10 Things I’ve Learned in 2010

As this year comes to a close, I, like many of you have been reflecting on all that has happened. In my own life A LOT has happened this year personally and professionally… A LOT! The interesting part for me as I look back on it is that for every thing that I perceived to be negative, there was a positive outcome and/or an invaluable lesson learned. Now while it could take me days to write the whole list of what I’ve learned in just this one year, I decided to narrow it down to 10 (and it took me days to do that :-)).

1. People Are Funny.
You can’t worry about what people will say, think, or do because at the end of the day a person will act a certain way towards you based on their own feelings of confidence or insecurity that have nothing to do with you. That person may never treat another human being the way they treated you. So rather than decide a person is a bad person, when they show you how they are going to treat you, decide if that’s okay with you. If it’s not, move on.

2. Jealous friends do things they can’t explain and I can’t ignore.
Sometimes your friends may begin to be jealous of your accomplishments. Although they may never actually attempt to work as hard as you, they may still feel that you don’t deserve the things (items, peace, love, friends) you have. As a result, they may attempt to chip away at those “things”. How you deal with those people is up to you, just know that they don’t even realize what they’re doing or why they’re doing it. It seems as reasonable to them as it seems unreasonable to you. I have found that distancing myself from those people works for me. It makes it easier for me to not hold a grudge and it gives them less opportunity/reason for the jealousy to show itself.

3. My reaction is much more important than whatever has happened.
Now this is one of those things that I have come to understand, but am still working on. When something “bad” has happened to me this year, whether it was a person talking about me behind my back, a person giving me bad customer service, or anything in between, 90% of the time I got angry and reacted in anger. It wasn’t until I witnessed someone respond to the same thing in a different way that I even realized what I was doing. Now I am much more aware of it and am trying to do better :-).

4. Stay Focused!
I have an uncle who has been very supportive of my education. Anything he can do to encourage me to finish my PhD he has done and will continue to do until I finish. He, like most people, has been very concerned about my decision to go to school full-time while working full-time. However he, unlike most people, never questioned me about that decision. Instead, every time we talk on the phone before he says goodbye he tells me that what I’m doing is important and says “stay focused”. In addition to working and going to school, I am very committed to BFDC, my sorority, and other civic organizations so there are times when I just don’t want to be bothered with any of it. At those times I hear my uncle telling me to stay focused, and I remember why I’m doing it. When I stay focused on the purpose, the insignificance of whatever is making me want to quit becomes more apparent.

5. Everyone who sees things differently is NOT a hater.
It has become second nature nowadays to ignore anyone who challenges us because “they’re just hatin’” when the truth is they may just be being honest, or sharing their opinion. While there are people who do hate, I think we as a society are beginning to miss out on growth opportunities by only listening to the cheerleaders on our team. I’m not saying you should listen to everyone, but ignoring all nay-sayers is the reason Sarah Palin believes she’s a viable candidate for President of the United States… just a thought.

6. It’s ok to be a good person.
Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you are “too nice”. There is no such thing.

7. Love is the most important gift I could ever give.
You never really know what a person has been through or is going through and there are a lot of hurt people in this world (myself included). So it’s really important that we show love in our actions toward each other, you’d be amazed at the difference it can make. This is another one of those things I’m still working on :-).

8. Being vulnerable is the scariest and most rewarding thing you will ever do.
A lot of times we avoid sharing our true feelings with others because we don’t want them to have the upper hand, but I have learned that there is strength in honesty. When you free yourself of the fear of being vulnerable, you open yourself up to a life of less regret. You also become an example to others so that they too can lose that fear and you can have more open and honest relationships.

9. We are all teachers and learners.
My first boss told me this and at the time I agreed, but thought this statement meant that I teach when I choose to teach and I learn what I want to learn. This year has taught me that at all times and in every circumstance, whether I realize it or not I am teaching every person I meet and I am learning from them as well. Seeing it from this perspective makes me want to be very careful of the things I teach and the people I allow an opportunity to teach me.

10. I can truly say that I’ve been blessed!
This year I have seen many trials. I had a relationship end under poor circumstances, moved twice in six months, was forced to add a semester of course work to my PhD, was denied a promotion, pulled out on a condo a month before closing, was forced to make difficult decisions, lost friends, and I’ve been lied on in reference to all those things. But today I look back on all of that and can see how God had His hand on me from the beginning. It has all worked out or is working out in my favor and as the song says, “I can truly say, that I’ve been blessed. I’ve got a testimony!”

Now these are just some of the things I’ve learned. Feel free to post comments and tell me what you’ve learned too!

~Sandra
p.s. HAPPY NEW YEAR!