“People never learn anything by being told,
they have to find out for themselves.”
I am never good at taking advice. Giving it, maybe, but you always think you know best don’t you? Maybe its because people see their situation in a different light to how they think other people see it. The problem feels worse than it actually is. It could be that people are afraid of the unknown, of doing something that isn’t familiar to them. Or maybe its just not what you want to hear, so you follow your heart and get hurt.
Whatever it may be, I do it. Every.Single.Time. I ignore the advice of others, even when I actually think it makes sense. Just because I have to learn for myself. I have to experience it and go through those emotions, in order to learn a lesson.
So, here are the lessons, not that I have been given or read or seen, but learnt through my very own experiences and mistakes
1. Never… I repeat, never take your friends for granted
This is a big one and one that I have had to learn, too many times. Whether its throwing myself into work or a relationship, secluding myself during a hard time or having other priorities, I have learnt to always make time for friends. You dont realise how much you need them and their support during a hard time, but you cant expect them to come running after several weeks or months of no contact. Jobs and guys come and go, but friends really are there for a lifetime.
2. Life can be hard
Yes, life can be hard. Really, really hard. Then, when you think it cant get any worse, it does. There is something about just accepting this sentence ‘Life can be hard’ that teaches you a lesson. I believe that whatever is thrown at you, is done so for a reason. To challenge you or to teach you a lesson. Life is never going to be straightforward, if it was, it would be boring.
3. You are always stronger than you think
Following on from the lesson above, I have learnt that you are always stronger than you think. Life can come crashing down on you like a ton of bricks, you can feel every single emotion that you never knew existed all at once. You cry, you withdraw yourself, you struggle. And then one day, you are through it. You can cope. You don’t know how you did it. You just did. You managed to find this strength from within yourself that you didn’t know you had. This is a particularly good coping mechanism for me because when time gets tough, I give myself time to sulk and feel sorry for myself because ultimately in the end, I know I am going to be ok.
4. There is more to life than ‘the way it is supposed to be lived’
I am the first to admit that I probably haven’t quite mastered this one yet, but I am learning. There is more to life than other peoples expectations. There is more to life than what is labelled as ‘normal’. So what if you haven’t settled down yet? Who says you should have found ‘the one’ by now? More and more people these days are choosing to travel instead of getting mortgages, or building their own business’ rather than working a 9-5. A lot of people are not settling down and having children until their 30’s. Worrying about getting old or running out of time is just wasting more time that you are worried about wasting. Be patient. Live life how you want to live it.
5. Always listen to your gut instinct
We all have that instinct. That voice that tells us when something isn’t right but a lot of the time we choose to ignore it. Its normally drowned out by the emotions that we feel for something so we make the silly decision to go ahead anyway and then kick ourselves when it all goes wrong. I’ve had this feeling SO many times and often I have had to admit that I knew from the beginning it didn’t feel right. I’ve now learnt to take some time to check in with myself and really listen to my gut. When something isn’t right, you will feel it. Don’t ignore it. We have this feeling for a reason.
6. Have the courage to leave a bad relationship
I’ve wasted far too much time and energy on relationships that I knew were not right and I know this goes for the majority of people who have been in a bad relationship. There is absolutely no point clinging on to the idea that things may get better or that people might change, because they wont. You may feel you have already invested so much into the relationship that you don’t want to throw it all away but what is the point of being in a relationship if you are not happy? You may have completely revolved your life around this one person so much that you are scared to be lonely when you leave. Face facts. This relationship will not last, so you may as well go now and start rebuilding your life sooner rather than later.
7. Attitude is everything
I literally live by the saying ‘Its not about what happens to you, its about how you react to it.’ Your attitude is the most important thing and you are in control of it. If you let one small thing ruin your day, that’s your choice. You can moan and whinge as much as you like but ultimately it isn’t going to change anything except probably ruin even more of your day. Whatever it is, it’s done. It cant be changed, so accept it and move on. Life is what you make it.
8. Feel the fear and do it anyway
This quote is actually the title of a book written by Susan Jeffers and since reading it, I have found myself repeating it more often than I thought. There are things in life that I haven’t done because I have been too scared to do. How stupid does that sound? I have said no to what could have been a great opportunity, simply because of the fear of the unknown. We fear change and we cling on to, often our painful realities because we don’t know anything different.
There are always going to be things in life that are new to us, when you get that feeling of nerves in the pit of your stomach. When something isn’t familiar to us or takes us out of our comfort zone. Its natural to be wary but I have learnt that by facing fears, you break down that barrier and when you realise it wasn’t all that bad, you start applying that to other areas of your life. I have learnt to embrace it and turn it into excitement and passion. You are capable of doing anything if you feel the fear and do it anyway.
9. Always be kind
This is simple really. Just be kind. Everyone you meet is fighting their own kind of battle. Everybody has a story to tell. A small act of kindness can really make a huge difference to somebody’s day.