2015 has been a trying year for me to say the least. Some of it was great, but the majority was hard, emotional and horribly draining. Despite this, it’s also been a huge learning curve that has brought a lot of home truths to the table and made me realise exactly what I want out of my life, and the person that I want to be. So, here are fifteen things I learned in 2015.
1. Being alone doesn’t mean being lonely
Being alone might seem like a daunting prospect, but being alone doesn’t have to mean being lonely. 2015 taught me to appreciate my own company and taught me that being alone can sometimes be the best feeling ever. To walk into a quiet, calm home, light the candles and spend the afternoon cooking or reading in silence can be complete bliss.
2. Family isn’t just about blood relations
Family can also be the people you choose to think of as sisters, brothers or whatever else. Family isn’t just about blood relatives, but about those friends who are there to support you through your darkest times even when they know you’re being a complete pain in the backside.
3. Experiences and memories matter more than material gifts
I used to think that getting the perfect gift was a huge deal. I love seeing somebody’s face when they open a present I know they’ll absolutely love, but 2015 got me thinking in terms of experiences rather than items. After all, what’s going to matter most in ten years time? The time you spent, or the material possessions you had?
4. It’s okay to have ‘off’ days (or even weeks)
Sometimes it’s hard to pull yourself out of your own self-pitying rut, but hey, that’s okay. You’re only human and sometimes, it can take days or weeks to even muster the energy to want to put your makeup on, let alone actually get out into the world and socialise. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t walk around each and every day in full makeup with my hair perfectly preened. Some days are all about being barefaced, comfortable and crying at the slightest hint of a sad animal charity advertisement.
5. You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Eve to make a resolution
Why wait for that one night in the year to make a big decision or a resolution to last you a whole year? If you want to change something in your life, go ahead and put your new plans into motion immediately. If you fail, who cares? The most important thing is to try.
6. Doing something that scares you can be liberating
If you follow my social media, you’ll know that I recently started uploading videos to my YouTube channel. What you probably don’t know is the years I’d spent trying to build up the courage to actually upload a video in the first place. And you probably don’t know the tears, anxiety and upset that went into making that first little eight-minute upload. From mini meltdowns and tons of self doubt, something semi-okay actually came out of it. And even though I still have anxiety each time I film, it’s not quite so scary any more.
7. Do what’s best for you, not what everybody else wants you to do
Learn to say no and stop bending over backwards to please people who don’t give a damn about you. I used to burn myself out working hard to please and do for everybody else; I was overly worried about hurting anybody’s feelings or making people feel displeased with me. 2015 taught me to say no to the jobs that wouldn’t benefit me and taught me to put my health before anything. Without your health, you can’t work. Without work, you can’t earn. And without money, you sure as hell can’t live. Be sensible.
8. Negative influences have no space in my life
If there are people in your life that don’t have a positive impact on you, learn to let them go. If there are people around you who always seem to attract trouble or who are distasteful, let them go. It’s hard to stay positive and motivated if you have negative energy around you.
9. It doesn’t matter if things don’t go to plan
So what if you plan to go to the gym three times a week and you don’t stick to it? So what if you plan a new business promotion and it all goes down the drain. You’re living and you’re breathing which means you have another shot. Don’t beat yourself up if your plans don’t work out. Take a breath, consider your options and start again.
10. Don’t take things too personally
I’m the worst person for reading too much into things, but I’ve learned that even if somebody directs their negativity towards me, it’s not always about me. People have off days, and sometimes we wrongly take our frustrations out on those closest to us even though we don’t mean to. Learn to let things go over your head and stop worrying about the small things.
11. Holding grudges only hurts me
I never thought that I did hold grudges, but I found 2015 a very trying year and I felt almost cheated when people didn’t do for me as I did for them. Instead of breathing out and letting the frustration go, I let it niggle at me and wear me down. I’ve learned that anything negative just isn’t worth a second thought, and instead of feeling angry about how somebody treated me, instead I should feel empathy towards them, then just move on.
12. It’s important to always be the best version of myself
Instead of stooping as low as the people who hurt you, learn to be the bigger person by treating everybody with empathy and respect. People can only hurt you if you let them, and if you allow yourself to be bitter, you will be making yourself unhappy in the process. Try to be kind, patient and positive each day.
13. Embrace life
I spent too much of 2015 moping and worrying about the things that I hadn’t achieved rather than focusing on what I wanted to achieve or had already mastered. In 2016, I plan to embrace each day by thinking positively, thinking about where I want to be and being proactive to achieve my dreams. We are so lucky to be able to see in another new year – a lot of people didn’t make it to 2016. Yes, some days may feel terrible, but remember, you are always in charge of your own destiny and no matter how unlucky you feel, remember that there are plenty of people much worse off. If you constantly think like a victim, you’ll become one, so instead, think victorious.
14. You can’t please everybody
Try as you might, you’ll always get somebody who just doesn’t like you or what you do. That’s life. Don’t waste your energy on them. I used to spend hours discussing a negative comment I’d received online and getting upset and picking myself to pieces over it, but I’ve learned the best thing to do is laugh it off and forget about it. Sadly, we’re in the era of internet trolling and keyboard warriors, but like I mentioned earlier, people can only hurt you if you let them. I put myself out there on YouTube, my blog and Facebook and with that, you can expect a little negativity from time to time.
15. If you aren’t happy, change things – no matter how hard it will be
Making a big change can be terrifying, so, turn your fear into adrenaline and excitement. Grab your loved ones for support and go do what you need to do to allow yourself to be happy. You owe it to yourself to be happy and live the most fulfilling life that you possibly can. If you’re unhappy in your work, go get that new dream job. If you feel unhappy in your relationship, try to solve your problems, and if you can’t, walk away on good terms. Feeling worn down by negative people in your friend circle? Make the change to move away from those groups for the sake of your own sanity and health. Don’t ever allow yourself to stay in an unhappy situation for fear of a change – feel the fear and embrace it. Your happiness might be just around the corner.
I hope that 2016 will be a happy, healthy and successful year for all of you.
© This post is copyright of Rachael Divers 2016.