For me, learning signifies strength. It builds self-confidence, opens us up to seeing things in new ways and, in turn, makes our lives so much richer. Learning brings knowledge and with knowledge, there are endless possibilities.
But learning isn’t just about what we are taught in school or the information we receive from books or the news — although valuable as they may be. Learning is also about the life lessons we pick up along the way. In big and small ways, in the significant moments and in the tiniest details that make us see things differently, we are constantly learning how to be ourselves. This adult-ing thing can be kinda hard sometimes and each of us are learning every day how to respond, adapt and keep moving forward.
So I wanted to share some valuable lessons I’ve learned, some I’m still learning and some I’d like to learn:
Learn to let go. If it’s not working, let go. If it brings you pain, let go. Let go of grudges, mistakes, unhappy memories, your high school hairdo, anything painful. Letting go is a skill to be learned and put into practice and in doing so, you can learn to find peace of mind. “Forget what hurt you, but never forget what it taught you.”
Learn to say “no.” I’m absolutely still learning this skill. I’m a people-pleaser and I hate confrontation. But learning to say “no” to others is truly saying “yes” to myself. It means I value my own happiness as much as others’. And sometimes, I need to learn to put myself first.
Learn from the past. Good or bad, the past has given us invaluable lessons. Learn from those things. Retain what will help you to move forward. Use those experiences to enrich your current experiences. And let go of all the other nonsense.
Learn to walk away from people or situations. Whether it’s a job, a friendship, a relationship or an awkward group at a party, know when it’s run it’s course and move onward. It’s not easy at times, but the freedom that comes from knowing you deserve better will make it much easier.
Learn to be alone. “Learn to be alone and to like it. There is nothing more freeing and empowering than learning to like your own company.” – Mandy Hale – Go to the movies by yourself. Eat at a restaurant alone. Be at home with no one else and be at peace. Bonus points if you don’t have the radio or TV on and you’re not on social media. Just sit and soak in the silence. Or the neighbor’s dog barking.
Learn something new every day. Get a “Word of the Day” calendar and learn a new word every day. Learn the top three ingredients in your breakfast cereal. Learn a new route to work. Learn the capital of a country. Research shows that learning something new every day will get those creative juices flowing.
Learn to not compare yourself to others.“The reason we struggle with insecurity is because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” – Steve Furtick – Ah, The Joneses. You know, they might not be all they’re cracked up to be. I’ve learned time and time again that the grass is absolutely not always greener on the other side. You never know the struggles others are facing. And you can never take for granted the blessings in your life.
Learn to pick yourself up after a setback. “We may encounter many defeats, but we must not be defeated.” – Maya Angelou – Get up, take in your surroundings, dust yourself off and keep on keeping on.
Learn to follow your heart. Trust your instincts. Listen to advice. But when it comes down to it, you know what’s best for you and your heart will most often lead the way. Learn to listen to it.
Learn to listen. Learn to have a conversation with someone and truly listen to what they are saying. Don’t interrupt. Don’t wait for the slightest pause to throw in your opinion or make it about you. If you want to make someone feel truly valued and accepted, listen wholeheartedly and with no other distractions.
Learn through travel. The word is so much bigger than the four walls around us or the block that we live on. Traveling not only teaches us about other places, countries, cultures and traditions but it opens us up to how we respond to those things. We are enriched simply by being a traveler and navigating our way. And we come back with lessons that will last us a lifetime. “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” – St. Augustine –
Learn that it’s never too late. My grandmother’s sister learned to play piano at age 50. I just heard of Olympians who were in their 40’s competing in Rio. It is more true today than it ever has been, there is always time to start something new, change career paths, finish/start writing that book, even apologize for a past mistake. As long as we’re alive and breathing, it’s never too late.
Have any life lessons you want to share? We’d love to hear!