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One of the most beautiful things about life is that as we are challenged, we grow and, as we learn, we can teach and inspire others.
In my thirty years of life experience, I have learnt many things. Some have stuck and some have not.
Here are 5 things that I know for sure:
1. Life is too precious to spend on toxic people.
When I was younger, I was a Model and a Singer. When I was in these industries, I felt so much pressure to fit-in and conform. Until one day, I had enough and promised myself that I would never put myself through that again. That, being what came with fitting-in and one of the problems that came with fitting in was the need to have people around me at all times- even if those people were toxic for me. I’m no angel; however, I found myself surrounded by petty, superficial and jealous people more often than I wanted to be. I was 22 when I decided that was not the career path for me and, with that came my decision to leave toxic people alone. It is not up to me to validate them or make them feel secure. I am the only one who can validate myself and, they are the only ones who can validate themselves.
2. You don’t have to be friends with everyone.
It’s funny that growing up, I understood this. However, as I became an adult and moved to a foreign country, I felt the need to get along with everyone. Culturally, I was raised that if you don’t like someone, you don’t have to force it. However, moving to The U.S.A. I felt this need to smile at people that I didn’t like or get along with in order to fit-in to the culture here.
A few years ago, I reminded myself of authenticity and what it meant: to be true. I decided to stand in my authenticity and only smile if I felt the need. I live in Los Angeles and, no other city affirms the idea that just because someone smiles doesn’t mean they are happy or like you, like any other city or place that I have experienced. Friends are people that you choose to be in your life; it is always a choice to keep them around.
3. All is within.
As I mentioned before, I was exposed to two industries when I was a teenager that are based on external value. After I left these industries, I realized how much weight I had put on the external: what I looked like, who I knew, what I wore and what kind of gadgets I had.
One day, I watched a video of a Yogi who has passed on named, Pattabhi Jois. He explained in this video that if we understood the capability that we had on the inside, we would make peace with needing to search for it on the outside. Hearing this didn’t solve every problem that I had ever had in my life but it gave me a deep understanding that I am more powerful than I know and have ever believed. Once we access that power is when we align with a higher purpose. One that is safer, healthier and more secure than needing the external world to fulfill us.
4. Strength takes time and practice.
We can all claim to be strong until we are called to be so- then we find out our true strength. I learnt this lesson recently when someone I know called me evil and a witch, literally behind my back when I was standing in front of her. My blood began to boil and then I thought of how hearing what I heard could make me stronger.
I said to myself, ‘If I am truly strong then why is this affecting me?’ I decided to use what I heard to practice my strength: ignoring toxic comments &toxic people, breathing and repeating a positive affirmation in my head that will help me see the bigger picture. That everyone is teaching us, what is the lesson that I need to learn?
5. Not everyone is for me. Which is okay.
One of the problems in society is that we are constantly seeking validation and sometimes, from people who don’t deserve to have a say about who we are, what we do and what we believe in. I have spent enough time trying to convince people who didn’t like me to like me, only to realize the danger that comes with that. Seeking validation from people who don’t like you gives them power and time- both of which you can never get back. If you have to convince someone to like you, you have bigger problems than the other person. There is a part of you that doesn’t feel worthy and that is what needs to be addressed& healed first before attempting to convert a hater into someone who likes you.