I wish I could go back, 10 maybe 15 years, for a lot of reasons, and teach myself a few lessons for the road ahead.
Pray more. For others. Pray for people that hurt you. Mentally, emotionally, intently, unintentionally. Just pray.
You don’t have to pretend to agree with anyone. You are entitled to your opinion. That doesn’t mean you have to be rude. We all have differences. That doesn’t make it wrong. As long as your opinions or beliefs are not hurting someone, have them. Own them. Be proud of them.
You will go through pain in life that you never could expect. Don’t close your heart from it and also don’t be ashamed of it. We all go through pain. Some people’s pain we see; we know. Others, we often have no clue. But I know when my pain is the most raw, the last thing I need is someone to treat me like I don’t matter. That’s the worst. So don’t do it to others.
You really will find a whole new level of love when you have children. I could write a book on the things I’ve learned about love and pain since I turned 30. Be ready for the love – and heartache, that comes with parenthood.
When you do become a mom, your heart will change. You will find your focus hones in on little faces that remind you so much of yourself, but also have their own personalities, that couldn’t make you prouder.
Just like you may not be someone’s “cup of tea” your children may not be either. This hurts and is so hard to let settle. Maybe don’t let it settle? But, also don’t let it eat you alive. Protect them. Be in their corner. Be their biggest cheerleader. Love them. Tell them – even if they say “you told me that already, mom.” Tell them again. There will come a day when they need all that love and need to remember how much you said it to them.
Even in your 30’s – adults can be mean. They will be mean. All that “stuff” doesn’t stop because you left high school. And you know what, sometimes, it hurts more than you think it should. No matter what you do, you can’t change people. You can however tell them they hurt you and then, walk away. You will feel better.
Stop apologizing. I am not telling you to be oblivious, but if you genuinely know what you’re doing is right, do it. And don’t apologize.
Your parents won’t agree with everything you do in life. And they will tell you that. But, the moment you make your own decision and tell them your “why” they will see that their hard work paid off. That you listened to them, even when they thought you weren’t. And even if you fail, you are still ready to own it. This only happens 1% of the time. Be ready for it when it does.
Give someone a pep talk (even if it’s yourself). Tell them what they’re doing right. Write them a card – just because. Recognize their “give” so they don’t miss it to.
Friends will change. Your circle will evolve, grow, shrink, look really different. This is not a bad thing. All that stuff I said above? It changes who you are and who you will need and want around you. Pick your tribe, circle, framily based on your heart – not on others and not on society. You will be so thankful for that later.
Don’t be afraid to guard your family. This may seem odd, but let me explain. Your children need someone to stick up for them, until they can do it on their own. If they can do it on their own. Be their voice when they need you to be. And don’t let bring you down. Secondly, guard your marriage and/or your relationships. This is hard. It often takes a backseat to your children and it should, but that does not mean it should sit on the sidelines for 18 years while your children grow. It also doesn’t mean that it’s ok for people to take advantage of your vulnerability or weakness. That is just plain wrong.
Pray. Didn’t I mention that before? Pray at night. Pray in the morning. Pray in the shower. Pray on your way to work. Pray with your kids. Pray with your spouse. Pray, more than just when things are bad. You will see a difference in your outlook on life when you pray.
Listen. You don’t always need to respond to something or someone. Sometimes we just need to listen.
And just when you think your heart couldn’t get any bigger – it will. Adulthood brings a lot of emotions and experiences, but it can also bring more growth. Don’t be afraid to grow.
You know the song “Momma said there’d be days like this?” Yea, there are a lot of them. But, there’s also a lot of good.
Find it. Be it. Spread it. Give it. Teach it. Acknowledge it.