I’ve learned so much about myself through this journey.
Some of my epiphanies haven’t been life-changing, but some of them definitely have.
Like, for instance, I’ve discovered that I’m an introvert. I would have never, ever classified myself as such. But through all of the reading (and writing) I’ve done over the last 8 years, it’s become very clear that I prefer to communicate this way. It’s more effective for me. It’s therapeutic. It’s cleansing. It’s healing.
It’s not that I don’t like people. I love people. I love interacting with them. But I definitely feel more empowered, creative and intelligent when I have the opportunity to recharge my batteries while being alone. I like my alone time. I feel like I give my best to others in my life when I am able to have that time to myself. It may only be 10 minutes a day, locked in the bathroom while I paint my toenails and try to ignore the chaos of kids and dogs and laundry that lurk on the other side of the door….but it’s my time.
I’ve also learned that I like control. Even though I do not, and cannot, control anything in life, I like to feel that I can. That’s a fault. And I’m working on it.
I never would have labeled myself as a control freak, but I think being in a situation that allows you absolutely NO control shows you how little you are in the grand scheme of things. I’ve always been a firm believer that things happen for a reason and I have surely put that thought to the test over the last few years. Things around me were spiraling out of control, and sometimes I was spiraling out of control, and I would be faced with the stark reality of it all. I neglected myself, specifically my diabetes because I didn’t want to believe that a disease had the best of me…and, well. I nearly died.
That’s when it hit me — there is no control. I can control my reactions to situations and events, but I cannot actually control them. I can better myself to become better equipped to deal with less-than-ideal situations, but I can’t control what happens.
Although this is a constant struggle, it’s very freeing to let go of control.
I’ve learned that I can let go of the small stuff. When I’m on the verge of getting upset about something, I honestly ask myself, “will this matter in five years? Will it matter tomorrow? Will it matter in five minutes?” If it won’t, I let it go. Simple as that.
It doesn’t matter that my little one poured nail polish on my new comforter, by accident.
It doesn’t matter that my anatomy flashcards were not perfectly color-coded.
It doesn’t matter that my oldest girl decided to tell everyone in Wal-Mart how much I weigh as we were checking out.
I’m not saying I’m living in the Land of Oblivious, because when things warrant a discussion (like being more careful with nail polish and guarding mommy’s weight like a treasure), we have them. I just don’t stress over it anymore.
I’ve given up the endless search for perfection.
I’m not perfect.
You’re not perfect.
My kids aren’t perfect.
My house is not perfect.
Goodness knows, my dogs are not perfect.
It doesn’t matter. I am who I am. I am comfortable in my skin.
And I am perfect for those who see me that way – God, my family, my closest friends.
That’s all that matters.
I’ve learned that people will let you down.
Sometimes, they do it like it’s their full-time job.
And sometimes I grow tired of being the person that forgives and tries to push forward.
Then I remember that God forgives me every.single.day.
This doesn’t meant that I am a doormat though, and sometimes I have had to let go of people in my life that just don’t get it…or me.
And that’s okay, too…
I’ve learned that you can let people go.
At this point in my life, it’s not abandonment.
It’s just leaving. It’s making a conscious decision to move forward.
Sometimes it forces other people to move on and grow, too.
Sometimes it doesn’t. And that’s also okay. Everyone has their own journey.
I strongly believe that people come into and float out of your life for particular reasons. God puts them there, to hep you or show you something. You learn, you grow, you move on. It’s just the natural flow of things.
And it’s okay.
Because everyone’s problems are not my own!
I’ve tried so many times to take on others’ problems and “help”.
Sometimes I was successful, but more often than not, I was more hurt by the “ask holes” in my life (that’s a person who asks for help and advice, yet always does the exact opposite of what you tell them). I have enough of my own issues. I don’t need to take on anyone else’s. And also, I learn best when I deal with things on my own. That’s how I grow. Others can do the same if they are constantly seeking out help, never exercising their right to change, and then continuing with negative patterns.
It’s not my problem.
And that’s a hard pill to swallow for a people-pleaser like myself.
I’ve learned that all that truly matters is going to bed with a clear conscience and a loving heart.
Be good to others, they will be good to you.
Love everyone, including those who love you back and even those who cannot.
Count your blessings.
Remember who is in control.
Kiss your kids goodnight.
Tell people how you feel.
And know that you’re doing your best, every single day.
It’s all that matters.