Life is a journey of ups and downs, and along the way, we learn many lessons; some through heartbreak, disappointment, and pain, while others come with time and experience.
But there are some life lessons that you don’t need to learn the hard way. These are little truths about life that if you embrace now, will save you a ton of regret in the future!
Let’s jump in:
1) The importance of self-care
You’ve only got one body to work with in this lifetime, so treat it well!
Don’t leave it till old age to start practicing self-care – it’ll be too late and the damage will be done.
Instead, start now.
Take care of:
- Your body – your back and knees will thank you for it
- Your mind – it’s not a muscle, but it still needs exercising
- Your emotions – important at all stages of life
Here’s the thing, it’s much easier to get into good habits of self-care while you’re young and energetic enough to do so.
Don’t wait for life to wear you down (or burnout to set it) before taking note of this lesson!
2) Forgiveness is key
Another life lesson you don’t have to learn the hard way is the power of forgiveness.
I know – some things truly feel unforgivable. And some people should (rightly so) be removed from your life, especially if they show no respect or concern for your well-being.
But with that in mind, it’s important to remember that forgiveness is for YOU more than them.
When you forgive, you don’t necessarily need to forget or let that person back into your life.
Instead, it’s an opportunity for you to let go of anger and hatred. See forgiveness as something healthy and cleansing for your heart.
It may take time to develop this attitude, so go easy on yourself, but remember, the sooner you learn to forgive, the sooner you’ll be at peace.
3) You can’t control everything
When we think deeply about life, very little is actually in our control.
Except for one thing – how we react to situations.
Your job, relationship, lifestyle, everything will change as you move through life. Trying to keep a tight grasp on everything will undoubtedly lead you to disappointment and frustration.
So, what can you do instead?
Learn to roll with the waves.
There’ll be times when you need to make active, positive decisions for your life, and other times when you’ll have to hold your hands up in defeat and accept whatever is coming your way!
All you can do is approach life’s turbulence with a good attitude and cultivate a resilient mindset.
4) Value your friendships
Your friendships are undoubtedly important, but from time to time, we all get a little bit busy with work and other commitments.
Friendships start to take a back seat.
And before you know it, you’re scheduling a coffee with your bestie in two months’ time.
But here’s the thing – if you don’t maintain these relationships now, it’s easy for distance to grow and relationships to fall apart.
And trying to repair one after the fact is much harder than giving it the attention it needs right now!
So, if there’s one lesson you don’t have to learn the hard way, it’s to value those close to you. Spend time with them. Prioritize them as much as you do your work.
After all, money comes and goes. Good friendships last a lifetime!
5) Comparison is the thief of joy
One thing my parents always taught me growing up was that there’ll always be people who have more than me and people who have less.
That’s why it’s important to focus on your own progress instead of comparing yourself to others!
But I understand – when you hit a certain age and it seems like everyone around is hitting those big milestones, it’s easy to fall into the trap of comparison.
When this happens, it’s important to remind yourself that everyone is on their own unique journey.
Envy and jealousy won’t get you closer to your goals, only focus and dedication can.
6) Life isn’t always fair
“If you expect the world to be fair with you because you are fair, you’re fooling yourself. That’s like expecting the lion not to eat you because you didn’t eat him.”
– Paolo Coelho
Another life lesson you don’t have to learn the hard way is accepting that life is not always going to treat you the way you expect.
Good things happen to bad people and unfortunately, bad things happen to the good amongst us!
But instead of constantly focussing on what life hasn’t given to you, why not see the tough times as an opportunity for growth, a chance to build resilience?
With this mindset, you’ll have an easier time accepting the ups and downs of life!
7) Gratitude is essential
Another life lesson you don’t have to learn the hard way is the importance of gratitude. This can also help you deal with the previous point…how?
Because when life treats you unkindly, having gratitude for what you DO have can make all the difference.
Too often we become focussed on other people’s lifestyles, especially online.
But when we do that, we lose sight of all the incredible things within our own lives; our friends, family, experiences, and more.
So, to practice gratitude, try journaling. This can be a great way to get down your thoughts. Even if you only write two or three things daily, it’s a good start!
8) You’re the only person who can change your life
While it’s tempting to blame external factors when life doesn’t work out as we planned, we’ve got to take ownership and accountability for ourselves instead of blaming others.
And equally, we can’t rely upon others to drop opportunities into our laps!
In my own family, I’ve witnessed elders who felt a sense of entitlement – the world owes them something. And when the world didn’t show up to get them that new house, or that shiny career, they were left bitter and resentful.
So, the point is, only you can change your life and make it into something fulfilling.
No one is coming along to save you – it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and the quicker you learn that and become proactive, the better off you’ll be!
9) Happiness is a choice
Another life lesson to remember is that happiness is a choice, it’s not something that’s given to us through money or status or the size of your house!
And too many people hinge their hopes on finding happiness through external factors, before realizing that they’ve wasted their time – they had to look within to find it.
So, rather than let the rest of the world dictate how happy (or unhappy) you are, take control yourself.
Even during tough situations, only you can choose to focus on the good and give less attention to the bad!
10) You can’t change people
Now, this is a classic lesson that most people learn the hard way, but they shouldn’t have to!
Ask yourself this:
How hard is it to change a habit you’ve had for many years?
It’s not easy, is it?
Well, now try to imagine changing someone else. It’s virtually impossible – unless they want to change and accept your help!
That’s why all we can do is give people good advice, lead by example, and hope that they make the choice to change for the better.
And if their actions are negatively impacting you, learn how to set boundaries. You have to protect yourself instead of waiting for a change that may never come!
11) Being rich isn’t all about the money
When we’re young, we think that being rich is the be-all and end-all of life. Rich people seem to have it all, including happiness.
But as we get older, we realize that rich people face the same problems as everyone else; heartbreak, betrayal, disappointment, and more.
So, rather than learning the hard way, start appreciating what you have today.
You may not be rich in terms of your bank account, but if you have a roof over your head, food in your tummy, and a loving family, you’re better off than most!
12) Let go of whatever doesn’t serve you
The art of letting go is something you certainly don’t have to learn the hard way!
The truth is, as we progress in life, certain beliefs, habits, and relationships will stop serving us. And rather than cling to them for dear life, it’s best to let them go gracefully.
To make room for new opportunities and experiences, sometimes we have to create space.
And while you may feel reluctant, and scared even, it will get easier, especially when you see how much your life benefits from embracing change and letting go when it’s time to move on!