There are just some things that we can only really learn through time. How to accept ourselves, when to let things go, how to deal with people who treat us badly…these aren’t really things that we’re born knowing. We need life experiences to really drive the lessons home. Let’s discuss!
11 Things That We Can Only Learn Through Time & Life Experiences
Before we start, I just want to get ahead of any potential confusion. When I say that there are some lessons that we can only learn through time, I don’t necessarily mean that we can’t learn these lessons only when we’re older. I’ve known teenagers who understood these lessons far earlier than their adult counterparts. So, while you do need time & life experiences to learn these things, there’s really no rule about how much of it you need. Now that we’ve cleared that up, let’s dive in! I’ve shared some of my favorite inspirational quotes for each one. Enjoy!
1. You’ll never be universally adored
No one is universally adored. Even the sweetest people on the planet have people who just don’t like them. Sometimes, people will even dislike you because you’re sweet! Ignore them. Focus on the people who really matter and who love you as you are.
2. Never apologize for who you are
Never feel like you have to apologize for who you are or justify the things that you like. You deserve to be yourself. Revel in your weird side! Tell corny jokes. Dance to your own drumbeat. Never, ever, ever hide pieces of yourself away out of fear that someone won’t like you.
3. What people say to you reflects on them, not you
No matter what you say or do, someone out there will find a way to be negative about it. A hater’s hate says everything about them and absolutely nothing about you. The next time someone says something mean to you, feel sorry for them. They’re clearly unhappy with their lives.
4. Wishing people pain doesn’t help you heal in the long run
This goes along with the last one. When those people do say cruel things to you or cause you anguish, it’s natural to want them to feel the same pain. It doesn’t make you a bad person at all, I promise you that. But it also doesn’t really help you heal or feel better in the long run. Rather than focusing on yourself and the good things in your life, you end up focusing on negative feelings like rage and hatred.
Besides, people who say and do cruel things are either in serious pain themselves OR they’re sociopaths. You can’t argue with a sociopath, and it doesn’t really make sense to wish more suffering upon someone who is already suffering.
5. Life is way too short to focus on the negative
Life is way too short to spend it constantly stressing out, arguing with loved ones, or worrying about stuff that may never happen. If you think about the endlessness of time, you realize that we exist for what amounts to a fraction of a fraction of a fraction of a blink. Don’t waste it. Spend as much of the time you have on this earth focusing on the things that really matter.
6. It’s okay to have a total meltdown sometimes
Okay, so this contradicts the last one slightly. Yes, you should focus on the positive as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean you should bottle up your emotions. I think it’s bunk that adults are expected to behave rationally 100% of the time and never, ever, ever lose our cool. As any toddler will tell you, sometimes you just need a good tantrum to get things out of your system.
So go ahead and have that epic meltdown. Scream, cry, yell. Stomp your feet and beat your hands against the pillow. But once you get it out of your system, move on. Maybe do it someone private, though. People are cruel these days, and they’re always looking for ways to go viral at someone else’s expense. Unfortunately, that means any meltdown that you have in public will most likely end up on YouTube. Refocus your energies on the positive and get yourself back on track.
7. We can’t have ups without downs
Just like there’s no sunrise without sunset, there are no ups without downs. Think about it. How would you explain a sunrise to someone who has never experienced nighttime? How would you explain relief to someone who has never experienced pain? It’s hard, right? While I certainly hope that we have far more ups than downs, the fact is we do need a few downs to really appreciate the ups.
8. Time doesn’t actually heal ALL wounds
There are some wounds that even all of the time in the universe can’t heal. Some cuts run so deep that they can never truly close, so our minds just kind of wrap them around in scar tissue. Sometimes, scars hurt as much as the original wound. Sometimes, they itch just enough to remind you that they’re there. Sometimes, though, if we’re really lucky, they do their job and protect us from feeling the pain as intensely as we once did.
9. Kindness matters more than wealth
When we’re young, we measure the value our lives by how many people like us or how much money we have in our bank accounts. It takes time and life experience to learn that these things matter very little in the grand scheme of things. Yes, we need money to survive, but it’s not what makes us who we are. Yes, we want people to like us for who we are, but if they don’t then that’s on them, not us. Life should be about kindness and compassion. I’d rather have a rich heart than a rich bank account.
10. There’s more to being healthy than just vital signs and organ function
Your true health has nothing to do with what medicine you take, and medicine alone can not make you healthy. Being a healthy and whole person is about more than just vital signs and organ function. You need to take care of your mind, heart, and soul, too. For that, laughter and love are truly the best medicine.
11. You’re a survivor
This is by far one of the most important things that we can learn only through time and through living. No matter what you go through, the very fact that you’re still here reading this means that you are literally a survivor. It means that you’ve made it through dark days, rough seas, and all the other trite metaphors we use to describe the really awful things that happen to us.
I wish that you never had to suffer. I genuinely and truly mean that. But I don’t think there’s a single person on this planet who has managed to live a life completely free of suffering. So, when it happens, when those awful moments come, remind yourself that you WILL breathe again. You WILL get through it as long as you never give up.