I heard from someone once that it is only when we learn all our life’s lessons that we are allowed to leave this earth. I don’t know about anyone else, but I love to learn about many different things. For instance, today I am learning how to cook a new slow cooker recipe. I’m hoping it tastes OK. However, I consider the following life lessons that I have learned (and sometimes had to review) some of the greatest ones that I have ever been taught by various people and through a variety of circumstances in my life. I believe that these lessons can be applicable to almost anyone, in a variety of ways, and that they are vital to be truly successful in life:
#1- Treat everyone with value. It goes a long way.—As a society, we are routinely guilty of not following this. Sometimes, at work, you may not even get a “Thank you” regularly for a job well done. Children are sometimes ignored or worse yet, mistreated by loved ones. People who are looked at as “unproductive” or “inferior” in some way are treated sometimes worse than animals! What if society, starting with us, treated everyone as the valuable, priceless people they are? I found that when I treat people with value, that they not only open up to me, but they find some joy and love for themselves as well. If you consistently treat people as valuable, you will not only ascribe dignity to them, but also gain respect for yourself.
#2- Everyone has a story. Learn them. –I believe that part of treating others with value is taking the time to learn their life stories. Get to know people. I mean, really get to know people. As your relationships with others grow, find out about their past, their goals and dreams, what they see as their purpose in life, how they experience love, how they overcame their pain and obstacles. In investing in others in this way, you will not only gain a greater appreciation and understanding of others, you also may be able to make a significant positive impact in their lives.
#3 – Don’t give up!—One of the saddest parts of life that I have witnessed is people having a fallout, and never trying to work things out with the other person or forgiving them their faults. Another sad part of life that happens far too often is people giving up on life, either by ending it all, or by becoming apathetic and/or self-indulgent about life just to ensure they never get hurt again. I have personally been tempted by both these sad things. However, I am not a quitter, and that has made all the difference in my life. Don’t give up. For instance, I once held a grudge against someone for almost two years! However, I believe God orchestrated the events in my life in such a way that I was forced to interact with this person regularly. Eventually, through a series of events in my life, I finally learned to let go and forgive, and also never to give up on this person. As a result of our persistence, this person and I have never gotten along better! Also, many times, when I wanted to end my own life, God and others urged me to reconsider, and I did. Because I persisted in living, I am able to share with you this and other life lessons today.
#4- Work hard and have passion in what you are doing. They have its own rewards.—For a long time, I struggled in finding a full-time job. Also, I would start many blogs, and end them within a few months. However, shortly after getting my current job (For more on that, see this.), I also determined to blog more regularly. I was also determined to be the best worker I could be, and find joy in the work I was doing. As a result of being more motivated at both my day job and blogging, I have felt more joy than I have than at any other point in my life! People may not always appreciate me or say “thank you” every day, but because I am able to make a difference in others’ lives and do some of the things I love and enjoy, I feel rewarded already.
#5- Be grateful and see the beauty in everything. When one has a complaining attitude, all they see is darkness.—When I am having a bad day and have a complaining attitude, I find my day gets progressively worse. This happens sometimes when I am stressed at work and I am not focused on the positive. However, a couple days ago, work was very busy. There were many customers to serve. Some people can be overwhelmed just by the sheer amount of people—both customers and workers—at my workplace at the time. However, I determined to focus on the positive, despite the stress that I knew I would encounter. Because I was able to focus on the positive, I found that I was considerably less stressed than usual, despite the chaos around me. I was able to serve customers with a good attitude, and I was able to get things done in a timely manner. In general, when I see what I have been so richly blessed with, I am able to see the beauty in what has been given to me. I am able to enjoy my life, and not be so depressed. I believe that there is a direct correlation between gratitude and joy, and there is also a connection between having a complaining attitude and becoming depressed.
#6 –Forgive continually. Holding grudges is so not worth it.—This lesson is also one of my life epiphanies. I have found that when I hold a grudge against someone for more than one week, not only do I waste precious time; I also waste my energy as well. I used to be one of those people that thought that I would finally get revenge against the people that hurt me if they saw how much I hated them and held back forgiveness against them. However, I found that just the opposite happened. Not only did the offenders oftentimes, either did not care or did not know how much they had hurt me, I was also hurting myself and others who had nothing to do with the offense committed!
#7- Sometimes you just have to let people go.—Sadly, there have been instances that I observed or read about where abusers in romantic relationships haven’t learned this lesson, and end up destroying their victims and also themselves in the process. Even many people who are not abusive in any way sometimes have trouble with this lesson. Because I am not a quitter, I admit sometimes that I had trouble with this lesson as well. When you have done all you can to redeem a relationship, be it romantic or otherwise, and the other person does not want any part in the restoration process, it is time to let that person go. Yes, you can absolutely mourn the loss, but give that person space. If you really love that person (or even have a semblance of respect for them), you need to respect their wishes. Let them go. Don’t be afraid to be alone for a while. Use this mourning period, to do something kind for another hurting person or to do something you enjoy for yourself.
#8-Don’t be so afraid. It will all work out somehow in the end.—So many times in my life, I had been plagued by worry: What if “x” happened? How am I going to make it? What would happen if I did “A” instead of “B”? Will my life be ruined? Not only did I find out that worry is a waste of time, but I also found that often, everything eventually worked itself out. For instance, at work I sometimes worry about not getting the straightening of my assigned area or areas done in time. Then, I find that I do get the straightening done in time or a manager or another associate helps me when they see that I am struggling. Also, for a long time, I was so afraid to drive because I thought I was going to get into an accident. However, when I actually learned to do it, I found that I was able to drive pretty safely and that during the times when I could have gotten into an accident, God has saved me from that fate.
These are some of the greatest life lessons that I learned. Learning each of these lessons (and reviewing them when necessary) has helped me not only to be more successful in my relationships, but also made me more joyful in life. What are some lessons that you have learned in life that have helped you be more successful? Please feel free to comment, and may all of us learn all our life lessons well.