As the years go by, some people understandably become tired and maybe even jaded. Sometimes the more you know and learn the more disappointed you become. But while you go ahead and try to build a wall around you, as a protective armour, against the cannonballs life can launch at us, it pays to remember that every hit can be a lesson. Sometimes you just need to break down your defences to understand what those lessons are trying to teach you.
Below is a list of things you probably already know, but need to be reminded of once in a while. Remember nobody actually has it all figured out.
TRUTH 1: Not everyone is meant to stay, and that’s okay.
Maybe you’re still close to some of your school friends, and that’s great. Maybe you’re in a happy long-term relationship, and while it’s important to celebrate each moment, it’s also good to know that change is actually the only true constant in this world. Even the seemingly strongest of relationships unravel and break (yep, that they do). It’s not being pessimistic, it’s simply an honest fact of life.
This is why it’s so important that before creating bonds with others, you first should have created a good relationship with yourself. Loving yourself and accepting who you are allows you to stay true to yourself, even if parts of and people in your life fall away.
TRUTH 2: Not everyone will like you, and that’s also okay.
You’ll meet a lot of new people as you go along, and no not everyone will think nicely or kindly of you. That’s fine. You can’t please everyone, and nor should you be trying. You cannot control another’s reactions or preferences. What you can control, however, is yourself. There will be people who, you also won’t like, and as kind, giving and generous as you maybe- you also need to know when to assert yourself and stand up for yourself.
Always remember hard truths can be dealt with and triumphed over, as painful as they maybe. But lies will always destroy your soul.
TRUTH 3: You have to set boundaries or others will keep on overstepping theirs.
This goes double for work. While people are saying that work- life integration is important, at some point, you just need to shut that laptop down and stop. It doesn’t matter if you’re done, it doesn’t matter if you’ve still got messages to answer, you have got to unplug. Whilst loving your career is great, you have to prioritise yourself first and foremost, and if you want to do that, you’ll need to teach your colleagues that you work within certain boundaries.
The pitfall of working from home and going digital, is that people think you are accessible 24/7, which is really unhealthy. Start by enforcing strict communication hours between you and your team. Easier said than done sometimes as at times you need to relearn your own boundaries. Your wellbeing should always come first.
Friendships and relationships also need boundaries. Without boundaries you will often find yourself giving to the detriment of yourself.
TRUTH 4: Your family won’t always be your safe space.
Blood relations don’t always dictate true mental and emotional connections and oftentimes, it’s not for a lack of trying. Most families have toxic relatives, perhaps they’re bitter and resentful, or jealous, maybe deceitful or manipulative. Whatever their toxic traits, these people can manifest it by controlling how you live your life.
This also relates to partners. At one point they were no doubt your safe space, your home but this can change and any relationship has the ability to turn toxic in some way. Sometimes we hold onto the illusion of truth, believing someone is who we thought they were, rather than who they actually are. We protect ourselves by creating this false reality, which will only cause enormous pain, it’s not if but when, it all crashes down around us.
There are sadly some instances where you have to cut ties, just remember that sometimes, letting go is the best thing you can do for yourself.
TRUTH 5: You’re the only one who can really help yourself.
There will be teachers and there will be mentors, but they can only guide you to where you need to go. You decide whether or not you’ll follow what they’ve taught you. You decide if you’ll accept their help. People can only offer advice and experiences can only afford tools. Whether or not you use them is your choice.
The flip side of this is following the advice of someone that is tainted by their own beliefs and their own experiences, therefore, offering advice that perhaps is not in your best interest. You need to be discerning enough to listen and weed through what is workable for you, but always ensuring you are stretching and stepping outside of your comfort zone.
TRUTH 6: We far too often listen to the wrong thing because comfort zones are safe places to be.
Always still yourself and listen. Listen NOT to your mind– it’s too logical and fear driven, it will keep you places far longer than you should stay. It is the path of least resistance. Listen with caution to your heart– it can be confused and torn. It will make emotive decisions based on memories, familial and societal beliefs/pressures and it too will hold you back. Always listen to your soul– it’s the hardest to hear because sometimes we don’t want to hear, especially when we are scared or uncertain, and oftentimes we ignore what it’s telling us because it can be the scariest path, it doesn’t always seem logical, it may cause initial pain and it’s not always the choice that makes sense BUT it’s always right– it always knows what it is you really want. And if you’re brave enough to listen and follow, you will end up exactly where you are meant to be.
“The truth isn’t always beautiful and beautiful words aren’t always the truth”.