Life Lessons: Things I learned too late in my life
If we were born with a compact instruction on how to deal with the most problematic aspects of living in this world, life would be quite decent. Instead, we tilt at windmills because nobody told us how to skip them.
I was not prepared well for coping with reality the way it was. I was living in the bubble while suddenly it broke. I was shocked. A majority of the success is to understand what’s going on. I didn’t. Nobody told me why people behave the way they do. Why certain circumstances are not fair. Why sometimes the efforts do not bring expected results.
Let me share with you today the most important lessons I learned too late in my life.
1. Respect yourself
If you want to be respected, you need to first respect yourself.
Have you ever thought about why some people are never respected? They seem to do their best at pleasing others, but somehow they don’t manage to get respect. Did you know that seven in ten teen girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members? Read more about it here.
I was one of such girls. I didn’t respect myself the way I was. I didn’t have self-esteem. I was convinced that respect comes from people. And I need to be good enough to deserve it. People feel it and start to treat you this way.
What does it mean to respect yourself?
- Know you worth and honor yourself
- Say “no” if something is not according to your values
- Don’t let others decide what should be important for you
- Stop thinking negatively about yourself
- Believe in your capacity to do things right
- Say openly when your feelings are hurt
- Forgive yourself mistakes
2. Don’t give too much
I was used to believing that the more I give the more I receive. I couldn’t understand why it didn’t work for me. The more I was giving the less I was receiving. After a long time I realized two things:
- I’ve been giving more and more of what I wanted to receive
- I should give less and leave a space for another person to give as well
The conclusion is that I was not giving what someone needed, but what I needed believing other people enjoy the same things I do. The second conclusion is that giving too much might be overwhelming for other people who don’t feel they can give the same or more so they stop giving at all being discouraged.
Giving too much always brings expectations and never brings full satisfaction as people don’t appreciate it. What’s even worst, they start to take it for granted. The most important thing is to maintain a healthy balance between giving and taking.
How to maintain a healthy balance between giving and taking?
It’s like giving other people gifts. If you give someone a gift, don’t run instantly with the next gift. Instead, give someone time and space to enjoy the first gift. Give someone time and space to recognize its value. Give someone time and space to prepare a gift for you. It might not happen today or tomorrow. Don’t expect anything, but hope for the best.
Try to avoid giving gifts that seem too big for a person who cannot return the favor. People hate to owe other people, even if it happens on an unconscious basis. They like to be on the same level. The gift has to be relevant. People who have less enjoy small gifts because they’re used to giving the same. People who have more like bigger gifts as they can afford returning the same.
I’m not saying it’s a universal rule. I’m saying some people may not feel good about gifts they don’t really need. Once again: we give what we want to receive. If you want to make someone happy, you need to think what this person wanta to receive. Not you.
3. People don’t think about you
You spent your first 20 years worrying what people think about you. You spend your next 20 years swearing you don’t care what people think about you. You spend the next 20 years realizing people don’t think about you at all.
The truth I’m still discovering is that people don’t think about me as much as I think they do. They don’t spend all days reminiscing my mistakes, my failures, my weaknesses. They have their own problems. They think about their mistakes, their failures, their weaknesses. They don’t have time to think about me and about how bad I may look like in their eyes.
What’s more, your life is none of their business. They don’t know what”s best for you. What’s right for someone might be completely wrong for you. What other people consider garbage might be a treasure for you. We’re unique and we should be proud of it. Worrying about what others think will keep you from your dreams or places you want to be in.
Remember that you’re the one who takes the consequences of your choices. If someone suggests you doing something you don’t feel good about, it’s only you who will suffer the end result if you accept it. It’s not the person who prompted you to do so. There is no risk for people who tell you what you should do. You’re the only one who takes a risk.
And most importantly: people”s thoughts change on a regular basis. What they thought about you yesterday might not be the case today or tomorrow. So people’s thoughts about you don’t matter.
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