10 Hard truths about life you should know
We all want our lives to be successful. But “success” looks different for everyone.
Maybe for you, success means thriving in your career and having financial freedom. For me, it looks like solid friendships and taking care of my mental health. For others, it might be having a happy family life.
Whatever your definition of success may be, they all ride on a few fundamental truths that are hard to accept. These truths go against what we've been told and the lies fed to us about how life works.
But the moment you accept these truths about life, everything becomes a whole lot easier.
Not everyone will like you.
A friend of mine was recently broken up with by his girlfriend. Even though he was heartbroken, he said there were things about her he didn’t like. “She changed her personality based on who she was around,” he explained.
The catch is, my friend’s ex saw that as a good trait. According to my friend, his ex explained that her chameleon-like personality made the people around her happier; they liked her more because of it.
She sacrificed being her authentic self in exchange for people’s acceptance. And while it might feel great when people enjoy being around you, it’s impossible to have everyone like you.
So is it worth acting like someone you’re not just to gain a few friends who may not even like the real you?
There will always be someone who is “more,” so focus on your lane.
When you’re trying to achieve a goal in life, you’ll never succeed if you’re constantly looking at what everyone else is doing. You’ll always find someone who’s more successful/pretty/outgoing/privileged.
The point is: focus on what’s happening to you. Don’t compare yourself to other people because all that will do is make you feel inadequate. Besides, if you’re doing things in a way that’s true to you, other people aren’t your competition.
Lean in to what makes you unique, and let that be what gives you the confidence to keep going.
Everyone has their own version of you in their head.
I once dated a narcissist who did everything in his power to control my life, tear my self-confidence down, and make me believe my reality was unreliable. Then, when he left me, he had the audacity to call me the “crazy” ex.
The thing is, though, in his mind, I most likely was the crazy ex. Between his refusal to see his own faults and his actions driving me to be someone I wasn’t, an image of myself lived in his head that wasn’t reality.
And he’s not the only one. My parents still think of me as their child, even though I’m an adult. The people who follow me online see me much differently from my boyfriend, who I live with.
These people have different versions of me that live in their heads based on their experiences with me. While it can be tempting to try to control those images, all I can do is live my life and let people think what they want.
Your pain isn’t unique.
James Baldwin once wrote, “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” Every heartbreak, obstacle, or painful experience has been felt by someone before.
And this isn’t to make you feel like you’re not special or that you’re overreacting; it's to help you realize that you’re not alone.
In a world filled with billions of people, nothing is more lonely than struggling in silence. At the very least, reach out to a friend or research your experience. You’ll realize there are people out there who can help you through anything.
You can’t force someone to love you.
I’ve made this mistake one too many times. I thought through sheer will that I could make someone choose me. That the person I loved would have to love me back, simply because of the strong connection I felt.
But you can’t control who loves you, nor can other people control who they love. No matter how hard you try to make someone love you, forcing things won’t change their mind.
If the person you love wants to be with someone else or falls out of love with you, let them leave. Yes, it’ll hurt. But it’s better than trying to convince another person to love you in the way you deserve.
You’ll never be good at everything.
Before I became a writer, I worked as a technical recruiter. The job requires many skills: sales, an eye for talent, and working a database. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t master the art of sales (probably because I hate lying).
Eventually, I was let go from that job. I could’ve felt like a complete failure or continued trying my luck at recruiting, but instead, I came to terms that recruiting wasn’t for me. The decision eventually led me to my career today.
Sometimes, you’re going to suck at things. Sure, you can work hard and become better, but not everyone can achieve greatness in every single thing they try.
So the question is, do you let that bring you down, or do you let it guide you?
You’re more likely to become stuck than become unstuck.
There are a lot of ingredients that go into becoming stuck. Complacency, comfort, laziness, disinterest, confusion, and fear, just to name a few. That’s a lot of paths to a single destination.
But there’s only one path towards becoming unstuck, and that’s hard work. Change only comes to those who take the necessary steps to create that change. You can’t wait around for someone to do it for you.
That’s why it’s much easier to become stuck in life and the reason why a lot of people are unhappy. In this case, you can either be part of the majority or be one of the people who beat the odds.
Learning to be alone is one of the hardest but most rewarding things you can do.
Ask yourself this question: when you come home from running errands and sit down in an empty apartment, what do you do? How do you feel?
Many people feel anxious. They don’t want to be alone, nor do they know how to spend that time. Left alone with their thoughts, they feel more and more horrible about themselves because, the fact is, they don’t like themselves.
And while it might seem unimportant to change things so you can learn to enjoy being alone, it’s actually the best gift to give yourself. The person you’ll spend the most time with in life is yourself.
You might as well enjoy your own company.
Growth is uncomfortable.
As someone who gives dating advice for a living, I receive many comments from people who make excuses for changing their lives. They’ll say things like, “I can’t stop dating these kinds of men” or “I could never do this.”
And while the advice I give might be hard and uncomfortable to do, that doesn’t make it any less necessary if someone wants to change their love life for the better.
Growth will always feel uncomfortable. You’re drastically changing your life and putting yourself in situations you’re not used to. If you could grow within your comfort zone, a lot more people would be happier.
But that’s just not how life works.
Your value is inherent.
For many people, they have a value wound. They grow up thinking that their value needs to be proven in this world. That if they work hard enough, they’ll finally show their [insert father/ex-boyfriend/ex-boss/person who “wronged” them].
That’s why there are so many unhappy people in this world, no matter their wealth, fame, or success. They let their value wound drive them.
But people’s worth is inherent, including yours. You can’t add or subtract from it. It’s why Beyonce is no better than the man taking out the trash at her concert. People — stripped away of everything that sets them apart from one another — are worthy.
Though hard to accept, these truths about life can be the key to setting you free from unnecessary pressures, false beliefs, and misplaced values. They can be the difference between the happiness you’ve always wanted and becoming unhappy like everyone else.
The choice is yours but, at the very least, know that once you read something, it’s hard to unread it. Once you know the truth, it’s hard to believe otherwise.
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