18 brutal truths about life most people learn the hard way

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Life is full of twists and turns. And as much as you want to spare yourself a lot of pain, there are moments when life knocks you down so badly that you almost want to give up.

Remember this: Your life matters. Yes, life isn’t always a piece of cake. But no matter how brutal life gets, you can always find the courage to start again. 

In this article, we’ll talk about harsh truths about life that most people learn the hard way. Find out how accepting and reconciling with these truths can help you find peace even in the direst of situations. 

1) You can’t please everyone

Sure, people-pleasing feels good — everybody wants to be liked and accepted. 

But if you live your life trying to please everyone, you’re setting yourself up for anxiety and failure.

Understand this: Whatever it is you do, some people may judge or criticize your actions. 

At the end of the way, the only approval you need is the one you give yourself. Know your worth and stay true to yourself and your values. 

2) The world doesn’t owe you anything

You are entitled to nothing, and no one owes you anything. And more often than not, no matter how much you think you deserve an explanation, you may never get one. 

And it can get worse: If you think you deserve better in life but are not doing anything about it, you’re just spiraling downwards. 

You are responsible for your journey. Own it and make the most out of it. 

3) Life isn’t fair

Many corrupt politicians go unpunished. Many innocent people go to jail. The world is full of suffering and injustice. Bad things happen to good people.

Yes, life is unfair, but you don’t have to be a victim of an unfair situation or an uncertain future. You don’t have to get stuck or fall into despair.

You can pause, take a look around, and figure out a new plan. Change your attitude, thought processes, and actions. 

4) Time is limited and invaluable

Steve Jobs said it best: “Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life.”

Each moment is fleeting and precious. The good news is, you can do something about your choices right now to limit your regrets in the future. 

What can you change to live a more meaningful and fulfilling life? Stop doing things that do not contribute to your goals or add value to your life. 

5) Death is inevitable

No one will live forever. Grief may leave us heartbroken, but it can also teach us a thing or two about what matters most.

Again, we can take it from Steve Jobs: “Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.”

Start living a more purposeful life and enjoy sharing it with the people you love. 

6) Success doesn’t happen overnight

And it doesn’t happen by chance, either. You won’t get anywhere if you just sit and wait for a better opportunity to come. 

Hard work, consistency, passion, and perseverance — these are the things that you can’t go without if you want to succeed in any area of life.

Work hard for your goals. It may take you years of hustle to get there but know that every achievement requires the test of time. 

7) You will fail 

No one is exempt from making mistakes or failing. Everyone has their share of mishaps and losses. 

There will be challenges and setbacks along the way, and sometimes, no matter how hard you try, you will fail hard.

Will you let your failures stop you? Or will you adapt in the face of adversity?

Don’t give up. Some of your greatest lessons will come from your failures

8) You can’t change the past

Staying trapped in the past feels frustrating and hopeless. Nothing good comes out of it. 

So if you feel that the past still has a strong hold over you, know this: You can’t turn back time. There’s absolutely nothing that can be done to change what happened.

The silver lining? While you can’t control the past, you can build a better future. You can learn from the past and be a better person. 

9) Your words may wound others for life

Words do have power. And while some words can hurt, others can be eternally damaging — leaving people feeling angry, confused, depressed, shamed, and oppressed.

Yes, we may say the wrong things at times. But if we’re not mindful of our cruel remarks, it may cause someone to suffer emotional abuse. 

Use your words to uplift, inspire, and heal, instead of tearing down others. 

10) You don’t always get what you give

Think about this for a minute: Have you ever felt like you always give more than you get? Do you care deeply for others but don’t receive the same kindness in return?

Sadly, not everyone has a giving heart like yours. The sooner you accept that, the better. You can avoid disappointment by giving without expecting anything in return. 

But, remember that it pays to put yourself first. This brings me to my next point….

11) You can’t say yes to everyone and everything

It’s just not possible. If you keep saying ‘yes’ all the time, you’ll end up getting burned out.

It’s okay to say ‘no’ to demands and requests. It’s one of the kindest and most empowering things you can do for yourself.

It’s how you’ll be able to manage your time and focus your energy on the things that add value to you. At the end of the day, you need to look out for yourself, too. 

12) More money doesn’t make you happier in the long run

Don’t get me wrong, money can make you feel a little less sad. Your finances are important because you need to meet your needs and live a comfortable life.

But if you think that you’ll get more satisfaction out of life if you just made a bit more money, think again. The bottomline is: Money is not the cure for your happiness.

Try savoring life’s simpler, more everyday pleasures. While you’re at it, find ways to use your money to help others.

13) You can’t be happy all the time

And that’s okay. Most of us don’t walk around in a perpetual state of bliss. 

That’s because you need all of your emotions — anger, sadness, pain, and everything in between — to grow in life.

And just like happiness, all of your negative emotions come and go. You’ll appreciate your joy more when you bring purpose to your pain.

Another secret to transforming your life? Happiness is already there, within yourself

14) If you don’t invest in yourself, no one will 

Personal and professional growth won’t happen if you’re not intentional about it. Yes, it will take a lot of resources — time, money, commitment, and effort — to invest in yourself.

But it’s the most rewarding thing you can do with the time you have. 

You have great potential that you haven’t used yet. Pursue learning above all else. Read books, seek out mentors, and find people who will inspire you to be better.

15) Not everyone will support your dreams

Have you been working on your dreams but you often feel defeated because you don’t get encouragement or understanding from the people you love? 

Are haters, naysayers, and doubters sabotaging every move you make?

Don’t give up on your dreams just yet. Not everyone will believe in you, but nobody knows your own potential and possibilities as well as you do. Just keep going and prove them wrong.

16) You can’t change anyone but yourself

You’ll only end up feeling upset and frustrated if you try to take control over the thoughts and actions of a person.

You can’t change a person’s mind or behavior. Only they can do that for themselves. 

If they don’t care and have no interest in changing their bad behavior, let it go. Don’t waste your time.

17) You won’t be successful if you don’t step out of your comfort zone

If you always fear the unknown, then you’ll never know the possibilities and opportunities that lie ahead of you. 

You’ll only stay mediocre if you keep yourself stuck in your comfort zone.

Don’t be afraid to take bold, smart, and calculated risks. Push through your boundaries so you can discover who you can be.

18) Many things in life are beyond your control

“If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change your attitude.”

– Maya Angelou

In life, the key to happiness and well-being is choosing which battles to fight. You have to make peace with the fact that there are some things you cannot change.

Accept and let go of the things you can’t control so you can refocus your time and energy on what you can.

Maria Fatima Reyes

Fat Niebres is a freelance writer who loves to chase stories that matter. She finds meaning and inspiration in the mundane. When she's not writing, she's probably reading, eating, traveling, or having deep conversations with her husband. She brings her experience in broadcast, print, and NGO communications, and has been published in the Philippine Daily Inquirer and Inquirer.net.

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