1. There are so many different ways for your heart to break.
When people think of heartbreak, they tend to associate it with romantic love, but there are so many other reasons it happens. The pain of heartbreak stems from loss. I’ve lost a lot of things along the way for different reasons – friends, family, my sense of self. Though some undoubtedly stung more than others, they all created the same feeling in my chest.
2. Things don’t go to plan, and that’s okay.
I touched on this in a tweet on my birthday, as well as this post about approaching 30, and it resonated with a lot of people. Predictability is comforting to me, so it would be nice if things went as I pictured them. Of course, this isn’t the case. There are days when I struggle with this, but, overall, I’ve made peace with it.
3. The quality of friendships is more important than the amount.
Like most people, this is something which became crystal clear as I got older. In school, I used to long for more friends, and wonder why so few people liked me. Then, in college, I met the best friend I’ve ever had. We are still friends now – 10 years later. She is full of life, hilarious and encouraging. She is my biggest supporter, and my strongest ally. I’d rather have one of her than five of anyone else.
4. Internet friends are real friends.
I know there are people out there who “don’t get it.” How you can have a friendship with somebody you’ve never met? But, I have been fortunate to connect with people who have shown it’s possible, particularly since I started blogging.
5. Your family are human, and they will make mistakes.
And it will hurt a little bit more than normal because you love them so much.
I love my family, but they are human. I think we all forget that sometimes. Particularly when we are young, most of us don’t think our families can do any wrong. Yet, part of growing up is learning to accept that even the people who love us the most make mistakes.
6. The right person for you will treat you with love and respect.
I can laugh about this now, but my taste in men has been bad. In my defence, I didn’t know any better. Now that I do, I can see what a relationship should be like. Neal never gives me any chance to doubt his love for me. He makes a point of showering me with compliments and saying he loves me multiple times a day.
That’s not to everyone’s tastes. Some individuals might find that quite overbearing and so, the key is, finding someone who respects you. In doing that, they demonstrate that they want to make you happy and comfortable. They value you and show it in their actions.
7. Nothing is worth the cost of your mental health.
I repeat: nothing is worth the cost of your mental health.
Upon reflection, I’ve persevered with a number of situations which weren’t worth the upset they caused. We all do it – stay in relationships that make us unhappy, struggle with a job that makes us miserable etc. And because we all do it, we think it’s okay. It’s not. If there’s something in your life which is forcing you to feel unbearably sad, please change it if you can. And if you can’t…
8. It’s good to talk.
I bottle things up a lot. The simple reason is that I don’t like to bother people with my worries, or because I think what’s upsetting me is silly. I’ve improved slightly since attending counselling, but I’m not always the best at opening up when I’m not feeling great. However, counselling showed me the value of talking things through. Even when I made absolutely NO sense, just having the opportunity to unload worked wonders. I recommend giving it a go.
9. Being childish is a good thing at times.
Once in a while, it’s good to jump in puddles, or blow bubbles, or do something for the pure joy of it. So many of us stop doing things like that because we’re growing older, and we have to be responsible. I would rather stop and admire a rainbow a million times over, than lose that spark of innocence. Don’t ever grow up completely.
10. Pets are members of the family.
If you have pets, you’ll know what I mean. If you’ve never had a pet and you think they’re “just an animal”, you are incorrect.
11. You are more likely to see someone you don’t want to see on days when you feel rubbish.
Exes, past crushes, old classmates – these people always pop up on those days when you’re tired, you haven’t brushed your hair, and you’ve thrown on the first few items of clothing you saw.
12. Trust your instincts.
You know yourself better than anyone else. If something doesn’t feel right, mentally, physically, or in any other way, trust yourself and do something about it.
13. You are your worst critic.
Picture this. You put on an outfit, stand in front of the mirror, and say “I can’t wear this, it looks ridiculous!” Maybe you start to cry a little bit. So, you move to the next outfit. Again, you whimper “everyone will start at me”, before collapsing in a heap on the bed. Been there? Yep, me too. Give yourself a break because…
14. People aren’t paying as much attention to you as you think.
It’s a weird lesson to learn. It is, for the most part, reassuring that everyone is too busy living their own life to notice yours. On the other hand, I suppose it can be a little bit sad to think no one notices you. So let’s clarify: people can see you, but they’re not analysing you.
Most of the time, when I’m staring at someone in the street, it isn’t because I’m thinking something negative. In fact, I’m admiring their outfit, or their confidence. Don’t get me wrong, there are unpleasant people in the world who enjoy mocking others, but the majority are not like that. They’re usually busy thinking about their own lives.
15. Three great remedies: sleep, tea and the sea.
There are lots of things which don’t have a quick fix but, if you’re having a bad day, I recommend one or all of these. Sleep is a nice way to escape sadness. Tea is a hug in a mug. And the sea is the best reminder I know that us and our problems are small – no matter how enormous they feel.
16. Self care should be a part of your routine.
This is one of the life lessons I learned last year. The idea of self care had been circulating before that, but I’d never bought into its importance. Then I started blocking out time to read, or to take a bath, or to just be outside. I noticed a big difference. When life got busy and I felt I had to sacrifice self care, I could sense myself feeling overwhelmed. So, look after yourself. You deserve it.
17. Time away from social media is essential.
Prior to blogging, social media wasn’t quite such a big thing in my life. I’d nosy on Facebook a few times a day, but there was no need to be constantly connected. As bloggers, I think we feel that pressure to always be online; always available. We expect we will slip from people’s minds if we take a few days off.
But, you have to. It’s not good to be bombarded with all of this stuff constantly. There are times when scrolling through Twitter is draining, and Instagram is depressing. Yet, we keep doing it because we think we’re bad bloggers if we don’t. It’s not true. Step away, chill out. Your supporters will still be waiting for you when you get back.
18. Money can’t buy happiness, but not having it is hard.
I believe in the old cliché that money can’t buy happiness. It comes from all sorts of other places. But the absence of money and struggling to make ends meet is exhausting, stressful and unpleasant. If you’d like to know more of my thoughts on this, I explored it in depth for a guest post.
19. The love for a child is unlike any other.
Don’t panic – this isn’t the post when I suddenly reveal I have a child I’ve managed to keep quiet for several months. In my case, it’s my nieces and nephew. I have never experienced love like it at any other point in my life, except when I laid eyes on them for the first time. Since, I’ve only grown to love them more.
I can only imagine how it will feel if I have a child of my own someday.
20. Loving yourself will take you further than hating yourself ever will.
Again, one of the life lessons I learnt last year which I’m still working on putting into practice. There are snippets of my counselling sessions which I can remember as clear as day. One of those is when my counsellor said, “do you ever wonder what you would achieve if you put the same amount of energy into loving yourself as you do hating yourself?” I had never considered it before. She went on to highlight how all of that time being unkind to myself hadn’t gotten me very far, and it was time to take a new approach.
It’s a tough habit to break, especially as I spent so long drilling negative thoughts into my own mind. I’m hopeful, though, that I can learn to love myself.
21. Music is one of the greatest gifts we have.
When I think about being a teenager, the first thing I see is me in my room, with my CD player on. Music has helped me through so many situations in a way that only music can. When you can’t make sense of your own feelings, and then somehow, someone sings them to you and hits the nail on the head? It’s amazing.
22. It’s okay to dress for comfort rather than style.
I would be a liar if I said there aren’t occasions when I wish someone would swoop in and give my entire wardrobe a revamp. However, fashion changes so quickly. There are timeless classics but, for the most part, what’s “on trend” changes in the blink of an eye and I’m too lazy to keep up. As I am on the curvier side, I do appreciate things which make me look and feel good, but the most important factor will always be comfort.
23. You don’t have to like what everyone else does.
I recently wrote about this in this post, but I’ll give it a quick mention. I have been ridiculed at several times in my life for various hobbies, interests and passions. Equally, I’ve been baffled by the latest crazes and struggled to see their appeal. It’s fine. Everyone is different. You do you.
24. The comparison game is one you will always lose.
We seldom come out of it well when we start looking at what everyone else has, and what we don’t. Focus on what you have, rather than what you lack, and you are bound to feel happier.
25. It is not your responsibility to “fix” others.
There are people in this world who are flawed. There are people in this world who are stuck in a rut. You can dedicate endless hours to trying to help them, but they have to choose to help themselves. Until they get there, your efforts will have very little impact.
26. There are more good people in the world than bad.
Though it feels like it’s getting harder to believe this, I stand by it. There are so many incredible, kind, driven, and exceptional individuals on this planet. Try to remember that next time you’re watching the news, or an internet troll crawls out to test your patience.
27. The best thing to be is kind.
Imagine what a wonderful world we would live in if people pursued being kind as much as they pursue being rich, or famous, or popular, or skinny. The world could do with a little more of it, that’s for sure. It’s impossible to know what someone else is going through. Make the choice to be kind, and you’ll always be on the right track.
28. Nothing lasts forever.
Though it is true of happiness as well, I want to focus on the context of bad times. When you find yourself lost in the darkness, it can feel like you will never, ever get out. Each day feels harder than the last. If I’ve learnt one thing in my life, it’s that no matter how permanent and all consuming it feels, sadness is temporary. Then, one day, you wake up, and your lungs are a little lighter. You can breathe easier. Or, you catch yourself laughing again, and you feel unstoppable. The sun will come up again. Cherish every second.