2021 has been nothing short of major ups and downs. Tears have been shed, laughter has been shared and as we look back on the person we first started as in January, it feels like a lifetime has passed. It’s shocking how much a person can grow in such a short period of time and there’s still always room for improvement.
As the year comes to a close with champagne glasses ready to be filled and fireworks seconds away from lighting up the sky, here are some life lessons to take with you into 2022.
1. Start lying to yourself until you believe it
In other words, “fake it till you make it”. If you’re dealing with self-esteem issues, practice looking in the mirror and using affirmations to feel more confident about your appearance. Even when you’re having a bad day and feel like absolute sh*t, lie and tell yourself that you look good until that mindset simply becomes second-hand nature to you.
2. Your insecurities are nobody’s business
Think about it this way, when you step outside into crowds, are you spending every miniscule second of your time analysing and judging peoples’ appearances? No, because you’re too busy thinking about yourself. The only time people will look closely at your insecurities is when you choose to point it out to them and allow them to have a platform to express their opinion.
3. Appreciate time with friends and family
A major lesson that the pandemic has taught the world is that quality time with the people you love can truly get you through anything. Make time in your day to at least send one message to a loved member of your chosen family, it’s not enough to just assume that people know you care – you have to show them too.
4. Don’t regret spending money on things you love
Money comes and goes but your time in this world is limited. Creating memories will always be more important than worrying about savings and budgeting all the time so when you have the privilege to, splurge without a second thought. In a few months, you won’t even be thinking about that hole in your wallet.
5. Recognise your self-worth early
Hustling culture is not the way to go forward in the new year – or ever, for a matter of fact. Just because you’re young and may not have a three-page CV worth of experience, doesn’t mean you should be taken advantage of with being underpaid and overworked. Don’t let anybody besides yourself determine your self-worth.
6. Stop relying on other people’s opinions
Getting a second opinion from someone else is not always necessary, it’s time to start relying on your first instinct instead. The next time you would like to purchase a clothing item, sign up for an event, get a haircut, or whatever, try doing it without asking for your friends’ opinion first so that you can start learning how to trust yourself more.
7. Start networking with people now
People should be taught as soon as they enter university that the job hunting world isn’t just about CVs, cover letters, and experience – it’s about building connections. Get out of your comfort zone in 2022 and start directly messaging the people that you either want to work with or learn from and ask them out for lunch. They could be the next person who will help move your career forward.
8. Invest in something that will move you forward
Be it a new yoga mat, a proper planner with a binder, a vitamix blender, etc. It’s good to spend some money on something that will make a positive impact in your life even if it is something small. As long as it makes you feel like you’re becoming a better person, it is worth it.
9. Seek therapy as early as you need to
If therapy was more accessible and affordable, it would be treated with the same importance as regular blood tests and health check-ins with your GP. It does not take having a major breakdown to finally force yourself into booking an appointment with a therapist. It’s always better to prevent things from getting worse as early on as you can so it’s not harder to do so later on.
Remember – never compare the scale of what affects you to what affects others, everyone deals with things differently.
10. Don’t regret oversharing with people
When did oversharing start being seen as a weakness? Once you stop associating shame with the act of oversharing, it becomes a positive trait to have. It means you’re more open to letting new people in your life and creating a safe space for others to share and build closer relationships.
11. You don’t always have to stick with personality that you’re unhappy with
There’s the idea that the person you were when people first met you five years ago will have to be the same person you show as you move forward. Except, we’re always growing and personalities can change over time which is a great thing especially if that person is happier and confident. Just because you may have been insecure and shy at one point your life does not mean you can’t be “that girl” now.
12. Live in the present as much as you can
Anxiety sometimes stems from either the fear of living in the past or thinking about the future. The common factor? Both of these situations are completely out of one’s control. It’s important to sit down sometimes and force yourself live the day minute by minute instead. Nothing bad is happening to you right here and right now.
13. It’s okay to not have hobbies
The toxic productivity mind-set that emerged in the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns has led to lots of pressure and guilt being associated with sitting down and doing nothing. The reality is, not everyone has a hobby and it is not something you can force. Save your money now and just embrace the couch potato culture instead.
14. Practice body neutrality for a change
Body positivity culture only reinforces the idea that people should obsess over their shape all the time. Sometimes it’s healthier to avoid thinking about it at all and instead focusing on building a strong mind and body connection that makes you feel naturally best about yourself.
15. Question everything around you
There is so much information on all online platforms and in the real world that it is difficult to know where to start looking. Many two-sided conversations, trends, and arguments to filter through. Before automatically agreeing with what you see, question what is behind it and do your own research.
16. Embrace the things that make you unique
In a world with a population of over seven billion living humans, it’s almost completely impossible to be unique. So once you do find that one thing that makes you special, even if it is considered a “character flaw”, do flaunt it – as long as it is ethical and not hurting anyone obviously. It’s only something to be ashamed of if you turn it into something you think you should be ashamed of.
17. Avoid using self-deprecation as humour
Often when you’re surrounded by people who may have an insecure mindset, you might feel pressure to put yourself down as well just so you get along. You may even use it as humour especially since social media has validated that idea for so long. However, self-love is more important in the long run than a chance to be seen as “relatable”.
18. Always trust your first instinct
Nobody knows you better than you know yourself. Believe in the energy that you sense about a person or a place upon first glance and if you need to remove yourself from the situation, do it – no questions asked.
19. Commit to the things that are worth fighting for
There’s a reason that you feel drawn to certain things in life, whether it be a dream job, relationship, or something else. Once you find it, try and let go of your old fears and commit to it in the best way you can.
20. Give out the energy that you want to receive
Your experience living on this earth is shaped around the energy that you give out during your time alive. If you look for positivity and happiness around you, your brain will find things in the most unexpected places to validate that.
21. You can’t control their action, only your reaction
Learning how to let go of control is hard lesson to practice but it gets easier once you accept the fact that the fate of what happens next is out of your hands. You have to find ways to adapt to the world unfolding around you to what works best for you instead of reacting in a negative way.
22. Know when to start cutting toxic people out of your life
It’s time to stop compromising your own needs for the sake of others and instead start living your honest truth – and if they don’t like it, they can leave. It’s not worth it to stick with people who continue to negatively affect your mental health even if you have been friends with them forever.
What are some life lessons that you've learned this year? Share them in the comments below!