Lessons from the battlefield: life 101
A little word of warning, before proceeding with this post: this is a serious, kind of stiff post – you see, as much as I tried to change words and rephrase things, it just didn’t feel right, hence serious it is! So if you aren’t in the mood for serious things today, just pass this up :).
I used to spend a lot of time thinking about my past tribulations and about the things I wish I knew 15 years ago – but then, even if somebody else would have recited wise words before me loud and clear twice per day, I would have surely considered them to be half blabber, theoretical motivational nonsense and half patronizing b…..t. The fact is, I learned it the hard way: feeling inadequate, being sad, trying to be what I was not, acquiring several false ideas about myself, hurting, making a laugh of myself, acting out and generally being pathetic whilst exposing myself to several seriously dangerous situations. Indeed, it seems that suffering teaches us more than happiness, doesn’t it?
So here they are – my life lessons so far (I would have loved to post my own personal (and softer) Decalogue, but you see, I came a long way and 10 lessons wouldn’t cover half of it :P):
– Be kind to yourself – even when you blow things up and make a fool of yourself.
– Don’t be so serious! Stop taking yourself so seriously, things are rarely as grim as they appear to be.
– Dare – dare to be different, even if you’re embarrassed you’re not typical, dare not to mingle in, not to be liked. It’s normal – people are different, that is the beauty of life.
– Do not be a people pleaser! There will always be somebody who will not want to wear your shoes and that’s all right! So let them be, do not choose to make them happy at your expense. Don’t try to be whom and what you aren’t, it can seriously mess you up.
– Your happiness will not depend on what somebody else does or doesn’t do: waiting for somebody else to make you happy may only ensure two things: a depression and growing old not knowing what you really want from life.
– There is no magic solution – work on your life! Or you could just believe in magic and become old Miss Havisham expecting it – whatever that might be – to happen…
– Assume responsibility for saving yourself. It’s not fair to expect other people to save you, you are not a child anymore. Things might not happen as you want them to, but that is just the way it is. Learn, move on and try again.
– If you do nothing, nothing will change. Regret what you did rather than what you didn’t do.
– Don’t take things personally and don’t interpret them exclusively from your own point of view.
– Do not let embarrassment or fear stop you from telling people when they do not act appropriately – and do so carefully not to hurt their feelings, either. Try: this does not work for me.
– It’s OK for people to be upset with you and for you to be upset with them. It happens to the best of friends; a quarrel sometimes shakes things up and makes them fall into the right place. Don’t do everything to make things all right when they aren’t / shouldn’t be.
– Demystify your fears, look them in the face, let them do their routine and learn to live with or free of them. Analyze what holds you back, elucidate the culprits (even if it is you), learn your lessons, and then learn to choose to do things differently next time.
– Learning is not an instant thing: it takes time, it often hurts, it has setbacks, people might not like it, you might feel like giving up… So be persistent, don’t cave in!
– Make peace with the past, forgive yourself and the ones who hurt you: you cannot change the past, no matter how much you try or how much it haunts you. If that doesn’t work, let the past go, whatever it is in it that holds you down. It’s heavy, it burdens you, it takes away your vitality. Even if you cannot just drop it, practice it consistently.
– Everybody hurts, everybody has a story and several reasons that seem both important and well-grounded– even those who are mean, who make you feel like you are nothing, who want too much from you. It’s not your business to put a stamp on them just because they think and act differently than you would prefer, is not your job to make them be nice, to heal them, to change the way they feel and act. However, your inner reaction to their words and actions is your responsibility.
– Be honest to yourself, don’t hide from the truth, recognize your mistakes, try to repair them and if you can’t, move on. There will always be some things you will not be proud of – it’s only human.
– Don’t assume what people want – ask. When at a loss when it comes to people, try treating them as you would like to be treated.
– Live in the real world, as much as you hate it, as much as it is disappointing. Fantasy world is nice, but at the end of the day, avoiding reality hurts you more that you can imagine.
– Feel – the pain, the embarrassment, the annoyance, the joy. Some might feel good, others might feel awful, but they are all a part of life.
– Love shouldn’t be unconditional: that’s just wrong and completely unfair to everybody. It’s not magic and it shouldn’t be. It takes respect, sincerity, communication, persistence, work, commitment and compromise.
– You are not the sum of what everybody thinks of you: essentially, you are already enough – be aware of it and don’t be needy –don’t act like you are, either: there will always be people who will just not like you and that is in the nature of life and things. It’s hard and it hurts when the ones you admire or even fancy do not like you, but trying to be everything somebody else wants is just plain stupid. Putting on the puppy face or trying all you can think of to attract attention falls in the same category; furthermore, is way too damaging to your self-esteem.
OK, that was it (deep breath). Up to now, that is. It does seem like I am yet struggling not to live life so damn seriously, doesn’t it? 🙂
Have a nice week, everyone!