Whilst being distracted by social media, in this case Facebook, I came across a blog post on the mega-successful blog Success.com called 21 Things I Wish I Knew When I Was 21 written by Jordan Fried. It’s similarity to my posts about wanting to go back and tell myself useful information to be happy was too close to home to pass up. I have taken the first ten things and reflected my feelings and their roots, below.
1. Learn to love mistakes.
Always remember to learn from your mistakes—and keep growing. Don’t doubt yourself so much. One day you’ll be able look back on your “oops” moments and laugh at them. They are inevitable.
For me mistakes were and are forbidden, almost like making them is a deliberate annoyance to those around me, as a result I have suffered undue stress from a young age and developed the skill of avoidance, instead of learning to manage. Even today I don’t attempt things because of fear of making an error. Even though I have had a full UK driving license and have driven thousands of miles, I am so terrified of making a driving mistake that I avoid it. Memories of errors torment me.
2. Say yes often.
Sometimes stepping outside of your comfort zone and trying something new can be terrifying. But learn to say yes more. It’ll help you to open up, try new things—and bring you new opportunities.
Trying new things was not something that was encouraged in my home, often anything that meandered from a strict and stale routine was greeted with incredulity and rage at best to the point I felt nauseated if anything deviated from my set routine. Not teaching something new and developing my confidence was undoubtedly an easy tactic to control me, my emotions and my thoughts. I battle saying no everyday, even now.
3. Less is more.
Don’t try to be a jack-of-all-trades. Focus on being really good at just a few things. Hard work is wasted when it’s scattered in too many directions.
This paradigm was taken to an extreme when I was told to study in lieu of socialising, gaining any form of independence, leisure activities, broadening my horizons or learning about the world around me. Being good at anything wasn’t enough, I had to be good at school, period. I was berated for not being able to speak languages my parents spoke, when they were the ones who discouraged it, then subsequently blamed their lack of foresight on their children and our teachers. After being diagnosed with PH I was criticised for not making more of myself, whilst battling to accept a new life-altering diagnosis and the severe depression I suffered as a result. I was lucky to have my husband, the first and only person, who encouraged me to (literally) keep breathing and find happiness rather than flog myself to make other people look deserving of praise. Now, I read books primarily and work on myself, finally realising being selfish is necessary for my survival.
4. Tell people how you feel.
If someone hurt your feelings, be honest with them. If you’re having an incredible date with someone and it feels absolutely perfect, let them know what you’re thinking. When you hang up the phone with Mom or Dad, tell them “I love you.” Life’s too short not to say it—and you may never really know when you’ll have the opportunity to say how you feel again.
Again I was not encouraged to have feelings let alone to express them and struggle to do so now but am making an effort to change this using opportunities like this blog to identify what I’m feeling and expressing it. The hardest part has been finding my true feelings.
5. Learn to love change.
The one thing you can count on is change. It will happen, and you can’t avoid it. It won’t always be easy, but change happens for a reason. Learn to be OK with it.
I didn’t cope well with change and my homogeneous home life whilst I was growing up helped, but I am responsible for avoiding change where possible after I left home for university and whilst I was there I missed out on a host of life enriching activities. when change could not be avoided I lost all my coping mechanisms and relied on compulsions to soothe me.
6. You don’t have as much to lose as you think.
Oftentimes, fear of loss is what prevents us from pursuing our dreams. When you’re right out of college, you don’t have much to lose. Why not start that business you always wanted? I guarantee you, your worst-case scenario is not that bad. And moving back in with Mom and Dad isn’t the end of the world.
I always felt the weight of not being the source of disappointment to others so acutely I’ve never really thought about what I wanted or needed for me, just what was expected, which more times than not brought me little or no happiness. I can honestly say I have lived through what I thought was the worst case scenario and life goes on giving me the opportunity to find my happiness for a change.
7. Stop worrying so much about what other people think.
Letting the opinions of your peers influence your decisions is one of the worst things you can do. You’ll realize later just how foolish it was. The only thing that is important is what you think and feel about yourself.
Definitely food for thought now that I think I know how to tell what I like and want. Fortunately, (or unfortunately depending on your point of view) I don’t have any peers to worry about as I am too old to care about how many people like me and focus on whether I have good reason to admire and or like them.
8. Be honest with yourself and others.
Always be true to yourself and others. Period. Honesty gives you peace of mind, and peace of mind is priceless. Relationships built on the foundation of lies won’t last.
As the majority of my relationships with friends and family will attest, but I’m not the one lacking honesty in the majority of these fall outs. Lies have hurt me more than anything else in hindsight and no lie was worth it.
9. Meet as many new people as you can.
It may not always be clear to you, but the people you meet can help you. Treat everyone like you’d like to be treated and be willing to make new friends. The world is smaller than you think. You’ll be amazed at who is connected to whom.
I know I must do this but I am so out of practice and so low on confidence that I am convinced it would be a disaster. Although, I am dumbfounded with the support of have had amongst strangers for my blog. I am convinced who I am and my demeanour in general makes enemies out of all I meet.
10. Find time to be alone.
Being alone can be wonderful. Make time for you to hang out with you. Be your own best friend—take yourself out to lunch, take yourself out to a movie, go on a trip alone. I know, the thought of being alone can be overwhelming and scary. But you’ll learn a lot about yourself by just hanging out with you.
This would be a wonderful achievement for me, if I can do it and would be a great place to start to like myself, but I never did things alone throughout school and hid during university. Now I don’t go out without my husband. I wish I could feel relaxed enough to enjoy life.