Lessons from 2019
As we get closer to the end of the year it’s only natural to reflect upon the last 12 months. After talking to friends and family about it, I noticed that 2019 was a year of transformation for so many people!
Although transformation is a positive thing, it usually comes as a result of difficult and challenging situations. For me, this was definitely the case!
I’m not saying I didn’t experience joy at all this year or didn’t have beautiful moments, quite the opposite actually!
This year I got to travel to so many places I had only dreamed of before and shared so many special moments with friends and family and for those, I am so grateful. But just as there is no light without the darkness, I had to experience both!
For me, this year will be remembered as the year of challenges of all kinds – emotional, physical, mental and spiritual. But ultimately, it will be remembered as the year of growth!
So, here are some of my most important lessons from 2019:
1. It’s ok to start over
Whether it’s a career, a relationship, or any type of behaviour or endeavour, it’s hard to accept when something isn’t working for us anymore when we’ve invested so much on it already.
For most of 2018, I knew the career path I had taken wasn’t fulfilling for me anymore, even though my job had so many perks and stability. But fulfilment doesn’t come from that, it comes from purpose!
It took me a good 6 months of 2018 to come to terms with the fact that the career I had worked so much to have, wasn’t even what I wanted anymore…So, finally, in 2019 I handed my resignation and hoped for the best.
It was scary and I had no real plan for the future, but from the moment I acted on my truth, my heart just became so much lighter!
Not everyone in my life understood, agreed or supported my decision, but I knew in my heart that it was time to let go and start over. The truth is that no one that knows what’s best for you but yourself.
“It’s never too late to become who you want to be. I hope you live a life that you’re proud of, and if you find that you’re not, I hope you have the strength to start over.” — F. Scott Fitzgerald
2. The Universe rewards bravery
It’s hard to trust but I believe and have experienced it to be true! Don’t believe me? Let me tell you a little story 🙂
When I decided to quit my job with no plan for the future whatsoever, apart from the fact that I knew I wanted to work in Interior Design, I was asked to recruit someone to replace me at my job and I did. When this new person asked me why I was leaving that job I told them the truth, and you know what their answer was?? – “Really?? My friend is looking for an interior designer to help with a project, do you want me to give them your number??”
And this is the project that I have been working on! My first project as an unexperienced Interior Designer was pretty much handed to me by the person I recruited to replace me at my old job.
Conclusion: If I had decided to stay at my old job waiting for the right opportunity to come along, it would have never happened! I had to be bold and step into the unknown to create space for this opportunity to come into my life.
I believe our dreams are always on their way to us, but we have to create the space for them to come true, and if we hold on to the old, the new will never come.
“Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.” – Martin Luther King Jr.
3. Rejection is redirection
Whether it’s in your work or personal life, rejection always feels like the worse thing ever!
But the truth is that instead of taking it personally or questioning our self-worth, we should look at it as redirection, as an indication that we are looking the wrong way or about to take a step on the wrong direction.
Another work-related example in my case is that before I decided to quit my job I applied for a similar position in another company. At this point, I already knew that I wanted to do something different but I was so good at what I was doing already that it would be so much easier for me to just keep doing the same, and maybe if I just changed company it would feel exciting again.
What happened is that I was rejected by this new company, they said that they really liked me but I just didn’t have the exact profile they were looking for…
Honestly, as I was applying for that role I felt it in my gut that I didn’t even want it, but when I got that phone call from them saying I didn’t get it, I felt the rejection very deeply!
But after I took some time to cool off, I realised how relieved I actually was to not get that job, and what a blessing that rejection was for me. It also gave me that extra push to really be honest with myself and admit that I didn’t want to work in recruitment anymore.
“Rejection is merely a redirection; a course correction to your destiny.” – Bryant McGill
4. It’s not happening to you, it’s happening for you
I guess the previous example can also be used for this point, but this lesson is “wider” than the one before.
I’m sure that if you look back at the hardships in your life, as difficult as they were, there is something good that came out of them. Every hardship made you strongest, taught you something new, changed your perspective or changed your direction to a better destination…all kinds of situations are possible.
As “bad” things are happening to us we wonder “why?? Why is this happening to me?!”, but it’s not happening to you, it’s happening for you, and you will soon find out why.
Everything we go through is supporting our growth, is maturing us and shaping us, getting us to where we are supposed to be!
Also, nothing is good or bad in essence, every situation only has the meaning you give to it.
Example: Someone who loses their job might see it as a bad thing because now they don’t know when they will find another one and feel financially unstable. But someone else in the same situation might see it as the push they needed to start their own business.
In conclusion, you decide if something is good or bad, but either way, it will serve a purpose.
“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, vision cleared, ambition inspired, and success achieved.” – Helen Keller
5. As within, so without
Ok, we are diving deeper 🙂
This might be the most important lesson I’ve learned this year, and probably the one I will have more trouble putting into words, but I’ll do my best.
The reality is that everything we experience “outside of us” is really just a reflection of what we are experiencing on the inside, and everything we believe to be true, actually is!
- If you start your day on the “wrong foot” and from that point on just believe it’s going to be a bad day, then it will.
- If you believe that you are not a courageous person, you will never do anything adventurous.
- If you believe you never have time to work on your hobbies, then everything in your life will show you that’s true.
The list goes on… Like I explained in the previous point, situations or circumstances don’t have a meaning on its own, it is your perspective and your way of looking at them that provides the meaning. So, really, on the outside, you will always see confirmations of what you already believe to be true on the inside!
We can only perceive what we are. If we are angry we only find more things to be angry at, if we are grateful we find more things to be grateful for, etc…
Life will happen to us no matter what, but we have the power to shape our experience by dissolving our beliefs and changing our perspective.
“You have the ability to quickly change your patterns of thought, and eventually your life experience.” – Abraham Hicks
6. Love yourself first
It’s not selfish to love yourself and to put yourself and your wellbeing first.
If you love and accept yourself you will not be afraid to live your truth and won’t accept anything that is not in accordance with that. When you love yourself, you give yourself room and time to heal from pain and hardships and learn how to become more comfortable at navigating difficult situations.
Loving yourself prevents you from seeking approval from others. You also realise that you are really the first person you can count on and rely on, and cease to be co-dependent on others. You start making healthier choices, taking charge of your life and forgiving yourself and others.
And if you’re still wondering how loving yourself first is not selfish, the truth is that by doing this you will improve your communication with others and therefore your relationships. By fully accepting yourself, you also fully accept others and release judgment.
You can’t offer love to others when you don’t have enough love to even offer yourself, so focus on filling your own cup first before sharing it with others.
“The absence of self-love can never be replaced with the presence of people’s love for you.”― Edmond Mbiaka
7. It’s ok to let go
Letting go doesn’t mean to forget or stop caring, letting go is about releasing the need to control things.
We often hold on to the past or want to control the future, creating a resistance that only brings us unnecessary discomfort or even pain.
So, let go of past pain and let go of resentment towards other people and situations. The past should have no hold over us.
Sometimes, we hold on so tightly to expected outcomes, to our vision of how things are supposed to be, that we want to control every step, every variable, but let me tell you that by doing that we are just making things harder for ourselves.
Some things aren’t meant to be, other things are meant to be but not right now, and some things just don’t serve us anymore…so let it go (yes you can imagine the Frozen song playing in your head now haha).
When we let go and release control, we allow life to unfold naturally, we create space for the things that are meant for us, we also allow space to ourselves to revaluate, to widen our perspective and see things more clearly.
“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need.” – Lao Tzu
So, these are the main lessons that 2019 has thought to me. Although most of the examples I used are regarding my career, keep in mind that throughout the year I have experienced these same lessons in my personal life, so they apply to all aspects of life.
Also, just because I have learned them, it doesn’t mean I have mastered them. I have become aware of these facts but sometimes I still find myself falling into the traps of my mind and ego and behaving according to old ways. But that’s ok! Life is a process and awareness is the first step to becoming the best version of ourselves.
So here are a few things to do before this year ends that I believe will set a beautiful tone for the year 2020:
- Forgive yourself – there is no point in putting judgment upon yourself regarding past mistakes or behaviours. Understand that at all times you did the best with what you knew. Just make sure to reflect on it and expand your awareness so that, in the future, you can do better.
- Let go – Yes I’m bringing this one again haha But seriously, let go of judgment upon yourself and others, let go of unhealthy behaviours and thought patterns, let go of past pain, let go of attachments and of the old in general.
- Release expectations – As good as it is to set goals for yourself, it is important to let go of expectations – especially on others, but also on outcomes. Be peaceful with whatever comes your way, the good and the bad.
- Step into your power – Decide right now that you are the main character of your story, you are the one who has to take the lead. Don’t live your life based on someone else expectations, you are also not traped but situations or circumstances. You are here to be authentic and live life on your own terms.
Please let me know if 2019 was also a year of transformation for you and what did you learn from it?
Thank you so much for reading and have a wonderful 2020!