22 Things I've Learned: Part One

In honor of my 22nd birthday, I decided to share 22 things I've learned throughout my 22 years. Trust me, I've learned way more than this and I have a lot more to learn but why not share some big things that mean a lot to me. So grab some tea, or some coffee, and get ready for a pretty lengthy read. It's worth it.

  1. Love yourself: I cannot express this enough. It took me a very long time to get to this point. You have to love yourself unconditionally. You have to be happy with who you are and how you look before you can expect anyone else to. And once, you genuinely love yourself, you won't settle for anything you absolutely do not deserve. So take time to be by yourself, to be with others, to do things you think you like and things you think you don't like, and just really discover what makes you, you. 
  2. Patience is a virtue: I know this saying is so cliche but let me tell you how true it is. It is going to happen when it is meant to happen. Do not rush it. Have patience. Have patience with work, your spouse, your child, your parents, with life in general. Everything takes time. And when you take your time and are patient, you appreciate things a little more.
  3. Crying doesn't make you weak: Do not let anyone tell you otherwise! It is okay to cry. It is okay to be emotional and to express your feelings. Girls and guys alike, it is acceptable to cry. Crying does not make you weak. It is an expression of feelings and with being human, we all have feelings and sometimes there is no other way to express those feelings besides to have a good cry. So cry, let it out, and keep it moving. If anything it makes you stronger and more driven.
  4. Respect the opinions of others: Not everyone is going to agree with you. Not everyone is going to have the same outlook or perspective as you do. That does not mean that you should disrespect them and automatically assume their opinion is wrong. It's called a difference in opinion. I have disagreed with my mother on many things and years later have came to accept that she was right. I have had people tell me how wrong I was then come back to express they believe the same thing I was telling them. Opinions change constantly, that is why it is called an opinion, and not everyone has the same one.
  5. Don't procrastinate: I wrote a whole other blog post on this. You can read about it here
  6. Being a mom comes first: I have learned that my child will always come first. There are relationships I've avoided, jobs I've turned down, and places and parties I didn't attend because I needed to be a mom first. Those things I turned down did not benefit my child and I have to keep that at the forefront of my mind daily. I don't have a babysitter, that job didn't have health benefits, do I really want this person around my daughter? I don't see this as a negative. With being a mom, I have avoided some really bad situations. 
  7. More than a mom: Keep in mind, that when you become a mother, mom is not your only title. I am a sister, a daughter, a wife, a student, a blogger, and so much more. There are a lot of things that I still want to do for myself. There are dreams that I am working toward. So don't think your life ends once you become a mother. 
  8. It's okay to do things backwards: I got pregnant in high school, graduated high school, moved out, went to college for half a year, dropped out of college to work instead, got married, and now returning back to school. My whole life is backwards, but guess what, it works for me. Do what works for you. Sometimes college doesn't come right after high school or marriage comes after the baby, and that is okay.
  9. Do what makes you happy: I dropped out of college because I wasn't happy. I went because I had a huge scholarship and to prove that I could still go to college with having a baby in high school. I didn't want to be another stereotype and trust me I'm not, but college wasn't meant for me right after high school. You cannot allow others to dictate your happiness. You know what makes you happy and that's all that matters. My mother is still not happy with my decision and I'm reminded constantly that I'd be graduating in May, but I'm happy with my life and my decisions I've made. And I now have a plan for my education that I am happy and confident in and it feels good. 
  10. Shame vs. Guilt: They are not the same. Shame is when someone convinces you that you are a bad person and that you cannot change because it's who you are and how you are wired. People use shame as a tactic to change you and that causes more damage than good. Do not allow others to shame you. Guilt is how you feel about your actions, your mistakes, your learning lessons. Its about the situation, not your character. It took me a while to differentiate between the two. After I had done something wrong I would shame myself rather than feeling guilty about the situation and learning from it. DON'T DO THIS! Don't allow others to do this to you. 
  11. Mistakes are going to happen: My mom flat out told me that she did not want me to make the same mistakes as her. Well mistakes are going to happen, and as much as our loved ones would not like us to make them, they cannot be avoided. Life is a learning process and mistakes will be made. But you know what, you learn from them. Rather than calling them mistakes, you call them learning lessons. 

So, let's pause here and ponder for a little while. I knew this post was going to be lengthy but I don't want it to be too lengthy to where someone stops reading in the middle. So I am going to split this post into two parts. I will post 12-22 tomorrow as 22 Things I've learned: Part Two. I hope you come back and read the rest of my learning lessons and maybe even learned a thing or two yourself.