She has already taught us SO much.
Caitlyn Jenner has fast become the most celebrated transgender woman in the world. On June 1, 2015, she launched her Twitter account with the tweet, "I'm so happy after such a long struggle to be living my true self."
Here are six life lessons we can take from Caitlyn's journey that can guide us in our own lives:
1. Live As Your True Self
You can't try to live as something you're not. You can't hide behind a persona that society sets for you. Caitlyn has taught us that in order to find true happiness, you have to live your life as the person you really are inside.
This isn't just a transgender issue — many of us feel pressured to do things because of others' expectations. Sometimes the pressure we feel to live for others and not ourselves comes from a society that tells us we have to look and act a certain way.
Follow Caitlyn's lead and live as your true, authentic self.2. It Takes Courage To Live Authentically
When Caitlyn Jenner received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, there were those who felt she didn't deserve that honor. Naysayers cited Caitlyn's selection as a publicity stunt. They felt there were other candidates who were more deserving.
Yes, there were other worthy candidates, but Caitlyn has lived over 60 years in a male body when she knew from a very young age that she was a female. It took immense courage for Bruce to come out and live honestly as Caitlyn.
Today, Caitlyn — as an advocate for transgender individuals — continues to walk through life with courage. The media spotlight scrutinizes her every word and move. Yet, Caitlyn bravely moves forward. Her example teaches us to courageously live our truth, especially where there is an opportunity to help others.3. If You're Strong, Lead The Way
Caitlyn has risen to the challenge of leading us toward a new way of thinking about gender identity. In her speech while receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage Award, she said, "If you want to call me names, make jokes and doubt my intentions, go ahead, because the reality is, I can take it."
We are not all strong enough to stand up to the scrutiny that Caitlyn has endured. She is admirable for recognizing her inner strength — the strength that allows her to advocate for the transgender community. It hasn't been easy for Caitlyn, yet she bravely forges forward.
Caitlyn has said that to tell her story is her "calling". She teaches us to listen to and embrace our own calling, and if that calling carries with it tremendous challenges, the stronger of us need to lead the way for others.4. Show Respect To Earn Respect
In talking about respect, Caitlyn said during her Arthur Ashe Courage Award acceptance speech, "Trans people deserve something vital, they deserve your respect. From that respect comes a more compassionate community."
To create a compassionate community is to live with empathy, tolerance, acceptance and humanity. Respect for our differences is vital to our communities. Accept Caitlyn's plea to show respect to your fellow citizens.5. Give Love To Receive Love
Our family and loved ones' support is important to all of us. Yet, most of us will never need the type of support that Caitlyn did when she came out as transgender to her family and friends. The way she conducted herself during this difficult time stands as an example to all of us to proceed with love.
Caitlyn said over and over again that her primary concern was for her family. She didn't want to hurt anyone as she told her story and came out to the world.
She proceeded with love, and in doing that she was able to tell her family, during her Arthur Ashe Courage Award acceptance speech, "You guys have given so much back to me. I am so grateful to have you in my life." Caitlyn teaches us that to act with care, concern and love, is to receive love in return.6. Quitting Is Not An Option
Prior to her transition, Caitlyn (living as Bruce), considered suicide and shared these words, "I've been in some dark places. I have been in my house with a gun and said, 'Let's just end it right there, no more pain, no more suffering.' That struggle, it's real and I've been there."
"According to the most recent and comprehensive statistics available, 41 percent of trans people attempt suicide at least once in their lives, and the figures go up to 50 percent if their trans status is known or disclosed." says Greta Gustava Martela, President of Trans Lifeline (877-565-8860), whose suicide prevention hotline runs with the help of volunteers and staff who are, themselves, transgender.
Caitlyn remained strong through her darkest hours. For her, suicide was not an option. We are thankful that this beautiful soul survived her darkest moments as she has so much more to teach us while living as her true self … while living the life she has been "called" to live.Caitlyn teaches us by example how to live our lives with courage and conviction, and how to live our calling. How are you bravely living your calling? What life lessons have you learned from Caitlyn Jenner?
The life lessons I have shared are paired with my quotes that I hope inspire you, just as Caitlyn Jenner has inspired me. I invite you to join my 50 thousand followers of my daily quotes on Twitter @JoanJerkovich.