A friend told me he likes an article I wrote some time ago, 10 lessons learned, which inspired me to come up after 3 years with another 10 lessons learned in the pretty much the same hard way because life gives us no break.
1. Be true to yourself
There is a fine difference between self-improvement and self-discovery but a very substantial one. It just came naturally to understand that knowing yourself is discovering yourself and above all, accepting who you really are, your flaws included. Each of us has its own history and as soon as you start digging into that, a new world will reveal. No matter what you discover, keep on searching and be honest.
2. Face your fears
One of my favorite authors is a female Buddist monk who said: “Fear is a natural reaction to moving closer to the truth.” by Pema Chodron. I meditated on those words and it took me time to realize something unique about fear. The more you get close to it, you start to understand that there are no reasons to be afraid of it. I’ve met people who are afraid of animals, changes, newness, places, and even other people. But what I realized is that the biggest fear is about ourselves. By discovering yourself, step by step you start to accept and embrace yourself.
3. Don’t victimize
Sometimes I ask people if they are happy with their life. To be honest, most of them reply but very few are honest about their answers. I think there is a fact that all of us have moments of feeling down, sad, angry or depressed. We hide, don’t want other people to see us in such moments. And we blame everything else except making ourselves accountable for feeling, sometimes, miserable. Victimization has many shades and many traps we fall in. When I understood this my view about the world started to change.
4. Stand up for your rights
The last two years were very difficult, with ups and downs, like a rollercoaster who gave me aches and headaches. But there is one powerful thing which opened my eyes. I was too soft with people who did not treat me nice, who punched me in the back and made me feel insecure just because they were in a higher position than me. Those moments when I felt abused even at my work, where I felt I am just a number whose wellbeing don’t matter, made me stronger and capable of raising my voice to say ENOUGH of this shit! Don’t let anyone treat you less than you are.
5. Don’t be afraid of your light
Do you know what you are good at? Do you do what makes you happy? I started to ask myself serious questions about what makes me feel alive. What do I feel when I woke up in the morning and why? Hard to answer and hard to accept the truth especially when you realize that you are not where you meant to be. One of the things I’ve learned in the Relentless book by Tim S. Grover is “In order to have what you really want, you must first be who you really are.” I think this is a powerful statement. Because giving yourself permission to pursue your dreams and do what you’re really good at requires the type of courage to change into a better self.
6. Do the cleaning
I like to think that our life is like our house. We should keep it clean from messy people, negative thoughts and things that don’t make sense in our life. To break the habits that no longer serve us and choose to do something better instead. To take care of our mind and our soul as we take care of our body and hygiene. To end unhappy relationships and be wise about who knocks at the front entrance of our lives.
7. Treat yourself nice
I did many times, again and again, the same mistake as you did. I was looking for making friends, to be accepted, and fit in. But then I realized that the very first person I need to make friends with is myself. I am the person I talk to the most and spend the time with. I am the person who knows the deepest secrets. After I understood this I was able to give myself a break when I needed, to take off the unnecessary pressure from my shoulders and treat myself as a friend rather than an enemy.
8. Get into the dark
Sometimes I like it hard not because I am a lunatic but because I know there are moments when work needs to be done, no question about it. This is a moment when you make commitments towards yourself. Dealing with the ugly parts of who you are, facing your fears and working on your weaknesses. I know many of you think it’s hard work but without it, there is no evolution as human beings. I’ve been through many challenges in life as a teenager and only in my late 20’s I could realize that challenges create tremendous opportunities for us. It gives us the change to discover and to get close to who we are. It just takes time and practice and ain’t easy but it’s necessary. Therefore, embrace it!
9. You are enough!
You and I sometimes have moments of insecurity and vulnerability. We don’t trust ourselves enough. We believe too much in others and too little in us. We think that vulnerability means being weak. Parents, teachers, and even friends and of course, your boss or work colleagues made you feel that you didn’t do enough here and there. That you don’t deserve this and that because, of course, your grades, your results, your work, pretty much everything you do. Bullshit! The moment you realize that their expectations are about them not about you, then, you become enough.
10. Let your gut feeling guide you
This started to become one of my top simple rules in life that I want to follow. To simply have the courage to trust my gut feeling. This means making choices about people, activities, places, work, pretty much everything. With other words listen to your voice, let your gut feeling speak to you because it will always tell you the truth.