Gosh, wouldn’t it be nice if life lessons showed up on your doorstep wrapped with a sparkly bow on top? Come to think of it, have you ever tripped over a profound life-changing message when you least expected to? Some of us know that even tragedy can bring its own intuition and insight. Not all learning has to be the result of heartbreak and pain. So, what are some of the most valuable life lessons you have learned?
Here are some of my two cents, or should I say “words to the already wise”:
When something seems too good to be true, trust me: It probably is. Nothing is as quick and easy as “they” say. “Eat all you want and lose weight.” Hey, I have a condition that prevents me from going on a diet: I get hungry (Lol). And by the way: Whoever snuck the “s” in “fast food” was a clever little dude. Moving right along. “Earn millions while you sleep.” Hmmm. Aren’t you also so sick of looking in your wallet and not seeing $20,000? That “easy” road is anything but easy, sweet friends. Simple, maybe; but easy, not so much. A successful career, true love, and emotional and spiritual satisfaction require effort – and lots of it. You may think he has it so much easier – everyone faces obstacles, challenges, and detours – even if you can’t see them.
Values and beliefs are supreme; but your behavior about those beliefs is what truly matters in this life. How do you act or talk to others when you are sharing your philosophy and points of view? Are you respectful even when others disagree? Actually a really great exercise is to seek out people with different beliefs from you, and then get to know their side of the story. Not as easy as it sounds.
Never underestimate belief in yourself. Just think: Even the word “impossible” says, “I’m possible.” No one can take away your ethics, resilience, and all the other qualities that make you the incredible person you are.
Holding grudges can make your heart awfully heavy. Try forgiving those who have yet to do you wrong. That way you won’t have to worry about it should the time ever come. Okay, I get it. With some folks, if you let them slide, they think they can ice-skate. But some people in your life do deserve a second chance. And heck, that’s what coffee is for: because some mornings deserve a second chance. Heh. Do you? Notice how trees just let the dead leaves drop. Can you sometimes just let it go?
Still comparing yourself to others with that green-eyed monster of yours? What we see of others is only what they let us see. Sometimes the only difference between you and them is that they decided to settle for more. So can you. And if you take everything personally, you can literally spend the entire day offended by people. Sure, the way folks treat you is their problem; but the way you react – is yours.
Some of us plant a seed and expect to wake up to a flower tomorrow morning. Do you sit around all day waiting for quittin’ time, all week long for Friday, or your whole life for happiness to arrive? Take a deep breath and just let this very moment be what it is. Do you have the attention of a fruit fly? Perhaps it’s time to work on paying attention, and sprinkle in some patience. Enjoy the show and stop waiting for the finale.
Actions really do have consequences. Yes, peer pressure can be pervasive, but please always think before you act; and stop mindlessly following trends. No, your heels do not have to be over five inches high. Walking in your shoes should not be an Olympic sport. Sure, you may think your heels are higher than some people’s standards, but you may want to reconsider if you need to walk like a newborn calf. You do not have to wear three quarter leggings with invisible socks on a bitter cold day. Your suit pants can actually look like you haven’t just left a flood zone, and your socks don’t always have to be “happy.”
Believe it or not, we humans all want the same thing: validation, security, love, and hope for a better future. It’s the dang superficial things that keep us separated from one another. Be kind. Have you ever noticed that there are no traffic jams along the extra mile? Or as Bill Gates said: “Be nice to nerds. Chances are one day you’ll end up working for one.”
Know your strengths and weaknesses. That way, you can address your imperfections and play to your strengths. And just because you have pains does not mean you have to be one. Doing the wrong thing may be tempting, but doing the right thing will ultimately always be more rewarding. It actually feels really good to be a good human being.
And finally, sweet friends, know this: Not all loves last forever. Sometimes we are sent someone simply to remind us of how we may have once felt. Or perhaps to even show us what real love can or should feel like. And that’s okay. Cherish them for all they have to offer you.
Do you know what Michelangelo’s last words were? He died at the ripe old age of 88, quite a feat, considering that in 1564 folks were lucky if they made it to 40. He said: “I regret that I am dying just as I am beginning to learn the alphabet of my profession.” “I am still learning” – what better motto for life can there be?
Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens. She works with individuals, couples, and families. Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends. She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at Safehavenhealing@gmail.com or at facebook.com/pages/Safe-Haven-Healing.