Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lessons on Living

If you know me, you know I don't believe in regrets.  Ok maybe regrets like 'I shouldn't have eaten all those greasy french fries, my heartburn will hate me." But not major regrets. I don't regret my marriage (or my divorce for that matter), my engagement following that, the relationships that haven't worked out. I don't regret majoring in a degree I no longer really use. I don't regret friendships or careers that no longer work for me. The only time, in fact, that I really regret something is when I feel I haven't treated someone well, or I've upset or hurt someone for selfish or foolish reasons. It's not often that it happens, but I think everyone, at least once in their life, thinks of themselves and in the process makes a decision that hurts someone else. Minus that, though, I truly can't think of anything big in my life that I regret.

The reason I don't regret is that I believe everything can be a learning experience. I've said it before and I'll say it again, because I'm adamant about this and because you that know me know that sometimes I beat a dead horse when I'm passionate about something (figuratively, of course). I'm not a fatalist and I don't believe "everything happens for a reason." I don't believe in blue prints or pre-destiny or anything like that. In fact, I believe that "everything happens for a reason" can be a pretty nice excuse for some people - as in "sorry I hurt you, but if it's meant to work out some day it will." No, it works when you make an effort to make it work. But, I could go on a tangent all day about that, and I won't. At least not in this blog. The point is, I believe that it doesn't happen for a reason, but that you can look at the situation and find a reason to use it as a learning experience.

I do this often, and though my life (and certainly myself) is by no means perfect, I've learned a few things along the way. Perhaps they'll apply to you, or perhaps they'll give you a perspective to use when looking at your own life. Or perhaps you don't really care, but I suspect those people aren't reading my blog.

  • You are truly stronger than you ever imagined. Regardless of what you're going through, you're still here, right? You didn't wither away, you didn't spontaneously combust. You're here, and you're pulling through, if even just barely. Some day, you'll be able to look back and say "if I got through that, I can surely handle this!". 
  • Never, ever judge someone who's shoes you haven't walked in. I have been in situations I never thought I'd be in. I've forgiven things I never thought I would. I've been diagnosed with a condition I never thought I'd have to deal with. And I'm not weak, or crazy, or anything like this. You just never know how you'll react when you're in a situation. So don't judge. If you want to know what it's really like to be there, ask. Maybe they won't tell you, but it's better than stigmatizing. At least you tried. 
  • Life is an ever-changing, ever-evolving process. That's the way it should be. Do you really want to reach all that life has to offer at 25 or 35 or even 55? What would be the point, then, to living to 80 or 90? Lather, rinse, repeat your "perfect" life ever day? No way! 
  • There's a country song (I know, I know) that contains the line - or might even be called some variation of - "you find out who your friends are". It's so true. Sometimes, they're not who you expected, for better or worse. It's easy to be there through someone's best times. See who's still standing by your side during your worst. They're the ones you can count on. And don't shut them out. They may not be who you expected to come to your aid, but you may find a new bond. Everyone's got a story - learn what theirs is, and if they want to, allow them to learn yours, when you're ready to share it. 
  • Actions speak so much louder than words, and more than anything, the two should match. I've learned the hard way that, while I believe promises are sacred and try not to break on them at any cost, many people go back on their word and break their promises rather easily. I can't tell you the number of times I've been hurt by trusting someone's word and promises. Watch how they act. Watch the nuances. See if the words and actions match. That is what you can count on (hopefully). I'm not trying to be bitter, but I am trying to take from my experiences, learn, and share. 
  • Don't worry about people who aren't worrying about you. I'm not equating it just to romantic relationships. It's true of friends, business partners, acquaintances, and basically everyone in life. This was a hard one to learn, but I now truly feel that if you aren't going to make the effort, if you're not concerned with me, if you're not thinking about me, then you don't deserve me - in whatever capacity it pertains to. 
  • Don't ever let anyone tell you, or make you feel, like you're not good enough. Because you are. You know how I know? Because people who truly aren't good people aren't the ones who think this way. They don't care enough about anyone else to let what someone thinks matter to them. So you are good enough and once again, anyone that makes you feel that you're not doesn't deserve you. 

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