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“50 Things Learned In 50 Years” 

This year I am turning 50! I am not sure what it is, but this birthday has made me more reflective than most. It has caused me to not only look forward but to look back at all that has occurred in my 50 years of life. This year I thought I would spend the year by sharing with you 50 lessons I have learned in my 50 years. I hope this will be a beneficial experience for both of us. These will be listed in no particular order. My method will be to share what is on my heart and to be authentically transparent.

Here is my first lesson:

My worth, value, and love are not attached to what I do or how I perform.  I am not sure when this became the way I thought about myself, but it was what I believed. If I did not try hard enough or do enough, I thought I wasn’t enough. I remember spending many nights striving to do more, and at the time, I don’t think I even realized what I was doing. If you would have asked the younger me why I was trying so hard, I would have said “Because I have to.” I put so much pressure on myself to do more. I put so much value on trying harder. I would compare myself with the others. It was a vicious internal struggle.

Internally I had so much shame and self-contempt. The words I remember saying to myself make me cringe today.  You see, so much of my worth, value, and love was tied to what I did because this was something I could control. It wasn’t tied to what others did to me or said to me. By working hard, I was in control.

The weight of what was done to me was too much to bear. So as a young woman, I translated this to self-contempt and shame. I would think things such as “I am bad. I am not enough. I am the problem. Look what you did. If you would just do_______”. And the list goes on and on. Even writing this out now, years later, brings up so much sorrow.  It took me many years to untangle what was wrapped up in my mind and heart. I had to work on letting go and releasing control. I had to learn what was mine to control and not to control. I had to learn to trust. These were hard lessons. If I am honest, there are times when the old thoughts and behaviors pop back in and try to take root once again.

Over the last 50 years, I learned to get to the root and dig out all of the mess. Then and only then I would begin to heal and be transformed. During my healing journey, I have learned that my worth, value, or love is not defined by what I do or how hard I try…It even isn’t defined by what others have done to me. Instead, I know I am defined by the One who created me. I am told that I am created with a purpose. I am told that I am loved and have value.

Today I know my value is established by my Creator because, after, shouldn’t he be the one to define my worth? And He says I am worthy of love and so much more. People will try to define me and tell me to try harder- do more…but that is not where I find my worth. I no longer strive to do more and try harder to get love. I now know that people will and do love me for who I am and not what I can do.