I spent last weekend in the beautiful mountain town of Canmore with three of my very best friends. I feel confident calling them that because in one weekend I had more meaningful conversations than I’ve had in the last month combined. These girls challenge me and encourage me to live to my full potential. I hope I can find ways to do the same for them. I found myself thinking about how my life has grown and changed in the last 7 or 8 years, and about how different my life would look if I had never met these three beautiful souls. I wanted to share some of the most important lessons I’ve learned through my adult life thus far. Most of these lessons I’ve learned the hard way, so I certainly won’t judge you if you need to take that road as well. No preaching here – just some rambling thoughts…
1. Seek ways to be generous. I don’t have a lot of spare change to throw people’s way when they’re needing it. But I can sure make a good meal for a friend, or bring them a treat when they’re feeling down, or share a glass (or a bottle) of wine. Generosity does at least as much for my spirit as it does for the person I’m being generous with.
2. But also – be generous with yourself. I can be so incredibly hard on myself. Sometimes it’s a good thing. It forces me to work harder to achieve my goals. But it can be a huge hinderance. I was convinced I would never be “the best” singer, so I just didn’t do it. I was convinced I would never be “the best” photographer, so I just didn’t do it. It’s held me back in so many areas of my life, especially artistically. Strive for greatness but be gentle and generous with where you are at.
3. Listen. Don’t just hear the words people are saying to you. Really listen. It’s the biggest gift you can give someone and the biggest gift to receive when you’re in need. It’s easy to get caught up in our own lives, and in our own problems. But if we can take the blinders off and tune to our friends and neighbours I think everything starts to seem more manageable.
4. Be slow to anger, but get angry when it matters. I honestly believe that there is nothing wrong with healthy anger. There are things in this world that absolutely deserve our anger. How we choose to express that anger is what actually matters.
5. Forgive. Forgive. Forgive. Goodness. I’ve struggled with the learning of this one. But I’ve come to understand that bitterness and resentment hurts me far more than the person I’m angry at. And usually the anger is just a mask for my hurt anyway. Learn to forgive. Do it every day. And watch how the heaviness lifts. Seriously. It’s a weight on you that actually physically lifts when you can achieve this.
6. Live with courage, not with fear. Sometimes people tell me I’m “brave”. I always say thank you but mostly I just want to laugh. “Me? Brave?”. No. I find myself so often making decisions based in fear. Fear of hurting people, fear of disappointing people, fear of being hurt, fear of failing, fear of being rejected. But when I manage to shake off that fear for long enough to make a decision based in courage, that’s where the magic is. Say yes more often and see if your life becomes richer.
There. That’s all for now. I’m sure there are hundreds of other lessons I’ve learned, and maybe I’ll find times to share some more of them. These are the few that have been sitting on my heart this week. And these are a few pictures that have been sitting on my computer.
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- Lauren -