What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward? (Author: Tara Weaver)
I read this prompt and: PANICKED! I live on the west coast, so the prompts get to me at about 9pm PST every night. I’m usually in bed reading by this point, so, I put my book down, pick up my iPhone* and read the prompt. I like to sleep with them (on them?!), so that the next day, I can already have discarded the chaff that my subconscious deems unfit. As it happened though, last night, I was already preoccupied with an unintended consequence of yesterday’s post**, so the sight of a such a BIG question tossed me right off my bull and onto my patoot.
“OMG!” my mind shrieked, “Have I learned ANYTHING?! I think I’ve actually learned nothing. At all. This can’t be right. There has to be something. Think. No, shh, think. Okay. I’m thinking. Learned, learned, what have I learned this year….oh no….what’s THE BEST thing I learned this year. FUCK, what is the best thing I’ve learned ABOUT MYSELF this year?!” I shit you not, I was TOTALLY worked up. So I took a breath, put down the phone, picked up my book, and lost myself in storyland until sleep hijacked me. Then this morning, I got my weight training and yoga out of the way (yes, people, YOGA. I do it too. So shutta you mout!) and came home slightly more ready to tackle this monster.
Unfortunately, I can’t narrow it down to one thing (c’mon, you knew THIS about me). The things in this list go hand-in-hand. They are all direct results of my year’s journey/hardship/bullshit/successes/failures/experiences; and they’re all pretty major with respect to ME and the (dysfunctional) way I operate. Drumroll please….
Lesson # 1: Know your limits. I don’t mean this in the namby-pamby, I-Can’t-Do-One-More-Rep, or, I-Cannot-Listen-To-One-More-Christmas-Song way. I mean; know the point at which you will WALK AWAY and turn your back on a situation no matter how much effort you’ve put in or how much you stand lose. Know the point at which YOU WILL NOT tolerate another second of anything and will give up and move on.
Lesson # 2: Never settle. For real, demand your standards. Yes, compromise is great, and it keeps the peace, but when it comes to the basics, the foundations, the ideals and the fervent desires, don’t accept anything less than the picture in your mind. Surround yourself with people who perform to their potential and your expectations. Let go of those things that continually disappoint, lest they become the status quo.
Lesson #3: Even if you don’t believe it, operate on the premise that happiness and contentment ARE possible. (This one might just have been the hardest for me) I could have just as easily titled this one “Fake It Till You Make It” or “Good In/Good Out”. If you believe it’s out there, you won’t be discouraged in your search, even if that search seems to be lasting an inordinate amount of time.
Lesson # 4: It is okay to be selfish. Okay, maybe not ALL the time. But sometimes, it’s GOOD to be selfish. Lessons #1 and #2 count on selfishness. I can’t believe I’m going to use this example*** (A.H., stop laughing!), but if the shoe fits…..Anyway. I had a spa party and the woman who came with all the products obviously wasn’t expecting my group of friends when she began her “take the time to pamper yourself” speech. Regardless, she made an analogy by asking about airplanes. “When the cabin loses pressure, and the oxygen masks fall down, who are you instructed to put the mask on FIRST?” The answer, obviously, is yourself. The premise being, that you can’t take care of others if you’re passed out cold. I agree with this concept. Although I didn’t until this year. Suffering in silence gets nobody anywhere.
So there you have them. The lessons I learned about myself this year. I could bore you with the actual examples from my life, but if you’ve been reading, you know that I’ve done that ad nauseam already. Suffice to say that I DID learn some things this year. Things that I’m amazed and happy about. Things that are the seeds of the soon to be grandiloquent garden of my 2011.
*Egad, I just said iPhone instead of plain, old, PHONE. Don’t ever let me try to convince you that the past five years as a westy haven’t influenced me. This is really a topic for another post, but my conversion into an Apple geek and a love for Grande Coffee Frappucino Lights With No Whip And A Caramel Drizzle On The Inside Of The Cup are prime examples.
**Defriended!!! With nary a word! (This is yet another post…How Facebook Has Rendered Actual Human Interaction Obsolete)
***I promise that I’m not generally the type of person that has these things. It was something new I tried out. Please keep reading my blog, I promise I won’t try to get you to buy Body Butter or waxless candles or vibrating massagers….
POST SCRIPT: I re-read this answer a couple of hours after posting it and realized that I could have also recorded myself Karaoke-ing to “The Gambler”. Hilarious.