You know, you would think as one gets older, one gets wiser. Yes and No… this past year, I’ve had to relearn some of the hard truths of life, even ones that I had experienced before and some that I had to learn the very first time. I’m amazed how life teaches you many things, time and time again. As I approach my 39th birthday in June, I want to share with you these lessons I got to experience this past year. Some are just funny, some are “Seriously, Charity, you just found that out?” and some may be for you to learn, too.
Hard Truth #1 – Every Person Has a Secret Agenda
Yes, I just went there. Every person you know has a secret agenda. It may not be a “I’m going to take over the world” agenda (okay, that may be the case) but more of a “I’m doing this to survive” agenda. Because, that is ultimately what it boils down to, survival. We need
- Physiological survival (Food, water, shelter, warmth)
- Safety (Security, Stability, Freedom from Fear)
- Belonging (Friends, Family, Spouse/Lover)
- Self-Esteem (Achievement, Mastery, Recognition, Respect)
- Self-Actualization (Pursue Inner Talent, Creativity, Fulfillment)
When any of these are threatened, people will do some crazy things. Most try to get along where they can, even stay in toxic situations (jobs, relationships, or habits) to secure their survival. Sometimes, “friends” will throw you to the wolves, if they feel that you personally are causing a jeopardy in their own survival. I have experienced this time and time again with close people who I worked with, that made no hesitation to throw me under the bus, when they will not accept accountability or responsibility for their actions. They need to keep their jobs to ensure all of the above survival needs. When it happens to you, know that they aren’t evil people, just very scared people. Create a bubble around yourself and when these people cross into that bubble, it’s totally cool to bounce them out and block them on Facebook.
Hard Truth #2 – Coffee is Not Magical
I love me some coffee! Especially that first glorious cup in the morning. My Keurig spits out a sweet sound of freshly brewed goodness into my “Like A Boss” mug, and that delicious pour of French Vanilla creamer that looks like a heart as it bubbles from the bottom to the top…it’s a hug in a mug, and I’m a CRAZED LUNATIC when I find that my husband took the very last.damn.K-cup of my Starbucks Veranda Blend! I hoard these k-cups of magical ground beans in my daughter’s closet so that I can ensure that I can enjoy my coffee experience each morning. But, the hard truth is, coffee is not magical. The anticipation and experience of having coffee is. It makes me feel ready to take on the morning commute through 3 school zones at 20 mph and listen to Morning Radio talk shows, and listen to that catchy Havana song three times in one hour. I love coffee, I truly do.
Hard Truth #3 – You are More Than Your Job Title
Remember when you landed your very first job after college? Maybe it was the job title that you were studying for your entire college time or maybe it wasn’t. Mine wasn’t. I had studied Visual Merchandising and I was GOING to be a Visual Merchandiser as soon as I graduated. Well, I wasn’t offered that role, and accepted the role as a Sales Associate in the company that I wanted to do visual merchandising. I saw it, at the time, as a blow to my ego, but it also was my foot in the door. 6 months later, I did get the role as the Visual Merchandiser. And, it wasn’t because it was my degree, because I proved that I was the best person for that role. Later, I moved into management, becoming an Assistant Manager, then Store Manager, than Retail General Manager, then Store Manager again. The titles that I held did not define me, I define me. I’m more than a Manager. I’m a Leader, Mentor, Crazy Boss Lady, highly paid shirt folder, coffee maker, etc. As I have gotten older, I learned that there is a heavy responsibility in that job title. But in the end, your title as Mom, Wife, Daughter, Grandmother, or Friend trumps over your job title any day.
Hard Truth #4 – Kindness is What the World Needs Most – And it Starts With YOU
When I was younger, I was super quick to judge people. From the way someone dressed, did their hair, their makeup, how much they weighed, if they had kids and let them run crazy around the store, what kind of car they drove, how much money they made …the list went on. Gosh, I was such a witch. As I grew older, and have experienced some crazy things – becoming a Mom (my own kids throw tantrums and run off in stores), being very ill, being without a job, being the outsider in a new state, going through a hurricane and flooding…. what is appreciated the most is simple kindness. Even just someone to say, “Hey, I’ve been there too, and it’ll get better.” A simple smile and a sincere greeting. Because you NEVER know what someone is going through. People don’t walk around with a label on them that says – Caution – going through a divorce, Battling Cancer, Lost my Child, Lost my Job, My Dog Died. Everyone has a story, so just be a nice person.
Hard Truth #5 – Everyone on Instagram – Poops
That girl with the three impeccably dressed kids, perfect hair, seriously adorable dimples, perfect makeup, perfect clothes, good-looking six-packed husband that rubs her feet, with the perfectly decorated house that looks like it’s straight out of a Pottery Barn catalog – POOPS! YES, she has diarrhea sometimes, maybe the occasional constipation from the protein bars she keeps posting selfies with. YES, she poops and so do you! I poop, too, believe it or not! My kids get really excited to show me their poop in the potty before flushing it away, and we clap and say “YAY, YOU POOPED! Good Job!” My husband has to poop after every meal, no matter where we are at, where I can only poop at home, with an insistent audience asking if I’m pooping and if I want my butt wiped…that Perfect Girl on Instagram Poops, too. So, I hope that puts things in perspective that these “perfect” people on Instagram doing fabulous things, are just people, like you, that poops like every human being. Don’t be so hard on yourself, okay? And, if that girl still makes you feel any less than the wonderful BOSS that you are, just unfollow her.
Hard Truth #6 – Chick-fil-A ‘s secret is Politeness and Crack
The secret isn’t their Chick-fil-A’s secret sauce, they kill it at their chicken game with the sweetest hospitality – saying your name, smiling, giving you extra buffalo sauce, and saying “My Pleasure” (Which I looooove, BTW. Such good customer service) it’s the CRACK they put in their oil! I seriously crave those chicken nuggets. Because, chicken nuggets is like my family. Everything is good in moderation, and not having a mobile app too that makes it so much easier to reload every day! I still love you, Chick-fil-A! Save a Sweet Tea for me, k??
Hard Truth #7 – There are GOOD People in This World
Hurricane Harvey hit my family hard last year. Our home that we had just purchased in May 2017, was severely flooded. We had 5 feet 8 inches of water in our home. The entire first floor, including the master bedroom and my Mom’s room was destroyed. We lost everything. If you want to read my Harvey story please go here. What came from that was that there are GOOD people in this world. Good, wonderful, caring people who came to help us in our time of need. Strangers, friends, family, co-workers, all came to help us with funds to help us through, their time and their hands to clean out our home, their support by either purchasing some necessities for us, or washing our laundry, so much that I can never repay them. It has humbled me so much that it has changed me to a very different person than I was before that flood.
Hard Truth #8 – Wearing All Black is so NOT Your Best.
I had changed retail companies that I worked for last year, going from bright, tropical florals to classic and clean black and white. And, boy, did I embrace it! I love how “chic” and “effortless” that wearing all black can make you feel. It feels so business and tough, and I would mix all different textures of black in an outfit. Black is sooooo slimming, so they say? Nope. Because black clothing, when it’s the wrong size or cut on you, can still make you look frumpy. Black faux leather leggings are not my friend. Plus, they are hot. Instead, wear the proper sized clothing in whatever color, prints or textures that make you feel ahmazing in! Add more color to your wardrobe! It really does boost your mood and people will notice you for all the right reasons, your beautiful glow!
Hard Truth #9 – Your Children Love You no Matter How Much You Weigh
Having three kids, eating chicken nuggets and pizza, has given me a different body than I had at 29. Or 21. I’m very conscious to not say things about my body in front of my girls, especially when I feel extra bloated, and when my jeans are holding on to their seams around my thighs. When trying on clothing, (which you NEED to do, because it’s not fun to go back to the store to return things on another day) especially bathing suits, we nit pick over every part of our body. My girls look at me and say “ooh, Mama, that’s pretty on you” And hug on my squishy belly or wrap their little arms around my legs. Because they don’t see the imperfections that we do, they just see their beautiful Mommy wearing something pretty. They love you for you, and not the size that is printed on the clothing tag.
Hard Truth #10 – Every Day is a PRESENT
That is why we call today the present. Because, it truly is a gift.
Hard Truth #11 – People Will Underestimate You
I dealt with a direct supervisor that underestimated me. Either it was because she was threatened by my skills or just inept in her own, she did not allow me the time to prove myself. It was incredibly frustrating to have to deal with such scrutiny, and looking back, I should have just made decisions without her approval. When people underestimate you, this is your opportunity to surprise them! To all the haters that say you can’t do it, let that be motivation to YOU that you CAN!
Hard Truth #12 – It is Better to Forgive and Never Forget
People will hurt you. Friends even family will say and do things that will scar you. Living with past regrets holds you from receiving your blessings. Forgive them for the wrongs that were done to you, but never FORGET the lesson that it gave you.
Hard Truth #13 – Find Your Tribe and Love Them Hard
Keep your circle small. I rather have three close friends, than thousands of “friends”. You know the ones that will always have your back and will always make time for you. Even if they live hundreds a miles away, they know your real birthday, your kids names, and what your favorite Starbucks order really is. Love them hard.
Hard Truth #14 – Be Like Elsa and LET IT GO
Let it go … bitterness, regret, the $100 pair of pink shoes that were super cute in the store but fly off your feet when you try to walk in them… let it go.
Hard Truth #15 – Material Possessions are Just Things
Seeing all my possessions on my front lawn, soaked in mud, mold, broken, and rotting, was a harsh reality. I had packed those things at least 20 times, stored them away in boxes in storage units when we didn’t have a house to live in yet, and to see them all piled up as garbage was hard. Really hard. But, they are just things. Things that could be replaced. Then I realized that I didn’t need them to be replaced. My family is the only “things” that could never be replaced. I had them, we were safe and together, and that’s what truly matters.
Hard Truth #16 – Drinking Water is Actually GOOD for You
Like, it helps your skin and body work better, GOOD for you! And water in your coffee does not count.
Hard Truth #17 – Exercise is GOOD for You!
Yes! Get your sweat going, girl! Stretch and move that body! Make it fun, go to a dance class and laugh at yourself for how your moves are crazy, ride a bike, go for a run and bump some Biggie, do some yoga, just MOVE!
Hard Truth #18 – You Really do Need to Wear SPF
Everyday, because your aging skin will thank you. And, don’t forget to put it on the kids too!
Hard Truth #19 – Your Husband Needs You
When you become a Mother, your priorities change, it’s the truth. Making time to be fully present with your husband, is the very last thing on your list. He needs you too. You are not the same woman as the day he married you, you have changed. He has changed, too. Having dedicated time together, like actually touching…will keep your marriage connected. Plan a trip, a date night, or a Netflix binge together.
Hard Truth #20 – Your Mom Needs You
You juggle time with your kids, your husband, time for friends, your business, and you, don’t forget that your Mom needs you too. She’s getting older and going through new life changes, that she also needs to talk and spend quality time with her own children.
Hard Truth #21 – You Still Need Your Mom
As much as your Mom needs you, you also still need your Mom. Whether she is far away or close by, you need her advice, support, and listening ear to help you through life’s challenges. And, once she is gone or passed away, you will need her even more. Make the time right now, to tell her that you love her.
Hard Truth #22 – Comparing and Competing Hurts Only YOU
The only person that you should compare your life to or to compete with, is YOU. Not anyone else. Just you. We get really wrapped up with what other people are doing, and feel like we are in a race to get there faster or better, but that’s all in our own mind. So, stop. No one cares as much as you do. Stay in your own lane and make yourself proud. That’s it.
Hard Truth #23 – Your Children Grow up Fast
Put the phone down and just play with your child. Especially when they ask you, “Mommy, play with me.” Just play with them. When they ask you to read the same book over and over, do the very best voices for every single character with such enthusiasm as the first time you read it, just do it. When they want to tell you something that happened at school that day, just listen, and really listen. Because one day, when you don’t expect it, they won’t need you to play, read them a book, or want to confide in you. Your children grow up fast, don’t miss it because you are distracted with frivolous things that don’t care anything about you.
Hard Truth #24 – People Will Not Like You
Yes, there will be people who will just not like you. Period. And, that’s okay. They are not your people. It allows you more space and time for those that truly like you.
Hard Truth #25 – Coloring Your Own Hair at Home, is a Bad Idea
Don’t try to save money by doing things on your own, like coloring your hair. Unless you are a professional hair dresser, it’s just better to see your favorite Hair Stylist to properly color, cut and style your hair. Because white and gray hair can be incredibly STUBBORN! Plus, they wash your hair and you get a mini head massage. Totally worth it.
Hard Truth #26 – Wear the Size That You are NOW, Not What You Hope to be.
Many people hold onto to clothing in their closets that do not fit them, from years back to new items in their closets that they purchase in hopes that you will fit in them “one day”. One, it’s a waste of your precious money to purchase clothing that doesn’t fit you right now and Two, it’s cluttering up your closet for pieces that you will get the most wear out of. PURGE IT! Refer to Hard Truth #14 and be like Elsa, and LET IT GO. Trust me, you will feel so much better to see items in your closet that you feel good in now.
Hard Truth #27 – I Will Never Marry Chris Hemsworth
Because, I’m already married. Hard Truth.
Hard Truth #28 – There is Always Laundry
Always. Just accept it.
Hard Truth #29 – It’s Good to Cry
Holding on to our hurts, disappointments, anger, and pushing them down deep, does more damage than acknowledging them and allowing them to see the light. Be like Elsa, and LET IT GO. Scream and cry if you have too! Then, wash your face, adjust your crown, daughter of God, and get back out there.
Hard Truth #30 – It’s Good to be Skeptical
More like, you have to listen to your gut. Your gut instincts about a situation or a person is always RIGHT! I feel that this “skill” truly becomes stronger as you get older. I used to believe EVERYTHING that someone told me. But, remember Hard Truth #1, that everyone has a secret agenda? Yep, this ones comes up as so true. It’s good to ask questions, and be skeptical about someone’s intentions. If your Spidey Senses perk up, and things don’t seem right, listen to your gut, and stay farrrrr away!
Hard Truth #31 – Be Open to Opportunities That Look Like Hard Work
Everybody wants to get rich quick. To be on the beach all day errr day, while money is no issue. Being a business owner is HARD work! You got to put in the time, maybe more than 8 hours a day to build your business. But those that understand that it can take years to grow their business, so that you COULD live on the beach 24/7, are willing to put the time in first.
Hard Truth #32 – Being an Entrepreneur is a Roller Coaster
I have never liked roller coasters. Ever. The first one I ever rode on was called the “Demon” at Great America. I hated every minute of that ride and was so grateful to get off of it. Being an entrepreneur or a business owner can feel like you are riding a roller coaster. You willingly get on, taking a huge risk. You can get really high and fall low really fast, then up again and twist and turns all over the place. Some enjoy the ride and some wish to get off. But, those that choose to stick it out, will be very grateful to reap the rewards that comes from all of it.
Hard Truth #33 – Your Thoughts Determines Your Actions
If you think you can or you can’t – you are right. If you believe that you CAN you will take action. If you think that you CAN’T, you won’t take action.
Hard Truth #34 – Prayer Changes Things
This is more than a cross stitched quote that I made in 7th grade, Prayer CHANGES things. Prayer is more than asking God to change external things, it also changes YOU, in your soul. Taking time everyday to have a conversation with Him, allows you to slow down and reflect on what you are praying for.
Hard Truth #35 – Saying No Does Not Make You the Bad Guy
This was a hard one for me this year. Saying No, and meaning it, without going back and saying “okay, just this time” has been super hard! When your toddler gives you Puss in Boots eyes or begins to cry, it’s really hard! Saying No to commitments that eventually wear me down ragged, is hard, because I hate “flaking out” on people. Sometimes, you just have to, and it’s better for you and your sanity.
Hard Truth #36 – Get Out
If you are stressed at work – get out. Like, literally, leave your office space, walk outside, and take a walk. And, if it’s really bad, get out and find a new job. If your kids are getting too crazy and you are gonna flip that crazy Mom switch, get out and go to Target by yourself (make sure someone is obviously watching them!). Get Out of your head for a bit, and get some fresh air.
Hard Truth #37 – Be an Encourager
With all the critics in the world, be the one to encourage others, even on days that you, yourself, don’t feel encouraged. Because, someone needs it more than you may need it that day.
Hard Truth #38 – There Will Always be Someone Else Doing it Better Than You
Not everyone gets the privilege to see the “Behind the Scenes” of what you do. And, you don’t see the blood, sweat, and tears of what others put into their work, either. There will always be someone else doing it better than you, because they spent more time putting in the blood, sweat, and tears into it. Remember, don’t compare or compete. Stay in your lane and work on your journey. Celebrate and encourage them!
Hard Truth #39 – Just Be YOU
My last hard truth – just be YOU. Not the perfect version of yourself that you project on the outside world. The imperfectly perfect you. The one that is vulnerable, creative, bold, loud, funny, sympathetic, kind, brave, and smart YOU. Because isn’t that what we tell our own children? How wonderful they are because they are just being themselves? We look at them and are in awe of how amazing they are, and marvel how they grew in our wombs and we pushed them out and here they are! You love them so much your heart feels like it can burst! God looks at you the very same way. He created you as a masterpiece. Because you are. YOU are.