The Universe works in mysterious ways, and for a lot of us, that’s a lesson we had to learn the hard way. Heartbreaks, struggles, and failures have all led us to where we are now and turned us into the person we are today. And while it’s certainly beautiful to think that everything happens for a reason, it’s also worth listening to the wisdom that other people have to share and reflecting on the meaning of our own experiences. After all, as the Dalai Lama once said, “Even when you lose, don’t lose the lesson.”
With that said, here are 7 things most of us wish we learned sooner (or that you’re glad to realize now):
1. Actions speak so much louder than words.
Yes, we’ve heard it said time and time again, but sometimes, we just have to experience it ourselves to really learn the lesson. Ever fallen for someone emotionally unavailable? Or had fake friends stab you in the back? We might not like to own up to it, but the truth is, we probably always knew deep down inside there was something wrong just from the way they acted and treated us. Yet, we tend to tolerate it because of their empty apologies, promises to do better, or even gaslighting and belittling our feelings — which brings us to our next point!
2. Don’t expect the same things that hurt you to heal you.
Arguably the most brilliant man to ever live, Albert Einstein once said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.” And yet, as undeniably true as his words are, so many of us still struggle with the same unhealthy relationships or the same problematic behaviors we always have, because we somehow expect things to be different every time we come back.
3. There’s never a good reason to ignore the red flags.
No matter how good or purehearted your intentions might be, make now mistake: ignoring the red flags you see now will cost you in the future. Whether it’s because you want to see the good in someone, or you believe in forgiveness and second chances, there’s never a good enough reason to hurt ourselves at someone else’s expense. And no, that doesn’t mean you have to cut ties with everyone who ever did you wrong, but you shouldn’t just take it like a doormat and make excuses for it either!
4. Know your limits as a giver because takers never do.
Similar to forgiveness and understanding, generosity is another admirable trait we should all certainly strive to emulate. But it’s important that we know the difference between being generous and being taken advantage of. The former means setting healthy boundaries for yourself and prioritizing your wants and needs as much as everyone else’s. The latter, on the other hand, is codependent and emotionally draining.
5. Better to be alone than be lonely with the wrong people.
Do you believe in the saying, “Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are?” Even if the answer is no, there’s no denying that the people you surround yourself with certainly have an impact on your mental and emotional well-being. So don’t settle for empty or unfulfilling relationships just because you’re scared of being alone. You can still be lonely even when you’re with other people if they’re the wrong kind of people.
6. The grass is always greener where you water it.
When we feel down about ourselves or feel envious of other people’s successes, we tend to defer to a “grass is greener” mindset. But keep in mind, you are only seeing what other people want you to see, and you don’t know everyone’s story. You didn’t see all their struggles, failures, and frustrations — just where it led them! So don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
7. If you never ask, the answer is always no.
Finally, but perhaps most importantly, the sooner you realize that failure is nothing to be afraid of, the better your life will be. Allow yourself the freedom to make mistakes and learn, to risk rejection for the opportunity to push the boundaries of what you can do and how far you can go. Because letting your fear and self-doubt hold you back from pursuing what you really want will no doubt be one of the worst mistakes and greatest regrets of your life one day. So don’t be afraid to speak up, take risks, and open yourself up to all the world has to offer.
So, do you agree with the things we’ve mentioned here? What other important life lessons do you wish you’d learned earlier? If you liked this article and want to read more about similar topics, here’s what we recommend: 7 Mental Health Lessons You Learn Later in Life, 10 Life Lessons To Keep in Mind, and 5 Things That Truly Make You Happy, According to Psychology.