Nearly a decade ago, I was hit with a phone call that felt like a hurricane in my life. It shattered my rose-colored glasses, leaving me with a tough decision to make – bury it, deny it, pretend it never happened or start the healing process. The call, and all that has come after it, illuminated the childhood I had unknowingly survived. While this is not the venue to share more deeply about my formative experiences with abuse and neglect, I would like to share a few of the deep and meaningful gifts I have received as a result of facing the realities of my experiences. 

In celebration of my 45th year of life, the following are my top 9 blessings… 

  1. Love is where I Belong. After decades of trying to do, be, or become someone whose existence mattered to her parents, I have finally found my true place of belonging… inside of me, and with those who love the light I carry. Where there are loving people, and people who can receive my love, I belong.
  2. Forgiveness is about acceptance. When we pull back the layers of addictions, reactivity, and defenses on anyone, we will see a vulnerable, scared human being. While I do not like the defenses people erect to create a sense of safety within their psyche, I am learning to accept people as they show themselves to me. In doing so, I have given up on trying to get others to be who I think that I need them to be. “When people show you who they are, believe them.”
  3. The purpose of life is to love. If all I ever do is love and be loved, my life has great purpose. Instead of spinning our wheels to achieve for the purpose of standing out, being seen, and mattering, imagine the joy of beginning each day with the intention of offering love to everyone and everything. At end of my life, my question will not be how many speeches did I give or books did I write. My question will be How well did I love?
  4. I’m included in on that love. In March of this year, I called to offer my mom love on her birthday. At the end of the call, my heart felt like it was in my stomach. Later, I realized that I left myself out of the love equation. A simple, “I’m thinking about you and wishing you a wonderful day” would have allowed me to offer love without feeling the pain of longing to be a part of her life. There are ways to love others without excluding ourselves, and when we do, everyone is better for it.
  5. Inspiration whispers, self-will pushes. When I am afraid that I am not doing enough to do, be, or become all that I’m capable of, I will make phone calls, send emails, and push for opportunities. When I listen deeply for what really matters to me (writing this list), I instinctively know what to do next. When I push based out of fear, I’m left feeling anxious and confused. When I move from inspiration, I feel at ease and confident. While we need courage, persistence, and dedication to share our gifts with the world, we do not need to be harried or to force opportunities. What’s meant for us will come to us.
  6. Interested and interesting. “What did you think about Craig,” my friend Neil asked me. “Well, he’s interesting, but not terribly interested,” I responded. Throughout my life, I have found that most people are either interesting or interested, but not both. They either have a lot to say and don’t listen, or they listen without much to say. Joy in relationships come within the balance of giving and receiving.
  7. My body is my ally. Nerve pain, panic attacks, anxiety, jaw tension, stomach pain, digestive issues, sleeplessness, back pain, and even allergies have all helped me tap into the most powerful guidance of all… my body. The pain has purpose, and when I’m patient and willing to listen, I receive blessings beyond my comprehension.
  8. The power of underwhelm. Where there is anxiety and overwhelm, perfectionism drives us to push harder, taking a toll on our health. Where there is clarity and underwhelm, we make progress while keeping our nervous system in balance.
  9. Conflict helps our relationships take deeper root. As a society, we spend a trillions of dollars on doctors, lawyers, houses, cars, learning how to sell, and even clothes, but very little time and effort on the most important life skills: listening and relating. Most conflict is born out of misunderstandings that never have the chance to become a steppingstone to more meaningful relationships. Curiosity, questions, reflection, and sometimes apologies allow us to demonstrate care and concern for each other, deepening our relationships and increasing the love we share.

Heartbreak, suffering, and pain of all sorts are here to enrich our lives, but only when we turn toward the truth, feeling our feelings, and listen to what life is trying to teach us. No matter where or how your life began, or how far you have come, there is so much richness and love to experience through our humanity. So, take a deep breath with me as I enter what is sure to be one of the best years of my life.

If you found any one of these lessons meaningful, will you please share, leave me a comment, or push the like button? It will mean so much to me. 

Here’s to your greatness, 

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister equips leaders and teams with skills and resources to empower and engage across generations. For nearly 20 years, she has facilitated communication that results in trust, increasing engagement and productivity across generations. Make sure your communication is coming across the way you intend, visit