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From learning to value myself to seeking knowledge and embracing life-long relationships, here are 8 lessons that life has taught me.
Yesterday morning, I decided to go back in time and review my life for the last 10 years. Until I was 18, the strongest and most dominant of emotions in my head were joy, fun, happiness and confidence, which have been amalgamated by many other emotions like anger, fear, sadness, self-pity and disgust.
Here are some life lessons I have learned.
It’s not selfish to take care of yourself and to make and to make your happiness a priority. It’s a necessity.
Though this is a little late for a 28-year-old , independent modern woman, I have realized that loving yourself is the best way to live a happy, guilt-free life. In this manner you end up not giving expectations to others and neither do you start expecting something from others. With such an attitude, you don’t blame a second person but hold yourself responsible for the outcomes – whether it is happiness or disappointment.
My mom always said that I am the kind who learns from my mistakes and I took this so seriously that sometimes even though I knew I was going to ruin things, I ended up doing it just because I thought it reflected my attitude — someone who learns through mistakes.
As kids we are always taught to love and respect others, which I totally agree with, since we are all social animals and need to be in harmony with one others. But what is most important is that we as kids should be taught to love ourselves first. Only when we are happy and love ourselves can we spread that love to others.
Self-pity is addictive, gives momentary pleasure and separates the victim from reality. I have realized that most of our problems are conditioned. We try to find happiness with self-pity, which my friends is only a temporary thing. We sympathize with our selves, the situation and circumstances we are in. And in this process we end up creating more and more suffering for ourselves. Like the laws of attraction say, the energy you send out is what you attract. What I have most importantly learned is that this self-pity leads to a deadlock – we pity and sympathize about ourselves and then we expect people around us to sympathize with us. If I am sad and gloomy how can i give happiness to others and attract the same from them? If I am in a mess there would be some percentage of chances that I was responsible for it, because of the choices I had made or the pressure I succumbed. Self-pity is a no no!
Isn’t it true? I wonder if when I had said NO on certain instances, I had sent a message that was clear enough — that no means no, never maybe or yes. If so, I would have saved a few heart breaks and failures, if at all I had been more blunt in my words before setting expectations. I wish I had built a strong line of defense for myself and not letting people harm me easily. Boundaries that were firmly established so that people would witness the good and the bad equally. And in this process, a few people might have left me or would leave me – everyone has a right to choose for themselves and if I am not the chosen one then I should accept it. I should be ready to move on and value the ones who chose to stay with me.
If you don’t go after what you want, you’ll never have it. If you don’t step forward, you’re always on the same spot. This is one of my favourite lessons learned in the last 10 years. Be it the profession we want to choose, the relationship we want to take forward, the kind of job/salary we are eligible for, the reason why someone else was chosen over us for a promotion, a better opportunity, or for something as simple as the one rupee you are supposed to get back as balance from the shopkeeper and instead you are handed over a toffee. Unless we question things that happen to us we won’t know its credibility. Life is to a large extent all about the choices we make so it is absolutely perfect and normal to questions those options that life gives you.
When in trouble in any kind of situation – physical, emotional or mental – if you aren’t happy about it you have two options. You either accept it or you fight it. It could be from choosing to move out of a bad and abusive marriage or choosing to move out cause you thought you and your partner were not compatible. It’s your life and you have the right to redesign it for yourself. It could be choosing to fight against a disease you have been diagnosed with or just letting that diseases take over you your body and your life. It could be either telling the ugly truth to someone close to you or just bitching about them behind their back and praising them to their face. So either accept things or fight them. There is no saviour. Your family and friends are there to guide you but no one can save you unless you decide to take a stand and take control of things.
Your family is always there for you no matter how old you become, how far you have grown in your life, how many people have come and gone in your life. They would always stay there by your side, ALWAYS! People might come and go, promise you of love and care and suddenly one day shatter your dreams or start demanding things of you but family, especially your parents, they would always be there to support you. They would be strict and rude to you most of the times due to the generation gap but somehow they would end up being good for you in the long run. Today, I stand where I am due to my mom who is now no more withe me but always in my thoughts and my dad who has been my biggest support. My elder brother with whom i have fought over things like a TV remote or his disapproval of my boyfriend, for not being there with me when I wanted to play and he wanted to roam around with his friends, well he was always there when I did something wrong and wanted to be saved by the wrath from my parents. He took it all on himself or he always kept a check on me, who my friends were and where I was going. Everything I am today is because of my parents and my brother.
When in trouble in any kind of situation – physical, emotional or mental – if you aren’t happy about it you have two options. You either accept it or you fight it.
Girlfriends are like sisters you pick for yourself. I never understood the seriousness of this ten years back but now I can totally advertise this – hell yes, I love my girlfriends! No matter how old you grow, you have a man to love you, but you would always need your girlfriends to go back to. I do agree, friends could be both male and female but the kind of attachment a woman can have with her girl gang, nothing can beat that friendship and it only grows stronger like wine over the years. So invest that time in this friendship. You may just be calling up every one of them on a Sunday afternoon over a conference call, meeting them for a coffee, asking them to help you go shopping, just talking to them about everything, right from that other girl in office to kitchen tips to sobbing about your heart break to the new crush in office. I am glad to have found my best friends over these ten years. These friends of mine have played different roles in my life – the caregiver, the crazy one, the rock, the opposite, the cool one, the honest one and the secret keeper. And yes, I have a few male friends who in the truest sense are my soul mates turned into friends without whom I guess I would always be incomplete. Who said soul mates only means lovers?
I strongly live by this belief. There is nothing more important than these three things and with them, you could survive in this world. No matter if you have a financially stable partner, one must always be have her own cash (for various reasons from moving out to buying something for yourself without thinking about the family obligations.) Good education is important, because knowledge is the strongest weapon one can have. It can take you far and keep you strong. Confidence may not bring you success but makes you ready to face all kinds of challenges.
So these are some of the lessons life has taught me in the last ten years from 18 to 28. Life has been a roller coaster ride with so many twists and turns. Some hard times from which I have learnt to come out strong, some good ones that keep the excitement and happiness still dominant in me. I am not saying I know everything because life is a journey and you learn with every step and turn. Like Maya Angelou said, “I know enough for today, for tomorrow I am learning.” Life is beautiful and we were born to be real and not perfect. Life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain!
Image via Shutterstock.
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