This was a letter I prepared for a recent High School graduate amongst my circle of friends. Lessons I have learned from life. Along with his favorite soda pop, a bag of Doritos and cash in a card.
Truthfully, I think the bag of Doritos and soda pop spoke to him more than any words of wisdom I wrote to him. As teenagers go. I wish them well on their journey of life, and maybe one day, they will pick up those words of wisdom and it will offer them a lighter, brighter path of their own.
Here are some things I have learned along the way, that I hope will at sometime in your life be helpful. I come from the school of hard knocks, a life filled with rich experiences, no matter the high price I have had to pay. Maybe my lessons can be ones that enrich your life in ways that you do not need to encounter such painful lessons.
- Follow your intuition!!! It is the truest, most genuine and honest guide you will ever have. No matter what others believe you should be doing, or what the world, the job market, the global economy says you need to do. Do what makes your heart sing!!! Do what you LOVE to do! Even if the trek to follow your heart creates something different than you had originally planned, it makes no matter. It is all part of a greater plan. Just keep following your heart, it will take you on a journey of a lifetime that will bring you divine happiness.
- DON’T please others, to gain their friendship, their love or their interest. It will undoubtedly be a path that leads you away from who you are and all the potential of who you can become. It’s ok to do things for others we love, but doing it to gain those things in life, will end in disappointment and discouragement. Create a checks and balance between how much you give to others, for the most important is how you are you giving to yourself. Not in a selfish, narcissistic way, but in a way that tells yourself that you are a person of value and you honor the value that you bring to this world. Be genuine to yourself as well as to others.
- Understand that you have value. That each person on this planet has value. It is not the material items, or how many friends you have, or the influential friends, or your financial status, or your marital status, or any other measurement that society typically places on judging a person’s value. It is YOU without all of these things that is your value. For at some time in your life, you will inevitably lose one if not many or even all of these things (one certainly hopes not all of it). So, who are you? What value do you bring to this world? What do you want to accomplish? How do you want to be remembered? What legacy do you want to leave, as you continue on this journey called life?
- Choose the company that you keep very carefully. It will be a part of what shapes and defines you. As the cliche’ goes, ‘one can always judge a person by the company they keep’. It is important to hang out with the winners. Hang out with those that have accomplished what you seek to accomplish. Learn from them. Watch them. Do as they do. This will help you develop the skills you need to accomplish all you wish to achieve. Many feel inferior to hanging out with those that are more accomplished & intelligent then themselves. Many fear gaining that perspective. Don’t allow this to stop you in life. Fear is inevitable, courage is moving forward despite your fear. Also understand to be ready to leave others behind on your quest to follow your heart. Those closest to us will not always encourage or support the path we want to follow. Those we love and care for may be the ones that hold us back the most. It takes courage and self-awareness to know yourself enough to know when and if this happens. To be able to honor yourself and that inner guide within, and be able to walk away from those that hold you back, to accomplish all you want. Holding onto those we care about and giving up on those dreams, will only lead to further despair in one’s life. There will be a high price that will be paid for that choice.
- How you get to your journey will also reflect upon others and have a ripple affect. There are many in this world that lie, cheat, betray, disrespect and walk all over others to gain what they seek. And yet still gain success. I have no answer to this, except they are empty, shallow people who pay no regards to others. It is certainly a choice to be deceptive to achieve what one wants. It is a fast track and many have succeeded this way. There may be times in your life, when you feel that is the only way to get what you want. It may seem like it is your last resort. Play it out in your mind before making this choice. How many others does it hurt? At what price will this choice pay? Reputation is also important. In a world today where reviews are everywhere, and referrals can make or break a business. It is important to view the consequences of our choices. As your mother taught me many years ago, NEVER burn bridges. It’s ok to walk away from people, jobs, choices, but in doing so, walk away, as best you can, leaving the relationship in tact. This of course, is not always possible, for there can be some pretty impossible people out there that can be rude and nasty to you. I find just walking away without an exchange of words is best. Agree to disagree. But walk away respecting that is their choice, but knowing there is no need to respond the same way they are.
- Know your limitations. We cannot be everything to everyone. We cannot know it all and be all. We cannot please everyone. EVERYONE has limitations. Even the most intelligent person on the planet has limitations. Self-awareness will help you better understand what your limitations are. For example, an Introvert, can never be an extrovert. They may be able to act extroverted, at times, but they can and never will be extroverted.
- Understand that you are HUMAN. Humans make mistakes. People act out of character. People do things they don’t normally do. People do things the wrong way. People make human mistakes. People say things they shouldn’t say. People hurt loved ones. However, there are a few things to remember about mistakes. The first is to not have those mistakes define you. If you value yourself you will understand this. Learn from those mistakes. If your mistake(s) become frequent and consistent and are showing a pattern in your life, and your relationships, then it will be necessary to make changes. If changes are not made, then your life will be a pattern of living the same thing over and over again, playing itself out in various scenarios that all result in the same result = unhappiness and loss. Usually, this will become more and more intense, as your inner guide screams out how it is necessary to change. If you ignore it, the experience will become more and more intense. Unhappiness will elude your life. This too is a choice in life. You can continue to stay in the cycle of self defeat, or you can make CHANGES necessary. Once those changes are made, a whole new world will open up, that you never imagined could happen. Your quest for happiness will be lighter, easier. More doors will open. Coincidences will appear all around you. New people will enter your life.
- SUPPORT. This is crucial to any success! Everyone needs a trainer and a coach in their corner cheering them on! A external guide that propels them towards all they thrive to achieve! Support can come in many shapes and forms. The ideal support, one would hope, for it to come from those loved ones around them. However, it is not uncommon for many who dare to have the courage to seek what truly makes their heart skip a beat, to find themselves with the loved ones around them poo poo-ing that very dream! It happens to the best of us! It is heartbreaking and often deters many to choose a path that is more agreeable with those we love most. I STRONGLY advice against this! It too will demean your inner spirit guide and it will most likely take you on a path that does not serve your soul. This energy will create more negative experiences and it can whirlwind into a down spiraling path that you will lose yourself in. So, if you experience this, seek outside support when you feel the chains of loved ones bogging down your dreams. There are MANY channels of support that you can find along the way. If you can’t find support, then do what you want to do anyways! Don’t speak about it to those who don’t support it, you will only be discouraged. Keep looking for that supportive person till you find it.
- Love yourself. Not in a selfish, arrogant or narcissistic way, but in a way that brings honor to you and those around you. This also means taking care of your body. Making healthy choices. Acting in kind and compassionate ways. Find time to be with yourself to quiet the mind from the busy chatter of the world around us. Learn to enjoy alone time as well as being in the company of others. Accept circumstances you cannot change. Learn to embrace them. It doesn’t mean you can’t take steps to make some changes in YOUR life, it just means that by accepting it is now a part of your life, or accepting that a certain person will NEVER change, is part of the acceptance. This frees up useless energy around you and invites that what you truly seek. Stop terrorizing yourself with your thoughts. Stop jumping on the bandwagon of FEAR. It is all around us, and it breeds faster then we can keep up with. Fear is something that is perpetuated in this world. It creates hate and divides us from the peace that is within our reach. I highly recommend to stop listening to the news, or reading the newspapers, or seeking out messages of fear on the internet. However, understand that fear is also a sign of danger. It warns us to take precautions. So, take the necessary precautions and then move on. Don’t get sucked into the world of fear. It again, is a choice. Do you want to live in a world of peace, or in a world of fear and hate.
- Humility. Admit when you make mistakes. Learn from others. By putting yourself in a position of learning, it requires that you go thru a learning curve, and know that you don’t have all the answers. Be teachable and open to learning new things. This is a lifetime commitment. Do volunteer work, help others that are less fortunate then you. It places a humble perspective on your life. Compliment others. Encourage others. Tell them about the beautiful qualities they possess. Don’t compare yourself to others. (this one I have yet to perfect, so I am preaching now something I truly need to spend more time doing). Wishing that you can do or be like someone else takes away from all you are! It is a never ending battle of seeking perfection. If you are in this position, seek to find the value of you and your life, versus how you are less then someone else. It’s ok to have goals & objectives to achieve things that someone else might possess, but to always measure yourself against another is self-defeating. Learn to meditate, or do yoga or learn the new age act of ‘mindfulness’. Do something that quiets the mind and stills the body. Apologize. Saying “I’m sorry” are the two fewest used words in this world, this life. Personally, I have only heard these words from 2 people in my life, my mother and an ex boyfriend. I’m not talking about the simple sorries. I’m sorry I forgot to call you, I’m sorry I had to cancel our night out, I’m sorry I wasn’t there for you, etc. These are important sorries of everyday life. However, it is the sorries from our own intentional or non-intentional mistakes that are needed to live and continue living a humble life. Listen to others. Listen more than talk. Ask questions. Be genuinely interested and present when someone is sharing. (this is something we all could practice doing more of). Sometimes we have to take the high road. Do what someone has asked us to do, despite it going against our own beliefs or wishes. Admitting someone is right and you were wrong. Seek out some sort of spiritual guidance. Whatever that may be. Live by a set of spiritual laws that speak to you. This does not have to be of a religious nature. It can be anything that has a goal of peace and love in mind. Something that honors your inner being, as well as those around you. Now go out into the world and do all you want to do and be all you want to be!!! I can’t wait to hear and see what your life will become! I have only the grandest thoughts and most loving wishes for your life!
Love always in spirit,
By Diana Wanamaker
Copyright July 10, 2016
All Rights Reserved