A few weeks ago I posted My Top 10 Lessons from 19 Months of Shenanigan’s
I’ve been taking a break from the Shenanigan’s (well, not really, life really is just one long Shenanigan, isn’t it?) having been home in Chicago these past few weeks. And as I prepare to return to my somewhat nomadic, unusual, and nontraditional lifestyle, I find being back at home also has some pretty profound lessons to reflect back on, and worthy of posting…
1. Not everyone will like the changes in you.
After being away, working and living in Saudi Arabia, meeting people from all corners of the world, traveling, and living an unconventional lifestyle, one practically has no choice but to come back somewhat changed. I think that is to be expected. What wasn’t so expected was that not everyone will like these changes. Not everyone will be happy for your successes. Not everyone will applaud your accomplishments and triumphs. And not everyone will support your future endeavors. Some people may actually resent the changes. Some people will even attempt to convince you that there is something wrong with your lifestyle.
(This lesson ties in with Number 9 & 10 from 19 Months of Shenanigan’s)
At first this may be difficult and even hurtful, but in the end when all has been said and done, remember the remarkable quote by Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” No one. This one has taken me years to finally get it. It’s quite easy to not care what people who don’t matter to you think. It’s the people that matter that you feel have the power. And the big lesson here is overcoming this. It’s finally coming to the realization and acceptance that the people you thought mattered … don’t really matter.
They don’t have the power.
Never forget, it’s you that has all the power.
2. Don’t take everything personally.
This kind of goes with Number 1. Easier said than done, I know. But it’s never really about you. Someone’s anger, hurtful words, passive aggressiveness, what have you, is not about you. And it’s something I have had to work on in regards my own behavior. Meaning my behavior has not been about someone else, it’s been all about me. This means taking responsibility for one’s thoughts, for one’s actions, for one’s words. And let me tell you this is not an easy thing to always do. But that moment that you do, that moment that you own it all (especially in a big way, because I don’t really do things in a small way) is the moment of utter release and clarity.
“Don’t take anything Personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering” ~Miguel Ruiz
3. Nurture friends of old.
I don’t have a lot of friends but the friends I do have I cherish without exception. Because those friendships have taught me the true meaning of unconditional love and acceptance.
Make the phone call to check-in. Make the time to see those that you care about. Do not take them for granted. Let them know how much they mean to you every chance that you get.
4. It’s okay to revisit the past.
Numerous people have said to me “you can’t go back”, “you must just go forward”, “I hated High School”, and blah blah.
I am a true and firm believer that one can absolutely not move forward without revisiting one’s past. You are who you are because of the events and of all the people from your past. One does not need to dwell in the past, but it most definitely sometimes needs to be revisited.
5. Be honest with yourself.
Learn how to look into the mirror and be completely open and honest with yourself.
Especially about why you’re revisiting the past :)
And this one sort of goes with Number 2 above. While attempting to not take things personally, one must at the same time be honest about one’s owns actions, words, and intentions.
6. It’s okay to ask for help and it’s okay to accept help.
I have come to learn that one’s capacity to offer and give help is also in direct proportion to one’s ability to receive help.
In Number 2 of 19 Months of Shenanigan’s I talked about the kindness of strangers. Not only have I been inundated with kindness and help from strangers everywhere I have lived and traveled but I am constantly overwhelmed with kindness from family and friends. And a lot of time it’s help and kindness that I don’t even ask for.
7. It’s okay to have a breakdown now and then.
“Breakdowns can create breakthroughs. Things fall apart so things can fall together.” ~Unknown.
This one speaks for itself. What else can I say? Seriously. I truly believe a lot of these lessons came about only after some spectacularly, breathtaking breakdowns :D