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26 Things I Learned by the Age of 26!

1. No one can make me happy unless I put in the effort to be happy myself.

I can admit, I've always searched for my happiness in people and possessions. Unfortunately, they cannot bring TRUE peace and happiness. You must learn who you are and what makes you happy, and provide that for yourself. Once you find and maintain your peace, a person or possession will only add to the happiness that is already within you. Expecting someone to bring you utter and complete happiness without first doing the work yourself, is a recipe for disaster. They can't fulfill that need for you, no matter how much you think they can.

2. Expectations lead to disappointment. Expect nothing, but appreciate everything. 

I've experienced more than a little disappointment when it comes to the human population. I've been let down, left alone, backstabbed, and disappointed from early childhood. Somehow, I always tried to see the "good" in people despite them showing me who they truly are. Don't be like me. Don't EXPECT anyone to do anything for you, even out of love. Expect nothing, therefore, you cannot be disappointed or hurt by their failure to meet your expectations. Instead, appreciate the GOOD that you can see, and be thankful everyday for all that you have.

3. How to maintain good credit.

I truly wish I was educated about credit before it mattered. I was always told not to get credit cards growing up, but not how to responsibly use credit cards to build positive credit.  Credit cards aren't bad, misuse of them is. If I knew "bad credit" would play a part in literally everything I did as an adult, I may have made better choices! I think that credit education should be a mandatory course in grade school since credit is more important than money in the United States! It doesn't make sense that we aren't being educated when credit scores are a requirement! Break the cycle, build your credit and start teaching your children about healthy spending habits and credit education early so they will be prepared when they reach adulthood!

4. Your perspective about anything changes everything.

One of the first things that I picked up during my journey to finding peace was "A Changed mind is a changed life." Although I still fall victim of negative emotions sometimes, this quote is forever in the back of my mind when I'm experiencing them. This quote is also one of the things that gets me back on track mentally. It's a true quote ! Even in the darkest situations, we ALWAYS have something to be grateful for, so choose happiness and gratitude. Your mood should not be dependent on the circumstances that you face. Although this is easier said than done, it's possible if you start today! The next time you have an opportunity to feel a negative emotion (mad, sad, lonely, depressed, unappreciated, mistreated, etc), choose something positive to focus on and express your gratitude for still having a light in the dark. Apply this practice to your everyday life, and you will begin to live stress free, regardless of your environment :)

5. If you don't put in the work, you'll never have what you want. 

I was born a hard worker. I've always taken pride in whatever I decide to do, and I do my very best at everything! Although I've always WORKED HARD, I've quit a million times due to doubt. People (including me at times) want an overnight change, and LIFE DOES NOT happen or change overnight. You have to be patient AND put in consistent work to meet your goals and obtain the things that you'd like! Slow and steady wins the race, but LAZINESS or EXCUSES never will! Keep working hard, no matter how long it takes for you to get there. You will get there as long as you keep moving forward!

6. Having sex with a man won’t make him interested in you, let alone love you.

If all you’ve got to offer a man is your vagina, you’re in for a whole lot of your time being wasted. I’ve been there and done that, so please know that my honesty is never out of judgement, but out of personal experience. There’s nothing about your vagina that makes it special, or any different from the next. Please, have some standards. Also, have some self respect for yourself to not let multiple men have access to your most precious treasure. Between STD’s, pregnancy, and unwanted negative energies, you should be cautious of who has full access to you.

7. Saying NO isn't mean, selfish, or rude. ESPECIALLY if it's in my best interest.

I grew up shy to the point that I would be silent instead of expressing my personality, beliefs, and values. I pretty much allowed everyone to walk over me. I didn't have a backbone. I didn't have a voice, and when I attempted to use the voice I had, my words always went unheard. This led me to be a "yes man" and it hurt me more than anything else. Saying NO for any reason is not selfish. If you don't want to do something, simply don't do it. No one can guilt trip me into thinking that making the best decision for myself was wrong, just because they may feel some type of way about it. That's their problem, not mine. Protecting your peace shouldn't offend anyone who truly wants what's best for you, they'd simply respect your wishes. Say no sometimes, and stop stressing yourself out for the benefit of someone else. The peace that's exhibited over your life after you get over the initial phase of feeling guilty, is unmatched. 

8. Having a male companion is not the greatest accomplishment in life. Men cannot fill a void.

I searched for love, attention, affection, and validation from men way too early in my life, not knowing that they could never fill the void inside me. It took many disappointments, heartbreaks, and feeling disposable for me to realize, maybe men can't provide what's missing in me? They can't. You may be in a toxic relationship, because you're desperate to feel something and you don't want to be alone. You may be talking to multiple men, because you want "options," but really, you're just trying to fill a void that can only be filled by yourself. Pour into yourself. Learn who you are and what you want out of life, and you will attract a companion on the same path as you. At that point, you both will compliment and help one another on the path to wholeness. Sorry to inform you, but even your soulmate cannot complete what's missing inside you. Pray for guidance through this process. 

9. It's okay to outgrow people.

I've never been a stranger to cutting people off. I wasn't aware of how to effectively communicate through problems, so my solution would be to ghost people, cut people off, and to move forward as if they never existed. I used to feel guilty about doing this, because it could've been done in a better manner. BUT, I no longer do. At this point, we are all on different paths. We have different goals, different career paths, different values, and different mindsets. It's natural and perfectly FINE to outgrow people who you never thought you would. You don't have to beg people to meet you on your level, you simply continue moving forward with your life. Who's meant to follow you, will and who's meant to be left behind, they've got to go. Holding on to dead weight will eventually cause you to drown. Evolve through life as you please, and the universe will always see fit that you have exactly who you need, when you need them.

10. Making a lot of money doesn't mean anything if you don't manage it correctly.

My family didn't have a lot of money growing up, so when I became an adult I naturally wanted to spoil myself. I worked two jobs from 19-21 to ensure that I could provide myself with the lifestyle that I wanted. I wanted to be able to purchase what I wanted, when I wanted! At 23, I was making $40,000/year and there was an option for unlimited overtime. I worked extremely hard, and I thought that treating myself (every time I got paid) was smart. It wasn't. I should have been investing the extra money I was making into things that could have put me in a better financial position. Making a lot of money is nice bragging rights, but what you're putting your money into is what really matters. Material things are nice, but they are NOT going to help you make it to the next level. The next time you get some extra money, invest it into something you NEED, or something that will make you more money!

11. You only get ONE body, so stop hating it!

I've been struggling with body image issues my entire life. From not being told I was beautiful to ALWAYS being bullied, I didn't know how to focus on anything other than my flaws. My hands were huge, my feet were huge, my anxiety caused me to bite my fingernails, which I'd get bullied about too. The odds were against me from day one, but enough is enough! This is the only body that I will have in this lifetime, so I may as well accept it. I've been large and I've been skinny, both which I suffered from body image issues. I decided that enough was enough. I can't go my entire life focusing on the flaws of mine, and hating myself for it. All I can do is accept myself for who I am, and others will have no choice but to do the same. Society, the entertainment industry, and social media have made us forget about REAL BODIES. Everyone wants the perfect body, with all the curves and no stretch marks, but that is not realistic for the average woman. I realized that I'm not the women on tv and I am not willing to get a surgery just to "possibly' begin accepting myself. Self-Love and acceptance starts within! I began accepting and loving my body by simply telling myself daily that I am beautiful, regardless of my flaws. 

12. Every relationship won't be long term, but that doesn't make them useless.

Nothing at all lasts forever, and I do believe that everyone has their season. I've had a lot of "friends" and associates so far, most who I have grown apart from. Growing apart from people doesn't mean you have to be on bad terms, and it also doesn't deem that relationship/friendship "a waste of time." I'm a firm believer that everything happens for a reason. Every person comes into your life to serve a purpose. Whether that purpose be to assist you through a certain season of your life, teach you a lesson, or maybe that person needed YOU for something. Regardless of how the relationship may have ended, trust that it has served it's purpose and know that they can and will be replaced with someone who serves a greater purpose.

13. Trust your intution.

When playing a video game that requires quick decision making, I make the WRONG choice 90% of the time, do you know why? Because I didn't trust my FIRST MIND. Your first mind is your intuition. Our intuition always knows what's best for us, but the problem for a lot of us is that we don't trust ourselves. Not trusting your intuition will always lead you down the wrong path. The next time you hear that little voice in your head, go with your first mind (if it's logical) and stop second guessing yourself!

14. Making mistakes is proof that you're living.

I've made my share of mistakes in life, and I've probably beat myself up about 99% of the choices that I've made that turned out to be a mistake. It wasn't until having a conversation with my niece that I realized that I had been doing this to myself. Mistakes are PROOF that you're living and learning. You cannot be so afraid of making the wrong choice that you place yourself in a box and never explore the world. Making mistakes is a perfectly normal way of life. If you never went through life making mistakes, you'd never learn anything. The next time you make a mistake, instead of getting upset with yourself, ask yourself, "What can I learn from this, and how can I ensure that I don't make the same mistake twice?"

15. Life can be hell today and paradise tomorrow. Keep pushing forward.

I've been through some shit in this lifetime. I am no stranger to sadness, depression, anger, unhappiness, negativity, or feeling defeated. Every negative emotion known to man, I've felt. Somehow, I've managed to hang on to just enough faith to still be here today. Life isn't a fairytale, and it was never promised to us that it would be. That's an incorrect assumption that we made about life! LIFE GETS BETTER, but you have to be strong enough to endure the rain to see the rainbow. If you're at your lowest point, that just means you can only go UP. Keep pressing through the low's of life and remember that they're only preparing you for your destiny.

16. Real love isn't easy.

In movies and tv show's, love is rarely portrayed in it's truest forms. We're conditioned to believe that love is only about going on dates, having sex, receiving gifts, being shown off to the world, vacationing together, and getting married. While those are a part of love, real love isn't just about that. Real love is still cuddling with your spouse although y'all may not be on good terms. Real love is putting your pride aside to have a difficult conversation that will clear the energy in the room. Real love is seeing your partner at their lowest point, and lifting them up while never losing love for them. Real love is UGLY, but the result of being loyal to the happiness of your partner is what makes love so beautiful. No one ever told me that finding true love would be EASY, but I've learned along the way that it's worth the work. 

17. Don't shrink myself to fit in with others.

I've always wanted to fit in with other people, but adulthood taught me not to FIT IN if it means limiting myself. I've been through phases where I wouldn't share my good news, because it may make someone less fortunate feel some type of way. I didn't want to shine, because someone who's light is dim maybe offended. Don't do this. Not only does it hurt you, but it's not YOUR issue how your happiness may make someone else feel. If someone else isn't happy with their current circumstances, the power is in their hands to change it! I no longer shrink myself or hide my accomplishments, out of fear that someone else may feel bad. 

18. I must validate myself. 

I learned to stop focusing on what other people didn’t/don’t do for me and to begin doing it for myself. So what if no one ever tells me I’m pretty, they’re proud of me, or that I’m amazing? If I genuinely feel this way about myself, it really doesn’t matter what any outsiders think. Adopting this attitude will prevent a lot of disappointments from other people not meeting the expectations that I held them to.

19. Money can’t make you happy, but it can contribute to it! 

There’s a quote that “money can’t buy happiness,” which is true BUT only to a certain extent. I don’t recall being poor, struggling to pay my bills, not having money for food and clothes, or never having money to enjoy life buying me anything except depression. Money CAN buy things that contribute to your happiness. Money can buy things that can make you more money to invest in what makes you happy. Money can provide you with a lifestyle that makes you happy. Don’t let anyone try to discourage you from getting your coins, because being poor and struggling isn’t the lifestyle that I want!

20. Playing the victim won’t help you grow.

I’ve felt victimized my entire life, which contributed to me playing the victim in adulthood, but I realized that doesn’t help me grow. Playing the victim blinds you from reality, which in turn keeps you stagnant. If you’re constantly basking in negativity and why you can’t do something, you never will. Stop playing the victim, acknowledge your circumstances, and devise a plan to change your situation! The power is your hands, so stop looking for sympathy and make the best out of the cards you were dealt. 

21. Closed mouths don’t get fed.

Growing up shy, I heard this phrase a lot. It’s true! If you don’t speak up and let it be known how you feel, your standards, and your expectations, no one will know! You can’t expect people to assume or just guess what you want, you have to speak! This is one of the hardest habits to break, but with the help of my hubby, it gets easier the more I do it.

22. Put nothing past anyone. Trust must be earned. 

I grew up very trusting of everyone. While my parents always told me “everyone isn’t your friend,” it took life’s experiences to confirm that for me. Unfortunately, the world we live in is not very trustworthy. You can’t trust everyone and expect to not get hurt in the process. Instead of listening to words, I learned to trust the actions that you show me! My trust must be earned through those actions and those actions alone. This adopted perspective saves me from a lot of heartache these days.

 23. Obtaining a college degree is not the greatest accomplishment of life.

I felt like such a failure after flunking out of college, just to later realize that I DON’T want to work in the medical field anyways. There’s more to life after high school than going to college, and college doesn’t guarantee success. I know a lot of people who I went to college with who don’t even work in their fields. We shouldn’t pressure college on our children, because you can definitely be successful as an entrepreneur or working for someone else’s company.

24. Investing in your personal development is the greatest investment to be made. 

I spent a lot of money on material possessions that didn’t contribute to my personal growth. I’m sure we can all relate to impulse shopping and spending money on things that probably didn’t benefit us. I learned how much my impulsive spending hurt me, and now I’m able to stop and think “Do I REALLY need this?” I’ve learned to invest in things that align with my goals, as far as healthier foods, books that will help me grow mentally, and materials that will help me succeed on a spiritual and physical level. Once your mindset is in the correct place, the world is yours! Invest in things that will get you to the next level.

25. I have full control over my state of mind.

When I feel sad, I have a choice to do things that make me more sad or I can do things to bring positive energy to myself. I’ve learned that we have full control over our lives, but we often feel like things are out of our control. You can create the life you want by placing yourself in a nurturing environment! I had to break the bad habit of listening to music that made me more sad, or speaking about my issues with those who wouldn’t uplift me, and instead, I listen to things that motivate me to grow through my pains. Your happiness OR sadness is purely your perspective, and your perspective can always be changed.

26. Mental health issues are perfectly NORMAL.

Back when I was younger, I’d never publicly admit to suffering from anxiety and depression, but in the world we live in today, you’re lucky NOT to suffer from a mental disorder. It’s perfectly fine to experience this. Just take the proper steps and make sure you are doing everything in your power to heal from the traumas that may be causing your disorders! 


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