The greatest lessons taught by life are often the simple ones, and ones that we're often already aware of.
Humans are strange creatures. We beat ourselves up for the things we don’t know, but regularly forget the lessons ingrained in us. I first realized this when I was 14. For our English class, we had a project where each of us had to anonymously write a personal problem on a paper strip and drop it in a glass bowl. Then, one by one, we would pick out a strip, and give our advice to the seeker. Most of us had the same problems, and most of us had the same answers. As I listened to my classmates' words of wisdom, I noticed that they were answering to themselves. I wondered why they wrote their problems when they already had the solutions to them.
Do we already have what we are looking for? If yes, then why do we provide that to everyone but ourselves?
There are some simple lessons we have grown up with that have the potential to keep us afloat for the most part of our days, but we fail to remember them while looking for complex solutions.
5 Lessons Taught by Life
- Think before you speak
- Live in the moment
- This too shall pass
- One day at a time
- No one’s seen tomorrow
⭐️ BONUS TIP at the end on how to practice these lessons for life! ⭐️
1. Think before you speak
One of the most common lessons passed on to us by more experienced people is to think before we speak. How hard is that? And, we do think before we speak, but let’s dig deeper. We know it never bodes well when we lash out of rage and say words we never meant. But, what about saying things like, “It is all a waste” or “Things will never get better” or “I can’t do it.” These are words often said without fully understanding their all-encompassing meaning. Was it all a waste? Will things never get better? Is it absolutely impossible for you to do it?
Think before you speak to yourself. Your thoughts shape how you respond to any situation. Be kind to everyone, starting with you. There’s a quote that comes to my mind here:
“I've had a lot of worries in my life, most of which never happened.”
- Mark Twain
Be conscious of how long you delve into a monologue with yourself. Ask if you should be saying these words to yourself.
If we’ll be careful as to how we talk to ourselves, we’ll naturally exhibit that behavior to others.
2. Live in the moment
I’ll be honest, this is the one that I most often forget. I’ll go so far down the rabbit hole that my present would look unwelcome to me when it’s all I have. How many times are we in the moment? Not running the tapes of our mistakes, not worrying about a future we haven’t seen.
Right here, right now. Breathe in, breathe out. Unless it’s essential not to, let’s be where we are as much as we can. For this, what I do is focus on myself and my environment. I ask, what am I doing? Where am I? How do I feel? How am I breathing? I take a deep breath then. And, then I laugh at myself as I realize how far off my mind had taken me.
All we have is now. Let’s be present in it.
3. This too shall pass
In times of distress, loss, fear, and euphoria, be aware of their transient nature. We feel what we feel. This awareness is not to pull us away from the truth, but to remind us to be careful. Be careful to not make big claims and decisions, to not lose hope, to not call one chapter of our life our whole story. Let’s be conscious to not inflate our problems but deal with them as they are, and be patient before jumping to conclusions. In fear or excitement, it’s best to wait before making any high-impact decisions.
4. One day at a time
It feels overwhelming when we look only at one big task to complete, a grand, ambitious dream to achieve. But, if we break it down into small chunks, it suddenly becomes doable and fun. Apply this approach to every part of your life. Instead of fretting over the ultimate goal and how unachievable it feels now, think of small steps you can take today that’ll bring you closer to your aim. Make a plan for yourself and do at least one thing each day that’ll move you forward. Day by day, step by step, you’ll make definite progress.
5. No one’s seen tomorrow
It’s humbling to remind ourselves of mortality. It pushes us to take the steps we were putting off for someday in the future. It makes us not fuss over little annoyances. It makes us express love more intentionally. It makes us more grateful for what we have.
It took the passing of two close relatives of mine for me to fully grasp how unpredictable life is. How we really don’t know what can happen when. How there are so many things we take for granted.
Appreciate what you have as much as you can. There’s no guarantee that you’ll always have it.
⭐️ Time for the bonus tip! ⭐ ️
Here is what you can do to bring yourself back to a calm and clear place as your mind wanders in a maze of never-ending turns:
Be a friend to yourself
Some time ago, I opened up to a friend about a struggle that I was having and he gave me some solid advice. He comforted me, said the right words, and reminded me of the simple tips that I was forgetting. And, in the end, he said, “I wish I could give the same advice to myself.”
He had the answers to his problems but he was giving them to his friend instead of himself.
There’s another practice that helps me out. Whenever I complicate a situation or focus on the mistake, not the lesson, I imagine that any of my best friends is in the same situation. What would I say to them?
Whenever you feel overwhelmed or too sad, become a friend to yourself. What if your best friend was in your place? Most likely, you’ll know what to say. And, if not, just give it time. You'll be okay.
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Have a wonderful day!