Although the year has not come to a close yet, I think now is a good time to reflect on the past year. Over Thanksgiving break, while I was reflecting on what I am thankful for, I could not help but reflect on my growth as a person as well over this past year. I have come to learn so much about myself and other people, and I thought that maybe these little lessons I learned could prove useful to someone else in 2017.
1. Silence is NOT golden
For the longest time, I was definitely the quietest person in any room I stepped into. I was always afraid to voice my opinion and let others hear my side of things, for fear of being wrong or causing a debate. This past year, I decided to move away from that quiet persona and start to let people hear my voice. I went from being super quiet to voicing my opinions loud for everyone to hear (respectfully, of course), and I do not fear a disagreement or debate. Whether it is my family or my friends, we are all able to have differing opinions, and we all do not have to agree on everything under the sun. I was not brought up to believe one thing or another; I was taught to formulate my own thoughts, and express them appropriately and in the way I deem fit.
2. Constantly seeking the approval of others will only hurt you in the end
Along with voicing my opinions and making my own decisions in life, I used to constantly seek the approval of my family and friends when making decision that affected my life. Although it is important to have approval in some respects, it is also important to maintain your sense of individuality. Caring constantly about what other people think of me was taking a toll on my mental health, and since I have started to create my own path, I have been so much happier and a lot less stressed. No one else gets to experience my life first hand except for me, so why should I tailor my life to fit what I think other people want for me?
3. Be ambitious
I tended to hold myself back in the past, and let opportunities slip from me easily. I was never ambitious, and I was always afraid to pursue opportunities for fear of failure. I vowed this year to not hold myself back, and once I did that, I started to become more and more involved at school. I got offered an internship in my field of study, I got a job on campus, I took on a minor, and I took on a leadership position in my sorority. It is so important to be ambitious and take advantage of every opportunity that is given to you, and soon enough, even if you fail once, something will work out in the end.
4. Maintain a positive attitude
This one is such an important lesson I have learned this year. I tend to get stressed easily due to anxiety, and it takes a toll on your body, mentally and physically. In order to combat this, it is crucial to maintain a positive attitude through everything; even the bad moments. The smallest thing like smiling or laughing or maintaining positive thoughts can change your whole perspective on the day. It may be difficult sometimes, and everyone is allowed to have their bad days, but to counter these days, positivity is a must.
5. Treat yourself
This does not mean treat yourself in the traditional sense, it means to treat yourself well. Treat yourself to a healthy mind and body, and then everything else will follow behind. I have struggled with this personally, and I put way too much pressure and stress on myself to be the best I could and to please everyone around me. By keeping stress levels low, maintaining positivity, and eating better, I have been a much better version of myself than in the past. This is important because it leads to everything else. If you treat yourself right, in turn, you will treat others right and be more confident in your abilities.
These lessons are a few of the many that have come up over the past year, and I am so thankful for all of the experiences that have led to these realizations. Hopefully, the upcoming year will be another year full of lessons, good and bad, and filled with a lot of opportunities and happiness.