Last night I was at one of my very best friend’s houses, eating dinner and drinking a bottle (or 2) of wine. She has the cutest daughter, who I love like my own. We were sitting at the table and my friend’s daughter, Natalina, asked me if I could go get the ┬áTV remote for her, because she didn’t want to watch the Warrior’s game anymore. I responded, “Are your legs broken?” (because sometimes I’m an asshole) to which she responded; No, her legs were not broken, but that she was having growing pains.

As I sit here and contemplate my life and the path I am currently on, I ask myself this question… Am I also experiencing growing pains right now?

We have growing pains when we are little, like Natalina. When our joints are stretching and we are getting taller. We then experience them again when we go through that awkward stage, (although my awkward stage spanned a lot longer then I’d like to admit) called puberty. But it’s not until later in life when we are faced with adulthood, tough decisions and heartbreak, that we finally go through a growth period again.

I think the secret to happiness is truly letting every situation just be what it is meant to be, then making the best of it. Although I believe this, it is something I struggle with. When I imagine something to go someway, I’m immediately disappointed when it doesn’t. When the picture that I imagined in my head does not meet reality, I just cannot seem to understand why or cope with the outcome. Expectation is the root of all heartache, and the real-life truth is that nothing ever happens the way you imagine it will, it happens the way it is supposed to. One of the biggest lesson I am trying to learn from and grow to know is how to let go of expectations (keyword trying).

Another thing I am trying to let go of and overcome is the need to control every situation. I have learned that you cannot control the way other people feel about you. You cannot control others emotions, actions or outlooks. The only thing you CAN control and change is yourself. This in itself is a huge growing pain. Learning to control your emotions is probably the hardest, yet most valuable lesson anyone can ever learn. While we may not have absolute control over our emotions, we absolutely have control on how we demonstrate them. We have the ability to get angry or sad, be happy or disappointed. We have the capability to reflect our emotion onto the world. We have the power to create a picture of ourselves to others.

It is so easy to get caught up or distracted and fall into a pattern where we group negative emotions with the people we love most. When we are consumed with stress, sadness or jealousy and project it onto others, we end up making the people we love most feel at fault for the emotions we feel. Then on top of that, we expect them to react in one way or another. If they don’t, we spiral even more into oblivion…Why is it that we treat the people we love the most, the worst?

I’ve made the mistake of letting my emotions take control of my life. Of counting on reactions or things from people who simply could not fulfill my expectations. Well, every diamond has imperfections and every rose has it’s thorn. I do not claim to be perfect, in fact, I am far from it. But I am trying to understand my imperfections and thorns, navigate through them, and come out the other end a stronger, wiser, kinder human being.

Sometimes we just need to slow down and not be in such a rush to figure it all out. We need to feel calm knowing that anything is possible in our futures. Sit back with a glass of wine, revel in the unknown and let your life surprise you, because at the end of the day everything happens for a reason. The people who want to be in your life, will be. The ones who don’t, won’t. Find yourself in your flaws, imperfection or thorns and make the best of them. Project happiness and kindness, and what is meant for you will find you. Embrace growth in all forms, because no matter which way it happens or where it takes you in life, it will always result in positivity, I promise.