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40 Things I've Learned in 40 Years

1. God will take care of you. There have been many things that I went through that I truly never thought I’d survive. After spending some time reflecting and spending time in gratitude, I realized how His hand was all over everything. He never left my side, even when I didn’t realize it.

2. Family is everything This is pretty simple. My family is so important to me.

3. Boundaries are crucial Whether it’s at work, with friends, family, boundaries are necessary. You have to protect your energy.

4. You are not who others tell you you are Your identity is not from the world. Your identity is in the One who created you. It took me a long time to learn this one, but it’s truly life changing. Who God says you are, is who you are. Period.

5. Forgiveness is for you, not them I used to think that forgiveness meant condoning what they did to me. It really is for my heart and my soul. Holding on to unforgiveness doesn’t do anything for them, but it slowly kills our hearts. Let go and forgive. God forgave us, so we are to forgive others.

6. You cannot control how other people act or what they say I used to blame myself when someone was rude to me. I used to think that I must have done something to make them do that. Manipulative and narcissistic people will make you believe that. I finally realized that everyone has the power and control to react and speak how they want to. I can’t control anyone, nor do I want to.

7. Sometimes it’s OK to take a step back If you’re the only one to initiate a conversation or get-together, it’s OK to take a step back and give yourself a break.

8. Celebrate small and big wins!

9. If you’re feeling helpless, help someone A few weeks ago, I was feeling so burned out and anxious. I told a friend that I just feel so helpless and like hiding in my bed for a few days. She said to me “When you feel helpless, help someone!” Helping someone else can boost our own moods and shift our perspective on our situations.

10. It’s OK to say “no” to things, but also notice what you’re saying “yes” to Saying no is necessary sometimes. But when you say no, pay attention to what you’re saying yes to. Is it something you truly want to do, or something you feel you “should” do but don’t really want to? And vice versa—if you’re saying yes to something, what are you saying no to?

11. Instead of complaining, practice gratitude

If you spend at least 5 minutes a day thinking only of things you’re grateful for, I promise you, your heart will start to change.

12. Give more compliments Seriously. If you like a stranger’s necklace, tell her! If you like someone’s coat, tell her! If you think your mom looks especially pretty today, tell her! You never know what the other person is walking through—your compliment could be the only bright spot of their day and they’ll remember it. And, it will inevitably boost your mood, too!

13. Cultivate a morning routine I used to be the one to wake up, turn on the news, have coffee while hurrying up to get ready. Sometimes, I would set my alarm as late as possible to get more sleep. Now, I wake up earlier to get in my quiet time before the rest of the world wakes up. No TV, radio, phone. Just me, my coffee, devotional and Bible. I literally feel so much better and less anxious going into my day when I start my day like this. When I can’t do this routine, my whole day feels “off.” Find a routine that works for you and stick with it for at least 21 days!

14. Never believe everything you think

Gosh, if I believed every single thought I’ve ever had in my life. Anxiety can fool you into thinking negatively about yourself, and others. It can cause awful intrusive thoughts that are horrifying. “what if they secretly hate me? Or remember when this-or-that happened ten years ago…see, that’s proof they don’t care about you.” Thinking thoughts that make you feel you’re not good enough or loved are lies. Call it what it is: lies. Learning this, and learning to put a stop sign up when these thoughts come up takes time, but once you learn it your mind starts to shift into your identity. Go back to #4!

15. You aren’t alone Ever!

16. You are enough I am enough in Jesus. Period. I used to think I had to overcompensate with others in order to win their approval, acceptance and love. I’d buy expensive gifts, go “all out,” but I realized I was doing that from a place of fear and insecurity because I didn’t feel enough in myself. I now know that I don’t need other people to approve of me or make me feel like I am enough because I am already MORE than enough in Jesus.

17. The fastest way to get out of pain, is to go right through it Don’t run or hide from pain, heartbreak, suffering. That will only delay it. Feel it, embrace it and go through it. You will learn so much about yourself and God will provide healing and new leaves of growth.

18. Exercise everyday for the endorphins Because I have anxiety, it’s important for me to exercise every day. Even if it’s just a 30 minute walk, I need to keep moving. When I am doing new moves that seem hard, I just tell myself “do it for the endorphins.” Exercise helps keep anxiety at bay, or at least at a low-level.

19. Create your own personal Board of Directors This can be 2-4 people in your life that you know you can go to in times of need. When you’re going through heartbreak, loss, anxiety, anything—these are the people you know you can call up and they will talk you through it without judgement or criticizing you.

20. Make your mental health a priority

21. It’s OK to not like what everyone else likes. And, it’s OK to like what no one else likes! This goes for music, movies, books, politics, etc.

22. Connect with your inner child I’ve been doing this for the last couple of months, and it’s been so cool! Ask your inner child how you can help her. What does she need? Does she want to play? Does she need forgiveness? Does she need a hug and compassion? Do something that makes her smile: watch a favorite movie from your childhood, visit the zoo, play a childhood game, color, read her favorite books. I find that when I connect with her, creativity is flying! I start connecting back to music and it feels so good.

23. Embrace your voice! Stand up for what you believe in and don’t back down.

24. Embrace ALL of you. Your weirdness, quirks, freckles, curly hair, loud laugh, morals, values, everything. It makes you, you. Don’t ever dull your sparkle just because someone complains you’re too bright.

25. Apologize if you’re wrong, but never for who you are.

26. Don’t let your past define you, let it propel you. Your past experiences can either derail you, or propel you into your greater purpose. The choice is always yours to make.

27. Meditation really does help! Especially when I feel anxiety coming on.

28. Asking for help is NOT a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength.

29. Being playful is always the way to go. Laughing, enjoying life makes every day so much better.

30. Music is therapy.

31. Life is too short to put up with people that don’t make you feel good about yourself.

32. Vulnerability is power.

When we are vulnerable with each other, we are encouraging others to be vulnerable, too, and creating a safe space.

33. Love who you are. We are told to love our neighbors as ourselves; but what if we don’t love ourselves? We can’t love other people that way. If you wouldn’t say negative things to your neighbors, please don’t say them to yourself.

34. Quality is better than quantity when it comes to friendships!

35. A good night’s sleep, water and a hot bath can cure a lot of things.

36. Don’t jump to conclusions—about situations, people, relationships. Give people time to show you their love, and when you have a negative thought, don’t always believe it. Communicate how you feel.

37. Intrusive thoughts are always liars. As someone who suffers from intrusive thoughts a lot, I am here to tell you: those thoughts are lies! Reach for God when those start to creep in and let His truth and love flood you.

38. Taking medication for anxiety or depression is strength, not weak. There should never be any stigma around that.

39. Ask God to reveal a new perspective.

If you have a painful past and trauma, and it’s hard to talk about it and move forward: ask God to give you a new perspective on it. He can show you where the light was/is, and where you can grow from it…and how you might be able to use it to help someone else.

40. How people treat you is a reflection of their heart, not yours.

Hurt people, hurt people. Don't take it to heart, and try not to let it affect who you are. I remember when I moved to Nashville, my Mom told me "don't let other people make your heart hardened. Stay kind." How you treat people will always catch up with you.

41. BONUS! Arby’s is still the best 😊

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