic lives – it pushed me from the nest and watched as I hurdled towards the ground and my imminent demise.
As I was flailing and trying to get my wings, I came across a number of truths that I hadn’t yet learned. I stumbled upon lessons that I never would have gotten had I stayed where I was.
The first Lesson I received was:
I Am In Control of my Life: No one else just me. I am responsible for every choice I’ve made, every decision, every thought, every action, every behavior, every move – all of it, whether good or bad, it’s all on me, no one else. It doesn’t matter what happened in my childhood, who did what to whom. I’m an adult and all the problems and baggage that I’ve been carrying are mine now and I can choose to continue carrying them, or I can choose to get rid of them. I can do the work, I can fix and change what wasn’t working and I can learn newer, healthier behaviors. I can be the person I’ve always wanted to be. It’s all up to me.
I couldn’t go backwards that was no longer an option. That chapter was closed and coming to the realization that the rest of my life was up to me was very scary, yet very empowering. I wanted my new life to be done right. The direction of my ship was all up to me. I was going to take the staring roll in my own life. That realization that I controlled my destiny, which seems so obvious now, was a startling revelation to me.
Everything Changes When You Love Yourself: I battled and battled the ‘I’m Not Good Enough Monster’ my entire life. I finally found a way to defeat him and I watched as it took it’s last breath. I came to understand that my value doesn’t change based on someone else’s ability to see it. I determine my worth – no one else but me. The people who should have loved me and concerned themselves with my emotional development didn’t and instead sent me the wrong message – that doesn’t mean that I have to continue giving myself their message. I am good enough because I exist. Being good enough is my birthright. I was born good enough and anyone who thinks to treat me like I’m not a person of value isn’t going to like what happens.
When I started to see myself as a person of value, my entire perspective changed. I no longer wanted to be self-destructive or unkind to myself. I wanted to treat myself with all the love and compassion that I so eagerly relished on other people. I didn’t want to eat bad foods, I wanted to exercise. I wanted to be happy and have fun. I stopped doing and seeking out things and people that would hurt me, instead I looked for things that made me feel good and were good for me. I learned how to protect myself and I took great precautions into who I would let into my life and the kinds of things I would permit myself to do. The attitude of self-love is contagious – when other people pick up on the vibe that, you know you are a person of value – they will treat you as a person of value.
I Don’t Need Anyone’s Permission: I don’t need anyone’s permission, I don’t need anyone’s approval, I don’t need anyone to validate me, or my endeavors, I don’t need anyone to agree with me, or cheer me on.
This was a tough one for me. I always believed that success was this unknown commodity that was given to you from other people. When I was a teenager I played guitar in a Rock Band. I was terrible. A year later, I tried to be a model, a year after that, I tried to be an actress. I hit a road block at every turn, because no one saw anything in me that was special. I wasn’t ‘discovered,’ which must mean that I didn’t have ‘it.’ As a young, immature person, with no self-esteem, I accepted it and I didn’t challenge that assumption.
I think when you have the first two life lessons down, you really stop caring what other people think of you. You stop being afraid of the opinions of others. Putting yourself out there isn’t easy, ask any actress in the world what it feels like to have her appearance constantly judged. But there comes a point where you just decide that, I’m going to do what my heart tells me to do and damn anyone that stands in the way of that.
I had a friend that desperately wanted to go back to school. Her friends told her it wasn’t a good idea, think of her kids and how busy her life was. Her mother questioned how she could afford such a move and her husband wasn’t all that keen on the idea. She had all of this negativity coming at her and yet she still felt this pull to do what her heart demanded. I told her, “Where there’s a will there’s a way. You don’t need anyone’s permission. You don’t need everyone thinking this is the greatest idea since sliced bread. You don’t. All you have to do is figure out what needs to get done in your life to make this happen, money, time, attention….and figure out how to compensate.” And she did and she is on her way towards getting her Master’s degree. Granted when you have dependents they have to be a consideration, but my friend was looking outwards for approval and very nearly didn’t pursue a dream she had always wanted to, because other people were telling her no. A good General will always listen to the voices of his Lieutenants, but in the end, the decision belongs to him.
It’s Not What Happens To You It’s How You Deal With It: Everyone, bar none, has setbacks and failures. The difference between those that fail and those that succeed, are those that succeed, try and they keep on trying.
I work for a big company that just seems to keep expanding and expanding. There is a lot of opportunity for growth and promotion and it’s interesting to watch how the factions go about securing their advancement.
I have watched people get looked over for promotion and they all behave in one of 3 ways. They will either, quit, get bitter and jaded, start complaining a lot and stop working so hard, or they will continue to work hard and look forward to the next chance for advancement.
Bad stuff is always going to happen, the key is to always keep battling. Always stay focused on the big picture and don’t let your emotions, or your ego, get in the way of your own success.
The Power of Intention, Positivity and Gratitude Is Real and Always at Work in our Lives: To demonstrate this I’d like to use an example of Intention that’s negative: I had been driving for a long time prior to my accident that killed my mother and I hadn’t had so much as a scraped bumper. I considered myself a very confident driver and never gave it much thought.
After the accident I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. I would relive the events of the accident constantly. I couldn’t drive and when other’s would drive past a transport truck I would start to panic, my heart rate would soar, I’d have trouble breathing and I would feel so much anxiety – it was awful. When I went to sleep at night it was worse. All I kept thinking about was crashing into cars. These visions were with me all day, everyday, keeping me fearful and anxious.
One day my brother said, “Sav, you’ve got to get back in the saddle again. You have to start driving. You can’t depend on everyone driving you all the time.” I knew he was right so I started driving again. The visions of me crashing were still with me, this time I would have them while I was driving. I would try to shut them out, but I hadn’t yet learned how to control that inner voice. And within 3 months, you guessed it, I hydroplaned on some ice and smacked right into someone. After never being in an accident in my whole life, I now had been in two within a couple of months. The first one wasn’t my fault, the second?? Some might argue it was an accident I would say, with all my focus, attention, visualizations and all of the fear and anxiety I was pouring into it, that I had manifested it.
So I know from personal experience that manifesting can and does happen. It’s all about what we put our focus and attention on and how much emotion we give it. It doesn’t matter if it’s positive or negative, all that matters is where we allow our mind to go and how we feel about it.
When we desire something positive we have to keep the same level of intensity and we have to keep feeding it positive emotions. The key is consistency. Fear doesn’t come and go like some other emotions. It’s intense and it’s always with you until you conquer it – so you have to create that same level of feeling, except with positive emotions. Love is stronger than fear. It’s spooky how true this stuff is.
I believe that the Universe tossed me out of the nest, because it knew I had to learn these life lessons and that I would never have done so, had I stayed where I was. It also knew that I was capable of handling the journey and that I would find a way to pass on what I have learned.
Throwing me out of the nest taught me how to fly. My destination is entirely up to me.
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