As the year draws to an end I usually do a lot of reflecting to assess the year and how I can make improvements the following the year. This year I was forced to do some reflecting a little earlier because a mistake I made this weekend. I definitely believe in right and wrong and I do have a set of beliefs and standards that I try to live by. When I go outside of those beliefs or ways of behaving, Its usually a sign that something is wrong.
I’m my toughest critic (as most of us are). I want to do the right thing always. I’ve made many mistakes in my life but mistake-ville is not where I want to live. Its important that you learn the lesson then you move on. Here are five things my biggest mistakes have taught me about life:
Its a choice the second time: We really only make a mistake once. The second time you made a choice. If it gets to a third time, you’re building a habit/pattern. Once you make a mistake (the first time), evaluate what happened then choose action steps to keep you from doing the same thing again. I’ve made the same mistake over and over again and at some point I had to realize that those were choices I was making.
No one will love you like your parents will: I’m extremely blesses to have my parents. They are there when I trip and fall. There is no one that will have your best interest at heart the way your parents do. It is the most comforting feeling to know that they will love you no matter what. Its important to protect and nurture that relationship. It doesn’t have to be a parent. It can be a sister, aunt, friend or romantic partner with whom you have this relationship. Honor those who are there for you, not just in the good times but also the challenging.
Alcohol is not my friend: If I had to be quite honest with myself, mistakes that I’ve made were influenced by alcohol in one way or another. I’m not a drinker. I know this. I’m a light weight and when I do drink my body doesn’t react well at all. I tend to make decisions that I end up regretting, usually in the name of being social. People see the fun social side but they are not there the next day when my body spirals into a depression. Alcohol is a depressant and that is exactly what it does to my body. I’ve heard “you’re more fun when you drink” or “You seemed so uptight before”. People who truly care about you want to see all aspects of you, especially the aspects in which you are the most alive and happy. It boils down to personal responsibility. We are all responsible for ourselves. Being social is great but not everyone you socialize with is your friend. It was synchronistic that today, Lenon Honor (one of my favorite speakers, author and YouTuber) shared how he made this declaration to never consume alcohol or drugs and all the benefits that making that decision has brought to his life. I want to make that declaration to myself that I will not consume alcohol for a while. Do it with me! Our bodies will thank us and I’m sure our Spirit will too.
Your Reputation is everything: In the world that we live in, people remember the bad. You want to figure out and decide who you are, live by those principles and stick to them. I had a conversation with my parents about reputation. My parents shared this saying that I now cant remember word for word. Its an oshiwambo saying that goes something like “If you roll around in pig feed (or mush or whatever pigs eat), the pigs cant tell the difference between you and garbage”. So basically saying If you do what “they” do then they will think you are one of them. Its important to safeguard your reputation, morals and integrity. It only takes one time for someone who respects you to totally change their mind about you (even if it was a mistake).
The company you keep. They say that ‘If you lay down with dogs, you will wake up with fleas’. When I lived in Chicago I worked to refine my circle and kept only a few friends close. Now that I’ve moved back home it almost feels like I’m starting over again. Although I lived here 9 years ago and I had friends back then, a lot has changed. People change and I know I have changed too. Meeting people isn’t hard but building meaningful, mutually respectful, supportive friendships requires time and commitment. Know that you deserve to have people in your life who challenge you, push you to your greatness and want the best for you. Be brave enough to let go of those who keep weighing you down. Keep an eye out for the people who are happy for your happiness and empathize with your sadness, those are the ones you want to keep around.
Reflection and self forgiveness are important components to moving forward. Don’t sit in regret for too long, it doesn’t get you anywhere. You are human. I am human. We are going to fall at times but what’s important is that we pick ourselves up and keep going. Eliminate the things that trip you up. They are not good for you, whether its people, places or things.
I have faith in you. Keep Shining!