21 lessons I learned in 2021 that I’m taking into 2022. Twenty-twenty-one was a teaching year for me. But, I am sure it was a lot of things for you. It is the year I learned the most about my Life, the people around me, and Life in general. Shocking and enlightening. It was a year of letdowns and realizations. It was painful yet comforting, but most of all, it has awakened something within me that has led me on a journey of discovering.
Today as I reflect on 2021, I am sharing 21 lessons I have learned in 2021 that I am taking into 2022.
1. Life is more than what meets the eye.
We often look at Life in either black or white, but it is a rigid way to see Life. We must comprehend that life has other colors, and it is not always what it seems.
2. It is in your most difficult of seasons that the most authentic nature of others is shown.
I read somewhere a long ago that “time always reveals our truest friends.” And my grandmother told me at 22 that “you can be a great friend to someone, but it does not mean they are or ever will be a great friend to you.” I have never forgotten these two statements [I am not sure why].
Although I don’t think I had ever believed them fully. Last year made me a believer. Those statements apply to your romantic partners, family, and friends. During our difficult seasons, we see the people who are there, those that care about us and want the best for us.
Unfortunately, we also learn that the people we have been good to [including friends, husbands, lovers, boyfriends, family members, et cetera.] will often choose not to be good to us when we need them the most.
3. You are 1000% responsible for your Life.
It is much easier to blame others when we fall short as human beings or have not shown up fully in our lives. Instead of taking full responsibility for our lives, it is easier to blame others, although I believe we know the truth within ourselves. Most of us find it easier to point fingers at others instead of looking in the mirror and accepting that it starts and ends with us.
No one is responsible for pulling another human being along Life’s path or forcing them to grow or change. It is impossible, even if it is with our best intentions. Only you can grow for yourself and the world around you.
4. You can choose to change or pivot your journey in Life in one second.
We all get to a place where we feel lost or stuck. And that is okay. We have the power to choose to change our course or pivot. Never be afraid to go in another direction. If you don’t like who you are right now or where you are. Change courses or pivot. Only you can do that for yourself.
5. The words, actions, and behaviors of others have nothing to do with you and everything to do with that person or those people.
6. You are responsible for your feelings.
This is probably one of the hardest lessons for most, including me. No one can make us feel poorly about ourselves, and no one has any control over our emotions. We control our emotions. Stop blaming others for your feelings and accept that you are responsible. Become empowered—don’t give your power away by allowing others to control your emotions.
7. It does not matter what you have done for others; it will never be appreciated. But that is okay. It was never your intention to receive a thank you.
8. Acceptance of others is a huge part of living a peaceful life.
Most of us live with expectations of what we think others should do and how they should act toward us. It causes great stress and disappointment when people are not the way we want them to be. You can not force a person to be your way or to change. We are all on different paths and look at Life differently. Let go of expectations and practice acceptance—your Life will become much more peaceful.
9. The most important relationship in your Life is the one with yourself. Read that again.
I did not know this, and I can not say this enough. Whenever I forget, I am often reminded with a difficult lesson. The relationship we have with ourselves sets the tone for all other relationships in our lives.
You only have yourself. You know you have your back and can ultimately depend on yourself. And therefore, it is so important to nurture and maintain a relationship with yourself. Take responsibility for yourself and develop your relationship with yourself.
10. Emotions are meant to be felt and processed.
I used to be the queen of pushing my uncomfortable emotions away or distracting myself from them. Last year I realized that when an uncomfortable feeling isn’t felt and processed, it feels even worse later. It will appear at the most undesirable times, or all will appear at once. Feel your emotions, process them, and allow them to move through your body—you’ll see how magical it becomes to manage them.
11. Do “Forgive and forget” and do not “forgive but don’t forget.”
I grew up hearing forgive but never forget. When we forgive, we should also forget and let go of that hurt and disappointment. If we keep rehashing those hurts and disappointments in our minds, our bodies absorb them, and we become ill, or it prevents us from experiencing growth as individuals.
Staying hurt and disappointed is a sad way to exist—because every time that hurt or disappointment surfaces, we relive them just as we did when they initially happened. And they are just as painful or even more painful and disappointing. It is a sad existence to dwell on the hurt and disappointments of others.
12. Others may never understand you. And that is okay; it is not their responsibility to—it is your responsibility to understand and know who you are.
We place such high values on what others say or think of us. We are flexible enough to become whatever others want to be understood, loved, and accepted. Live your Life for yourself. Understand who you are and who you are not. If you want to become more, it is within your power to do so.
13. Remain true to your nature, do not change who you are based on harsh situations, words, actions, and behaviors of others.
We are often triggered in relationships or by people we encounter daily. And sometimes change our attitudes or being by reacting to their words, actions and behaviors. Or we become unkind or allow anger to lead us. Do not let anyone remove you from who you are–remain true to your nature. If you are kind and forgiving, be kind and forgiving when others are unkind and unforgiving.
14. Preparation is the greatest prayer.
If you want something in your Life or are praying for something, prepare. Become that thing you want. Make sure your intentions are for the highest good of you and others.
15. The promises you make to yourself are the most important to keep.
Promises are not something to be taken lightly. And I did not know this–I had broken so many promises to myself that I felt defeated and unconfident. So it’s the promises you make to yourself that you should be the most careful with, especially if you do not keep them.
Continuously not keeping our promises to ourselves keeps us in a self-deprecating cycle. Yet, we must keep our promises to ourselves because they are a part of our identity: our self-confidence. When we hold a promise to ourselves and achieve that thing or complete that task, it boosts our confidence and puts us in a better position to feel good about ourselves and our capabilities.
16. Standing up for yourself will allow you to rebuild trust in yourself.
I am a quiet person who does not say much unless I have to. But I have realized that others view that as a form of weakness. I have endured others trampling over me because I convinced myself it does not matter. And sometimes, it did not matter what someone said to me or about me, especially if it was not valid or true. But the truth is sometimes it did. Standing up for ourselves is about having boundaries and, importantly, knowing how to assert them.
When we don’t stand up for ourselves, we become passive and often betray ourselves. We allow things in Life to “happen.” By standing up for ourselves, we are more in touch with our needs and wants, and we are able to asset those things. Get clear on what you need and want, and do not be afraid to ask for those things.
Look at how you might give too much and level out those imbalances.
17. The glittering gold of a life someone presents to the world is often not all glitz and glamor.
People show you want they would like you to see and not how things are. You will never know the truth about someone’s Life unless they tell you. Therefore don’t compare yourself to others. And most of all, if someone gives you unsolicited advice about your Life, do not be afraid to thank them and let them know it is unnecessary.
18. Life is fragile and short.
We will all die one day [Let that sink in]. You never know how long you have to live, and so much of what we think matters does not. It does not matter what others think or says about you. So don’t let those things cause you to stop living—a lot of the time it is their opinion.
This is the only Life where you’ll be in your body with your mind and Life. Do what you want. Life is simple, and we make it difficult. Make the most of your Life, especially if you are not hurting others.
19. There are no rules to Life, only what we have been taught.
We have been conditioned to think a certain way and believe Life should be lived a certain way. You can do whatever you want in Life. When you understand how meaningful Life is and how insignificant all of the other things are, you begin to see through all the BS.
20. Say “NO.” It is freeing.
The most magical word I learned in 2021 is “No”–I am not a people pleaser, but I am kind-hearted to a fault. And genuinely want to help others, often at the expense of my own needs. I have realized that although I would like to help or want to be kind to others, it is okay to take care of me first if that is what I need.
Saying no does not make me a mean person–I can be kind and still say no. It is okay to say no if you do not want to do something or will not attend. It has been the most freeing experience.
21. Not everyone deserves to hear your story, and not everyone should have access to your energy.
Do not feel obligated to tell your story to family or friends. Allow people to come to their conclusions about YOUR Life. I have realized that when I share things about my Life, it sometimes becomes conversations for those I have shared with to share with others I don’t know.
Why had I not paid attention to this–until I did one day? I would be around friends who would blurt out private things about someone else’s Life. Ninety-five percent of the time, I didn’t know the person. But these people would casually share and discuss that person. This becomes an opening for judgment or envy, and for reasons I don’t understand, others find comfort when someone is having a tough time.
Get a journal and write your troubles, your success, or your concerns. See a therapist and be careful who you share with. No one needs to know what you’re doing or dealing with–it is your business to keep it to yourself. Let others assume what they want–they will anyway.
There are no shortcuts to healing
After the death of my dear dad last year, it is the first in my Life I have fully committed to healing and understanding my Life [I have dabbled before]. And I was not ready for everything after I made that commitment.
Healing doesn’t happen overnight; it is a process, and just when you feel like you have a grip on one thing, something else pops up. It is like removing the layers of something. But when you start to remove those layers, other layers will remove themselves. It can not be rushed, but it is magical, beautiful, and freeing.
You can release yourself from the versions of you. You have created to survive.
In our most difficult seasons, we lean towards surviving, and to survive, we must become who we need to be. Once we have survived those seasons, it is okay to let go of that version of yourself you created to survive. Embrace the new flourishing you with an open heart and mind.
Red flags are always there. We often ignore them because we want to see the best in others.
Sometimes we want to see the best in our spouses, family, and friends, and we ignore the red flags of who they are and what they tell us by their actions.
See people for who they are and accept them or let them go. Believe what people say by their actions—you can accept it, but do not ignore the red flags.
Sleep is one of the best medicines.
I still have not figured it out, but I am slowly learning to embrace it.
Love: Tell those you love “you love them now”—Appreciate: “show appreciation to those you appreciate right here right now.”
Beware of people who talk too much; they are poor listeners.
Ghosting, stonewalling, and gaslighting are real behaviors people engage in.
Spend more time doing things you will never regret.
And those are the lessons I learned in 2021. It was a difficult year but also the most freeing year of my Life. I have discovered so much about myself and Life, and I am excited to see what I discover in 2022.
Comment below: what lessons di you learn in 2021 that will stay with you in 2022?