The 10 Most Important Life Lessons I've Learned The Hard Way Over The Years

by Caitlin Rondino

During my teen years, I insisted on learning things in the hardest ways humanly possible. I was naïve, manipulative, shifty, misguided and, above all else, totally dumb. Maybe I thought I was making the best possible decisions for myself at the time. Or maybe it was just a reflection of my strength to defy every restriction my father placed upon me. Whatever it was, all of my choices led to where I am today, so maybe it was just my destiny.

Through my trials and tribulations, I’ve met some great people and some terrible people. I’ve been both happy and totally overcome with sadness. Like Woody Allen said, “It’s important to have some laughs, but you gotta suffer a little too because otherwise, you miss the whole point to life.”

One of the main purposes in life is general appreciation. It’s human nature to forget to count our blessings when everything is going seemingly smoothly. You gain no perspective, and quite frankly, no sense of appreciation when nothing requires effort. Everyone should have something worth fighting for.

I sincerely hope I have a lot of life left to live, as I’ve barely made dent in the list of things I plan to accomplish and experience. But, here are some things I've learned along the way:

1. Failure Is Absolutely Necessary

If you were incredible at everything you did, your life would be monotonously mundane. The people around you wouldn’t be able to relate, as they are likely flawed. Your isolation from experience in a way isolates you from the rest of society. The prospect of failure makes reaching the finish line so much more rewarding; you need to learn to embrace criticism. You need to experience growth.

2. Nothing Will Change You Like Heartbreak Will

Heartbreak coerces people to evaluate themselves and reflect deeply. While a broken heart will mean something different for every person, it will be the most pivotal force in changing a person. Unfortunately, it’s likely to happen more than once — and it'll sting every single time.

3. Love Sickness Is The Best Diet

Nothing rids you of appetite like picking up the pieces to your heart after someone’s splattered it across the walls. But be mindful, you absolutely should not starve yourself; it’s destructive and won’t make you feel better.

4. Don't Be Reckless With Your Heart Or Anyone Else's

It doesn't matter how poorly things went in your relationship; a heart is a precious thing and it should be handled with care. There will be times when you give your heart to the wrong person, and there will be times when that wrong person is you. Do your part and be delicate.

5. Pity Is The Worst Thing You Could Give Anyone

If you're staying in a relationship — whether romantic or platonic — because the other person is going through something and it would “kill them” if you left, you’re doing the person a disservice. You have someone under the illusion that you’re there because you want to be, when in reality, you’re there because you feel obligated.

6. Disappointment Is Nausea Of The Mind

With sadness comes grief, but eventually acceptance will lead you back on the road to happiness. Maybe reality didn't meet your expectations, or people didn't meet your expectations. Regardless, when things feel amiss and expectations are not met, it can be tough to recreate opportunity.

7. The Hardest Thing To Gain Back Is Trust

Once you've lost your trust in someone, or someone’s lost it in you, you either move on or fight to regain what once was. If you don’t care enough to gain the trust back, walk away because it’s tough work. Guilt may eat at you, but if your motivation for mending comes from selfishness, it’s not worth anyone’s time to try.

8. Apologies Are For You, Not Them

This isn't as selfish as it sounds; it’s just that important to recognize your wrongdoing to promote personal growth. Take responsibility for your actions and doing the right thing. Forgiveness is not the purpose of an apology, although it’s always welcomed. Additionally, there will be times in life when an apology will not suffice. That’s the other person’s choice, not yours. More importantly, you need to forgive yourself. Accept that you've done what you can to right your wrong and move forward with your life.

9. Honesty Is The Best Policy

Despite how clichéd it may seem, it's the truth. It’s important to seek and expect the truth. You feel best about yourself when you're honest.

10. Your Parents Were Probably Right About Everything

I used to be the queen of passive-aggressive deviance, but my parents were right about pretty much everything: the people from whom I should have stayed away, the things that really matter in life, the things I would regret and potential consequences.

Photo credit: Blue Devil Tumblr