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.