28 Things I’ve Learned by 28 - Part II
If you missed part I of this article, you can read it here...
15. Learn your love language and that of those important to you.
There are many tools and theories available to help you deepen your understanding of others. One of my personal favorites is the 5 Love Languages. You can read more about this here. Regardless of which tools or theories you feel drawn to, make the effort deepen your relationship with those important to you. Understanding their personality, what makes them feel loved and special, or what triggers them can immensely help you thrive in these relationships. Take the time to get to know the people around you, and most importantly, take the time to get to really know and understand yourself. Only then will you be able to really advocate for and communicate your needs and desires.
16. Date yourself, your family, and your friends.
Meaningful gestures, quality time, and supportive words are not only for your partner. Extend all of these effort to yourself, your family, and your friends; treat them with the same respect you would a romantic partner. Share your feelings, go on coffee dates, spend hours talking to them on the phone about your life goals, have disagreements and work past them. These acts of intimacy do not need to be reserved exclusively for your partner. By all means, respect and honor boundaries and what makes your relationship with a partner unique, but every other relationship in your life will also be more meaningful if you try a little more.
17. Different people can fulfill different aspects/needs in your life.
Don't expect one person to be everything to you or fulfill all your needs. It’s okay to have different interest than your partner or best friend, and it is also okay to find people who do share those interests and can bring profoundness to your life. Surrounding yourself with a variety of people helps your mind to grow, allows you to re-evaluate why you value your own believes, and broadens your support system. One person in your life may be great to play sports with, another may be better for deep conversations, and another may be your go-to person to attend events with. The point here is, that each individual can bring something special or unique to your life.
18. Stay curious, even when you think you the answer.
This can apply to a multitude of things, including work, school, parents, and relationships. Humans are dynamic creatures and it is healthy for them to evolve over time. In the beginning stages of meeting someone you often find yourself asking questions and wanting to understand this person deeper. Do not stop doing this. These people will change, and by remaining curious and continuing to get to know them, you will ensure your relationship with them grows and evolves as you and them also change.
19. If someone trusts you with a secret, keep it.
This one is pretty straight forward. Unless there are valid concerns for the person’s safety, it is never your place to decide who gets to know about their private matters. If someone has the courage to open up to you and entrust personal information with you, respect them enough to keep this information confidential. When, and if, they are every ready, they themselves can tell the world. In the meantime, understand and appreciate that this person felt safe enough to come to you, so be there for them while they work things out.
20. Learn to eat intuitively.
Your body has the ability to naturally know what it needs. Often times these requests are communicated through cravings, or illnesses. Take the time to learn about nutrition and the symptoms you may experience from common deficiencies. If you find yourself identifying these signs, check in with your doctor and begin to provide your body with the healthiest alternative of what you are needing. Intuitive eating also extends to hunger. Be disciplined enough to differentiate between hunger, emotional eating, and boredom. When you find yourself eating for any other reason than for hunger, document what you are feeling and/or going through to begin to identify patterns. Learn about food cravings and what they could indicate. Learning to eat intuitively will decrease your chances of resorting to fad diets, eating disorders, and mineral and/or vitamins deficiencies.
21. It takes time to learn to love your body. Keep trying.
Body confidence is something I struggled with deeply for the entirety of my teenage years and early adulthood. It even went as far as becoming an eating disorder for some time, which I thankfully recovered from, and have since been on the journey to truly accept and love my body. The problem was, I had this idea that loving my body meant I would wake up one day and finally love it. The reality has been that this is not a one step process, it is something you have to work on every day and slowly gets better overtime. If you had something impactful happen to you that led to instant self-love and acceptance, that is incredible! But my journey happened gradually, and even to this day, I have days when I fail to love my body. However, the good days far outnumber the bad days now, which is what leads me to believe that it does get better. There is not magical age at which you begin to love your own body, but if you commit to being gentle with yourself and learning to appreciate what you do love about it, you will get there.
22. Write down one gratitude each and every single day.
Appreciation may easily be one of the best habits you can develop. Taking daily inventory of the things you feel grateful for has incredible benefits for your mental health, helps decrease anxiety and stress, reminds you to nurture those things, allows you to see how wealthy you really are, and puts your privilege into perspective. Always remember that the things you so easily take for granted, someone else is praying for. Even during difficult seasons of your life, there is plenty to be thankful for. Challenging yourself to think of those things daily changes your focus from the negative aspects of your life to the positive aspects of your life. And while this may not fix your problems, it will certainly make you feel more calm and give you a break from painful emotions. I personally like to write out my gratitudes digitally so I can do it anywhere at any time, and my journal is structured so each calendar day has multiple years visible. This was a technique I learned in therapy, which allows you not only to obtain the benefits of writing out your daily gratitudes, but also read your gratitudes from that same day in previous years to see how far you’ve come.
23. A pet will hold a place in your heart like nothing else can.
There is something so unique and special about a pet’s unconditional love. The way they show up for us no matter the circumstances and no matter our mood is a precious gift unlike any other. Pets teach us patience, responsibility, they teach us that it’s important to communicate through actions and not words, but must importantly they teach us to be kind to ourselves by being kind to us. Their joyful spirit and their ability to live in the present is a constant reminder to enjoy the little things in life.
24. Declutter all aspects of your life.
You truly do need very little to live a happy life. Endlessly pursuing the next material possession will never satisfy you - there will always be a next best thing. Living with less isn’t about deprivation, it’s simply about intentionality. If a possession brings you joy then by all means welcome it into your life, but have the discipline to truly evaluate your possessions and why they are important in your life. You will be surprise to find how little is actually essential to you. Declutter the rest. Decluttering not just your physical belongings, but your digital world, relationships, and self-limiting believes will bring a renewed sense of peace and appreciation to your life.
25. Call your parents more often.
A parent never stops being a parent, despite their children going off to create their own life. They think about you, they worry about you, they want to see you succeed. Don’t take them for granted while you still have them. If your relationship isn’t the greatest, work on it, forgive them for their faults, and improve your own actions. Even if you are close with them, get to know them even better. It’s healthy to have boundaries, but share as much as you feel comfortable with them. It’s a simple act of service on your end, but the value it adds to their life is priceless.
26. Don’t give up what you want most, for what you want now.
With unlimited access to social media and highlight reels of others’ life, it’s easy to find yourself comparing your life and feeling poorly about where you are at. As mentioned before, there is no timeline that you need to follow, and things will happen in the order and time that they are intended to for you. Learn to be patient. Don’t expect everything you do to give you instant gratification. Sometimes the best things in life take sacrifice now so that they can develop into what you want in the future. Ensure that the daily decisions you are making now align with and get you closer to your future goals. And take this waiting season as an opportunity to prepare yourself for those achievements. Grow as a person, take care of your body, nurture your relationships, and by the time you reach those goals you will feel much more prepared for to welcome in the blessings.
27. Learn to say no without needing an excuse.
I don’t know if it was just me, but when I was younger, I constantly found myself trying to think of ways to explain myself when I didn’t want to say yes to something or someone. And the truth is, more often than not, there wasn’t really an explanation, I simply did not want to. I think it gets easier to say no with age, but begin practicing this as soon as possible. By no means am I suggesting becoming unreliable, but learn to kindly decline offers when they do not align with your values, interests, or you simply do not have the energy to devote to it. Learn to identify what is essential in your life and learn to say no to the rest. Greg McKeown wrote a book called “Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less”, which I highly encourage everyone to read. Saying no to things that are not essential to you creates room for the things that are. The key here is to say no from the start. If you have committed yourself to something, stick to it, you have people counting on you; but in the future if offered an opportunity you simply do not want to partake in, politely decline the offer. You do not need to explain yourself or feel obligated to accept simply because you do not have a good enough reason.
28. It's okay to enjoy a calm life.
In addition to the lesson above, social media has increased the unconscious pressure to constantly have new and exciting experiences. If you thrive off this, by all means pursue it, enjoy it, document it, and share it! But, if you are like me and find that an empty schedule and being at home it what fills your soul, learn to accept that a calm life can be just as beautiful and just as fulfilling as one full of events. The point of doing things isn’t for the world to see; it is for you to feel happy and feel like you are living your life to the fullest, and if this is how you feel with a routine schedule and nights in, you do not need to feel pressured to keep up with what others are doing.
Learning to accept your own journey and falling in love with your own life can take time; and that is okay! Keep growing, keep learning, and take the time to slow down every once in a while to evaluate how far you have come.
Let me know what some of your biggest life lessons are!