Experience is often a hard and cruel teacher, but I have found that experience teaches lessons better than any bit of advice you can ever get, and the lessons learned through experience are lessons that become engrained deep within you. It is hard for me to comprehend that in just over five weeks from now I will be fifty years old! Wow it seems like those years flew by. I can honestly say that I have been blessed in my fifty years of life, but I like everyone else have had my share of setbacks, frustrations, disappointments, and tough times. Even though life has not always been a bed of roses, I consider myself to have come to a place in my life that I can say that I am truly happy. My happiness however, did not come without dealing with certain areas of my life that that were stunting my personal growth and holding me back from living a happy life.
Over the years I’ve come to realize that there were at least four specific key things in my life that were hindrances to my happiness. Once I came to the place in my life that I was emotionally and spiritually ready to tackle the issues that stood between happiness and me, life seemed much less complicated and stress free. I would like to share these four key things that I learned in life that have helped me to live a rewarding life rather than a life buried in stress.
1.) I had to let go of the past. One thing that I discovered early on in life is that I have a tendency to be the type of person that holds a grudge. It usually takes a great deal for a person to make me mad, but I have found that when a person does succeed in making me mad, or if another person hurts me, I tend to hold on to it for a very long time. I reached a place in my life where I realized that my unresolved anger or resentment toward some people of my past was hurting nobody other than myself. I discovered that when I made the decision to forgive the people that I held resentment against, and simply let it go, I felt like I had been released from prison. If you are holding resentment against someone, I can tell you from experience, do yourself a favor and forgive him or her and move on. You won’t be doing it for the other person; you will be doing it for you.
2.) I had to learn to live one day at a time. At one time in my life, I would allow myself to become so stressed out worrying about things that I had no control over that I was miserable a big part of the time. I eventually learned that as long as I have my health, my home, my family, and my relationship with God, things tend to work themselves out. If we aren’t careful, we can allow all kinds of fear to attack us, and we spend days, months, even years being fearful about things that could happen that never do. Simply trust God for today is the best advice I can offer you.
3.) I had to accept the fact that I will make mistakes. There was a time in my life that I was so fearful of messing up, that it prevented me from even trying. I was always a shy, introverted kid growing up, I think because I always had this hidden fear of messing up and facing ridicule and rejection. Often fear of making mistakes and failing paralyzes a person to the point that they cease to try, thus ceasing to grow socially, emotionally, and spiritually. When I came to the place in my life that I was comfortable with the fact that I didn’t have to try to be perfect, I felt free. I knew at that point that even if I failed, failure isn’t final, and that I could succeed if I didn’t give up.
4.) I had to learn that it isn’t all about me. I think this is a lesson that I have most recently learned. I used to be one who was so concerned with achieving my goals and what I considered to be success that I totally ignored the aspirations and goals that others had. I was so engrossed in my own journey to find success and happiness that I failed to realize that there was a world of people around me trying to do the same thing. The lesson that I learned is that everyone needs encouragement. Everyone is looking for someone to say, “Hey, you are going to make it, I believe in you!” In the last year or so I have placed myself on a mission to be an encourager to others. I firmly believe that the best way to reach our dreams and goals is to help and encourage others while they are trying to reach theirs. There is a world of people that need someone to care, and it is rewarding when you know that you have made a difference in someone’s life.
My favorite band during my high school days was the Eagles. I remember a specific song that they sang that was entitled “Already Gone.” There was one particular line in that song that said, “So often times it happens that we live our lives in chains, and we never even know we have the key.” I think that pretty well sums up how many people live today. There are no limits to what we can accomplish if we have the right mindset, a positive attitude, and a firm trust in God. We hold the key to our own destiny. No person chooses your destiny but you.
Thanks for reading!
Until next time,