Eleven Things You Learn The Hard Way
Some of our most important lessons are born out of hardship.
I've been vacillating for awhile now between different descriptions for introducing this list. And I couldn’t settle on one in particular, simply because I’m unable to comfortably classify these lessons under a single category.
Now, I’d say it’s related to how we deal with other humans, but it’s about more than just that; it’s about how we can build up a certain intuition about people, and how we can learn from our most difficult interactions.
It’s about using all the times we’ve been burned as opportunities for choosing less incendiary courtships in the future. It’s about developing trust in ourselves and seeing into people and their intentions as opposed to simply looking at them and their actions.
And I do have to say that I know what not learning these lessons looks like, which is what’s enabled me to share this wisdom firsthand.
Here, eleven core lessons I learned the hard way that have revolutionized how I approach interpersonal relationships.
Needing to feel needed will cause you to attract needy people. Both heads and tails may seem to be opposite choices, but they’re two halves of the same coin. In order to attract someone who’s independent and whole, you must embody these traits yourself.
Who you were before your relationship started is the same person you’ll be a year into your relationship. Consider it a universal law: nothing, not even love, can circumvent personal growth.
Pay attention to the compliments someone gives you; it shows you what they value most. There are so many things that people can choose to look for in others that aren’t skin deep. You don’t have to swim in shallow waters, and it’s more than okay to want to be seen for more than just your physical appearance.
There’s a difference between being sensitive and being reactive. Being sensitive means that you’re highly receptive to your feelings. Being reactive means that you’re highly responsive to what you’re feeling. You make the choice to react caustically, which translates in the end as plain insensitivity to others.
How you deal with the breakup of your last relationship will largely impact the success of your next relationship. One of my favorite pieces of wisdom is that if nothing ever changes, then nothing ever changes.
When you can stay rooted in who you are, you will stay grounded during a storm. If you uproot at a whim, you’re bound to sway with the seasons and always be left wondering if the soil you’re in is really meant for you.
Running to someone else will only remind you of the person you’re running from (which is usually just yourself). No matter where in the world you run to, you’ll never outrun who you are, what you’re struggling with, or the lessons you need to learn.
A lot of what you hold onto is disguised as grief, but at its core it’s really just a feeling of safety. Even a sea of pain can feel safe when you know what to expect. But just because something feels safe, doesn’t mean it’s not slowly killing you. Although leaning into the pain and facing it head on may not feel safe, it’s the only real way to save yourself.
If you don’t take off your rose-colored glasses, you’ll miss all the red flags. Red flags tell you where you need to pay attention. They are beacons in the night, warning signs that compel you to care for your personal wellbeing. And at the very least, they are an opportunity for becoming curious about the ways in which you may find yourself altered in response to someone else. In the end, the more knowledge and self-awareness you have, the better choices and outcomes you’ll face.
Holding onto ghosts won’t keep them alive, but it will keep you from living your life. Eventually, you must admit to yourself that what you’re holding onto is already gone. That, and the fact that your ghosts aren’t actually haunting you, you’re haunting them. There’s a world of a difference between someone you need to keep around and someone who chooses to stay.
People-pleasers are exceptionally difficult people to dislike and hold accountable because they’re always adding currency into the bank of doing-nice-things-for-you. But don’t be misled, needing to be who everyone else wants all the time is a hard gig to keep up. Eventually, you lose track of which persona you’re embodying and the cracks begin to show. Remember, the universal rule is that people who always tell you what youwant to hear will simply tell others what they don’t want you to hear.
This article was originally published on Medium.