Thirty-Four Things I Know For Sure On My Thirty-Fourth Birthday

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Today, I am celebrating 34 years of living! I spent this past week reflecting on the lessons that I’ve learned. I’m thankful to be here to share a list the things I know for sure about myself and life. Keep reading.... 

1. Trust Your Intuition

Feel it. Hold on to it and let it guide the way. For anything that I have ever needed reassurance about the answer has always been found by looking within and trusting myself. 

2. Choose Your Company Wisely

I’ve been given a rep of being "anti-social". Although, I can understand this assumption, it is not a title that I subscribe to personally. I am selective about the company that I keep and it has served me well. For years now, I've not experienced any drama, back-stabbing, gossiping, and so on. That is not to say that my friends and I don't have differences. It is that they are the kind of people that know who we are and can love each other despite those differences. I have no problems editing my social group ruthlessly if it means peace of mind.

3. Don't Complain, Adjust The Sails

Before motherhood, I was just sailing through life with no real direction and not a single care in the world. The birth of each of my children has given me more purpose and a mission. It is hard-work and most days, I do not have a clue what I am doing. However, I have learned that best way to get through tough times is to go with the flow and never be afraid to move a little different.

4. Never Avoid Tough Situations

There is no way around it. I have failed, had to explain away embarrassing moments, and make some of the toughest decisions that I wish that I could just hide away from. And it didn’t kill me. Sometimes, it best to take a moment to be introspective or reach out to a mentor then just handle it. 

5. You Can Change Your Mind At Anytime

Change has only ever been as difficult as I made it. I've learned that I am never required to be the same person that I was years, a month, or even a moment ago. I define what makes me happy and can change my mind if I want. 

6. Don't Rush The Process

My kids tease me all the time because most of the time I barely do the speed limit when driving. I always tell them "Sit back and enjoy the ride." We get a good laugh out of it. This applies to so many areas of my life from parenting, romance, creativity, etc. I am in no rush to get to the end. I just want to enjoy the journey.

7. Get Moving To Feel Better

Dancing in the morning, holding a yoga pose, and jumping rope get my heart pumping everyday. Movement makes me feel youthful and strong. It makes me grateful for the healthy body that I have been given.

8. Your Thoughts Have Real Power

Speaking positively about myself and others has been a great way to find the good in all situations. Words have the power to give life. So, I choose to speak life as often as I can.

9. Only A Few Things In Life Are Essential

Appreciating what I have is vital to being happy. I have found contentment in having less things and being more present in daily life. I believe in getting rid of it all...toxic people, negative thoughts, junk mail, and old clothes. Clearing spaces makes more room to breathe.

10. Have An Open Mind & Heart

People just come from different walks of life and everyday I learn something knew about the world. In order to not become overtaken with anger over different points of view, I choose to be empathetic. Others are entitled to their opinions and life choices. 

11. There Is Enough For All Of Us

Wealth, resources, love, happiness, and sunshine are all things that are plentiful if we are not competing and greedy. I cheer on everyone and never try to take from others because I believe that there is more than enough for us all. What is meant for me to have will be if I trust that God will make it so. 

12. Show Off Your Gifts & Talents

I shared recently on this blog how gratitude is linked to joy, well this goes for creativity too. The more I showcase my talents confidently it is a way of thanking God for the gift and He blesses me with more ideas, projects, and recognition. 

13. Give, Give,... Give Back

I know how if feels to have nothing and wonder how I will provide from one day to the next. It is a terrible place to be in. I was offered a helping hand from my family and that was way that I was able to rebuild my life. Now, stronger than ever, I find ways to give back as much as I can through donations, sharing knowledge, and volunteering. It is rewarding but more importantly it is my way of reaching back to where I came from to help pull another up. 

14. Define Womanhood For Yourself

It is amazing to live in a world in which women are pushing back harder than ever against the stereotypical roles handed to us for decades. I am proud of the woman that I am and that frankly, I don't fit into any boxes. I live as free as I choose to.

15. Save Your "Yes" For When You Truly Mean It

There really is nothing more to say here except I have the right to only do the things that I want and if someone takes issue with it then that's their problem.

16. Eat What You Want

There are so many different diets and theories about how to eat. I say eat what you like but in moderation. Depriving myself only makes me crave the unhealthy choices more and binge eating just is not a good idea. 

17. Love The Body You Have

My body is the most incredible thing that I've ever owned and I'm training my mind to respect it. Taking care of this body is so important because I want to be able to live for many more years. Also, for as long as I can remember people have criticized me for my weight, my larger than usual lips, nappy hair, complexion and so on to the point that I felt self-conscious. My 30’s have shown me that I can’t take on others low self-esteem issues. Anytime I hear these comments, it is clear reflection of them, not me. I love the skin I’m in. And I own that I’m a strong and sexy woman. Uniquely-made. Period. 

18. Push Through Your Fears

Life is scary! Everyday I do things that terrify me and I have never regretted telling  fear to find another place to show up because I've got shit to do.

19. Connect With Your Kids On A Deeper Level

It is a given that making sure my children have the bare necessities is my responsibility. It is also important that beyond what I can provide for them that they have a connection that allows them to trust me with their heart space. They are getting older and the world is changing around them. I will always be a safe place for them to bring their emotions, fears, ideas, goals, questions, and experiences.

20. Use Resistance To Your Advantage

Sometimes resistance is just a little exercise to build up your determination. Using it to re-evaluate a situation and renew my commitment has often worked to benefit a cause I'm pursuing.

21. Let People Judge You

I've come to learn that when people are judging me the hardest it is because I am doing exactly what I should be. Especially when I've found a way to live authentically and without the approval of those that think their opinions matter. It doesn't bother me to be judged by those that are irrelevant to the big picture of my life. 

22. Self Improvement Doesn't Stop

There is a stigma around admitting that you have a problem or that life just isn't perfect. Especially when everyone on social media is trying desperately to appear as "goals". Well, even once you've met a goal there is always room to improve. Self-improvement is a part of every human experience. I'm embracing it and enjoying the growth. 

23. Be Committed To Your Goals

Life only gets better when I am more committed to my dreams than I am to people pleasing and conformity. I've stayed the course this long...there is no going back! 

24. Get & Keep Your Money Straight

One affirmation that I repeat daily is, "when I don't have debt my money can do anything that I want it to do." This is my motivation to secure the bag for my dreams and my kids. 

25. You Don't Need To Have It All Figured Out But You Do Have To Keep It Moving

There is no way we can figure out exactly how our lives will turn out. Even though I cannot see the finish line that doesn't mean that life must stop. I will take steps big and small to getting closer to my purpose. Always keep moving forward.

26. True Love Does Not Equal Struggle Love

Nope. Nope. Nope. I decided at 29 that I would not go into my 30's believing that love had to hurt to be real. I will know when it is real because it will not cause other's  pain and will truly take my life to another level of existing.

27. Teach Your Kids To Be Someone Instead Of Someone's

I know that my children experience love someday. I hope that through my living (and teaching) that they are whole when that someone comes along. I want them to be confident, independent, and self-aware so that they don't just settle because they're already truly in love with their own lives.

28. Guard Your Heart & Independence

Well this relates a lot to #27 but applies to myself. Although, I have always been very independent. I was not always in love with my own life which caused me to stay in bad places for far too long. I guard my heart and independence now because these two things will lead me to exactly where I belong. 

29. Love requires reciprocity

I realize that we are supposed to love unconditionally and stick it out to the bitter end according to society’s standards of love. However, I am fully aware that I am not capable of this kind of love. I am a creature of reciprocation. Basically, what you is sow is what you reap. There are seeds that must be planted to be given a spot in my mind and heart. The seeds of love, honesty, respect, and commitment. I have zero tolerance for anyone that consistently tries to take and never pours back. There is no room for anyone that plays the fence.

30. True success will never require you to SACRIFICE your family, morals, or happiness.

Tearing down others to build yourself up never really works. You may have the thing that you wanted...the job, car, money, and even person but if it is obtained at the expense of someone else then it will never be true success. 

31. Speaking Your Truth Will Set You Free

The mind and heart can become incredibly heavy from holding in so much truth. Releasing it without malice is the only way to be freed of that burden.

32. Know Your Personality Traits

I am an introvert through and through. Much of my anxiety has stemmed from trying to be more extroverted, more talkative, and more noticeable in ways that just did not feel real. I am not shy but I am quiet and prefer to make statements in my own way (creatively). I do not do parties not even when they celebrate me. I thoroughly enjoy my own company but that does not make me out of touch. Knowing these things about myself has lessened the panic-attacks and made it easier to say "no" to request that do not suit my personality. 

33. Forgive Quickly

Always in an effort to be free of emotional baggage, I will do my best to forgive as quickly as I can. Life must go on.

34. Set Boundaries

My boundaries are essential to self-care. It took a lot of courage to disappoint the people I care about in a effort to show myself more love. Boundaries preserve my energy and relieves me of unnecessary guilt. Boundaries do not need explaining. Love yourself enough to set them and teach people how to love you. 

xo,

Shelly C.

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