32 Life Lessons in 32 Years – Part 2
To catch up on Part 1 of this post, read here. Below is Part 2 with Lessons 7 to 13:
7. Self love before other love
This is a lesson I didn’t really think I was struggling with because I’ve never had seasons or even significant moments of self-hatred. But then I realised that denying myself attention and care because I am so focused on supporting others, is a form of self-hatred. I need to acknowledge that I have needs, wants, dreams, and hopes that are as legitimate as others. I also need to extend grace and forgiveness to myself before I can truly do it to others.
The same way the emergency briefing on a plane states that you need to put on your oxygen mask first before attending to even your own child’s, the same way we need to apply love to ourselves before we can fully do it to anyone else.
This is the emotional component to the practical side of setting boundaries and engaging in self care. So, I’m learning to love myself more daily.
8. Forgiveness frees
To clarify from the jump – forgiveness is not the same as reconciliation, or forgetting something ever happened, or not pursuing a fair trial. Instead, forgiveness is more like freeing yourself from the emotional, mental and/or spiritual negative connection you have with the person who abused, hurt or offended you. It is letting go of your resentment and thirst for revenge towards them.
If you’re a Christian you know forgiveness is a core value to our faith.
But even if you are not, research is increasingly showing us the benefits of forgiveness and the detrimental effects of unforgiveness.
From my personal experiences, unforgiveness is so tiring. It’s like an emotional tab that is constantly open that is quietly sapping your energy. Of course, choosing to forgive is super hard, especially when the person who wronged you is in no way remorseful.
But their offence is not worth me risking my health or salvation (cp. Matthew 6:14-15). Instead, I forgive, a gift to them, but a greater gift to me.
9. Gratitude is good for you
Something I have learnt in my own life, the more I give thanks, the more I get to give thanks for. It really shouldn’t be a surprise as this principle has been made very clear in both the Bible and Science. Check out 31 scientifically backed benefits of gratitude here.
I noticed that whenever I was having a tough time at work or with health this year, focusing on being grateful was the 1st step towards feeling better or thinking clearer. Don’t knock a gratitude journal until you’ve tried it guys.
10. Own your mistakes
This one is a pet peeve of mine when dealing with adults. To me, it is like an Adulting 101 clause – you are grown when you can humbly own your mistakes and not try and pass them off as someone else’s. I don’t care how much money you make, what your title is, how old you are – if you can’t take responsibility for your mistakes, I can’t take you seriously as an adult. And maybe it is because as the oldest child, I learned to be responsible early, or because I think this trait is essential to living with integrity. Either way, the quality of my relationships with close friends has been known to suffer because of this, let alone with people I’m not close to. It’s one thing if you can’t recognise it was a mistake which will require a different level of support/intervention. But when you know you did wrong and are trying everything to dodge owning it, that’s just childish! Which leads me to my next point:
11. Don’t let it be too late to say sorry
Tied to the previous point – just humble yourself and apologise if you’ve done wrong, simples. Don’t drag it out, don’t let it corrode the quality of your relationships. Getting over pride can take a moment, but I always prefer to tackle my pride than damage a relationship.
12. Build your tribe
Don’t be passive in your friendships. The people we allow to be part of our tribe, our inner circle, have a great influence on the quality of our lives. Be serious about cultivating your friendships and they will be serious about cultivating you. I am blessed with an amazing tribe, but it has taken years, prayers, humility and tears to get here. And I still make mistakes and drop the ball with people at times. But if the adage ‘show me your friends and I will show you your future’ is true, then my future is very bright and very blessed.
13. “Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown”
Leadership is hard – at least if you try to do it right. It’s hard because it requires you to effectively and empathically lead people as well as focus on getting the job done right. Whether you are leading your family, your team, your company – there will be times people don’t agree with your decisions, or even sabotage you. You might feel like you are on your own at times, but I think that is the point of good leadership. A good leader knows they are meant to be accountable for the growth and success of the people they lead, and growth requires pushing the boundaries, pioneering, and taking people out of their comfort zones.
Great leaders understand the weight of their role and don’t take it lightly, even if it sometimes requires long and sleepless nights.
I’ve learned this first hand from my own leadership experience and seen it in others too balancing influence, boundaries, inspiration and burnout can sometimes leave you feeling a little uneasy.
This is the end of Part 2, tune in for the next Part on Saturday.