There are some people out there who are perfectly capable of learning from the mistakes of others.
I am not one of those people.
From the time I was a child, I always had to get my hands dirty. I needed to test things, to tinker with them, to break them apart just to determine how to put them back together. In the words of my parents, I had to learn everything the hard way. And not much has changed as an adult.
I strongly believe that some of us are simply wired to learn through experiences. To learn through doing, remembering, regretting and reconfiguring our plan going forward. And contrary to popular belief, that is okay sometimes. There are some things that we may even need to learn the hard way.
1. It’s okay to learn the hard way what kind of love is right for you.
It’s okay to fall for someone who’s wrong for you, to try too hard at a relationship that ultimately fails, to give your all to something that ends up not lasting forever. Learning to love takes trial and error. And it’s okay to not know how to do it right away.
2. It’s okay to learn the hard way what your limits are.
It’s okay to push too hard, to give to much, to run yourself into the ground trying to accomplish all you can before you ultimately crash and burn out. It’s okay to not innately understand where your own boundaries lie. Life is a game of constantly making adjustments as you go.
3. It’s okay to learn the hard way when to leave.
It’s okay to stay too long, to bail too soon, to constantly misjudge when you need to stay and fight and when you ought to leave and let go. The art of knowing when the timing is right is not one that comes naturally to any of us. We have to learn to trust our guts the hard way.
4. It’s okay to learn the hard way who you are.
It’s okay to fit yourself into different boxes, to struggle to live up to expectations, to invent and reinvent yourself as many times as you need to until you get it right. Deciphering who you truly are is a lifelong challenge. And it’s one you’ll have to rise up to time and time again.
5. It’s okay to learn the hard way who to trust.
It’s okay to misplace your devotions, to mismanage your expectations, to place your care and convictions into someone who ultimately lets you down. It’s okay to live with a wide-open heart and learn the hard way when it needs a little extra protection.
6. It’s okay to learn the hard way how to let go.
It’s okay to grasp too tightly, to hold on too desperately, to love when you really ought to leave and to linger when you ought to let go. We all occasionally have to hang onto that deadweight for a little too long, before we’re able to fully appreciate just how good it feels to let it fall away.
7. It’s okay to learn the hard way what your value as a professional is.
It’s okay to work too hard for too little, or to work too little for too much. It’s a natural part of living to need to constantly adjust your perception of what you are professionally worth and you’re going to get it wrong a few times. It is okay to let that go.
8. It’s okay to learn the hard way how to treat yourself.
It’s okay to be a little too harsh or a little too soft with yourself on the way to finding that happy medium. It’s okay to let your relationship with yourself shift and alter and rearrange itself as often and as drastically as it takes for you to find the balance you physically and emotionally need.
9. It’s okay to learn the hard way how to forgive.
It’s okay to hold onto resentment, to struggle with hatred, to let the poison of bitterness infiltrate your system before you are able to understand the necessity of letting it go. When you struggle to forgive, you are struggling with the emotions that are only purely human and self-preserving. Without doing so, you’ll never learn the importance of allowing yourself to fully heal.
10. It’s okay to learn the hard way how to cope.
It’s okay to grasp at straws, to turn to desperation, to try and fail at coping mechanisms that do not grow or serve you in the long run. It’s okay to not intuitively know how to save yourself. It’s through that trial and error that you end up discovering what you truly need, and what parts of yourself you can turn to during times of struggle.
11. It’s okay to learn the hard way how to set boundaries.
It’s okay to give too much and then too little as you struggle to find a balance that does not deplete you. It’s okay to go too far out onto a limb for someone who wouldn’t ever do the same for you. At the end of the day, there is no better way to learn to respect yourself and establish your own internal limits.
12. It’s okay to learn the hard way what you want.
It’s okay to barrel full-speed ahead toward a dream that ends up dying. It’s okay to go chasing the wrong waves. Your life will be a constant process of shifting perceptions and desires. And you don’t need to have them all figured out right away. There are some things we can only truly learn through trial, error, reflection and re-evaluation.
There are some things we can only learn the hard way.