What I Learned in 2014

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I’m skipping What I’m Into this month in favor of Emily Freeman’s What We Learned in 2014 linkup. Happy New Year’s Eve!

What I Learned in 2014:

Ask for what you want. Sometimes the only reason you don’t have what you want is because you haven’t asked. People aren’t mind readers and can’t help or accommodate you if they don’t know you need it. If the answer is no, you’re no worse off than you were before, and you’re that much braver.

Be your own damn knight. Don’t go into everything guns blazing, but don’t wait quietly and endlessly for someone else to rescue you. You are worthy and able to rescue yourself.

“Sometimes all you need is 20 seconds of insane courage.” – Matt Damon, We Bought a Zoo. And with every 20 seconds, it gets easier to start.

Real love, or even the real possibility of it, conquers all. Practical obstacles, personality differences, and your established mental picture of the kind of person you want to be with ultimately mean nothing when you find someone your soul recognizes. If that stuff holds you back or gets in the way, it’s not the right person. Bottom line.

Avoiding mistakes is not the goal of life. If you make every single decision based on how safe or wise it is, you’re going to miss out on a lot. I believe there is such a thing as responsible recklessness and it is my current life practice. I’ve lost my fear of getting to the finish line with a few bumps and bruises. In fact, I think it makes God smile, like a parent smiles on a kid who comes in a little roughed up from a day of play. It’s not a sign of failure. If God intended us to get everywhere in a smooth, straight line, He wouldn’t lead us down so many meandering roads. He uses the side roads and the chances we take to shape us into the people we’re supposed to be. Warning: when you start living this way, some people won’t like it, and they will let you know. Let it go.

No one has life figured out. The people you envy and/or look up to, who appear to be clicking right along on successful ten-year plans, are flying by the seat of their pants as much as you are. If you ask, some of them will tell you about it. Truly believing this will be a process for me, but I’ve finally seen enough evidence to start.

There is a time to be the change you want to see, and a time to accept that you can’t be that change all alone. It’s a fine but crucial line.

Love is my superpower. This year I took a StrengthsFinder test. Out of 34 possibilities, my primary strength is Empathy. Deep down, a secret part of me still hoped I had some cool, marketable natural ability I hadn’t tapped into yet. That little hope died when I read the test results. It was my true last call that I am not an impressive wielder of Air, Water, or Earth. I am the Heart kid. But Heart is the glue. Without him, the other powers would be mostly bluster.

I’m trying to stop being ashamed of or apologizing for my capability to love hard (and hide it poorly), over-relate and get over-attached, and see past people’s mistakes to who they really are and meet them there. It’s embarrassing and messy in a world of hipster indifference. It’s easily misunderstood. It can’t get me a job, it probably scares off a lot of men, and it usually ends up hurting me way more than it helps me. But it is my gift, and the world needs it.

What did you learn in 2014?

About Brenda W.

Christian. Memphian. Reader. Writer. True blue Tiger fan. Lover of shoes, the ocean, adventure, and McAlister’s iced tea.

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5 Responses to What I Learned in 2014

  1. loverofblue says:

    Thanks for sharing this insightful blog post!

  2. Leida says:

    1. If I love myself well, others will follow suit or leave. Either way, I win.

    2. Asking ‘how can I help?’ diffuses a lot of tense situations by connecting us to each other’s humanity. If the person who thinks they hate you feels like you truly see them, chances are they’ll stand down.

    Thank you for your list; great reminders, all!

  3. Sarah says:

    I learned — again — that sometimes it takes a look back over a decision made to understand why it was made the way it was made, why I landed where I landed. Happy 2015, Brenda!

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