The 16 Most Important Things I Learned in 2016
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Politics and Activism

The 16 Most Important Things I Learned in 2016

Let go of the past, and prepare for the future; greatness is coming for the New Year.

The 16 Most Important Things I Learned in 2016
Arizona Vacation Guide

“Life is a succession of lessons which must be lived to be understood”- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I think it’s safe to say that 2016 has tested our patience, our limits, and our will power. Not only have we fallen down, probably scraped our knees a few times, but we were also able to pick ourselves up and wipe off the dirt. Moreover, the beauty of life lies within the lessons. No matter what happens to us, we can always learn from our past experiences. 2016 has taught me so many things about myself, my family, my friends, and others. From heartbreak to happy days, there is not a day that goes by when I realize that these situations and circumstances are placed in our lives for the opportunity to growth and learning.

As I said, 2016 wasn’t the easiest to deal with. Between the terrorism, racism, violence, and the disarray of the elections, we have had to witness nothing but chaos all over the world. However, before going into the new year, I wanted to rid myself of all negativity and reflect on what I consider important life lessons. So, with that, I give you “The 16 most important things I learned in 2016”.

1. Expect the worst, but also hope for the best.

Even when we have everything planned, or so we think, nothing will ever go exactly as it has been planned. No matter how much we think we have our lives together, there will always be detours, and road blockages along the way. Don’t get discouraged. Just think…everything happens for a reason. However, sometimes greater things come of these hiccups in life. If we are hopeful and have positive attitudes, we may receive more than we were even expecting. Expect the worst, but also hope for the best!

2. It’s always the little things

Sometimes the best present is no present at all. There is meaning in the simplest things in life. Whether you receive a phone call from a friend you haven’t seen in years, or a small key chain your aunt got you when she was traveling, you were thought of. Don’t ever underestimate the power of the little things in life. Life isn’t always about the cars, the name brands, or even the amount of zeros in your bank account; if you are loved and reminded every day, those simple things outweigh any present than can be given. Learn to love the sunsets, dance in the rain, and the soft smiles of those around you. These simple things are God’s beautiful reminders of his presence. There’s beauty hidden in even the simplest of things, don’t overlook it. It’s always the little things that matter the most.

3. Every day is a new opportunity

Don’t ever get stuck in what could have happened, nor the regrets you have in the past. Every day you wake up is a new day to renew and start fresh! Don’t get bogged down with the mistakes and the frustration of yesterday, but focus on what you can fix, and how you can make yourself better for tomorrow. Once you go to sleep, don’t carry the anger and frustration of yesterday into tomorrow. Every day is a new opportunity for a great day, and to make a positive difference in this world, don’t waste it!

4. Treat others how you want to be treated

People will always treat you how you treat them. Everyone deserves respect and honesty. If you want to be treated the same way, then make sure to treat those around you with the same respect and honesty that you would like to receive. Don’t forget to say “please” and “thank you”. Common courtesy goes a long way. Each person deserves to be treated like the beautiful human-being that they are. People will only treat you how you show them you want to be treated. If you want love, trust, and respect, be sure to give that to others. Do unto others how you would have them do unto you.

5. You’re in charge of your own happiness

Don’t let a bad day get you down. In the end, we have complete control of our emotions. Bad day? Stressful situation? We are in charge of how we feel. Each and every one of us are entitled to our own emotions, and can feel however we want to feel, but don’t let a bad attitude ruin a good day. Just because people wish bad on us, or speak negative about us, doesn’t mean we should allow their words to get to us. We cannot always control what happens to us, but we can control how we react to it. You’re in charge of your own happiness.

6. Sometimes you have to let it go

Never hold on to the one thing that held you back for so long. If it stresses you out, upsets you, or causes you pain, it’s not worth it. Just let it go. Anything that causes stress or an excess amount of anxiety and frustration is not worth it. Just because you didn’t get that promotion you had been wanting doesn’t mean you can’t get the next one. Let it go. Your past relationship may have left you with plenty of memories (good or bad), but it didn’t work out for a reason. Learn to be appreciative of what you had for that given time, but know that it wasn’t meant to be. Heartbreaks hurt like hell, but it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. God is saving a beautiful being for you, just be patient. Sometimes you have to let it go.

7. Stand up for what you believe in

Just because what you believe in doesn’t match the status quo, or is not the opinions of most, does not mean that your thoughts, ideas and opinions are wrong. If you don’t agree with something, stand up for what you believe in. Never be intimidated to speak up for a cause that matters most to you. Don’t let others run over you. If you or someone you know is not being treat properly, do not sit there and let it happen. Stand up for your right to be treated equally and properly just like any person should be treated. Don’t let your voice be muted out by others. We all have a right to speak what we may and we all have a right to have our voices be heard. No matter how hard it may be, speak up and stand up for what you believe in.

8. Cherish every moment

I have said it before, and I will say it again, every day is a gift not a guarantee. Never take a person or a day for granted. What may be present today, may not be present tomorrow. Take photos, hug your loved ones, and cherish every moment that you are given.

9. Don’t force it

You can’t force someone to love you, or feel the way you feel. Never force feelings or what you want on anyone else. If they do not feel the same way, it will never work out if you force someone to love you. Everyone changes. Sometimes you must accept what was, or what could have been and move on. What is meant to be will be, but don’t force it.

10. Face your fears

Never let the fear of striking out, keep you from playing the game. Do the things that scare you. If your dreams don’t scare you, then they aren’t big enough. Dream big, and go out and accomplish your goals. No matter how bizarre, how big, or how intimidating your dreams are, make sure to face your fears and accomplish them. There is nothing more satisfying than creating new goals because you have already accomplished old ones. You never want to regret not taking a chance or an opportunity life has presented you because you were scared. Do what scares you, and face your fears. You won’t regret it.

11. Just say it

There comes a time in our lives when you find one person who makes you feel like better than anyone has ever made you feel. Sometimes we think saying “I love you” too soon, or first is a rash decision, but trust your heart and tell them how you feel. Never be afraid to say “I love you”. No matter the circumstance or the person, if you feel that way, just say it!

12. The future is a scary place

The future is where you belong. Don’t let fear of the unknown stop you from enjoying all that the future has to offer you. Your future is brighter than you will ever know, so trust in your good decisions and trust that good times are ahead. Be sure to enjoy everything life has to offer you, because you may not get those opportunities again. Don’t live in the past, but learn from your past mistakes. Just because you don’t know what is ahead doesn’t mean you should fear the future. The future is a scary place, but it will be brighter than you ever imagined.

13. Travel. Travel. Travel.

I can’t reiterate it enough. If there’s anything you do before you die, it should be to travel to the many places you’ve always wanted to see. You learn so much about yourself when you have the opportunity to travel the world. There are so many beautiful sights to see and I can assure you that they are worth every penny. Start saving NOW and take that one trip you’ve been wanting to take for years. Taste the foods, get lost, and travel, travel, travel.

14. Love yourself

Learn to love yourself in even the darkest of times. Wake up, roll out of bed, stand in front of the mirror and tell yourself you are beautiful/handsome no matter what society tells you to think. Don’t believe what the media says about beauty, believe what YOU say about beauty. Eat what you want to eat. That extra slice of pizza won’t kill you, I promise. It won’t make you gain 10 pounds. You are handsome/beautiful just the way you are. Yes, it’s perfectly normal to take care of your body and stay healthy, but know that you are loved just the way you are. You must learn to love yourself before anyone else can love you. So, before you wish to bring anyone else into your life, learn to love yourself.

15. Do what YOU love

Just because your parents think they know what is best for you, it may not always be what you want for your life, and that’s okay. Follow your dreams, because in the end it’s your life and you get to make your own decisions. Follow your heart, and find your passion. Don’t let anyone stop you from doing what you love. No matter what they say...never stop fighting for what you want and do what YOU love.

16. When all else fails, Jesus doesn’t

Lastly, this is for all my believers and non-believers. There’s a man that loves you more than you will ever imagine, who wants nothing but peace and happiness for you. When you feel all alone, I can assure you that you’re not. Jesus is there for you, just call upon Him and He will answer. He knows your heart, and is always there even when no one else is. No matter how far you stray from Him, you can always return. His arms are always open, and He loves each of His children. Our problems are never too big. Trust in the Lord, and have faith in His plan, because when all else fails, Jesus doesn’t.

Let go of the past, and prepare for the future. Greatness is coming for the New Year. Cheers to 2017!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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