20 Lessons My Life Has Taught Me {thus far}

Be Honest with Yourself

We deserve it & we’re worth it. We tend to justify things, even to ourselves. This is the foundation for all other things. How are we to work anything out if we’re not honest with ourselves 1st?

Before Pointing the Finger Outward, Point It Back at Yourself 

It’s easy to place blame on other people or things but often the problem is ourselves. Always look within first.

 If You Have to Ask the Question, You Already Know the Answer

A wise woman shared this with me. If you have to ask if something is in bad taste, for example, it most likely is.

Be Quick to Admit When You Are Wrong & Quick to Apologize

We all make mistakes. Humble yourself, admit it, & apologize.

Be Yourself, Always

People are more apt to like us when we’re being ourselves, rather than a fake version of who we think they want us to be… & if they don’t like us, oh well! We wouldn’t have wanted them in our lives anyhow. Plus, it’s normal not to get along with everyone.

Learn to Appreciate the Little Things

One day, you’ll realize that the little things ARE the big things. It’s the little everyday things that add up to fill our lives with joy, if we let them.

Feelings & Emotions Are Actually Nothing to Get Worked-Up About

Just because we are experiencing one of them doesn’t mean that we have to react or let it over-take us. Simply acknowledge it, listen to what it’s trying to tell us, & then let it pass. Know that it won’t last forever. Read this blog post: Rule Your Thoughts.

Learn to Live with Some Level of Uncomfortableness

I remember in AA they used to sarcastically say, “Oh Lord forbid we be uncomfortable!” I couldn’t agree more! One of the many reasons AA is so effective is that, you will often hear someone speak that is where you used to be & it is so humbling. You quickly realize that your problems are extremely insignificant. Every time you leave, you feel refreshed & ready to tackle life with a clean & well-adjusted perspective. I guess that’s also the way church makes some people feel, huh?

Forgiveness Is a Sign of Strength, It Is Not for the Weak 

Forgiving someone doesn’t necessarily have to be about the person we’re forgiving, we can forgive someone to simply set ourselves free. And they don’t have to know a thing about it. Resentment is a risky burden that makes a person dangerously ill. And the hardest thing of all was forgiving myself, but I knew that if I wanted to live a truly happy life it had to be done. Need a little help? Read 10 Steps to Forgiving Yourself {& download the 10 free journal prompts!}.

Never Stop Growing

Self-acceptance does not equal complacency. We’re never going to be perfect because perfection doesn’t exist. But we can continually strive to be the best versions of ourselves possible. We all have character defects, however, if we’re honest with ourselves we should have a decent idea of what they are.

Nobody Likes a Martyr

Stop. Just Stop. If you do something for someone, do it out of the goodness of your heart and because you want to, without expecting anything in return. That also means without expecting accolades. Unless it’s your job of course, and even then you can really only expect a paycheck. Real life, just sayin’. 

Take Time for Yourself

& DO NOT feel guilty about it! We deserve & need it.

Accept the Things You Cannot Change. It Is What It Is

Don’t waste time questioning, “WHY?”; that’s a waste of time. Sometimes perspective is retrospective. Let’s focus on what we can change. The Serenity Prayer is helpful with this.

We Have No Power Over Other People, Places, nor Things

The only thing that we have control over is our own actions & reactions. Perspective is a powerful thing that is within our control. We can choose whether we’re going to have a good day or a bad one, that’s perspective. However, I have learned not to worry about things I cannot control. It is a waste of time. I believe that everything works out the way it’s supposed to.

Self-Approval Is The Only One That Matters… & It Is Extremely Freeing

I wish that I could just bottle it up & hand it out to everyone! I used to be so insecure & self-aware all the damn time & frankly, it was exhausting. When we seek approval from others we are giving them power over us that they do not deserve. The only approval that matters is our own. Constantly seeking approval from others hinders us from being our true, authentic self. I would think it would be pretty hard to be happy when you’re constantly living in that scenario… & isn’t “happy” the ultimate goal?

It’s OK to Say NO & You Do NOT Owe Anyone Excuses for Doing So

If you’re new to saying no, your knee-jerk reaction will be to follow it up with the reasons why you’re saying no. You probably feel extremely guilty. And depending on who you’re saying no to, they could be laying a guilt-trip on you &/or demanding answers. The thing is, it’s nobody’s business! Just politely say that you’re not going to make it or that you can’t do it/you’re unavailable & move the conversation along. No need for awkward pauses. Good-grief!

Set Clear Boundaries

There will be people in our lives in which we must set boundaries & the clearer those boundaries are made from the beginning, the better. There will also be people in which we have to continuously reinforce those boundaries. We need to be as clear & concise as possible.

Let Go of Toxic Guilt

This is something I’ve struggled with. So much so that I’ve written a blog post about it here. I’ve learned that toxic guilt can disguise itself as different emotions. “Legitimate guilt acts as a warning light, signaling that we’re off course. Then its purpose is finished. Wallowing in guilt allows others to control us. It makes us feel not good enough. It prevents us from setting boundaries & taking other healthy action to care for ourselves…. extended guilt does not solve the problem; it prolongs the problem. So make an amend. Change a behavior. Then let guilt go.” –The Language of Letting Go, by Melody Beattie. ← {my favorite meditation book}

Fake It ’til You Make It Actually Works

“Acting as if” something is a certain way when it really isn’t may sound crazy but it’s a powerful recovery tool used in AA. I hadn’t interviewed for a job in 10 years so I most definitely was not confident, but I acted as if I were. I wasn’t being dishonest, I was implementing a coping strategy to help me make it through until the confidence I wanted became a reality. This tool can be applied to many different areas of our lives while working to improve ourselves; & then, hopefully, one day we won’t need it anymore.

Manage Expectations Wisely

While it’s normal & appropriate to have certain expectations of our loved ones, we need to regularly make sure they are reasonable. If they’re not, we’re setting ourselves up for a whole mess of disappointment. “Expectation is the root of all heartache.” -William Shakespeare

I Can Honestly Say That I Appreciate My Past, All of It, Because It Got Me Where I Am Today. -And For That, I’m Grateful.

Share your life lessons in the comments!

Krista-Lee-Pfeiffer :: Blogger & Creator of The Sunny Shadow

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