Another birthday has come, and as I reflect on the past 26 years, I realize how much I’ve learned in this crazy thing called life. In its peculiar way, life often teaches you things you didn’t realize you even needed to know. I’ve learned to find the beauty in its complexity and appreciate the maturity gained through a growing perspective each year. Today I humbly share these lessons with you.
1. Forgiveness is always the best option.
We all make mistakes, and staying angry with someone will only bring anger and resentment and cause your heart to be hardened. Forgiving others is a powerful release of emotions and can bring healing and a softness back to your heart in ways you never thought possible.
2. Kindness goes a long way.
If you read my post about kindness recently, you know how I feel about the power of kindness. Every day I look for ways to show a little extra kindness, especially to the person who doesn’t always get it or the person I think doesn’t need it. It’s usually those people who need it the most.
3. Never take anything for granted.
Things can change so suddenly in ways you never expected. Because of that I’m learning to not only live in the moment, but to treasure every little memory along the way. I don’t want to look back on my past and wish I had taken more time to appreciate my loved ones or life’s endless blessings.
4. There’s no such thing as “perfect.”
As a born perfectionist, I always saw perfectionism as a beautiful thing. When life’s imperfections caused me to stress out about things out of my control, I’ve learned to just let go. I am continuing to learn to accept things the way they are, realize that imperfections are a normal part of life, and instead of perfection, I strive for excellence in everything I do.
5. Accomplishing your dreams won’t happen without making goals.
Don’t wait for opportunities to come to you or let fear hold you back. Go out, seek them, create them, and find ways to reach for everything you’ve ever dreamed about. Whatever you do, either do it with passion, or not at all.
6. Friends come and go.
I have seen so many friends come and go in my life and I’ve learned that it’s OK. You’ll find that some friends are there for just a brief moment, often to share or teach something crucial to your personal development. Treasure them in the moment. The lifelong ones will always find a way back into your life.
7. Don’t settle.
We shouldn’t settle for something less than we deserve because we are impatient. Things of high quality and value take time, and are ultimately far preferable to the hasty, cheap or easy choice.
8. Love can hurt, but it’s always worth it.
Being vulnerable and opening yourself up to a person is hard, especially when you’ve been hurt in the past. However, letting your heart truly love is worth the risk.
9. Be yourself. Always.
You don’t have to try hard to be yourself when you’re with the right person. A caring friend may gently, privately point out areas of possible improvement, but never to your shame or detriment. The people you surround yourself with should be those accept you as you are, regardless of your faults.
10. Listen to your body.
It’s amazing what your body can tell you about how you feel. If you’re tired, sleep. If it hurts, stop doing it. If something bothers your stomach, don’t eat it. Your body often knows more about yourself than you realize, and it’s trying to tell you, if you’ll listen.
11. Social media can be both a blessing and a curse.
I have a love-hate relationship with social media. I understand that it’s necessary to promote my brand and network in the fashion community, but the downside is that I am a private person and exposure has its pitfalls. Take care to maintain a healthy space between your private and your online/public life.
12. Other people’s jealousies stem from their own insecurities and have nothing to do with you.
It used to really bother me when someone was jealous of me. I thought I had done something wrong or had to change. Eventually I realized it’s not me at the core, but rather someone’s negative opinion of themselves making itself heard.
13. Having genuine friends is the best gift ever.
No one can take away the gift of genuine friendship. Choose quality friends over quantity and you will be far more satisfied with the depth of connection.
14. Nothing can beat the power of a thank you card.
Thank you cards are a lost etiquette. The joy that comes from putting pen to paper and expressing gratitude through a handwritten card is fulfilling, both to give and to receive.
15. Spontaneity is a good thing.
I am such a planner that I used to fear not knowing what is going to happen. Planning has its merits but the surprise of the moment can bring unexpected delight.
16. It’s not about what you know, it’s about who you know.
Don’t be afraid to tackle new and interesting things that are outside of your perceived abilities. When you surround yourself with people who are smarter or more experienced than you, you can always learn what you need to know and be successful if you utilize it.
17. Don’t worry about tomorrow.
Each day has enough trouble of its own. Avoid adding up all of tomorrow’s worries today. Take it one day at a time, moment by moment, and face the challenges as they come.
18. Be kind to yourself.
Too often, we can be our own worst critic when we should be our own biggest cheerleader. Start each day with affirmations that encourage and build you up toward becoming the person you want to be.
19. People change.
Change is inevitable. If you’re not changing, you’re not growing. When you realize that change is a part of life’s normal cycle, even though it can be scary at times, it can be a very good thing.
20. Having a filter when it comes to honesty is necessary.
I am all about being honest, but I’ve learned that discernment plays a key role. There is a time and a place to be brutally honest, and recognizing the need to apply a filter for the moment is vital. Knowing your intended audience with a critique is crucial, and balancing a constructive suggestion with a genuine compliment is helpful.
21. Don’t take life too seriously.
It’s great to be business-minded, purposeful and driven, but it’s equally as important to laugh and be silly. Find humor in life’s daily snafus. If you’re not laughing, you’re not living.
22. Take care of yourself.
It’s not selfish to think about what you need. Exercising, eating healthy, getting good sleep, and finding time to relax will not only affect your current condition but also your future.
23. Do what you love.
There’s always the need for doing what’s necessary, but long-term happiness depends on finding what you love and committing to it. Work doesn’t quite feel like “work” when you do what you love.
24. Live without regrets.
You are not defined by your mistakes. In fact, each blunder is an opportunity to discover more about yourself and grow into the person you want to become.
25. Your smile is your best accessory.
Smiling is universally understood and it’s scientifically proven to elevate your mood. When you get dressed each day, remember to “Keep smiling, because life’s a beautiful thing and there’s so much to smile about!” -Marilyn Monroe.
26. You’re never too old to learn more about yourself, continuously improve on past mistakes, and achieve the things you want most for your life.
I don’t know how many years I have in front of me, but the twenty-six behind me have taught that life can be unpredictable, difficult and humbling. And like each of you, I have unique talents and passions to share, and dreams to grab hold of – all the more reason to tackle life with a smile – and with style!
I’m so thankful for anyone along the way who has been a part of helping me achieve these invaluable life lessons. Thank you to any of you who are a part of my life now and supporting my growth. I appreciate you more than words can describe!