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The 6 Most Important Life Lessons I’ve Learned In 26 Years

1. You’re not going to like everybody, and not everybody is going to like you. 

This one can often be a hard truth, but it’s 100% accurate and a fact of life. You’ll come across people in your life – extended family, friends of friends, colleagues and bosses, and many, many more. Some you’ll absolutely love and some you’ll love to hate. I’ve learned over the years to not take it so personally when someone doesn’t like me, because chances are I don’t like them either! Either way, you have to just realize that you’re not everyone’s cup of tea, and they may not be yours. You have to stay true to yourself and not change who you are to fit in with those around you in the hopes that they’ll like you back, because at the end of the day, why would you want to impress, prove yourself to, or befriend people that don’t see how amazing you are in the first place?

2. Taking time out for yourself is so important for your mental health. 

Our lives are so busy these days that time out for ourselves is often taken for granted, forgotten about, or just dismissed. Why should we go to the gym and exercise to take care of our physical health if we’re not going to take care of our minds and our mental health too? I lived alone for a year in 2017, which is when I genuinely learned the importance of having some time to yourself to just relax, reset, reorganize, and generally just slow down and rest. You can take an hour each day, or half a day each week, or even dedicate a whole day once a month purely to yourself, doing whatever makes you feel calm and centered and gives clarity to your mind. Whether that’s spending time outdoors, reading a book, writing, or journaling, find something that you love doing that doesn’t involve other people, and preferably something that makes you stop and reflect on the past week, month, year, or even just the present moment. I personally use this time to write and blog, to organize my to-do list, to read, etc. Taking time out for your mental health doesn’t always mean you have to do yoga or meditate or align your chakras, it just means taking time away from the noise of such a busy life.

3. You meet a lot of wrong people along the way, which will lead you to the right ones. 

Whether that’s friendships, relationships, or even just acquaintances, not everyone you meet will stay in your life forever, and not everyone will leave you with a good chapter to tell. I’ve had my fair share of shitty relationships and toxic connections, which ultimately taught me lessons within each experience, one of the main ones being that these kind of people are a blessing in disguise as they teach you exactly what you don’t want in a partner, friend, boss, etc. In my personal experience, I had to date a few dickheads until I realized that I deserved so much more than what they were giving me, and from then on I kept my standards high and ultimately found someone worthy of my love. I’m not saying that you have to have shitty connections first in order to find the right ones, I’m just saying that often we look back on those past experiences with bitterness or anger, when in fact we should be thankful that it didn’t work out as it taught us so much and lead us to where need to be.

4. Don’t get so busy making a living that you forget to make a life.

This lesson definitely took a long time to learn. I was so busy trying to work hard in order to work my way up to the top to reach my goals that often I forgot that your career isn’t everything. Sure, it’s important to be ambitious and determined in order to achieve your goals throughout your working life, however, when I look back on some of the big life events I missed out on due to having to work or prioritising work, was it really worth it? I’ve learned that when it comes to your work life and personal life, you need to have a work-life balance in order for you to remain happy and healthy. It took me a few years to realize that you also have to think about your own personal goals and dreams, not just work ones. If you really want to do something in life but feel like you’re constantly drained, exhausted, and burned out because you’re so busy due to your current job, are you going to look back in 50 years with regret that you didn’t do all the things you wanted to do? Are you going to wish that you’d taken more time to live your life? Another aspect of this is the health side of things, there was a time in my career in my early to mid-20’s that I became so run down due to the stress and anxiety from work that it took a huge toll on my physical and mental health. It wasn’t until I was 25 did I realise that I could prioritize myself and my health and take the day if I needed to – because at the end of the day, why run yourself into the ground for a company that could replace you in five minutes?

5. Life is constantly changing and things will happen the way they’re meant to.  

You have to learn how to adapt to change, as it’s constantly happening all around you. Whether you move house or cities, change jobs or careers, meet new people or gain a new friendship circle, get into a relationship or get married, your family changes or moves, whatever it is, we have to learn how to adapt to these changes, learn from them, and continue living our lives. Sometimes change is really hard, sometimes it happens whether we like it or not, and regardless of the circumstance, we have to alter our life accordingly. How boring would life be if everything stayed the same? I always like to think about things happening for a reason. Maybe losing your job and having to move will allow you to meet someone amazing in your new neighbourhood. Maybe your friend getting into a relationship will motivate you to spend some quality time to yourself. Maybe getting that promotion will actually make you realize that you want to start your own business instead. Maybe all of these things that happen teach us something that we wouldn’t have learnt otherwise.

6. It’s hard not to care about what others think of you, but their opinions don’t matter. 

There will always be people out there that talk about you, that have an opinion or are judgemental. There will always be people that, no matter what you do, won’t agree with it. Why waste your time and effort worrying and caring about the opinions of others? What others think of you is really none of your business. A lot of the time, it’s a lot easier said than done. Whether it’s in real life or on social media, it took me a long time to become confident within myself and to stop living in fear of what others thought about the way I looked, what I said, what I did, etc. I still have days where I feel self conscious or anxious, but for the most part, I have learned not to a) live my life to try and please others opinions or fit the mold of what they think I should be, and b) live in fear of being talked about or judged. At the end of the day, if someone has a negative thought or thing to say about you, it will impact them for about 10 seconds, whereas it’s impacting the whole way you perceive yourself and decide to live your life. Do you want to look back in a few years time and wished you’d done things differently? Or do you want to start living the life you want now?

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Hi, I'm Maddie Follow Maddison on Instagram or read more articles from Maddison on Thought Catalog.

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