Life is a bitch, or so they say. I wouldn’t go that far, I am a bit of an optimist. Still there are some harsh truths that have to be accepted, and doing so will help to improve your life. We can learn lessons from the harshest of truths, and sometimes they can hit home the hardest. Here are 10 of them:
1. Everyone Has Problems
Nobody can possibly go through life without experiencing dilemmas, tragedy, and misfortunes. It may seem like life is treating you unfairly, but you are not alone. There is a lot of suffering in the world, and it is possible that any of us could experience some degree or other of it. We have to accept this as a part of life and try to get on with it as much as possible. We cannot allow ourselves to be dragged down by our problems. Knowing that suffering is a part of life, we should learn not to pity ourselves too much either.
There is a psychological concept called projection which I believe to be very true. Most people project their own flaws and wrongdoings onto other people. So, often when we find ourselves being overly judgmental and scrutinizing people, especially if it seems to be the same person or trait offending us repeatedly, we are likely projecting. Basically whatever “bad” we see in other people, we can likely assume we can learn about ourselves from it. Either we are in some way similar to what we despise, or we are scared of becoming the object of our projection. Knowing this we can learn a lot when we find ourselves judging others, and we can also learn to forgive other people, who might be unknowingly projecting on us.
3. Nobody Thinks The Same As You
There is not a single person on this planet who thinks exactly like you. This can be daunting to hear. Even our loved ones do not understand every aspect of our being all at once. No matter how strongly your convictions other people will contradict your beliefs, contradict your being, and even contradict your very reality. Knowing that nobody is exactly the same stops us from becoming bigots, washed away in the idea that we live in the supreme reality. We live only in a subjective reality, unique to us, and everyone else also lives in their own subjective version of reality. We should embrace this beautiful uniqueness of individual human life.
4. We Are All At Least A Little Selfish
I think we can be pretty close to being selfless, but all of us have some brain circuitry which is wired for survival above all else, and some more circuitry which is wired for dominant or submissive pack and social behavior, which often results in selfish motives. The idea of selfishness itself is actually another brain circuit, involving morals, which we all also have (to varying degrees it has to be said). We are all also capable of love, which happens when we put any other human being before ourselves, hence bypassing any selfishness. My point is that everyone is at least capable of being selfish, and most people are selfish fairly regularly. Knowing this we can stop feeling guilty about our own selfish aspects, and understand it as part of our holistic, multi-faceted self. We can also understand other people’s selfish aspects more easily. With less guilt we may be free to move forward and gradually work to surpass our need to be selfish.
5. The World Doesn’t Revolve Around You
Philosophers and astrologers of the past used to believe that the world literally did revolve around us, and old models of the solar system confirmed this by placing the earth at the centre, with the other planets and the sun revolving around it. Many of us still think like this in private. We definitely thought like this when we were children and young adults, and I think I still often do now. We should know that actually we are only the centre of our own universe, not everyone else’s and not the galaxy. We should learn to see the bigger picture, and appreciate that everyone else has their own life outside of us. We should also see the even bigger picture; that we are smaller than ants, more insignificant than specks of dust to the universe (or multiverse if you want to take it in further dimensions). We are less than a grain of sand. Knowing this allows us to gain a much healthier perspective on our problems and our life, and nullifies delusions of grandeur, and delusions of self pity. We only need to look up to the stars to begin this realization.
6. People Will Sometimes Let You Down
Because the world does not revolve around us, and because everyone is a little selfish, we can learn that other people will let us down and that we should not take it too personally. Too often people put all of their eggs in their friends unwilling basket, falsely perceiving themselves to be important enough to offer this burden, only to complain when the friend does not follow the order correctly. We should try and do each other favors by all means, help each other out human to human; but we must understand when people let us down…
7. Some People Aren’t Worth The Hassle
Unless of course someone repeatedly lets us down, to the point where it is obvious you amount to nothing in their universe. It happens, and still we feel we should invest time and energy into their approval. Second chances are great, and there is never a need to be stubborn, but relationships should be positive in nature. I think we can learn from anyone, even people we do not get along with. That does not mean I tirelessly pursue their company. When someone is not worth the hassle it is best to accept it and move on.
8. We Have Been Conditioned
We have all been conditioned! Shock, shock, horror, can you believe it? There is nothing mystical or conspiratorial about this. Conditioning is simply a word to describe how our brain has been taught to think since we were born; if it were not one way it would be another. What is important is to understand that we can choose to rewire ourselves to think in a different way; to change how we have been taught to see the world, and transform it into something more relevant to our ever-actualizing self. We can stop listening to what we do not agree with, and work to understand ourselves. Our conditioning effects how we perceive, how we talk, act, dress, behave in public, even how we walk. If you do not believe me then I invite you to go skipping through the street dressed like a badger singing nursery rhymes. Okay, extreme example but I hope you get me. Ever since I realized the extent of my conditioning my life has improved dramatically; I feel more free to express myself, walk a bit looser, talk a bit faster, behave a little more “out of line Sir.”
9. Practice Really Does Make Perfect
Nothing beats practice. We can have natural abilities, but for the most part we need to put time and effort into being good. Nothing comes straight away with perfection, and all of the people who are at the top of their respective game are there because they did it every day. The only real question that remains is what to dedicate our learning time to.
10. Everyone Dies
It is perhaps considered the harshest of truths, but it is also the one that effects each of our lives the most. Our notion of time, and more specifically the limited amount of it that we have alive, is what gives us the drive to even get out of bed in the morning. Death gives value to life by making it precious. We must accept death as much as possible, and see it as something that is intimately connected to life. This can help us to accept the death of loved ones, to embrace the gift of life that we have before us, and to accept that one day it will also be our turn. Until then I am going to keep on making the most of it!