If I’ve learned anything over the past year, it’s that nothing in life is certain. Plans and life can go awry for reasons out of your control, people change and you just have to go with it and make the best of it.

My life was completely different a year ago. I was in an in-house marketer. I had a lot of friends. I thought I had finally found “the one,” and we had recently moved in together. I had the best dog in the world. I was settled and content (or so I thought). I never imagined I would be where I am today.

But things happen, people change, business needs change, people and pets pass away, a pandemic can happen- nothing is certain. Just look at the world in which we live right now. I had to go with the flow. I had to stop knocking on doors that weren’t meant for me. I had to hit the reset button on my life. I had to lean on others for support. And most of all, I had to harness the power of my intuition to lead me to a better life.

Most of all, I had to harness the power of my intuition. I was afraid of change, which held me back and led me to brush red flags and warning signs under the rug. Listening to my inner voice would have immensely helped me. I knew I had outgrown my job. Deep down, I knew my partner and I were incompatible long term. I knew my dog had serious medical issues. And I knew I had some friends who weren’t really in my corner.

Sometimes we get so set on a life we created in our heads instead of realizing the reality isn’t what we want or need. As a Type-A personality, I get very focused and hate failing at something or admitting I was wrong.

I’ve learned it’s okay to not be okay all of the time and that it’s okay to make mistakes. I’ve learned that nothing is perfect – relationships or jobs – and that no matter what people post on social media to paint their lives as perfect, no one’s life is.

The very best people in the world.

When my mom died of multiple myeloma, a rare blood cancer, a few years ago, I began the long grief process of losing a parent. I knew that it would take a long time to be okay – and that I had to find ways to cope. Spending time with my dog, spinning, yoga, cooking, writing and spending time with my family and friends all helped. When my beloved dog recently passed away, I used a lot of these coping tools to navigate the first few weeks, despite the pandemic.

This year I had to let go of several people who I thought were friends but didn’t have my best interests at heart. I am so much happier without these people causing drama in my life. Oftentimes, when someone is mean to you, it’s because they’re unhappy with their own life. It baffles me how mean grown women can be so cruel to each other – I have written quite a bit on this and research shows it stems from their jealousy and insecurity toward another woman.

I have certainly come across my fair share of mean girls in my life, but last year took the prize. Someone in my life – in her mid-40s – pretended to be one of my closest friends while stabbing me in the back. She spread false and malicious lies designed to destroy my life – including meddling in my relationship and friendships, and orchestrating drama and falsehoods while enjoying watching the shrapnel of her efforts fall around her. Eventually, karma and her lies caught up with her – no one in our friend group talks to her anymore – but it’s doesn’t erase what she did.

I believe there is something to learn from every situation. I am more appreciative of true friends who have always been there for me. I am more sensitive to others and I better trust my intuition. Above all, I learned to protect myself, be more cautious of who I allow into my inner circle and to not apologize for being myself.

Some friends really do become family

At the end of the day, people are free to believe negative things about you despite everything you do to prove them otherwise. As long as you know your values and take actions consistent with them, who you really are will shine through. Live with integrity and remember that we only have control over our own actions and how we react to situations.

Again, friends who really are family

Today I realize I am exactly where I need to be. I now have a close circle of friends who I implicitly trust and know have my back. I am challenged professionally. I am relieved to be out of an unhealthy relationship with the wrong partner. Of course I’m sad that my dog passed away, but I know he had the very best life given his medical issues. Life will always have challenges – our ability to face them head on and be resilient is what will define us.

Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens, especially now when so much is uncertain. Do your best every day. Don’t overthink. Enjoy the present. Reach out for help when you need it. Try not to get in your own way. Forgive yourself. Learn from your mistakes. The past can’t be changed. Control what you can control. Stop worrying about what others think. Others opinions of you aren’t fact. Find solace in knowing that many other people are going through some of the same challenges as you and have overcome them. Know that what’s meant for you will find you. Believe in yourself and know you will be okay no matter what.

And finally, you never know what someone else is going through. Don’t take anything personally. Assume good intent. Kindness and compassion is always the answer.