There are many things people learn in life, but it seems that people don’t learn the most important life lessons until it’s too late. Better late than never, but if you can be aware of the following five things, everything else will be easier to master.
1) Learn What You’re Responsible For And What You’re Not
Everyone brings something to the mix, and everyone is responsible for their feelings. Some feelings are warranted, and some occur from our perception of what was said or done. Given that there are so many different personalities, experiences and other dynamics, it’s easy to see why there are many disagreements. However, at the end of the day, people are still responsible for how they feel. People have to be willing to ask themselves what they brought to the mix. This means that people need to think about what occurred and their reaction to it.
People can’t blame others for how they feel. Everyone decides how they feel. “You made me mad!” doesn’t hold up because people decide to be mad. An example of how people can’t “make” anyone feel anything can be understood in this way: Imagine a group of 20 people sitting in the center of a room. A ton of tennis balls is suddenly thrown at them. If it’s possible to “make” anyone feel anything, then all 20 people should feel the exact same thing. They don’t. This is because everyone’s perception of what happened is different. Some will feel scared, some will feel upset, and some will think that the situation was ridiculous.
It can seem difficult to understand that we can change how we feel, but feelings are tightly linked to thoughts. If a person is unhealthy, their view of what happened will most likely be negative. If a person is healthy, they can see things as they are, usually. Be willing to ask yourself what your part in the situation was and what you’re going to do about it.
2) Get Brutally Honest With Yourself
Understand who you are and all that means. In 12-step programs, it’s referred to as taking “personal inventory”. List out your strengths, weaknesses, fears, desires and what holds you back from achieving what you want. When people attempt this for the first time, they can get a little lost. Asking yourself “why?” will uncover many things. Ask yourself why you’re afraid of certain things or why you haven’t gone back to school even though you want to. There is an underlying reason for the things you do—whether you are aware of it or not. Be honest about what’s inside you.
Next, be honest about what you’re going to do about it. If you’re afraid of something, take steps to not be afraid of it. If you’re not achieving what you want, discover the ways you self-sabotage yourself. It’s okay to discover things you do not like about yourself; however, it’s up to you to decide what you’re going to do about it. Many bad decisions are based upon past hurts and fears. Heal from these, and watch your future unfold.
3) Letting Go of Negative People
People have been guilted into keeping certain people in their lives. Most often, it is negative family members that keep a hold on others. Do yourself a favor, and understand that you are not under any obligation to anyone. If someone can guilt you by saying, “If you really loved me, you’d put up with my negative behavior.” The reality is, though, that if they loved you, they’d let go of their negative behavior. The other possibilities is that they are not really aware of the hurt their behavior is causing.
Read and learn about negative people. There are several types. They tend to exhibit certain negative behaviors. They may blame you for everything or claim you’re doing the very behaviors they exhibit. This is why it’s important to understand who you are and what you are responsible for because the rest of it is all them. Understand that in much the same way that you can’t “make” people be mad, you can’t “make” them change either. The sooner you separate yourself from negative people, the sooner your life will be less complicated. Everyone will have some degree of negativity; however, relatively healthy people will be aware of it and honest with themselves to do something about it. It’s not advisable to cut everyone out of your life. You have to decide what you’re willing to tolerate. Ask yourself what a relationship with a negative person is costing you. If people cannot honor your boundaries, more restrictive boundaries need to be made, such as distancing yourself from them.
4) Knowing Your Worth And What You Deserve
This can be a confusing concept for people to grasp. They confuse being proud of their accomplishments with a lack of humility. People confuse being the best at something as being worthy of something. The truth is that people determine what their worth is. If you want to discover what you think your worth is, look at what you currently have. At some point, you prevented yourself from having more. It doesn’t matter how tall someone is, their education or anything else. If you believe you deserve happiness, you set out to have that or simply realize that all you need to do is let go of sadness.
Instead of asking yourself why you deserve something, ask yourself why you don’t. There is nothing superficial that can make you deserve something. Deserving something is not the same thing as earning something. You may have to work to achieve it, but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve it. Ask yourself what you want, and decide to have it. Yes, you deserve it!
5) Learn to Truly Love Yourself
Loving yourself is not just an attitude you have about yourself. There’s more to it. You honor yourself, respect yourself, make healthy decisions, stop self-sabotaging behaviors and many other things. You set out to do what’s best for you. If you have self-destructive behaviors, it’s an indication that you don’t love yourself. The previous steps may reveal why you don’t love yourself; however, like everything else, this is a choice. You can choose to love yourself—step by step. Start today.
There are many things parents teach us. Sadly, many of life’s lessons aren’t taught to children. They are left to discover these things later in life. It could save a lot of time to know these things early on.
Take a moment to process your own internal assessment around these 5 life lessons. Which are you practicing in your life today? Which could you start practicing to improve the quality of your life?