As I look on the past decade, 10 years ago, in 2010, I’ve learned many life lessons. In 2010, I was a new mom of a special developmentally delayed boy (officially diagnosed with intellectual disability). We got married and was trying to be all the things we thought we should be, but was painfully aware we had no clue what we were doing.
The days of him not not crawling, not walking and not talking turned into weeks and even months of anticipation and wondering if I was doing something wrong. The criticisms from family and friends struck like a knife and led me down to a dark hall of depression, anxiety and self doubt.
Those were some of the most lonely days of my life. I used food and alcohol to numb the pain – only temporarily.
I put on a smile for everyone, but there were many nights I cried myself to sleep, after putting my son to bed.
If I could go back, I would give that new mom a hug and assure she was doing everything perfectly (we all are doing the best we can, with what we’ve got) and to trust her gut no matter what.
Some of the lessons I’ve learned in this decade, while transforming my health, my relationships and my lifestyle.
- Habits Matter
After having my son, I allowed my life be overcome with doctors appointments, therapy sessions and I ran my life on his schedule. Naturally, I became overweight, exhausted and hated everything in my closet. Anything you want to change in your life, anything that isn’t working and anything that is working – all come back to the habits we have in place. When I started on my weight loss journey in 2014, my coach had me look at my habits and how I could improve. Whether you want better health, more money or a cleaner house, it comes down to the habits you have in place or you don’t.
- Inner Talk is Powerful
Our success greatly relies on our self belief and the inner talk we give ourselves. As I learned to navigate this inner chatter from “I can’t do that” to “I will learn or I got this”, I found my power. Whether you are a new mom, starting a new workout routine or wondering if you can homeschool, this applies. The next time you set a goal or try something new, take inventory of the little voice inside and replace anything negative with empowering words and mantras.
- You are Stronger than you Think
You know the saying, you never know how strong something is until you put it in hot water. A true warrior shows just how strong they are when the going gets tough. As a special needs mom and advocate, I’ve had to stand in battles I never imagined. I’ve had to stand up to doctors, teachers, principals and I’ve also been called names, insulted on my parenting style and learned to take it all. Never underestimate the strength of a mother, fighting for her child.
- Love Wins
As things get hard, you hit rock bottom, you find yourself scraping yourself off the floor. Many times you want to cry, scream and give up but if you can anchor into love, you can get through anything. To love yourself is to love others, with compassion and giving grace. Keep in mind, everyone is doing the best they can with what they have. When you know better, you can do better.
- We All Need Each Other
It’s a lonely journey, as we muddle through life, motherhood, marriage and relationships. Things get muddy, cloudy and messy, but if we can find the strength to bind together, we can do more, be more and come out stronger. We need a tribe, we need human connection and we need vulnerability to know we are all in this together. Join the free facebook group here.
- Fear, Jealousy, Bitterness and Resentment are normal but unnecessary.
Fear is necessary to keep us safe. It exists and is there for the ride. But you don’t have to let it steer the car. Jealousy, bitterness and resentment also normal but the faster you can acknowledge it, release it and kick it out, the more peace and joy you will find. Forgiveness has been one my biggest lessons of this decade. We don’t forgive for the other person, it doesn’t excuse their behaviors, but it does free you from it hardening your heart.
- Follow Your Heart and Listen to Your Gut
It’s easy to get caught up in all the to-dos, checking the boxes, dotting your I’s. But if it doesn’t feel good, doesn’t light your fire, it is not for you. Listening to my inner knowing – even when everyone advised me differently – has always been the right thing and steered me closer to what is right for me.
- We Are All Unique
As you realize your own gifts, quirks and experiences, you will soon realize there is no one like you. Competition, jealousy and resentment cannot exist once you recognize you are so unique – no one can copy you – and you shouldn’t copy anyone else either. Speak your truth because only you can do it and say it like you can – and someone needs to hear it, exactly the way ONLY you can say it.
- Everyone is On Their Own Journey
Know everyone is on their own journey, in their own time and they will heal in their own way. We all experience things differently. Two people can go through the exact same experience and will perceive it differently. Not everyone will do it like you do, as fast or as slow as you. That is ok. Keep being a light so they know where to turn when they are looking for the right path.
- Try, Try Again
Get knocked down seven times, stand up eight. Things won’t be perfect and things won’t end up the way you envisioned. Keep going, keep trying and don’t let yourself get defeated.
This is my list of life lessons, things I’ve gone through and things I’ve grown through. I hope you are inspired and use this as inspiration to create your own list as you look back on the years.
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