Sunday, January 25, 2009

Life Lessons I Have Learned...

I've decided that my blogs should not only contain creativity and personal expression, but should also be things I can look back upon to remind myself of life experiences.

To that end, my first, and possibly most important blog is going to be one I will probably add to as long as I can. So here are things I have learned and perhaps by sharing them, others will learn, too. You don't have to agree with or believe any of them. They are just "personal truths" that I need to re-visit from time to time to keep the hard-earned wisdom contained herein...

~ Life Lessons I have Learned ~

1. TRUE LOVE is being able to sacrifice what YOU want, so that someone else will have what THEY need.

2. You can't change people. People CAN and DO change, but REAL change comes from within the individual. YOU are the only person you can truly change.

3. Just because you CAN do something, doesn't mean you SHOULD.

4. Live each day as if it were your last; no one knows the future, and none know the date of their death. Live life while you are here, and appreciate all that you never know when it will all be gone.

5. LEARN from the past so that you don't repeat it, but don't allow the past to dictate your future -- in other words, let go of the past (you can't change it, anyway) so that it doesn't hurt your present or your future.

6. Forgiveness is about YOU, not about the person you forgive -- forgive so that YOU can be free of the anger, hate, resentment and negativity associated with whom or what you are forgiving -- don't be a slave to negative emotions.

7. Emotions are neither "good" nor "bad" -- they simply ARE. It's what you DO with them that determines how they affect your life. Don't be ruled by your emotions or feelings -- use them as the tool that they are and learn how to truly identify them.

8. TRUE Acceptance is one of the hardest things you'll ever face: of others, of yourself, of Life on Life's terms. Acceptance is not "giving up" or "giving in" -- it is letting go and letting God. Things are what they are...people are who they are (see lesson # 2 above). It doesn't mean you can't strive for the best (in anything), but the only person and life you can TRULY control or your own. (And actually, God/The Universe/Fate/Chaos Theory/The Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc. is at the helm, so quit trying to be the Pilot and accept your role as Co-pilot).

9. The only way to slay your inner demons is to face them. If you have issues, emotional baggage and fears, the ONLY way to get rid of them is by facing them head-on. No one else can do it for you. You cannot deal with what you do not acknowledge, and indulging in your demons only feeds them and makes them stronger.

10. No one can "save" you from the bad experiences in life, except you. And by the same token, you cannot "save" anyone else, especially if they don't want to be "saved". And no, I'm not even talking about religion.

11. Happiness and Inner Peace are CHOICES. Life is what you MAKE of it. You dictate your life by the choices you make and only YOU are responsible for those choices. Be adult enough to accept the consequences of the choices you make, and recognize that you won't always make the right choices.

12. Life is a learning process that lasts until we die. You will never know everything you need to know, but you can learn (sometimes over and over again, until the lesson "sticks") and grow your entire life.

13. REAL growth is painful. REAL change is not easy, but it happens anyway, whether you like it or not, whether it hurts or not, whether you accept it or not. Learn to adapt and move WITH the changes of your life, instead of against them...flexibility is "key" to survival (be it physical, emotional, mental or spiritual).

14. Have the courage to match your words with your actions; be CONSISTENT. Talk is cheap and actions speak MUCH louder than words.

15. Make wherever you are a better place for being present there. Make your world a better place because you're there.

16. The best way to help YOURSELF is by helping others -- break out of "selfishness" and the trap of Ego by helping others to do the same. The world does NOT revolve around YOU.

17. Take time to be silent and listen, once in awhile (more often, if possible). You can learn a lot about the world and people through silent observation, and you can learn even more about yourself through quiet meditation, if you take the time to still your restless thoughts and mind.

18. Slow down and learn to experience the joy which comes from the "little things" in life -- a sunrise, the smell of rain, the velvet softness of a flower's bloom, the sound of the wind (which can and does speak, if you know how to listen).

19. Be conscious of your impact in the world -- be self-aware enough to KNOW how your actions affect other people, animals, the EARTH. Each of us may only be a tiny dust particle in the overall universe, but there is a REASON we are here, and we ALL have a responsibility to humanity and the planet. Be conscious of your impact in the world.

20. Truth is subjective, but honesty and integrity cannot be substituted by anything else. A person's "word" (or honesty) and how well he/she keeps it, is an accurate measure of his/her morals, judgment, attitude and worth. Lies and deception only hurt people.

21. Trust cannot be forced, but must be earned with time and then freely given, not coerced. Broken trust is one of the hardest things in the universe to re-build. It CAN be done, but it takes time and a LOT of effort...better and easier not to break it in the first place, if you can help it.

22. Time does NOT heal all wounds -- it CAN heal them, but you have to learn how to quit picking at the scabs and scars (see lesson # 5 above). In other words, you have to have the patience to let Time do the healing it can.

23. No man or woman is an island. As much as you might dislike people, everyone needs other people, in some way. Don't judge the rest of humanity (or the other gender) by the actions of a few. Family and friends are the greatest assets you can acquire in life.

24. Generalization is a tool of weak minds, and stereo-types don't benefit anyone. Be specific, if you must judge people. Even better, don't cast judgment without examining yourself, first.

25. The "Golden Rule" ("Do unto others as you would have them do unto you") is common sense, but recognize and accept that not everyone believes or lives it. Not everyone believes in Karma, or understands how circular the universe really is.

26. Be true to yourself. Have faith in who you are, what you believe and where you're going. That way, when someone challenges your beliefs, you can stand by them and know that you're being true to who you are. Have the courage to think for yourself and not be led by others, make your own decisions and choices and be responsible for them. And more importantly, have the courage to admit when you are wrong.

27. Nothing stays the same or lasts forever, whether it's good or bad, happy or sad...everything has a time and a season, and accepting that nothing lasts forever is vital to being realistic and accepting Life on Life's terms (see lesson # 8 above).

28. The sooner you figure out: 1) who you are, 2) what you really want out of life and 3) where you're going, the sooner you can start making it happen. That's an INTEGRAL part of growing up and becoming an adult -- if you DON'T KNOW these 3 things, figure them out BEFORE involving other people in your world or your life. That way, you don't unnecessarily hurt innocent people.

29. People ARE NOT DISPOSABLE. They are not "things" to be used as you wish, then "thrown away" or "discarded" when you have no "use" for them, anymore. People have REAL feelings and can and DO get hurt. If you MUST "use" people, at least have the guts to be honest about it and let them know that's all you want (see lesson # 16 above).

30. Follow your dreams, but realize that it takes ACTION and HARD WORK to turn them into REALITY. Dreams will always stay dreams unless and until you ACT upon them.

31. NO ONE is perfect. Perfection is just an illusion, and only The Divine is TRULY perfect. You can seek perfection by seeking to be closer to The Divine (God/Universe/Flying Spaghetti Monster, etc.), but you will never find REAL perfection here on this world, in this realm.

32. Don't place your OWN expectations upon others. Don't view others and their actions or behavior from the standpoint of "this is how I would act" or "this is how I would do it", because everyone is different, and if you place your own expectations upon others, you will always be disappointed or feel let down when others don't live up to them or do things a different way.

33. Someone once told me, "If you have one foot in the past, and one foot in the future, you're pissing on today".

34. The hardest part of holding on (to anything in life) is letting go.

35. It's all connected, even if you can't see the whole picture. We're ALL in this thing called "Life" together...and nobody gets out alive.

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