This past year has been a tremendous year of self-growth and character building for me. Most years have been pretty eye opening but this past year was pretty intense…particularly the last six months. Here are some of the new realizations/breakthrough and re-confirmations of previous lessons that I experienced.
1. You Can’t Help People If You Are Too Attached To What You Want Them To Be. I love helping people. When I meet someone although some might think I’m critical of folks – I actually see the very best of them. I see what each and every person can become if they were willing to apply themselves.
But this past year, it’s become blatantly obvious that I care too much and am too intense in wanting them to become the person I see. I realized I can’t be so attached to what I want them to be – I have to let them be who they want to be. I can’t be constantly pushing and demanding. People have to do things at their own pace even if it means they won’t live up to their full potential. I have to accept that and be okay with it; otherwise, I’m not doing any good to them or to myself. It’s a balance of being supportive, slightly pushy and simply there if/when needed.
2. You Can Try to Prevent People From Making Mistakes and Getting Hurt But If They Don’t Want to Listen You Must Let Them Take The Fall. I have experienced so much pain because of mistakes I’ve made, failures and all the struggles I’ve been put through that I end up going out of my way to prevent people from making mistakes and feeling the type of pain I endured. I’ve come to see that not only are people not grateful for my interference…it ends up causing me a lot of unnecessary pain.
If you don’t want to listen to the wisdom of someone who has been there and knows what is likely to happen then go ahead and learn the hard way yourself. This lesson was the most painful to learn but it came in loud and clear straight from God. I heard him tell me “Who are you Ann Bernard to prevent people from learning the lessons I have to teach them?” Who was I indeed?!?! I want God to use me to help him and in order for him to be able to do that – I must allow him to do his job. If someone is heading for a heartbreak because they are too stubborn, naïve, egotistic (or whatever else) to listen – I will let them take the fall and be there for them if they want help getting back up.
I won’t cause myself unnecessary pain to prevent anyone pain…and unfortunately, I’m also not going to hang around to watch them take the fall – that hurts too much too. Perhaps as I grow stronger, I’ll be able to handle it someday.
3. Not Opening Up To The People Who Love You Causes Them Immense Pain. I’ve been shut out and pushed aside by someone I loved tremendously and it hurt a lot. The feeling of knowing the person isn’t opening up to you makes you feel ignored, irrelevant, insignificant, untrustworthy, unworthy, and many other horrible things. Having someone make me feel that way allowed me to realize I made people who love me feel the exact same way by shutting them out of my life. I shut them out because I was going through a tough time and wasn’t able at the time to open up, didn’t even know how to begin to open up and they certainly did not know how to reach out to me. They quickly reached the wrong conclusions and shut me out in order to ease their pain which caused me more pain.
Realizing the pain I caused them made me quickly reach out to them in order to fix the damage that’s been done. It’s going to be an on-going process and will require a lot of hard work and effort but it’s absolutely worth it!
4. Sometimes It’s Simply Over. If you express to someone what you need and they listen and right away try to put in hard work and show effort towards meeting you halfway then you keep at it with them. If the person talks and talks about it but makes no real effort and doesn’t reach back out to you…you know you’re wasting your time and it’s best to walk away. Relationships and friendships do come to an end. Not everyone who comes into your life will stay into your life.
5. Planning to be Ready Vice Planning to Control. I honestly feel I’m quite late in life to finally get this one. I have spent my life up till a few days ago…planning in order to control the outcome of situations. I lacked faith. There is nothing lucky or “out of the blue” good thing that has ever happen to me. I mean EVER. Everything I have ever achieved has been due to intense planning, hard work and follow through. I have prayed endlessly and have had short bursts of time when I had faith but since nothing ever materialized; I always felt obligated to take matters into my own hands. I always wondered why God never delivered anything I prayed and work so hard for…now I see I haven’t really given him a chance. I’m always too quick to take control. I can’t accomplish the miracles that God can (I have been very egotistical).
I understand the purpose of planning now. The purpose of preparation and putting in the hard work to acquire the skills, tools and experience but the real heavy lifting and deliveries require faith. God knows exactly what I desire because it’s been clear in every part of my being for years and He anointed me with those desires – after many beatings over the head I’ve finally acquired the faith and the character needed to wait on his delivery.
6. People In Your Gene Pool Are Likely To Understand You The Best. I wasted a few priceless years being stupid and mad at my older brother, Jr. I grew up admiring and cherishing him and when he let me down and hurt me – I held it against him way longer than necessary. I have two close friends who know me well but none can know me or understand me as well or easily as my older brother. People who are part of your gene pool are very likely to be the folks to understand you the best…after all; you share many of the same genes and grew up in the same or at least similar environment. Jr is also an entrepreneur, a man on a path of constant self-growth and although we might not agree on all things – we respect each other’s opinions. It took some growing up to really appreciate the value of the bond I have with him and to seek out similar bonds with the others in the gene pool!!
7. There is Value For Everyone In A Formal Education. As a proud entrepreneur, student of life and the school of hard-knocks going to college was something I considered a “necessary evil” in order to get myself some additional credentials. This was a pretty self-absorbed view. I have enjoyed college…not all my classes but most. I have enjoyed the structured environment and structured learning. I have enjoyed listening to my professors and simply absorbing their knowledge vice having to experience it all myself. I have enjoyed the toll on my brain and the act of learning. I don’t and won’t remember as much as I wish I could and some of it was painful but overall, I realized I had the wrong idea about going back to school and the value of a formal education.
Alright…I think that’s all I have for now. I admit none of those are earth shattering and perhaps a few of them I was already aware of but they hadn’t affected me to my core. However, now they’re written into my DNA. I am excited to see where these new realizations will take me!!