At times, this past year was a living hell.

But now I see that it was worth it. All the pain, all the obstacles and challenges it brought me were worth it.

And you know why?

Because 2020 hurt me but it also taught me some valuable life lessons.

Most of all—it showed me that I am strong enough to always rise from the ashes and that nothing can break me.

To forgive

thoughtful woman in cafe

The first thing 2020 taught me was about the importance of forgiveness. But I didn’t learn this the easy way.

Instead, I had to go through months of holding grudges and resentment before I realized that sometimes, you just have to accept the apology you didn’t get.

And you don’t need to do it for the person who has done you harm—you have to do it for your own sake because that is the only path to complete liberation.

You are your own hero

thoughtful woman sitting at home

Before this year, I could have sworn I could always count on at least five people in my life.

But when hardships came into my life, things turned out to be different.

2020 taught me that you are always on your own, no matter how many friends and close family members you have.

These are all the people who can be there for you and who can give you a hand but at the end of the day, you are the one who has to fight your own demons.

And you are the one who has to defeat them, without anyone’s help.

There is no such thing as perfection

woman in black dress

For a long time, I aspired to be perfect. And I always tried my best to have perfect relationships with the people around me.

And then I realized that there is no such thing as perfection and that you can never please everyone, as much as you try to.

I grew to understand that the only thing I can do is make sure I become the best possible version of myself.

I’ve learned to love my imperfections because I wouldn’t be the person I am today if it wasn’t for those parts of me.

People come and go from your life

woman drinking hot coffee sitting on window sill

After understanding that I can’t actually rely on anyone, I’ve finally accepted the fact that people will come and go from my life, as much as I try to keep them.

And there is absolutely nothing I can do about it.

The truth is that you can love someone with all of your heart and you can be certain of them but there is still a possibility for them to choose someone else over you.

There is still a possibility for them to walk away from you when you least expect it.

But you know what a great thing about this is?

It’s the fact that life goes on even after someone abandons you. There doesn’t exist a person in this world who you can’t live without—I can guarantee you that.

You can give everything to someone without getting anything in return

woman with curly hairstyle

Another crappy thing 2020 taught me is that not everything you give will be returned to you.

You can put all of your efforts into a relationship with someone who never tries around you.

You can give all of your love to a man who will never love you enough.

You can make sacrifices for someone who will never be ready to lift a finger for your sake.

2020 taught me not to have any expectations of anyone besides myself.

It taught me that some people will never appreciate you, no matter how much of yourself you give to them.

But it also taught me that I wasn’t a fool for wearing my heart on my sleeve.

The way they thanked me for some things is their shame and they are the only ones to blame for it.

Not everyone has a good heart

beatiful young brunette outside

When you are a loving and caring person, you expect everyone else to be the same. Bullshit!

Not everyone has a kind heart, not everyone means you well and not everyone has good intentions.

And sadly for me, I had to learn it the hard way.

The truth is that there are toxic people who will take advantage of you, people who will break your heart without ever thinking about the consequences and people who will use your vulnerabilities against you.

So, instead of thinking about their reasons and instead of wondering why someone did you harm, accept them for who they are and walk away in time.

People don’t change

portrait of woman with hat

2020 taught me that your love can’t change someone unless they decide to do it themselves.

And even when they do, some of their essential personality traits remain the same.

You can give them all the love you have, you can put all of your efforts into and devote yourself completely to someone but they will never become the person you want them to be.

So instead of wasting years on someone you are not compatible with, accept them for who they are or leave.

You can’t save someone who doesn’t want to be saved

attractive beautiful woman

Whenever you try saving someone who refuses to be saved, the only thing you’ll end up doing is allowing them to drag you into their darkness.

You can’t show the light to someone who doesn’t want to see it.

Trust me—I’ve learned this by my own example.

Love isn’t always enough

portrait of beautiful brunette outside

One of the most painful things this past year has taught me is that sometimes, love isn’t enough.

Yes, love is an amazing thing but sadly, it is not omnipotent, as much as I wanted to believe that it was.

I know this is hard to accept but you have to face the fact that you are simply not compatible with everyone.

That some people are not meant to be yours, despite the love you guys share.

Sometimes, you need to break before you can heal

back view of woman raising her hands

Another thing I learned in 2020 is that sometimes God breaks you just so He could fix you.

Sometimes, you need to be crushed into pieces just to have a chance to glue yourself back together.

Sometimes, you need to go through a lot just to understand what matters in life.

And that is exactly what happened to me.

Even though I didn’t believe it at first, eventually I realized that everything happens for a reason and for the greater good.

Each of the scars 2020 brought me ended up being valuable and all the pain I went through helped me become the woman I am today.

10 Crappy Things Last Year Taught Me That'll Help Me Slay 2021