Our experiences in life are all about learning, right? The mistakes we make, the decisions we choose, the paths we walk, and the people we surround ourselves with all contribute to the person that we grow into. For the most part, we accept the things that have made up our past, because they have made us who we are. But there are some things that I do wish that I had done differently that would have made things so much easier.
Learned to Love My Body
I was bullied throughout my childhood, mostly over my weight. Though I was never a really big child, it was enough to garner me extra (negative) attention from many other people. It has done a number on my self esteem, and it’s been extremely difficult to try to overcome.
Because of my view that I would never be accepted unless I could reach an “ideal” weight, over the years I’ve taken just about every diet pill I could get my hands on. Some as dangerous as Hydroxycut, and some as mild as herbal appetite suppressants or weight loss shakes. Weight has always been a difficult thing for me to manage, and I have always struggled with wanting to be thinner than I was. The diet pills either had bad side effects with minor weight loss, or they didn’t work at all. Either way, my metabolism has never fully recovered. And they were all a waste of money.
I also went on a couple of doctor-supervised diets where I ate around 600 calories per day. Not only was it extremely unhealthy, but I now realize that just because it’s supervised by a Dr. doesn’t mean it’s safe. Those doctors should have known that those diets would cause leptin resistance, which I am now stuck with.Instead of loving my body the way it was, I focused on what I hated about it. And now I have an autoimmune disease that stops me from being able to lose weight at all.I wish I had learned to love my body the way that it was instead of wishing for it to be different.
Learned to Love My Mind
This has always been difficult for me, because I have always been introverted. I have never been outgoing, confident enough to strike up a conversation with someone new. I didn’t have many friends growing up, and several of the ones I thought were friends ended up abandoning me at one time or another.
When I’m in a social situation, I struggle with feeling awkward and out of place. I internally obsess about what I’m going to say and how to seamlessly become part of conversations, or even just to feel included. I worry about saying the wrong things all the time, especially since I’m a northern transplant living in the south, I don’t have the built-in filter that most other people seem to have. I say what comes to my mind, and I’ve learned that a lot of other people don’t like hearing things that bluntly.
Making friends ended up becoming more and more difficult as I got older, and as my insecurities grew deeper. I wish that I hadn’t put so much of my value in what others thought of me, whether they were friends, boyfriends, or even strangers. Placing my value on others’ opinions of me caused me to act in ways that weren’t true to my real self, so I ended up losing myself for quite some time. I’m making my way back to where I should be now, but learning to love yourself after feeling inadequate for so long isn’t easy.
I wish that I had known it was ok to love myself the way I was instead of wishing to be like everyone else.
Learned Not to Judge Others
I grew up in an area that was very small. Everyone knew everyone’s business, and nobody seemed to think twice before talking. I have encountered more than my share of “mean girls” throughout my life, and admittedly, I’ve been a “mean girl” too. Having been on the receiving end of it, I knew all too well how it felt to be judged without being known. But then I’d turn around and put on the same mask because at that point, I felt it was better to wear it and have people not like who they thought I was than to show my real, vulnerable self and risk them not liking who I really was.
But in the midst of juggling my persona and keeping up appearances, I have undoubtedly missed out on several friendships. There are many people that I deemed unworthy of my attention, that were probably pretty cool people and would have been fun to get to know. I’ll never know at this point, but it’s something that I can change going forward.
I wish that I had let people show me who they really were, instead of making assumptions about who I thought they were.
If I had learned these lessons earlier in life, many things would probably be different. So honestly, I don’t wish I had done things differently at all. But that doesn’t meant that I’m glad that I’ve hurt people, or that I’ve hurt my body and mind. What I will say though, is that I’m thankful for the lessons that I’ve learned through these situations.
Often, it’s the most difficult times that produce the most beautiful transformations. And even though the transformations that I’ve gone through have been extremely hard at times, there’s another side of it. It allows you to see the beauty through the mess. Going through difficult times gives you the gift of perspective. And the gift of perspective is something to be treasured, because you learn from your mistakes and you remember that you’ve worked hard to get where you are.
Don’t trade your perspective for anything. Every choice that I’ve made, and every path I’ve walked has led me right here. Married to my best friend, mama to two beautiful little boys, imperfect yet faithful child of God, and blissfully happy.
If you could change anything from your past, would you? What would it be?