The Hardest Lessons I've Learned (And How I Live with Them)

2018 was a hard year for many of us, and some are still learning how to cope with the bad things that happened. These difficult times have shown me how resilient I am and how much I’ve grown in such a short time. These are a few of the lessons I’ve learned from last year, but also how I’ve learned to grow from them and continue to live my best life.

 

1 - No matter how much you love someone, time will sometimes pull you apart.

As someone who doesn’t claim to be a quitter, I find it hard when I’m fighting for someone - be it family, friends, or an ex - and they don’t want to turn back time with me. Rejection is hard, but it is inevitable. I’ve learned that no matter how much I apologize for past mistakes or however much I think I’m in the right, I have to give others the freedom to move on and make their own decisions. Sometimes it’s not even about you but about the circumstances or where the other person is in their own journey. You can’t force people into your life, and you can’t convince them to stay. Your groups will change and your life goes on, despite how much it hurts to see people go.

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2 - Sometimes you’re not as good as you want to be.

It could be a job you didn’t get, an offer that wasn’t quite what you were expecting, or an opportunity that overlooked you as a candidate. It could even be a person who doesn’t have faith in your ability to do what needs to be done. This form of rejection also hurts. It eats at our self esteem and self-worth. Criticism is hard to take sometimes, but rejection makes you feel like you have no options left. That’s all negative thinking. Instead, I’ve learned to see this as a challenge: how can I improve myself to get to the point where I want to be? You might think you’re there already, but the rejection will make you look inward and objectively at what you might have overlooked in yourself. Maybe your portfolio wasn’t polished enough. Maybe the pitch didn’t sell because it didn’t have the right numbers. Start by recognizing that you’re still as great as you were before, and set up a game plan to become even greater.

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3 - There are bad people in the world. You don’t owe them anything.

I’ve always had a close group of friends comprised of AMAZING and genuinely good-hearted people. To expose myself so closely to some people who were indescribably horrible was a huge shock. I’m still learning from this lesson. I’m guarded around new people. I have a hard time trusting others. There are all sorts of effects someone might feel after being wronged or abused by terrible people. The main thing to learn is that there is no ONE way of healing from those people. Ultimately, you need to protect yourself. If you see patterns in someone that reflect the behaviours you’ve fallen victim to before, of course you’re entitled to cope and behave in whatever way makes you feel comfortable. Your safety and self-confidence are of utmost importance.

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4 - There are good and bad times in life. You have to live in both of them.

We all know there are good days and bad, but sometimes there are bad months or even bad years. This sounds cliche, but it is true: you have to find the good in everything. When times are good, especially after times have been so bad, it’s really hard to believe that things are going well. You feel guarded and end up not appreciating good news or circumstances. Understanding that life ebbs and flows helps ground me and helps me to accept the positive changes in my life as being authentically good - not just a trick that will turn into something bad later on. Each phase in life is finite. It’s hard to see outside of our current phase in life, but I often think about life as a whole: the changes I’m going to inevitably face and the ups and downs yet to come. There’s beauty in the bad times. That’s what keeps us going. Don’t try to bring negativity into the good times. Enjoy it for what it is and stay humble.

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No matter what you’re going through, know that the bad times never last and that despite the circumstances, there is so much beauty to see. Always reach out if you feel overwhelmed or in need of help through the hard times. If you’re through the roughest point, I hope these lessons may help you think optimistically about the future.