5 Lessons Before 35

I can hardly believe I’m turning 35 tomorrow (eek!), and while this is an incredibly exciting new chapter that I’m about to embark upon, I have to admit that this week has been one of the most difficult ones of my life. It’s also been one of the most revealing ones. It’s pushed me to do some serious self-reflection, lean on my closest family and friends, and practice intentional self-care in ways I’ve never done before. Never in a million years would I have imagined this week to have ebbed and flowed the way it has, but that’s life, right? We do so much to plan for the days, months, and years ahead, but we can never fully prepare for the twists and turns that may come our way. One of the most healing things we can do in times like these, however, is to feel and honor our feelings and try to open ourselves up to the lessons we may learn while on life’s journey. As I close one chapter and begin anew, I’d like to share a few lessons of my own that I hope will resonate with you.

5. There is power in the wait.

Over the last month or so, I’ve been listening to a song called “Wait on You” by Maverick City Music and Elevation Worship. I probably listen to it a few times a week. The song is rooted in Isaiah 40:31–“They who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint” (ESV). While I know not everyone who follows Kermit Says has a religious or spiritual practice, I’m sure we can all pinpoint moments in our lives when we’ve had to wait for something: an acceptance letter, a job offer, a relationship, a test result. And I’m sure that while you were sitting in the metaphorical waiting room (or even literal one, depending on the circumstance), you were met with anxiety, fear, discomfort, confusion, doubt, and a host of other emotions. Sometimes the negative voice is so loud in these moments, it says “you can’t do this.” When that happens, it drowns out the other voice that says “yes, you can.” The wait is uncomfortable and sometimes even painful, but that is where change and growth happen. It’s during the wait that we are challenged, tested, and stretched. We grow stronger, we gain more clarity, we build self-awareness, and we increase our hope and trust in ourselves and/or our higher power. The song I referenced earlier speaks to that with the refrain, “that’s what happens when you wait, you get a little stronger.” It isn’t easy, but the wait is worth it.

4. Lean on your people.

Sometimes it takes time, patience, vulnerability, and so much trial and error before you find your people, and even after you do, sometimes it feels like you’re by yourself, that no one understands you, and that people won’t be there for you when you need them. The reality is that when we find the people who deserve to stand in our light, and we give them the chance to show up for us, they do. We are not meant to experience life’s joys and sorrows alone. The shame and the fear that oftentimes gets in the way of us reaching out for help and support is rooted in the same critic who, once again, tells us “we’re not worthy, we don’t deserve it.” The truth is that we are more than worthy, we do deserve it, and that we are loved just as we are. You don’t have to go through anything alone. Let your people catch you.

3. Listen to your gut.

Being honest with yourself is, to me, probably one of the most difficult yet important things we can ever do. When we meet certain people or encounter certain situations, we get a small feeling in the pit of our stomachs. That’s called intuition. Sometimes we listen to those instincts and other times we choose to ignore them altogether. Perhaps we get a bad vibe about someone we like but choose to dismiss those warning signs because we’re curious or lonely. Maybe it’s because we want to keep up appearances, and following our gut will change the way people perceive us. Maybe it will even change the way we see ourselves. Trusting our instincts oftentimes forces us to recognize what is so easily overlooked and challenges us to not only be honest with ourselves, but also to make some tough decisions that we think we might not be ready to make. The thing about listening to your gut, however, is that it’s always right and will never steer you wrong.

2. Trust the timing of your life.

I’m going to let you in on two of the biggest “secrets” out there: 1) there is no set timeline and 2) social media is nothing more than a stream of carefully curated pictures and videos. We are under constant societal pressure to meet certain expectations, and social media, in particular, has forced us to believe that everyone has it all together except for us. The truth is that no one has it all together and we’re all just winging it. We’re basically throwing a plate of spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks. There is no manual or guidebook on how to be human and while there was, at one point, a myriad of societal expectations we were pressured into meeting (college? check. marriage? check. children? check.), they are now outdated and unrealistic in the times in which we currently find ourselves. When we step away from what social media and society attempt to sell us and look within, we can live our lives more authentically and trust that things are unfolding just as they should. How liberating is that?

1. Love yourself, first.

This is probably one of the most difficult yet important lessons of all: self-love. Loving yourself is not a destination, but a journey, and it’s a journey I’ve been on since I can remember. Whether it was the size of my nose, my flat butt, or my even flatter feet, I’ve always been really good at picking out my flaws and sometimes even attributing them to my own personal failures. What I’ve come to realize is that the way I see myself influences the way I think, what I do, and how I move through this world. When I’ve operated from a place of self-hate, I’ve made decisions from a place of lack, scarcity, and desperation. I’m sure you can imagine that the outcome of those decisions were quite unpleasant. Alternatively, when I’ve operated from a place of self-love, I made decisions and lived life with an abundant mindset and a sense of worthiness and esteem. This sense of self-love is not dependent on any external factors, but comes from within. My self-love practice has led to self-acceptance and self-respect. I have standards, I’m aware of what I will and won’t tolerate, I’m unwilling to settle for anything less than what I deserve and I know that I deserve all the happiness, love, and stability this world can offer. Practicing self-love isn’t easy, and some days are more difficult than others, but when you start to see yourself and treat yourself as your own soulmate, as your best friend, and realize just how special you are, you’ll see how things will shift in a different and more positive direction.

What are some lessons you’ve come to realize overtime? Comment below!

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