You Might As Well Learn Your Lesson The Hard Way

That’s when you learn the most.

Looking back on all the pivotal moments in my life can sometimes make me cringe or laugh or even want to burying my head in a pillow from embarrassment, but besides the different emotions I associate with my ups and downs, each failure, let down, and eye-opening experience was completely necessary. There were many cases where I didn’t handle things “properly” or display myself in the best light and then there were moments I felt pathetic, stupid, and worthless. There were experiences that stomped a little on my heart and pushed me to my limits, but as I grow and look back onto those experiences, I wouldn’t change a thing.

Everything happened exactly the way it needed to in that moment, no matter how I reacted, portrayed myself, or felt.

At 20, I still don’t have all the answers, and I’m wise enough to know I never, ever will. I have walked through a lot on my journey so far and still have plenty to go, but the knowledge and thoughtfulness I’ve accumulated over the years has brought me to these realizations.

You can’t change the past, that’s definite. Thinking about how you handled a break-up over and over again or the conversation you had, will not change it. You can take responsibility for what you’ve done and how you’ve handled things, but at the end of the day, we are all human— we’re learning, growing, and handling things our own way. Here’s a friendly reminder: there’s no wrong or right way of doing life. Your perception of the past is what it is, but now you have the present and eventually the future, so it’s important to take what you’ve learned and apply it to what’s to come. As cliche as it sounds, you are not your past and it doesn’t define you, but let it shape you into someone you’re proud of.

Now with your hard-learned lessons, recognize and acknowledge that you act out or let your emotions run rampage or that you need to watch your tongue or any of your so called “flawed” characteristics, so in future cases, you don’t allow yourself to make the same decisions that leave you feeling beneath yourself.

Growth is continuous and never-ending, so baby steps are okay too. It’s vital to remember how you felt in certain moments and why, so your heart and mindset can be in line with your actions and the way you communicate.

Most lessons suck, let’s be honest. Whether it’s locking your keys in the car, fighting with your best friend, getting that hard-core reality check, transferring colleges, the list could go on forever, but let’s be thankful we aren’t the same person we were five years ago or even six months ago. As I’ve said before, I have countless lessons to go before I’m wise, but shifting my mindset to valuing hard times as a learning experience has changed the game for me.


The Tale Of An Outsider On The Inside

Ever since I was young, I looked at the world with open eyes and desperately wanted a place to belong, a place where I was understood and enough to meet all the expectations of society and my peers. I searched for years, never finding the answers I was looking for.

While on my quest to belong, I found out a lot about who I am and what I want out of life. I never was, and probably never will be, the girl who has a million friends— constantly going out, being invited, knowing I could do anything with anyone whenever I wanted.

It’s not that I have a mediocre personality or unbearable insecurities or a fierce resting face, it was just as though no matter what I did or how I did it, it was never enough for everyone around me. I tried to force conversations, but that didn’t work. I tried to think they like did, but I was not a good actor, so I stuck to myself and a few good friends.

I’m the girl who has one or two very best friends, but gets along with just about everyone I come in contact with. A smile finds my face every time I enter a room and pleasantries are shared when I meet a new face, I have no problem meeting people. What I struggle with is connecting with others, the way I wish to.

Maybe I could blame it on my expectations, the quality of connection I crave, but I’ve learned it’s rare.

My mind goes deep, and I get lost in my thoughts more often than not. For all my years in school, I would be considered likable and rememberable as I was involved with activities and captain of sports teams. I may be remembered as nice or smiley or smart, but I struggled to connect with any of them at my essence when I felt we didn’t see eye to eye. I walked to my own beat, especially when I stopped caring about fitting in or even being liked. I gladly labeled myself as an outsider, but I had all the luxuries of being on the inside— I was invited, I was remembered, I was voted for.

It’s the weirdest combination— to always have a place in the center, but to never belong.

Now in my college years, I’ve found my purpose, my belonging and that’s loving people who are in my life so entirely and completely because they see who I am, they see my worth and value me as so. Now there’s no such thing as fitting in for me— when I look around at others with different values, morals, priorities, lifestyles, I do not desire to be them or inside their clique or follow their rules. They are who they are, as I am who I am, and that’s exactly they way it’s meant to be.

We aren’t designed to be the same— some need more reassurance than others, some need more friends, space, or power. One is not superior to the others, it’s just the route you are belong on. We all are just trying to find that sense of belonging inside our reality.