I'm turning 29 this year, and in the last six-ish years — since I left my home state and ventured out on my own — I've run into a number of tough lessons all grown-ass women have learned at some point in their lives. As kids, we're often protected from the bad. We're sheltered and cushioned and put in a bubble — for very obvious reasons. But as we age, we all inevitably learn that the world isn't as pretty of a place as we once thought it was. We won't all be friends, we won't always get our way, and not every good story has a happy ending.
But don't think this is going to be a summary of why life sucks and you just need to deal with it. Quite the contrary. I'm a glass-half-full kind of gal, and I like to find the positive even in the greatest of struggles. I think all situations, even the ugly ones, can change us for the better, if only we allow them to.
Perspective is key; even when you're at your lowest, somewhere in your mind you have to believe that you'll come out on top. Otherwise, everything you went through was pointless.
We'll never stop facing challenges. Something will always pop up. Here's your reminder that sometimes, we need to embrace the ugly in order to find the good.
1Getting Broken Up With Happens, And It Might Be For The Best
No one likes being rejected, and it's never easy when you are. Getting dumped stinks no matter how you cut it: Either you didn't see it coming and you're heartbroken after discovering that the person you want doesn't want you; or you knew the relationship wasn't working out, and they — how do I say this? — beat you to the punch.
But this is why everything is going to be OK: No one is immune to rejection — whether that be from a former lover, a boss, a friend, a relative, or a total stranger. It's the reminder we all need that not everyone is going to enjoy our company, and that's 100 percent fine.
2Getting Laid Off Can Show You How Strong You Are
I have no shame in admitting that I've been laid off more than once. Each time, I never knew how I was going to get through it — the rejection (there it is again), the financial hardship, having to start from square one.
Out of every lesson I've learned, this one might be one of the best. When no one is around to save you and you need a way to pay the bills, you learn how strong you are. You pick up the pieces and prove to yourself that you're a grown-ass woman.
3All The Things You Can Learn From Having Very Little (Or No) Money
Ah, yes — something else I've been well-acquainted with. I honestly feel like this is something we all need to experience, because it will — without a doubt — teach you the value of money. You learn to appreciate the things you have. There was a time I had so little that a cup of coffee from the gas station was a splurge. Groceries came from the dollar store, clothes were bought used, and doctor appointments... just didn't happen.
And once you're out of it — once you have money and you can relax a little — you're better able to look at your life and think, "Hey, look how fortunate I am. Look at everything I can do. I worked hard for this."
4Discovering A Friend Isn't A Friend Might Feel Awful, But Sometimes It's Necessary
It's one of the ultimate betrayals to learn that a person you trusted and confided in doesn't have your best interests at heart. They did something to intentionally hurt you, and now you have to acknowledge an upsetting truth: "Maybe this person doesn't really care about me."
To that, I say good for you. You dodged a bullet! Imagine the alternative: Keeping that person in your life, growing even closer, and then finding out that their intentions were less than respectable. You don't have time for that!
5How To Deal With A Bunch Of Bad Stuff Happening All At Once
You know what's worse than getting dumped or laid off or being broke or learning of a so-called friend's betrayal? All of those things happening at once. You know what they say: When it rains, it pours. Have you ever experienced seemingly everything going wrong all at the same time?
This is the ultimate test, because under extreme stress, you have two options: Give in (which sometimes feels like the easier option) or persevere. Because you're a grown-ass woman, you opt for the latter of the two. Snaps for you, my friend. This will make you stronger.
6There Are Benefits To Getting Cheated On
Why don't you just stick a knife in my heart and twist it? And make sure to throw salt on the open wound when you're done. Does anything feel worse that learning you've been cheated on?
Here's why you might end up be grateful for this awful experience: Even though it makes you feel like garbage, your standards will be higher because of it. In your next relationship, you'll know exactly what you want (and don't want). You'll learn what red flags to look out for, you'll expect respect, and when something seems off, you probably won't take it lying down.
7Failure And Setbacks Happen, Even When You Work Really, Really Hard
This is a tough pill to swallow, because I, admittedly, always believed that hard work equals guaranteed success. Oh, I was a silly one. There's a good chance no one told you growing up that you might work your fanny off and get nowhere. Worse, you might end up a few steps backward.
But know this: Hard work never goes out of style, and it will pay off. A solid work ethic and self-motivation are hard to teach. If you have those qualities, I hereby give you a gold star. Never lose them — because the opposite alternative (being lazy and lackadaisical) definitely does not work.
8You Are Your Biggest Enemy — And Your Biggest Fan
It hit me only recently that my biggest obstacle is between my ears. So often, we allow ourself to be controlled by our own fear and self-doubt. This isn't to say that your journey would be easy otherwise. But I'd be willing to bet that for many of us, the biggest roadblock is our own minds.
Here's the good news: You're also your biggest cheerleader. No one can support you better than you can. In tough times, you can count on you. When you're feeling negative or down in the dumps, you have the power to talk yourself up and remind yourself why you're so amazing (because you are!). Our thoughts are so powerful. What we believe, we achieve. Whether it's positive or negative, your mind will find a way to bring it to reality. Make it a good one.
9Not Everyone Cares, And That's OK
Sounds harsh, I know. But it's the truth. Whether you did something good or bad, there's a good chance that despite what you think, people aren't paying any attention at all.
But you know what they say: Quality over quantity. It doesn't matter if you invited 20 people to your birthday party and only four showed up. Those four are likely the people you want in your life. So many of us tend to be so completely wrapped up in our own lives. But I can promise you that every now and then, you'll run into a person who wants to make room for you. That person's a keeper.
10Life Goes On
When tragedy strikes, you might have the urge to curl up in a ball and hit the pause button on life. It's easy to expect other people to do it with you, to hold your hand while you cry and help you pick up and carry on. You might then be shocked to learn that most people just go on with their lives.
It's because the world never stops turning — not for you or anyone else — and this is a lesson we all have to learn. It sucks and it hurts, but it's also yet another thing in life that's going to give you a thicker skin. Once you realize that everyone else is going about their business, you won't want to fall behind and lose another moment of your precious life.
11You'll Never Please Everyone
Dita Von Teese once tweeted, "You can be a delicious, ripe peach and there will still be people in the world that hate peaches" — and she's absolutely right. I can promise you one thing with complete certainty: It doesn't matter what you say, do, wear, whatever. It doesn't matter how flawless you think you are (which is just an illusion, by the way). There will always, always, always be someone who doesn't like you — even if they don't have a reason.
And it's because we're living, breathing people. Sometimes, our personalities just don't jibe. It's human nature. That's a reality you'd be doing yourself a favor to accept immediately, if not sooner: Not everyone is going to like you. And that's OK. You don't have to like everyone, either — and you also don't need to worry about trying to make everyone like you in the first place.
12There's Usually A Chance You're Wrong
Because you might always have the best intentions and never mean to do any wrong, you might truly believe you're constantly in the right, all day, every day. I've certainly thought this at times. And at times, I was probably wrong.
None of us are perfect. We all make mistakes and screw up and do bad things, even when we don't mean to. Every grown-ass woman will eventually learn to remember there is always more than one side to every situation, and to at least entertain the idea that they're in the wrong.
13You Won't Always Get The Closure You Want
I still struggle with this one, to this very day. What if you lose a job, lose a partner, lose a friend, and don't get to walk away with the closure you want or need? How do you get over it and move on? You didn't get what you deserved. The situation was left incomplete. It's not fair. Not what?
I'm sorry to say it, but we just have to deal with it. Sometimes, we have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable, and learn to accept that not everything will end all pretty and tidy. It might not be easy — there were a few events in my life that took me years to get over. But the outcome will undoubtedly be a stronger, wiser, more confident you.