December 28, 2010

Lessons I Learned from 2010

Never become so much of an expert that you stop gaining expertise. View life as a continuous learning experience. -Denis Waitley

4 days before the start of 2011 and while everyone is still reeling from the height of the Christmas celebrations, I am contemplating.  "Of what?" you ask, "why not just enjoy the rest of the year?"  Don't get me wrong here, I am enjoying Christmas, loving the festive, chilly air that hangs around us and exulting in the nearness and love of family and friends. But in between the parties, the gifts and the wonderful chit chat with those I hold dear, I am looking back.

I look back to the start of this year and the journey I had until today, the challenges I faced, the tears I cried and the joy I felt.  More importantly, I look back to the lessons I learned this year and I find myself thanking my heavenly Father.

This year I learned to love myself. To accept who I am and not who people want me to be.  While their intentions may be good, asking me to change physically and emotionally, to change into someone who they thought was worthy to be their friend, was just not friendship at all.  I am not saying they're bad people, I guess just different from who I am.  I am thankful for them because they imparted some valuable lessons as well.  But I have to be me - just me.

I learned that different is not equal to bad.  That others may not have the same hobbies, interests and opinions that I have, but it doesn't mean that they're bad. They just could not get why I like the things I do because their interests lie in different things.  I learned that if I listen to them and even try out some of their interests, I may find out that I'd learn to love them too.

And here is the major of majors among the lessons I learned: That it is easy to find people you will have an inclination to call "friends," but when push comes to shove, they will ditch you, leave you out and push you away in your darkest moments.  Instead of understanding, you get resentment.  Instead of patience, you find yourself pushed out and left behind.  Worse, some will laugh at you and make jokes about you behind your back, turn you and your feelings into a laughing stock.  So, I learned not to use the word "friend" too lightly and reserve it for those who are real and true. Those who will accept me without judgement, those who will be honest enough to tell me when I've done wrong but will love me for who I am. Those who will always be there for me no matter what.  I found a few and those I will cherish for a lifetime.

Finally I learned to let go and move on. Learned to forgive. For those who did these things to me, I am not angry anymore.  Hurt still but not angry.  I know I am not a perfect person but I also know I do not deserve to be treated the way I was. But that's water under the bridge. I've decided to move on. I have learned to forgive.

I could go on and list more but I think these sums up the major lessons I learned this year.  And now that I've looked back on 2010, I am looking forward to 2011, a new year, a new journey.  There are new challenges to face and new lessons to learn and I welcome them with open arms, saying a prayer of thanks, a prayer for strength and a prayer that in each year that passes, in every lesson I learn, I hopefully become kinder, more loving, more thoughtful and more like the person that my Heavenly Father has made me to be.

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