2014 has taught me sooo much about myself, others and who I want to be. It’s been filled with challenges, joy, pain and revelations. Here are the lessons I have learned that I would like to share with you. Thank you to those who have taught me these lessons – both good and bad. And of course that includes myself. Whilst this is not specifically about thyroid disease, I do feel that some of these lessons will be helpful to those with chronic illness because many of them can be used to reduce your stress levels!
- Don’t be afraid to help others, but be sure to set healthy boundaries to prevent them from taking advantage of you. Don’t assume they will, but be prepared just in case they do. In turn, don’t let a bad experience with someone dim the brightness of your heart.
- Don’t interfere in anyone else’s business. This particularly pertains to relationships. Don’t try to stir up trouble or take sides. The only people who know the full story are the people involved and your interference will only cause pain.
- Avoid the mob mentality. If two adults are having an altercation, don’t be tempted to step in and side with one against the other, unless you are completely neutral (i.e. without sides) and trying to mediate the situation. Otherwise, this will more often than not aggravate matters. Of course, in situations where someone is being bullied or the other person is at risk of being hurt and incapable of defending themselves, this rule might not apply, but stepping in simply to stir up drama when your presence is not required is a bad idea.
- Acknowledge it if someone you barely know is doing you a favor. Don’t expect them to fully adapt to your needs, particularly if you are putting them out and they are helping you out of the kindness of their heart.
- If someone upsets or offends you or if there is a misunderstanding, clear it up right way. Otherwise, it will likely be blown out of proportion, causing hurt and upset for both parties.
- If someone genuinely has the guts to apologize, be courteous enough to acknowledge and accept that apology instead of complaining how the apology was made or making them feel even worse. We all screw up from time to time. Not everyone has the integrity to admit to it.
- Always seek to see a situation from both sides. Rarely is there just one person at fault. Be humble enough to see your part in the situation, even if you feel that you were wronged.
- When someone is clearly in pain, don’t under any circumstances arrogantly inform them that when you went through the same situation, your situation was so much worse because of A, B or C. First off, this isn’t a competition. Second off, it is incredibly cruel to attempt to negate somebody else’s pain. You do not walk in their shoes and everyone is on their own personal journey.
- If you are seeking to end something or move on, remember that how you deal with this is your choice and responsibility. Treat the other person with kindness and dignity and things will possibly go more smoothly than you expected. Humiliate, disrespect and abuse them and you may not get the reaction you were hoping for.
- Don’t permanently typecast somebody. There are people in life who rub us up the wrong way, but if we are open to it, they may ultimately pleasantly surprise us. But if we are not open, we will never get to experience this. People change and grow, but there are also misunderstandings and sometimes people turn out to be different than we initially perceive. As humans, we seem to have a built-in “judgment chip”. Be aware of that and attempt not to judge, despite the fact that we often do it subconsciously.
- Never give up on your dream(s). If you truly have a dream to achieve something and feel that it is your vocation, don’t let hurdles and challenges stop you short. Remind yourself of that original dream and fight through them and you may find that by fighting your dragons you eventually come to find that hidden treasure!
- Switch your focus. You can change your whole day based on your attitude when you wake up. Do you see the glass as half empty or the glass as half full? If you pity yourself and see yourself as a victim, you will be holding yourself back from empowerment. If you focus on the good in your life, even if you are going through a difficult time, it will brighten up your day and also how you perceive and treat others. For instance, notice how some people’s behavior in traffic changes when they are in a good mood versus when they are in a bad mood. If someone cuts you off while you are in a bad mood, you may take it personally and give them the finger. If you are in a good mood, you are likely impervious to what you perceive as their selfish nature and will go about your day, sending out love and getting it back.
- … Bringing us to our next point. You truly reap what you sow. If you give out love, you will also receive it when you need it. It might not always be from the people you expected or those you even wished you would get it from, but treasure it nonetheless as it is a precious gift. Nobody is perfect and we all make mistakes, but make sure you have the integrity to take responsibility for yours and apologize as appropriate (see 5.)
- Instead of dwelling on those who have done you wrong, bask in the light of those amazing people in your life who have done you right! Always remember to say thank you and show appreciation to these people and love them for who they are and where they are in life.
- Don’t seek/expect approval from others when you know you have done a good job. Don’t be afraid to admit to yourself that you have done well – true fulfilment comes from within, and if you don’t appreciate yourself, chances are nobody else will either. That said, I do believe that those who care about us should also revel in our successes. Just don’t make your mood dependent on this.
- Be true to your emotions and don’t let anyone try to amputate your feelings. They are there for a reason. Live them. Process them. Experience them and then move on from the negative ones. If you don’t, there’s a risk you may at some point erupt like a volcano, doing damage to both yourself and those around you.
- Don’t become too attached to anything in life. Be aware that some things are transient and this is the nature of the universe. Without progress we are stagnant. There is no learning and we experience neither pleasure nor pain. Of course, I’m not necessarily referring to death for which completely different rules apply, but if you find yourself in a life-changing situation, you may initially be afraid of the future, only to later realize that there are many hidden blessings.
- Put yourself in others’ shoes. Act rather than react. If someone says something to hurt you, consider where it might have originated. Were they having a bad day? Did you inadvertently say something to upset them? Or was it just a completely harmless, clumsy comment? More often than not, I do believe that most people are not that spiteful that they intentionally mean to hurt others. But misunderstandings of this nature do often lead to bigger misunderstandings. Instead of being hurt, try taking a step back or responding gently and compassionately.
- Never assume you are entitled to anything because if you don’t get what you hoped for, you may end up feeling bitter and disappointed. Work hard for what you would like to achieve and what is meant to be yours will be.
- Do good just for the sake of doing good. Without expecting any applause, any thanks or any appreciation. I think few of us are truly altruistic. After all, the simple act of doing good can make you feel fulfilled. Regardless, do not do good with a specific goal in mind or to manipulate someone. Say a kind word to a stranger. Help someone in need. Rub someone’s shoulders.
- Embrace your true gifts. Never hide your light under a bushel. And don’t worry if those close to you fail to appreciate it. No doubt you will find many others who derive joy from your creations and from your inner light. And last but not least, you yourself should derive joy from creating beauty. Whatever form it takes. Because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Thanks for reading and many blessings now and in 2015!