18 Most Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned in 18 years
So I’ve just turned 18 yesterday (edit: it was the 24th Feb 2018). The age we associate with majority and responsibility in France.
For this occasion, I’ve decided to reflect on my life and to write down a list of the 18 most important life lessons I’ve learned since my birth to now, lessons that helped me to become the happy, fulfilled, and the grateful girl I am. By sharing them with you, I grandly hope you will learn lessons and that they will help you grow and be more anchored in happiness!
So let’s get started!
1) It’s not about the destination, but about the process and the passion you give. Your acts are way more important than the results.
Having a goal is really important. But I’ve realized it’s not as important as the actions you’re taking toward it. Sometimes you can’t control the income, but you can control the actions before it. That’s why enjoying the process is one of the best pieces of advice I can give to achieve anything great.
I remember one day, my dad told me a “secret” he had just discovered. He showed me a series of successful artists and their work. He asked me “why are these artists and artworks so successful?”. I’ve surely answered, “They have great skills and have practiced a lot.”. But my father corrected me: “They put all their love during the process”.
Hence, the importance of finding and doing a fulfilling job!
2) We become what we think about.
We underestimate the power of our thoughts. I’ve always believed I was bad at History in school, that it was not something for me because everyone has their favorite and their no-no subjects. I thought so because when I was in junior school, I always had low grades. (Maybe my teacher didn’t show the fun side of this subject?)
And guess what, 4 years later, I aced all my History tests because my new teacher made this subject interesting! So it’s not about “Maths it’s not my things, it’s not my fault”, it’s just about finding the fun in it! And I believe we can find it everywhere if we’re willing to.
In other words, we get the reflection of what we believe to be true. That’s why I advise you to repeat some positive affirmations and set good intentions just after waking up. (Because our brains are more influenced when we woke up and go to sleep).
3) What if you were the cause of the hatred you have for this person?
As we’ve seen above, your thoughts influence everything. If you say to yourself that you don’t like someone for x reasons (you don’t like his style, manners…), you will act unconsciously to perpetuate this thought.
You will interpret every act of this person the worst way (‘he did it on purpose to make me angry!’). By doing this you create your reality. But believe me, everything is only in your head.
I don’t say that everybody is always well-intentioned, but thinking the contrary, it will only make you mad and frustrated. When I realized that, it changed everything in my relationship with my friends and family. I used to get angry easily as soon as someone didn’t act the way I wanted.
Now, I’ve chosen to believe that everyone is doing the best they can and with the best intentions. (Warning, I don’t say you should be naive, but just find the balance between, and don’t lean towards the negative side).
BONUS: Saying yes you’re right, is so hard, but has so much benefice for a better relationship! Sometimes you have to think about your words and let your ego.
4) When we interpret, we unconsciously think about the worst scenario for us.
To keep in the same direction as the point before, I’ve also noticed how wrong I was each time I interpreted acts and messages.
I was always polluting and poisoning my life with “What if he doesn’t accept…?”, “I’m sure she didn’t respond to me because she doesn’t like me.”
Because of that, I’ve lost a lot of confidence and self-love, and it also contributed to making me angry more often.
For instance, I can’t count the number of times I started to yell at my mother because she did something for me that I interpreted wrong (“I’m sure you did that on purpose only to make me do that!”) whereas she just thought of my well-being.
Let’s take an example to make this more concrete. It’s like if your boyfriend/girlfriend brought you a surprise: a big creamy cupcake, and that you would react like “Are you serious? You want to make me even fatter?” whereas it was only an act of love and to make you a nice surprise.
Maybe you find this example absurd or not accurate, but reflect and think if something similar already happened to you before. Being conscious of this saved my life in many ways: I started to overthink less and less. Thanks to meditation, I am more settled in the present moment and less about interpreting everything.
5) Don’t try to guess what the other person is thinking or wants.
Don’t try to act depending on what you assume someone is thinking about.
Listen to you, and if you really want to know, just ask!
For example, one of my friends always answers “yes” when someone offers her a part of a cake or chewing gum (even if she doesn’t like it) because she thinks it will make the other person happy.
But one day, someone asked her if she wanted the last chewing gum of the packet. However, the person actually asked just for being polite (and would have preferred keeping the last part for him). By accepting it, whereas she hates chewing gums, and by believing it would make the person asking happy, my friend found herself awkward with something she didn’t want.
6) When someone judges you, it’s about him, not you.
Criticizes and judgment often comes from frustration, insecurities, limitation, and needs. You’ll always be criticized, so keep doing whatever you want to do!
7) There is perfection in imperfection.
I tend to believe that perfection doesn’t exist. And even if it was the case, it would be surely boring.
Imagine a teacher who has only perfect students who always get it and have the maximum grades; the teacher would have nothing to correct, no notions to deepen, and would never reassess himself! Whereas, by doing mistakes, you can always pull lessons, learn, grow, get closer to your best self.
8) Instead of aiming at perfection, aims at starting.
In the same vein as the previous point, aiming at perfection can prevent you from acting.
As a ‘perfectionist‘, it is something that took me a while to understand. It paralyzed me a lot.
Let me illustrate with an example: I have often a good idea of what I want my drawing to look like at the end. As I really want it to be perfect and to look the same as my imagination, I spend hours and hours finalizing it. And because I always see something wrong in my drawings, I didn’t dare to share it online.
That’s why I spent the 16 first years of my life drawing, without sharing any of my work, just because I saw defaults in every one of them. (Whereas other persons would have loved it!).
Similarly, It’s been a long time since I have this idea of a blog, but as I wanted to have the many ideas as possible, I kept reading and watching YouTube videos, to aim for “perfection” and to get more knowledge as possible. I thought that once I would gather enough knowledge, I would have everything and could start. But it never ends!
In my opinion, learning is great, but practicing is even more beneficial. I highly encourage you to take a step toward your project and to start even if you don’t feel ready because we are never too ready. (As I was always telling me ‘I will turn vegan when I will feel ready’. Obviously, I never had this feeling of being ‘ready’, so I could still be waiting. Fortunately, I’ve discovered a documentary about vegan’s stakes which changed my mind, but that’s another story…)
9) Dare to fail, it’s far more beneficial than succeeding in everything.
I’ve always wondered why we don’t learn as a child to take advantage of our mistakes, how to pull the lessons from them. Few are the people who do it, and many are those who do the same mistake twice.
When we see successful persons, we only see their glory face. However, success can hardly come without failure and learning. By failing you can learn more and grow, exactly like point 7, perfection is boring. Hence, the importance of reading the entire story of all the people who inspire you.
I have a fun fact for you. I have a notebook where I write anything that passes by my thoughts, but until now, I’ve always written with a pencil whereas I love writing with blue ink. Why? Because I was afraid of writing mistakes and not being able to erase them, so I choose “security” over “clarity” and “aesthetic”.
Now, I’ve succeeded in changing this habit, and I feel way better because I’m no more afraid of writing nonsense things that I can’t erase. I mean, what the worst thing that could happen? I can still cross the word out!
10) All the choices I’ve made were the best for me
Obviously, you’re gonna tell me: it’s not “always” the case, sometimes you make mistakes and it’s okay. But what if? Even if it didn’t seem so, what if it happened that all your choices were actually the best you could make with the best ending possible for you?
Let me tell you that since I have this mindset, I have no more stress or regret toward my hard choices. I just let go and trust the Universe. That’s it.
Once again, meditating helps me a lot to clear my mind. It contributes to making the best choices. And when it turns like It was not a good choice, I start applying the mindset described above.
To summarise, sometimes you cannot undo a choice: that’s why I decide to accept it and search for all the positivity around it. Because regret will make it even worse. Sometimes, doing the wrong choices lead you to failure and difficulties. But that’s when it’s hard that you grow.
11) Today is the day. Make it special!
I was the kind of little girl who collected plenty of beautiful stickers but never used them. Why? Because I always saved them for ‘special occasions. Guess who’s gonna rid of those girly and never-used stickers now?
In the same way, I have a lot of nice dresses where I feel super good in it. But I never wear them because you know, there is a certain type of dress that you cannot wear for everyday life… But why not?
What I mean, is that you should embrace every day as your last day. What if you were going to die today? Don’t be afraid to wear your best clothes, choose your best accessory, light the candles, put some essence in your home, buy yourself flowers…
Make every day special, days which will stay in your memories!
12) Optimistic and pessimistic persons are both right: but one of them is happier and has more energy.
Everyone has his own truth, his own vision of life. There is no ‘I’m right, you’re wrong’, there is not a universal truth. Whether you see the glass half full or half empty, you’re right in any case. But opting for a positive mindset will bring you more joy for you and your surroundings.
For my part, it was like a snowball, when I tried to change into a positive vision, it was not easy, but it provided me with more joy, leading to more energy, more determination, more happiness. Now I can even say that I reached blissfulness!
13) “Life loves you but if you don’t love it back, it’s very hard for it to bring the goodies”
To keep going on the positive mindset, I love to think that life wants the best for everyone, that each event occurred in your favor. You’re the only one responsible for how you decide to take it and react. Life loves you and wants you to live the life of your dream.
However, you have to show your determination by taking steps towards your goals. If you always act negatively and wait for life to help you, no matter how much life loves you, you will hardly be helped.
It can sound funny said like that, but try! I promise you will see awesome results and it’s not that hard!! Never forget that one day, you’ll reap what you sow. Everything that you give will return to you.
14) Stop believing you’ll be happy once you’ll have some money or something else. Be happy now, you’re alive.
As I child, I’ve always seen happiness as a destination. I imagined myself living in a big house with a lot of animals and be able to do whatever I want. That was my vision of happiness.
But what if happiness was not about dreaming, but about living in the present moment? What if happiness is something you can achieve right now?
When I realized that happiness is not a state occurring once you earn a certain amount of money, or once you achieve a successful life, it really changed my vision of life.
15) If you really believe something to be true, you don’t need others to approve it/believe it.
In my opinion, one of the most important life lessons is to listen to your heart. Be attentive to how you feel, what brings you joy. Learn to know yourself and mostly, trust yourself.
Don’t allow outside sources to determine your self-esteem.
Sometimes your family or close friends won’t understand your choices. They could even try to dissuade you! It gets strength and a lot of willpower to persevere, but in the end, you will be one with your ideas and thoughts, you will act accordingly, you will be authentic.
16) What you wish for other people is what you wish for yourself.
By lowering other persons down, your ego will give you an illusion of “satisfaction”. But I insist on the word “illusion”, it’s only temporary and it will perpetuate the chain of negative thoughts. When you despise others, it shows that you are “below” them.
On the contrary, lifting people up also lifts you toward a better self!
Just imagine one second whatif each thought you had was carved on your skin so that everyone could see them. Would you be proud? Would you want to hide them?
17) Comparing you to others is an insult toward who you are
Comparing yourself to others is a big mistake I made for long years because once again, it’s all about “ego”. If you compare someone inferior, you can have this feeling of superiority, false and not lasting happiness. (which will only grow your ego bigger). On the contrary, it can also make you feel down, inferior, make you lose confidence in yourself, and really make you depressed.
However, by comparing to your younger self, your “you” of yesterday, you can only improve. It can boost you to surpass yourself, give all you have, and see all your progress! It’s something really rewarding and you don’t depend on others.
18) love yourself, allow yourself to have more: you are worthy!
You are a beautiful being. You are worthy of everything. You deserve love, happiness, abundance, success. You are capable of everything, but only at one condition: you have to love yourself, be confident, and acknowledge this.
You can’t attract love if you don’t love yourself first because the most important relationship is within yourself. If you are 100% complete, it will influence everything in your life. You will feel powerful and determined!
That’s why, you should start right now accepting yourself, embrace your body and flaws. If you’re not satisfied with something, how would you change that?
For example, I wanted to be stronger physically, because I didn’t feel at ease with my body. So I started doing sports every day, changing my diet for the healthiest, and the results were amazing. Not even needed a magic potion. I felt like a new person. But if you’re not “ready” to make your change, you’ll never be able to experience it. I promise you that you’ll never regret it, so go inform yourself on how you can make the changes you want, go watching a motivational video and DO IT!The earlier you do it, the earlier you’ll feel like you can own your life and not endure it!
Authorize yourself to shine, to show the world how amazing you are. Like Will Smith said: “I want the world to be better because I was there.”